you drift upon will bury you
and the books you read will make you question joy,
but reading mine with your bookmark,
reading mine in the light of
someone else, I am reminded
of that confident awkwardness
that put your hand in mine
and crafted this bookmark
in your apartment. The plastic
is coming off, folding inward
like on-ramps carrying thieves
to the interior. But still it contains
your favorite poems and my name
written in an Edwardian font.
recommending books I won’t read,
books on cats and a stew that lets you see God,
but reading mine in the shelter of hours,
reading mine with the torn plastic groping
the pages as the bookmark must go
through his lovelorn adolescence again
with each new volume, fumbling
with skirt pages and bra chapters,
to remove each article of artifice
from the literature, I swim
through a murky sludge of love and truth.
I am a vagrant with a bookmark
discovering the cherished flaws
of the great writers.
One Halloween I put on
black lipstick, a black dress,
a few sprays of expensive perfume,
and became the hottest girl
at the party. A football player
even asked me out in this
halfway house between the sexes,
refuge from my libido,
short stay in a long body
without want. My curled hair
and eyelashes enticed me into resting
from enticements. My shaved legs
were the smooth sheets
that the children of a thousand genders
wrapped themselves in as they slept.
Every preacher wants to be a writer
and have their thoughts endure.
Every writer wants to preach to us
in a way nuance won’t allow,
maybe men want to be women and women
want something better than a man. Men move
through beds and all the dark tunnels
between them, only able to remember
a fleeting masculinity in their stumbling.
The beds soon become unrecognizable
from the tunnels, there is no manhood
on the sweating stones. I apologize
to the women I’ve used and wounded,
I wouldn’t know what it is to be
a man without my time in drag.