When I want to love
young men, I think of my friend
who can't, and smile, though
he wants to but they would reject his
advances as absurd, so
I wish for him those feelings,
in dreams and other places of thought
that manic life with gray borders
like shadows and fog and unprocessed
film, so that he can


have my energy, my engorgement which he can't
sustain through the tickling of either
mind or untanned skin.  He doesn't cry
about this, at least not in front
of us, his lovers, but the quest still rises
internally, succulantly when lithe male bodies
pass by his chair, rolling


down Telegraph in hot June afternoons. I
pray, as lips against steamed glass, that I
won't ever stumble upon his cheeks wet
from what can only be fading
in memories, now, since his incarceration:
it would only divert my sticky thoughts
away from interjecting sex into his
to a place as mottled as the hyphened sidewalk


between the tracks of dogshit segmented
by his wheels, an unexpected S.O.S.
dashed and dotted: and he needs,
per I, my thoughts to fornicate.  So
who is the cripple?  I ask myself
this as I can't see the chair when we talk
over the phone, but I fear someday
that it will just be there, a part of the conversation,
a third party grinning, shiny spokes
toothy to his cheeky relating of the young
man who spoke to him last night


at the White Horse.  He, of course, luckily for me,
doesn't tell the fingered details, for they,
too, are now caught in memory and imagination,
the best source of sexual prowess
any of us possess.  At times I catch him
beneath the wrinkled sheets of gray
matter, erect and probing all those striding,
photoed men and fall to the end


of the line, the last choice were he
whole, potent.  I stand there, now knowing
I can't blame anyone for my incapable
capacity of acceptance of him, that he
nurtures and strokes me to overcome
the learned and feigned prejudices
of my ambulatory existence.  I thank him for


his kindness as best I can
for I know he is haunted by the smell I
can not erase from his
tires, like the pungent reminder of me
jitter-bugging in the dark hallway, one
a.m., my shadow unknowingly flogging his
bedroom walls where his posters are
hung waist high for easy
viewing and remembrance of places and events


he once stood
at.  It is useless, this guilt
of love, and I'm sure that he will
get me past the jealousies of other
firmer young men, so that I can
love then, too, the quiet, sure way
he does with a clear smile from a soul
that digs into life and lives deeper


than his inflated rubber
feet in sand, warm under the east
bay sky.  It is an end
I look forward to, like the evaporation
of scent and grim from all modes
of transportation, the here to there
of transferring and wishing inflation
when flaccid is full
and deep enough in penetration
to manage love's ends.