George Stanley / Two Poems

This piece was originally published in Issue 2.17/2.18 (Winter & Spring 1996): a festschrift for Robin Blaser.


Naked in New York 

Ralph Macchio kissing Eric Stoltz on the lips, impulsively,
on the screen at the Hollywood, in the audience loud gasps,
as-if-sickened groans. These yahoos must have known
their arrant discourtesy, not to the rest of us only,

but to them, the two giant heads soft as flags
or luminous clouds above us negotiating
a moment of intimacy — Macchio ruddy-cheeked,
high on his cupid daring,
Stoltz (the beloved) cool, ‘vanilla pudding’ (Spicer) —

two Harvard boys at an arty New York party,
the straight one mildly pissed at being hit on — wanted,
but gratified by the compliment paid to his beauty
(not cataloguing the gay one’s pain at his coolness),

but the guys in the seats, beneath them, the offended,
not wanted — outside this story — outside Hollywood —
this Harvard boy, really the actor Eric Stoltz,
rich, young, handsome, wanted,
& they not.

A boy being kissed by another boy could tip over the applecart,
all the shiny red apples in stacks, pyramids, buffed up for sale,
that were once in the dark of the barrel, homophobia high school,
hoping none of us was rotten, no bad apple, no queer,
certain we were all unwanted, none wanted by any of the others —
tipped over, apples rolling, bumping, bouncing, in the street,
in the mud,
bruises, kisses (like pool balls), bites,
desire all over the place.


After John Newlove

I’m approaching it from the wrong direction, & so I don’t
recognize it. Someone — that’s as basic as you can get —
someone is who we are. Someone arrived, just a moment
ago, from the previous moment, where not-he, not-she,
had spent a century, an eternity, but then not-his,
not-her, lease was up, & someone had to skedaddle —
& arrived here, not knowing what it was not-she, not-he,
confronted, was over against, because not-he, not-she,
approached it from the wrong direction.

If this is the world, then where am I,
what is this loneliness, this outpost?
Or if I am not I, but only someone,
then there is nothing I am over against.

Finally we all face this together,
but don’t know what it is, even
though no longer approaching it, in the heart
of it, in our hearts, but still, somehow,
from the wrong direction.

From someone’s heart.


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