Intimate relations between two men—one younger and one older—unite the following poems by Scott Bailey and David McLoghlin. Those intimacies, though wildly different in nature, both interrogate the role of silence in expressions of love or power between men.
ON THE OTHER SIDE
All’s in motion, as if under water, from the height of an oak
Crippled by wind, a sky of fibrous clouds too thin to cause shadows.
I float down arms bowed to the ground
Where he’s among wild onions conquering a chicken roost,
He’s skinning a squirrel, flinging squirrel guts to cats.
“What’s waiting for me? What will undo me?” I ask.
He points to a hawk waiting for a chick to stray from its mother.
He says, “We all need somebody, but we can make it ourselves.”
I remember him placing my kittens in a bread bag,
Beating them against a birch tree, not out of pleasure,
…………………………………Out of mercy—
Worms in their necks, worms he called wolves,
Worms eating their way out, as if coming up for air.
In Memory of My Grandfather Winfred Powell
Scott Bailey’s collection of poems Thus Spake Gigolo is forthcoming this Fall, published by NYQ Books. More about Scott Bailey can be found via his site: CScottBailey.com.
As if excited by what he was getting
away with, he leered—and, what was I
going to do, anyway? Go outside
into the corridor, where other priests
were passing, tell someone about it?—
he tugged the hairs around my nipples
as if playing an instrument
through systolic gesture:
curly piano wire
One bunching set of fingers
would tug, leer; then
as the other hand tugged. Leer
of lips and eyes
When I said that hurts (with gesture,
turning away) the face
came closer, close spittle,
I didn’t understand
—he had unveiled himself.
David McLoghlin is from Dublin, Ireland, and lives in New York City. A graduate of University College, Dublin and NYU’s MFA Program, his first collection, Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2012), was awarded 2nd prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Awards. He received an Irish Arts Council Bursary (grant) in 2006, and was the Howard Nemerov Scholar at the 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. His work has appeared in Irish journals of note such as Poetry Ireland Review, The Shop and The Stinging Fly, and is published or forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, The Hopkins Review, Black Lawrence Press, and Éire-Ireland, as well as Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish. He is currently Resident Writer at Hunts Point Alliance for Children in the Bronx. www.davidmcloghlin.com | www.salmonpoetry.com