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for cruising

Emptied trucks below the bridges of Manhattan.
Parks, all barren. Piers all sunk beneath the waters of the Hudson,
how we emptied, also. How we sank beneath the moaning earth
with coins of pleasure on our eyes.
Strangers in the partial dark of trees—gone
Loaded glances, firm as hands—gone.
Hands’ coarse groping through my jeans,
liquor with its taste as volatile as sex,
and sex as new as my body once was—gone, gone.

The future’s new laws are of physics—we seduce now by computer,
from our telephones.

Walking through the park today, I like to think the men who found me cruising
still remember me the way I was—teenaged, tilted slab of boozy meat
easy as a shiver
and not wearing a shirt beneath my coat.

Before infection, barely dodged; before fear,
ugly jacket that I let those ugly men undress,
was zipped up tight and buttoned to the neck.

Ten years passed, and safety, dogstar that I traveled by—gone.

Blue pills bursting in my guts bleed confident throughout.

Each night a strange new love arrives to tear my shirt
and test the strength of this new armor forged of chemical.

Each night, I see another of this bold new brood of faggots,
boys who look like I did then, green fruit clumsily reminding
me that all this is a gift: these bodies that I greet with tenderness,
the torrid miracle of fearlessness,
and bless them, in their unafraid, and may they die old men, still unafraid.
and may my touch be penitent
and may the joy of touch be penance for the years I wasted
when I was not brave enough to reach for this.

but this high minded benediction—gone.

His body moves in mine with force
and I can only focus on him, and on here and now.

He kisses just a little bit too hard.

Men died for this.


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SP Mulroy
SP Mulroy is a nationally recognized writer and performer, and an award winning professor. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow, a 2017 Kurt Brown Prize Winner, and 2017-2018 Writer-in-Residence at The Kerouac Project.