Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Christopher Thomas

To Wake Up Glad

I donít have an atom or electron
that doesnít want to nudge up
against yours. They say there is

a certain kind of gravity between
things that call them to be as one.
If I were brave enough to speak

my mind about such things, Iíd tell
you how much I want to smear
jam on those abs and lick them

clean again, chew the elastic out
of your shorts and do things that
would make your brain cave in.

I want to taste your knees, nurse
at your smile and get cozy with
the nape of your neck so that each

breath is nurtured by your endorphins.
I want to touch you in forbidden
places, sleep pressed against your

backside, my lips against your
shoulder. I want to wake up glad
the universe turned out this way.

Letter to the First Boy I Ever Loved

We were teenagers stationed on the Great Plains.
I came from the mountains of the Northwest,
you from the hills outside Oklahoma City. We
were hotter than firecrackers, new at the game,

and unable to keep our hands off each other.
But you were a Mormon and wanted the temple
more than I. I wasnít much help. We couldnít
be in the same room alone without sparks flying.

But in the end, when the dust settled, you were
sure all it would take to fix you and get you fitted
for your temple garments was to marry a girl. It
came as a surprise to me. I took it out on the piano

and wrote a concerto that kept slipping off key
into dissonance and too many flats. The marriage
only lasted months. We were back at it in days.
But it didnít take long before you were sure you

could make a break for it and make both yourself
and God happy. Another marriage. Another
divorce. I was living with someone else by then --
leery of giving it another try. They tell me you

eventually married and had kids but were often
seen in bars around San Francisco. Itís been fifty
years. I still play the concerto once in a while
but for some reason it no longer knows how to sing.

Wrestling With the Names

Because of the names I was sure
I couldn't be one. Faggot. Queer.
Cocksucker. Deviant. Social
Misfit. Sissy. Limp Wrist.
Lavender Boy. Sinner. Abomination.
Sodomite. Cornholer. All these
kept me from looking in the mirror.

I would be celibate, an odd image
of God locked out of the lush
urges pursued by others. I would be
passion held in exile, a thing of skin
and dreams ignoring its pulse,
only talking about itself in whispers.
But I was always at odds with my

freedom. I had dreams that could
slam the moon's eye shut. I took
to spending long hours in my room
contemplating what I wanted of Eden
before the fall. I collected stamps,
coins, music, books and good ideas.
I wrestled with the names until

I understood the injustices they culled
from the alphabet. I looked in the mirror
and grew fond of what I found waiting
there. I took its name, its splendid
gifts, its mystery, and wrapped myself
as a precious prize, and with high endeavor
made it fit to shine in paradise.

Sitting Crowded on a Velvet Cushion

I would rather sit alone on a pumpkin
than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

                         -- Henry David Thoreau

Make it a huge velvet cushion, surround me with
beautiful young men...and I'll take the cushy
spot every time. I've heard that Muslim soldiers
are taught that if they die an honorable death they
will be given 72 virgins when they get to heaven.
Let my crowded cushion be my heaven, let all 72
be thin in the waist, cute in the face, firm from stem

to stern and endowed with sufficient of the Oedipal
complex that old farts like me look appetizing
and delicious. No one has suggested how small or
large this cushion might be. Mine will have a quilted
look and be about the size of those flying carpets in
Arabian mythos which could carry a handsome young
prince and at least a half dozen slightly veiled pretty

young girls. I don't care for heights. Put my cushion
on solid ground, perhaps in a secluded room near
a place to shower beside vats of a great Merlot. Let
there be public displays of affection and enough action
that even the most seasoned of porn apprecinados can
get their fill for a change. And let the top ten hits of
the Platters play softly somewhere in the background.

©2008 by Christopher Thomas

Christopher Thomas was born in Royal, Nebraska, in 1974. He was born, raised, educated, and still lives in Antelope country. After graduating from high school, he entered a writing program at a Colorado University, only to discover he didn't enjoy the workshop experience or the poems being produced in them. He returned to Nebraska to work as a hired hand on ranches during the growing and harvest seasons, but spends his winters writing and reading poetry. His favorite poets continue to be Amy Lowell, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and Madeline DeFrees ó but admits to being addicted to the works of countless others. For more information see his Web site.

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