Friday, April 18, 2008

Celebrate Gay Poetry! Dennis Cooper's "James Kelly"

Isn't it cool how Poetry (and stories as a whole, for that matter) can transcend the boundaries of time? I love how this poem evokes us, its future readers, from a past 24 years ago...


He's dancing tonight in the girls' gym,
giving his all, seeing the long road
ahead, miming a long line of mentors
stretched back to notorious dressing rooms
closed to this small crowd of dancers,
parents and friends of friends.

We who care about dance
are impressed by him.
We who care about him
are proud of him.
We who care about sex
are pressed for words
and cannot shake his hand.

Turn to the side, nose too big.
Face forward, perfect.
Those are some details which,
if this is read in the future,
will be mystery spots on the earth
but hopefully touch a raw nerve.

You, for example, who'll never know
him, just his presence, if that.
I hid it here, took my sweet time,
made it hard so it would last the cold
eye of a distanced observer :
You, in the space suit or not.

A blue spotlight falls for a blond
dressed in tights, pushed from behind
onto a stage when he was twelve
with grace too great for a typical life.
It's ours by the time of his early twenties,
winding up craft I set to the future :
You, who'd desire him or not.

He's backstage just now, in the makeshift
dressing room behind a neutral black curtain
used as the "darkened sky." There's a dim
bulb on the ceiling and semi-admirers await him
outside. Others give up and walk to their cars.

He grows old and dies. We, for the most
part, are already dead. But you in our
future may find him, though some ways away,
through my restraint, in the presentable part
of your eyes: cool, blue, and lit up for you.

This poem is from the collection "He Cried" by Dennis Cooper, published in 1984.

Huge thanks to Dennis for letting me share this with you all!

Clicking on his image above will take you to Dennis' website. From there you can get to his blog, which he updates more regularly. A Disclaimer: I'm linking to his website because the blog (as great as it is) contains some sexualized content.

Last Call! Do YOU still have a favorite Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning Poem you want to share? Send me a "comment" or click on "contact me."



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