The love is in the writing, yes. It is
this pencil—architect of all my hopes.
I suck on my eraser, like a nipple.
The friction of the lead provides some heat.
The little squiggles which adorn my man-
uscript, swim wonderfully between the
lines, like freshly ejected sperm,
seeking, out of instinct, a nice, warm
place they can kick off their flippers,
crack a Michelob, exhausted, and unwind.
A mouth, a hand, some other place. Who knows?
Your last poem mentioned your career,
retiring from porn, continuing to appear
naked, reading poetry in California.
I was in college then, learning from my dad
sucking cock was probably something
a boy in Buffalo ought not to do.
Soon after dad discovered my diary,
I found myself searching for a butt one
night along the shoulder of a road
so dark it seemed to lead into a future
paved entirely in blackness, coal.
A scattering of stars, a slice of Moon,
the prick of a pink planet, Mars, I think,
took pity on me, like the passing cars.
Those headlights allowed me to pick out
a discarded pack of Camels which
concealed one cigarette and a puff of air.
How incredible that find! Yes, Moon
And Mars, Camel and cars, kept
me company that night. But the sparks
of a tossed Marlboro let me smoke
where I was going—a dim, orange glow.
I thanked the driver as he sped away,
truck dwindling to a pair of rubies. I
had no matches in my pocket—no-
thing useful, no money, no house keys:
A Latin book in my backpack, Ovid’s
Metamorphoses, toothbrush, clothes,
socks and soiled underwear. But
how lucky I felt then—no longer cold—
now that I could smoke. The poetry
we’d write together was so far away—
Farther than Mars, that truck driver, you
standing naked in L.A. And love,
while that Camel lasted, didn’t seem
a possibility all that remote.