Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Natural for a Man

I was hurrying by the college green
where sunlit men in sleeveless shirts and jeans
were flicking a Frisbee and catching it
with hands grown up and sure in baseball mitts
when a deep voice called out to one, “Yo, Drew!
New haircut! Nice! You look so beautiful.”
Gold-curls who stood the nearest to me wheeled
round on his hips, shaded his eyes, revealed
white teeth in smiling to the ardent fan,
as if it was most natural for a man
to be appreciated by a cock,
without fear of being made a laughing stock.
The sun-flecked moment, flicked for someone’s hand,
curved into me, winded and then wing-spanned.
I flew down to the city (on a train)
and, in a quiet park, landed the plane
of my hot hand in yours. You kept it there.
Then, after leaving the fenced grassy square,
you shook your hand free as if stung by scorn
as we walked down into Hoyt-Schermerhorn.
You looked around, I followed your unease—
three young black men in baseball caps and tees;
a Chinese mum; a white girl with her guy.
You leaned apart as though I was poisoned ivy.
The walls grew white and shrill. The train pulled in.
The doors warned Watch your step before opening.
I watched and did not touch you in the train
and chafed and chafed against our skins’ restraint.
In your apartment, you drew down the blinds,
switched off the moon and other lights. My mind
fired sharp orders as my fingers fumbled.
My larynx was a lark but my mouth mumbled,
you look so beautiful. “What did you say?”
Nothing. Nothing but well-rehearsed clichés
prompted, you’ll burn in hell for being a fag;
you shame your parents; you’re a girl in drag.
The moment pulled up, full of waiting, pulled
out from your body’s platform into the dulled
mouth of the tunnel all things rushed toward.
Even the shiny disc, the gold award
of a gold afternoon unearned, unstopped,
could be, despite all green intentions, dropped.

3 comments:

Eloise said...

I remember this from ages ago, I liked it a lot then and still do now.
One line however read oddly to me, the visual just doesn't work for me, and the rhyme falls flat:
"You leaned apart as though I was poisoned ivy."
you also seem to have an extra syllable (apart from the hypermetric)or an anapaest. I read the rest of this as IP.
Great work (as always)
Eloise

brennan said...

Whoa! You have a blog?

If you could still remember me by any chance, I was a student of Chua Chu Kang Secondary School.

Found your blog through google by the way... :)

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi Eloise, or eremetic,
you are right about that ivy line, of course. It always sounds better in the heat of writing. Nice to know I am linked to your blog. Good luck on Oxbridge.

Hi Brennan,
I do remember you! I hope life in the Poly is doing well by you. Thanks for reading the blog.

Jee Leong