About Kevin Simmonds




nuns floated him
on a mattress

dragged his three-hundred pounds
up stair flights

days and nights
pulling his own gown

grateful for a piano’s leg
to lean on

heat rises
but not the stench

of covered bodies
& tardiness

helicopters to
suburban nashville

the facility
with honky’s

& their tonk
pentecostal baptists

gurneying the halls
he didn’t npr

his voice
roll down the sleeves

on his thick-armed patois
i ain’t going back

staying right here
city been wrung out

like the wash cloth
they wipe my ass with

can’t look back
no sir

hand me that remote



Hard to believe a monk’s devotion
Even stained glass can crack
under the steady weight of sun

But for as long as he can
he withstands beauty
bears the flame of robe

Improbable say
as an urban snail moseying
its lopsided house in tow


palsy & ginger
lean of the apple tree

& depressant

its anti
bonsai & canyon

man in the province
young as me

his tumors long as octaves    & longer
carrying his face in his hands

the answerers have
their answers

the questioners ache




returning to japan in my dreams
as he lay at my left
nearest the window
overlooking golden gate bridge

i’m closest to the door
no big surprise there
you see    my issues
make commitment tough

but with the japanese
their shelter of manners
& such discretion & deliberateness
the shakers would be proud

there’s the group
to worry about
& i’d stop the worrying
about me all the time

& that’s all i want
rice fields & earnest farmers
bent over as if pulled by the arms
back into earth

winters that begin in october
burying everything except
the manholes issuing forth
like sores on a pale woman

never mind my seafood allergies
or frail grammar
i want my branches bound & trained
for stature

i’ll be admired for capturing
my wide wild ocean
in the equivalent
of a demitasse




Nina knows something
Her halo hands
voice nearly rain
Same suicide
I was after
Father prays
Find a woman
not a man
in your bed
belonging there
I pray
two men
in excelsis
made for wings they wish
of singing
of sphincters
of carriage beyond
This man and me
hold hands
blanching faces
as we stride
and Nina drives
the black piano
to bring us honor



is a writer, musician and filmmaker originally from New Orleans. His books include Mad for Meat, Ota Benga Under My Mother's Roof and Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality. He wrote the music for the 2009 Emmy Award-winning documentary HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica and, most recently, Voices from Haiti, which debuted at the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival -- both commissioned by the Pulitzer Center. His films, including Singing Whitman and feti(sh)ame, have screened at San Francisco Frameline Festival, Provincetown International Festival, Hong Kong's InDPanda and Barcelona's MiMi LGBT Short Film Festival. ORIENT: a new anthropology, a multimedia work about Asian-Black race relations, will debut at San Francisco's CounterPULSE in 2012, the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots. His website is