Vol. 1 No. 3
Poetry by Cyril Peters
Originally published in Tangents, December 1965
What is his name?
I know I do not know
and I will recall the labor of his sweat
which ran and fell along the resisting ridge of my spine,
cradling before the rise of my ass.
(My body remains cool, contained, accepting and rejecting their sweat,
there and not-there, a body that dissolves into lumps of rises and falls, a rock,
an illusion conquerable which they must pound and ground until
they pierce the stone, impregnate and release . . . and be devoured by it.)
What of his words?
His tongue, my tongue embrace like starved eels in combat;
disengage by the ego-ridden desire to survey,
leaving a wet trail over the mounds of flesh:
explorers tracking an old but uncharted map of love—
What will excite? Bite this tit, breathe into this armpit? This hand here . . . ?
Such tongues compete for power.
His past is only
the greedy streets, balconies of movies, nickels in subway Johns.
And it is only, only within that moment, that explosion so unique,
that instant when we finally unite.
Instantaneously the rumbling within my ears
ignited by that gutting pivot propelled now securely in my body,
it is NOW that I juvenilize about OUR future,
until that crazy patchwork puzzle of the bed returns, the creases, the folds;
and the crick in my neck, and the needles of his beard grinding into my cheek,
and those final gasps of breath gushing into my exposed ear.
Exposed, organization sets in:
the room ceases its shuddering, needles of sweat, singularly, unrhythmically
dribble down the now undamagable and devouring body that is
and that once sweet smell suddenly sours rotten into the humidity of our sex;
and as my body returns by degrees, each pore re-awakening to rebel, it does
so with the weight of his pelvis grinding it through the bed, (shocked that
its aggression was a facade as was my passivity) the springs gnawing
at my ribs,
Past the floor, pinned by his pelvis like the captured meal of the hawk,
taking me down taking me down.
What do I know of his heart?
(Even in moments of utter reality we reek sentimentality!)
A moment ago I would admit that life was damn-well certain a comedy:
Our ritualizing bodies, from the sweat, made the sound of applauding seals,
And that that heart ran idiotically rampant;
I could securely say: I am causing this, and agree with some campy sage
that I must be indeed sitting on a million dollars!
But now that heart’s message descends
with its action into my shoulder blade: I have lost control,
and on cue that dropped weight on me unstiffens,
spent, goes limp, recoils with a subtle disgust
to the savior of soap and water.
That was the ousting from Eden that is tatooed on the skins of our brains;
What do I know of him?
I know that he knows that we are not to know
we will be soon haunting the streets, struggling with rolls of nickels for
subway Johns, in the brightened light (WE MUST RID THIS THEATRE
OF THAT ELEMENT)
climbing the final stairs to the movie balconies:
these instant heavens, we are to know.
It is done
I am done He is done,
dropping another skin and rebottling another HOPE,
we will never know each other beyond those introductory superficialities,
and closing scenes of phone numbers illegible on scraps of paper
that stare up at weakened eyes asking the brain: WHAT WAS HIS NAME?
But now we are secure, the muscles are toned, the asses like nectarines—
We have the power and superiority of youth.
And you and you?
You are next.
©1965, 2016 by The Tangent Group. All rights reserved.