Treasure Island

Terrance Hayes


At Pegasus


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.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Romella Kitchens (2/25/2014 3:54:00 AM)

    Terrance Hayes is a poet with precise, poetic vision. He has the ability to lift commonalities of life experience out of the living canvas and he does it bravely. This poem flows seamlessly from the poet and his childhood experience with love and sexuality and the experience of adult men at the Pegasus Club in Pittsburgh.It is felt by the reader it is one of his best due to its clear nexus and truth. (Report) Reply

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