The Theory of Moths

In vibrant colors, he may kiss you: Carlito
caged, or all aglow on stage, sequined,
body labyrinthine. He is a constellation
of leather underwear. He may kiss you.
Boys, penumbral muscle, know power
as a complex series of undulation. His merci-
ful lips carve your mouth’s thin void.

You want him to, for you have nothing
but time and a body you know is yours
though you’ve not enjoyed it for years.
Have touched yourself like a foreign country
bound by water. What choice do you have?
Carlito leans in close, his body-glitter moist
against your cheek. He is solid, will not fade.

Some nights, Carlito makes you hate
yourself. When his wild bird hips whir,
you want to kill him. But you don’t.
He has gravity enough to Go-Go the city
to flames. You are in Chicago. It is cold.
Flames would be nice. Something to help
you wither. Your beer has gone stale.

You are not alone. Through sonic appraisal
of bodies laced with bass, asses rise and set
like all the men whose mornings take them
nowhere. Aretha spun twice as fast is cure
and the cage is more destination than home.
But you are home. Home and on fire. Hateful
of the beautiful powdered bodies, unbound.

You have a gun in your pocket you don’t care
to use. Only carry it from time to time
to feel the hard steel like a city you wish
would coffin and crush you, lick itself clean.
Carlito looks at you, smiles all-teeth and want.
Let him caress its outline in your jeans.
Let him feel the heat, mistake it as your own.

Phillip B. Williams is a Cave Canem fellow who is a Chicago, IL native. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Drunken Boat, Reverie, Mythium, Tidal Basin, Gertrude and others. Most recently his poem “Vestige” was a semi-finalist in the 2009 International Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry prize and his poem "Ars Poetica: Before the Illuminated Instruments" was a finalist for Tidal Basin's inaugural 2010 literary contest. Phillip is currently working in Chicago as an HIV tester and counselor.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761