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At an Amiri Baraka Reading, Spring 2007

Long before someone blew up America,

you had lunch with Frank O’Hara. Talked

of poets, painters, former lovers,

and trips to Fire Island where all the pretty

boys bathe in summer sun.

You talked of Miles Davis clubbed

twelve times. Shuddered at your lack of power,

sipped ice tea, nearly pissed yourself

at Frank’s Personism.


And I wonder if he ever took you to bed.

If you ever fed his fetish for young men

with skin the color of coffee without cream

or sugar. Men he imagined sucking off

in movie houses or bathroom stalls,

Billie Holiday crooning. I can see it:

you there in his sheets naked, dark,

beautiful, and him, Frank, half-hard

and glowing white by the window, fingers

on the keys, a new poem begun.


Now you are old, swallowed whole

by this stage, by this harsh academic lighting,

and I wish you were still LeRoi,

wish no one had blown up this America

where a gay white poet once made you laugh.

Posted 01/09/14
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