By James Davis May
John Weir! Remember when you used to call yourself
the sodomite at my window? Houston
was so odd. Every mile the same pattern.
A strip mall with a strip club, a school,
then a mansion next to a tire factory—
all repeating themselves like the background
of some Saturday morning cartoon chase.
Before I left, it seemed I was always searching
for someone else’s lost dog, nearly falling
on the sidewalk’s confusion of acorns.
And Atlanta? No sodomites like you here.
Today the azaleas’ birthday-cake pink
materialized suddenly as cards
shooting out from a magician’s palm. Wait.
Is that clear? Just understand they’re beautiful,
that I’m tired of clarity, of condescending
marble statues, of being tired of being tired.
Tonight’s guest speaker quoted a mime
who reportedly said, “One pearl is better
than a whole necklace of potatoes.”
A woman nodded, a man made a sound
that sounded like polite pleasure.
And in the cocktail party that follows
all those pretty words, here I am
on the porch, my left ear faintly lit
and half in New York. Because I dept dropping
cracker crumbs into my wine. Because
someone else asked me if I was Fiction
or Poetry. I’d ask how you are, but I know
you hate yourself and want to die.
I too have stolen much, and in the great circle
of folding chairs crushing the oriental rug,
I’ve retold the stories and jokes of others,
as if my own, usurping the obligatory laughter.
I don’t know how one gets away with beauty
or grace or, I worry, how to admire art
without wanting to have made it myself.