You're bent over,
long black hair
5-7, 120, white.
Some black hair on legs.
Our faces don't connect
I walk to my car
roll down the windows
mid February in Pasadena—
was 80 today, the evening warm.
I sit in the car 20 minutes
thinking of your beauty.
After shopping—greens, cheese, flatbread—
Curtis not there—
I see another you
with a guy like me, his arm around your shoulder
I drive forward slowly watching you to my left
not looking where I’m driving.
Two perfect guys within a few minutes of each other
it's too much. Reason
to avoid suicide.
During the yoga meditation we were asked to focus on one thing we want
I wanted to be David Geffen but specifically to have
765 million dollars in the bank.
We have the same taste in dark-haired twinks.
I like how my yoga teacher doesn't lecture
about what we should want.
I usually bring her a poem every class.
Tonight it was “To A Blossoming Pear Tree.”
I reread it twice before class
liking all of it still. Still loving the ending.
I stopped after the first reading
to talk to a cute guy waiting for class.
He comes with a woman every week.
He can bend in half
his stomach arched to the ceiling
his forehead touching the ground
his hands holding his feet.
a crescent moon does her thing
I feel how lucky I’ve had 24 years in LA.
Even if it all falls down
and I’m buried alive under rubble
die a horrible death over 5 days—
Even though you might feel sorry for how I went out
don’t forget I got to live in paradise so long
everywhere, Michigan, New York, Los Angeles—
got to visit Asia, Europe, Central America—
fell in love many times
and not like these guys tonight we'll never meet.
Hopped up on pain meds
surprised to see an ex's car in my garage
when I get home.
He has a key and remote
and comes over whenever he wants.
He was using my computer—this computer—
because his couldn’t pick up the router signal.
I got his going
then told him I was going to write.
He stayed and talked about his trip tomorrow to the Thai Consulate.
We talked about maybe returning to Thailand for his dad's 80th birthday.
He massaged my shoulders, we hugged a couple times.
He’s in the shower now.
It’s been grand
maybe 30 left.
And maybe not you know
and I was thinking in yoga today
I live the life of a rich man in America.
Allen Ginsberg invited me to his farm in New York
the summer I was 19.
In front of the Angel’s dugout in Anaheim
I saw Al Kaline in the TV booth
and yelled up, “Hey Al Kaline!, and waved.
He leaned out with a fist pump.
He knew from my yell
I was one of those kids driven to Tiger Stadium
many times as a boy
to watch his line-drive homeruns into the left-field stands,
his cannon arm in right.
Bernie reminded me by email that today
is the first day of Lent.
When my grandfather was mildly upsetting my grandmother
she would turn to him, smile, and say,
“William, I'm giving you up for Lent.”
They're both gone now.
But Al Kaline, 2 twinks and I hold on.
Now I’ve got to type up the quotes I like from Troyat's biography of Tolstoy.
I do this to help my writing—
and for the college course I’ll teach one day
when I’m invited.
It will be a poetry workshop.
Although when I was asked at the yoga meditation
to focus on this dream, and to have another person enter into the meditation
it was Marlon Brando when he was 70 dressed like he was
for the Larry King interview, in beige slacks too small for him,
in Birkenstocks and barefoot, with a denim shirt, red tie, jean jacket
his hair combed forward.
And I told him about wanting a writer-in-residence job
and he told me,
“Fuck that shit, that’ll fuck-up your writing.”
We were asked to share
how our meditations went.
It appeared some of my fellow classmates
did not appreciate Mr. Brando’s language.
This is the 31st year I’ve been writing poetry
how does anyone get writer’s block?
It seems impossible
as there is everywhere
and such a need to process it so I can make our lives better.
And remember when it was hard to get published?
You get in a zone
and everything gets published.
Yoga twink boy
you can sustain me a week.
Brando’s right about the university probably.
He died of fibrous lung disease and liver cancer.
I'm heading right there with him.
I hope to be the Brando of poetry some day.
But Wally Cox?
Well, glad he loved him.
Maybe my little yoga twink
is very like Wally when he was 19.
“Mine” in the sense I'm thinking about him.
Why get out gracefully?
Why do you think burning your papers near the end
will make what's left better?
I’d like my ashes mixed with Brando’s
but not with Wally’s.
Is there any method for separating them?
They're scattered already I think.
The Clinton River will do.
Craig Cotter was born in 1960 in New York and has lived in California since 1986. New poems have appeared in Hawai’i Review, Poems-For-All, Poetry New Zealand, Assaracus, Court Green, Eleven Eleven, Euphony, the Bicycle Review, Caliban Online, and Otoliths. His poetry is featured in the anthology Between and he has a short story in the anthology Foolish Hearts. His fourth book, After Lunch with Frank O’Hara, was published by Chelsea Station Editions.
He can be found on the Web at www.craigcotter.com.