nothing in my
is a poet and translator living in Berkeley, California. He has published three books of poetry, most recently Practice (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2008), winner of a 2009 California Book Award. His poems, and his translations of poetry and fiction from Spanish and French, have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, Best American Spiritual Writing, and Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry. He teaches literary translation at Antioch University Los Angeles and at New York University. More information is available at www.danbellm.com.
in a window
black mesh pockets
of ducks sleeping
by a pond,
each one identical
to the other,
tilted to the left.
The blond just
got out of the pool.
on his forehead,
the 200 butterfly
is his race. Shaved
a second off his
best time. He
rests on his knees
while his stomach
rises and falls
and he tries
to catch his breath.
He’s about to hit
the red one open
behind him. He’ll
talk some trash
and peel off his
suit. One of his
bros will toss him
a bar of Irish Spring.
He’ll lose his
balance as he steps
into his jockstrap,
grabs the metal door
to catch himself
in what seems such
a human gesture.
received his MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Scandinavian Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in OCHO, Knockout, and the anthology Divining Divas. He was one of the winners of Knockout Magazine's Reginald Shepherd Prize. He is the assistant poetry editor for The Cortland Review.
i didn’t let you nestle in my chest.
comfort you wanted, i know, but i had other plans
and the doctors listened that time
inserted your main line shunt in my front shoulder.
i made sure that cocoa butter didn’t heal your after-marks
your ropy handprint remains, wearing a cocky smile.
when we parted ways, i stayed awake
from behind blue wall, doc assured me he was holding
the scalpel, but i knew better than to trust old white men.
i’d been pricked and pried for too long.
what i am really trying to say, portacath
is that i feel naked without you.
without your simple entry i wouldn’t be alive.
veins sclerosed first week by nitrogen mustard
only surface now on backs of hands.
what i mean to say is,
i owe you footsies in bed.
let me stroke your arm all night
show you all my favorite crannies in devil’s den forest.
you deserve those secret places beneath rocks and
in the tiniest of streams.
you deserve all that’s good and simple in this earth
like a hot cup of cocoa in the middle of new england winter—
i’ve carved infinity to welcome you.
A Lambda Fellow, ’s poems and articles have appeared in such publications as Tidal Basin Review, Connotation Press, Zeek, Newsday and The Forward. Founder of jvoices.com, he received the Be’chol Lashon Media Award in New Media in 2009 and a 2009 Tomales Bay Workshop Writer's Conference Scholarship. Krawitz has been a Lecturer in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People Program at University of California, Berkeley and the MA in English Program at Holy Names University. He currently lives in Oakland, CA.
It’s always Friday here at Market
and Civic Center, always thuggish, leisure-
suited, and boom-boxed. I would love
to grab a glazed donut with you,
but not because of your tricked-out
shopping cart. I’ve seen you in the Industry,
tethered to the Industry.
Your Days-Inn, pullout life.
Your sweatpants, happenstance life.
I like that one, Whistleblower of the Year,
where you ratted on Mr. Charlie right before
you destroyed every hole on the block.
This isn’t a genius grant, but I’ll
put shit on layaway for you, take care
of your bail bonds when cash is tight.
You and I are a vanity plate, which I hate,
all shellacked flesh, rigs, and exultation.
Hustler, take a sip of this longneck, gag,
and call me your soulmate.
is the author of two collections of poetry, Breakfast with Thom Gunn (University of Chicago, 2009), shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award and California Book Award; and Complaint in the Garden (Zoo/Orchises, 2004), winner of the 2003 Kenyon Review Prize. His poems and prose have appeared in The Washington Post, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Poetry, and The Kenyon Review. He lives in San Francisco.
I was once a little boy in high-waters,
towhead, bowl cut, clutching
his first big catch. We have the photo to prove it.
We may even have the rod that almost snapped
when the line struggled to find the surface.
I’m glad you have that memory—
Your flannelled arms around my life-jacketed body,
net at the ready,
ready to wrestle in that walleye or sheephead,
that sea-monster sized big deal. It was a big deal to you.
Father and son.
But I used to wonder what I had done
to deserve the 6 a.m. on Sunday,
crying my way out of bed,
begging to stay at home. You always said no.
I dreaded the sway of the dock,
the warming of the boat engine, the stench
of burning fuel, fishy water. And the drifting.
All day long, anchored yet rising and falling.
Dad, it still makes me sick,
to think where your mind drifted
when I refused to bait my own hook.
Perhaps you drifted to other disappointments—
the outfield where I sat on the grass,
thumbing together daisy chains
or the long summer days when real boys
traded baseball cards for trouble
while I dressed dolls with the girls down the street.
The Lake Erie waters were like your eyes,
gray and hard to navigate
when the wind picked up.
But even a boy in high waters could tell
you got the boy you never wanted. Except
for the day we pulled something out of the deep waves,
something so great we had to take a picture.
is a San Francisco poet originally from Ohio. He is the director of GuyWriters, a San Francisco-based organization that highlights established and emerging gay writers in the Bay Area. His poems have been published in The Fourth River, Toledo Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Blueline, The Cortland Review, and others.
is a San Francisco-based collective of gay-identified poets, fiction writers, and playwrights who sponsor workshops, performances, readings, conferences, and outreach programs that have included working with youth in San Francisco’s public schools. For more information, visit www.guywritersonline.org.