The Brothers on the Trash Truck and My Near Death Experience

Having just been left for good by you--your tongue
flicking over your lips like a thirsty newt, your cheeks plush with screwery--
having been left so, I walked into the backing-up path of a trash truck.

Its ding-reverse bell must have been defunct.
It was the side-rider's YO! that halted it.
Don't hurt her baby, don't hurt her! the side-rider called in a franticky chant.

The driver leapt out.
MISS, MISS! cried the side-rider, MISS! 
You were nowhere in sight. There I lay in my neighbor's hedge,

outlandishly unhurt. I looked up. The driver had
green eyes, a tall tan black man with those farfetched
feline eyes, like say maybe

one of his foremothers volunteered for a shot at the Nordic gene pool,
or, on the other hand, consider that one etymology of motherfucker 
cites masters raping female slaves, the children forced to watch. . .

but is this my business how the man got green eyes?
I'm glad I had this thought because I don't know what to do with it.
Forgive me, I said. My boyfriend dumped me, I wasn't looking . . .

We were shook--me, driver, side-rider
by the divine simplicity of the Near Miss.
So they took me home. The brothers escorted me back--

two blocks cruising high in the cab
like the Empress of Metropolis.
Don't even worry 'bout it, the driver said.

If he don't come back, go on and catch you a bigger fish.
And the side-rider meanwhile balletically leapt
and landed and kept on leaping,

on and off the rolling truck, heaving those garbage bins
light as confetti, light as burned billet-doux,
the sweet spent tickets to my heart.

:: Belle Waring, in Green Mountains Review 8:2 (1995)


Class Analysis

If I were to write s.th. about Paul
I would write about
using abbreviations
to stand in for the failures of intention
or what went by too quickly for the human eye to follow.

I’d have to say s.th. about
suppers together
searing peppers over the gas flame
herbs I’d never tasted
and the sign painted along an entire kitchen wall
between the goldfish bowl and the Azalea:

I wouldn’t fail to mention
the red wreck of a car
bench seats
and the first ride I took in it
Paul driving
looking small and efficient behind the wheel.

There’d be a part that talked about the long walk
to the cranked-up neighborhood candyman
willing to sell us his last two hits of acid
b/c he thought Paul might still one day give in;
and the 8 hrs on the floor afterward, a world,
holding on holding on and watching
the ceiling turn into cirrus shapes
160 mi. above our sprawled out, blissed out
shit-talking bodies that held on held on held on
like they expected to float down finally and find themselves

How the word “love” was never spoken
or maybe once, at the end of a phone call,
a Freudian slip,
but present ever after in the hidden language;
goodbye meant it
so did wanna do s.th. thursday
so did yes.

I’d write about the butt fur
the chest fur
the sweat-sticky buffalo fur
(the time we did it on a friend’s rug)
clinging to the backs of Paul’s
thin arms;
the blunt-fingered hands at the ends of them
work-rough and cut-up and always one nail hammered black;
the dark spot on the dick head
like a second, more reticent piss slit;
the lazy tongue the drawl the spit-
sweet kisses
the throat cored out special for me to park
my cock in
while Paul sang songs on it
about being




:: Wendell Ricketts, in Still Blue: More Writing by (for or about) Working-Class Queers


Let Nothing Lie Dormant

At the farmer’s market in Rosarito, Mexico,

a man touched my arm.
He sat on a stool at a wooden table,
and in the center,
a blue pitcher of water beaded under the sun.
Hunkered over his lap,
he worked with a gouge on a block of walnut,
and he blew at the dust,
and the dust swirled in the breeze.

Done stripping the sapwood vulnerable to rot,
the man held the heart of the wood,
a purple wood hard against
the chisel’s cutting edge.
He looked up from his work,
and his gray eyes told me I must listen.
“This wood must be strong
or the heart cracks before the real work is done.
See this?” he asked softly,
and he lifted a mallet carved
from a branch of apple, “Strong wood,” he said.
“It wanted to be more than a tree.”
He rubbed fresh walnut dust between his palms.
We drank glasses of ice water,
talked about life in general,
and he used the pitcher,
billowed and wet like the sail of a boat,
to cool his neck.

Later, through the soft meat of an avocado,
I felt the pit longing to be free.
:: David Dominguez, Work Done Right (Arizona, 2003)