Back to Issue Nine.

At Pegasus

BY TERRANCE HAYES

 

They are like those crazy women
     who tore Orpheus
           when he refused to sing,

these men grinding
     in the strobe & black lights
           of Pegasus. All shadow & sound.

"I'm just here for the music,"
     I tell the man who asks me
           to the floor. But I have held

a boy on my back before.
     Curtis & I used to leap
           barefoot into the creek; dance

among maggots & piss,
     beer bottles & tadpoles
           slippery as sperm;

we used to pull off our shirts,
     & slap music into our skin.
           He wouldn't know me now

at the edge of these lovers' gyre,
     glitter & steam, fire,
           bodies blurred sexless

by the music's spinning light.
     A young man slips his thumb
           into the mouth of an old one,

& I am not that far away.
     The whole scene raw & delicate
           as Curtis's foot gashed

on a sunken bottle shard.
     They press hip to hip,
           each breathless as a boy

carrying a friend on his back.
     The foot swelling green
           as the sewage in that creek.

We never went back.
     But I remember his weight
           better than I remember

my first kiss.
     These men know something
           I used to know.

How could I not find them
     beautiful, the way they dive & spill
           into each other,

the way the dance floor
     takes them,
           wet & holy in its mouth.

 

                        from Muscular Music (Tia Chuca Press, 1999).

 

 

Hayes 9

Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin, 2010), which won the National Book Award for Poetry; Wind in a Box (Penguin, 2006); Hip Logic (Penguin, 2002), which won the 2001 National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a United States Artists Zell Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His new collection of poems, How To Be Drawn, is forthcoming from Penguin in 2015.