Read tributes to Chris Hewitt by Raymond J. Aguilera, Angie McLachlan, Mark Moody, and Michael Perreault.

.

 

THE ROSES
(for a friend stricken with depression)

You look out the window at the rain-
dark and sullen, a wet rain,
endless and English-
and you notice the rosebed
badly needs weeding.

In a mad fit you rush out the French windows
(without even bothering to close them)
and begin furiously to uproot dandelions,
groundsel, ragweed.

You don't care that you're getting drenched,
that your hands are cut by thorns,
and caked and sticky with soil.

Before you know it,
there's a huge pile of weeds at your side.
Finally you stand up to ease your back
and admire your handiwork.

They are so lovely, the roses,
especially now—white beacons,
white and green against the clean, dark earth.

Suddenly you notice:
it has stopped raining
and you have opened like one of them.

.

NO MORE MONICA

"We were good at movies," you said,
winking at me the night we broke up.
What you meant was, we were good at
making out at the movies—lips splishing,
tongues spiraling into each other,
helter-skelter slick. It was just
foreplay. You didn't love me. You wanted
a mistress, you married devil; I was
your Monica Lewinsky.

Now I want a man who wants to
make love in broad daylight and
all the bones about it, likes to lie
naked on a park bench, so I can
lick him all over, doesn't care who sees.
A man who says, "Let them stare. Let
them stand in line to watch like a row
of flagpoles, shaking their dismayed
red-flag faces." I want a man who's
proud to be my lover, who can jump
on the back of my wheelchair like a
queer Charleton Heston and yell "Ben
Hur! Ben Hur! Ben Hur!" all the way
down Castro Street to the applause
of total strangers.

.

CHICKEN SOUP
(for Allan)

I am in bed with a cold.
You stop by with chicken soup:
"This'll do the trick," you say.
And because you feed it to me—
slowly, spoon by spoon—
it is the best chicken soup in the world.
At the fourth spoon,
a noodle drops down my chin.
As you pick it out of my beard,
I lick your finger.
The next thing I know,
you have put down the soup
and we are kissing furiously.
Then we make love.
Afterwards, as you lie back
panting and laughing,
you wag a finger at me
and pretend to scold:
"Finish your chicken soup!" you say.
But by now I don't have need of it—
I am completely cured!

.

WHAT BRAINS ARE FOR

Even my head is brittle-
Sometimes it feels like an egg—
Soft-boiled with a crackable shell—
a dent or two
and the brains would spill out—
my precious brains
without which I used to be nothing
but which now I use to be
other than brainy—
I can think attractive,
I can talk sexy, flashing my lovely eyes
at a man and get his number,
better still, a wink
that says "You're cute."
and he's not editing;
he means all of me.

.

CAVAFY IN THE CASTRO
(for Mark Doty)

Of course I'm shocked!
In my day only subtle signals
propelled you to your goal -
the forbidden sensual pleasure
of a young man's lips and limbs
in a cheap hotel room, or
the shadows of a dark café -
A nod, a smile, the light brush
of hand on sleeve would start the process.
Here, why the young men don't even
have to ask!
At Pasqua coffee shop,
they pet each other's dogs and chat,
then go home together.

Of course that freedom
must be wonderful.
They are so lucky,
yet in my day the thrill was in the
overcoming of impediments to pleasure:
the shame,
the fear of scandal, prison,
loss of jobs;
there was something so delicious
in the longing, the reaching for,
even the impossibility of getting to
the sensual act that made for romance.
I see little of it here -
impossibility or romance,
and though perhaps
I'd find in minutes
a young man to go home with,
I think perhaps I would decline,
for still I see before me
the young clerk,
that bearded sensualist -
his vivid tie, the purple flower
in his buttonhole, his chestnut locks
combed just so for nonchalant effect
on his tanned brow -
whom I discovered
staring at the rings
in a shop window
and who turned to me
and smiled a moment,
then walked off with the friend
he'd waited for,
the friend he'd spend the night with
on his sagging hotel bed
till dawn light would discover them
scrambling to get their clothes on,
rushing headlong down the stairs
into the street,
one to the left,
one to the right,
on their respective ways to work.

All Poems © 2004 Estate of Christopher Hewitt

.

A CHRIS HEWITT ARCHIVE

POETRY

At the Beach, Venice, California
The Enticing Lane
The Favorite Place
The Lifting Team
Love's Foolishness
My Feet
Newly Blind
Reincarnation
Skimming
Still Breathing
What Brains Are For

PROSE

As a Good Father Should
The Blaspheming Moon: A Play in Three Scenes
Mightier than the Mouth
Moonlight Sonata: A Love Story
Sticks and Stones
Tenacity

.

 

 

BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/September 2004