Anticipation in Three Parts

smoke

By Thomas Stewart


the shape of you
is standing at my window smoking
taking drags in contemplation
slow and steady
there is no rush now
maybe it’s because you’re dead
and I have distorted your living
memory somewhat
with this shape that appears
and never turns to see me
with this shape that I know is
you when I wake
and find only the smoke
as proof of your being


my dead tooth

By Thomas Stewart


my dead tooth is dead-locked in my gum under my nose
there’s a sparrow on a chippered block
maybe I’ve smoked too much pot tonight
because I’m thinking of yellow roads
and curled blue grey dead toes
no, it’s rot, it’s black and purple and heartbroken red
it’s bottles of dried paint and cracked brush tips
this dead tooth is making me dizzy
and disillusioned and mopey
the Oscars is on and Renée Zellweger Judy Garland
is saying heroes and I think chocolate
and the sound of sweets unwrapping, like sheets during sex
there’s a storm tonight and I’m trying to concentrate on that
I’ve been up since 5, on a bus for 11 hours but I’m awake
I’m alive, even though
I carry this dead thing round with me
like a parcel with no address,
like aching muscles, dead
weight


Weekend

By Thomas Stewart


 

1.

self reflection
could I see myself in you?
there, sitting in the dark,
next to gay friends I had for a time
gay friends who had other gay friends
and were part of a circle
when I was a square

informed gays
sat in a room of old gays
leering when the main guy, Russ,
washes his dick

‘the gays’ll only come
because they want a glimpse of a cock
and they’ll be disappointed’

because
it’s not about sex
in the same way nothing is about sex
and sex is part of everything

not a porno
like the gay comedy
I saw as a kid –gay guys on a cruise –
threesomes guaranteed,

nobody leers because
their hearts have been thrown
from Russ’ balcony
sent to soar
past the grey-strewn flats,
past locked-up bicycles,
straight onto the bench
where Glen in his red hoodie
looked back

where a one-night stand,
smelling of cock and ass
becomes a beginning

we’re all just hugging ourselves
so still and steady, watching Russ’
face reflecting in the bus window,
silent and invisible in a world of loud-mouthed teenagers
with monotonous chat
of same sex noodles
ruining the beautiful sight
as his sad eyes long for home

 

2.

shame

‘straight people like us as long as we conform,
behave by their little rules’

I found home in you
the way a mouse hauls up
in the walls,
scurries between dark patches,
steals crumbs at eleven

but outside, vultures
purring their wings
ready to flock
as I touch your hand

to watch us
buying tickets
to a queer film

or something close to queer
something only the queers would see
like when you asked me
to watch Sex and the City 2

and I imagined those wings
growing thick around my neck
feathers stuffed in my mouth,
down my throat
locked in my lungs

each time I spat one out
another appeared.

 

3.

dad, I’m gay
here i am imagining
a future where we talked truth

here i am muttering
but my Glen has been replaced
with an empty fireplace
covered in fairy lights
littered with peaches

next to wooden floors
so bare and spacious
that i could fill this space
with all the things i have to say to you,
i could pack an entire pamphlet of poems
dedicated to you,

but instead i’ll sit alone,
drunk from a night of empty conversation
where my grief hangs on a peg
like a coat
on your first day of school
left behind

i’ll sit here, alone
with the fireplace and
i’ll imagine you’re alive
and your eyes are focused
and your cigarette is puffing
puffing a gateway
for me to step through

i’ll say, dad, I’m gay,
I like guys, not girls

and you could tell me
you’re proud of me,
could say more proud
than if I were the first man
on the moon
but that was never your style,

it would be enough
for you to listen, enough for you

to keep looking at me.