Three Poems by Stephen Ira

The Worship of One God At a Time

the difference between a living language and a dead one:

the blanket between us the first time let me tell you words

 

luminescence: when you drop a letter in midair,

the wrong boy catches it this can also be: an act of war

 

if he does it right  possession: when the wrong boy

pushes you further into the fence you are flush against

 

flushed disappearing into its wood   nothing ever touches

anything else that’s physics and what you want is different

 

from what you have the opposite of annihilation:

the blanket of the ocean spreads in you

 

it means this boy is the wrong boy this love is the wrong love

not the way you think   soon you won’t want him anymore:

 

that is kathenotheism and it’s important the worship of one

at a time all this and Jesus too   all this: still the blanket between you

 

you’re the living language he’s the dead one   you know the word for this:

satire  living language  dead language.  Choose.

 

Waterfront

 

This summer we take it to the end and separate.

There’s so much in the world, I am shocked we can stand.

Here baby, I’ll make you a list: We can afford problems.

We have all the badges of high class vacationers.

This misery is so silky.  This misery is a privilege.

You give me white noise and I throw it at the lake’s face.  Look,

former darling, at the sailboats by my father’s dock.

Imagine their price tags.  I am shocked we can still stand.

There are so many things in the world.

Briefly, baby, we were one of them.  Imagine

the price tags.  The hulls so blue you can hear it.

 

How I Met My Boyfriend

 

I picked up your eyes like acorns on a path without oaks.  I thought

they were acorns at first.  Fortunately, I’m a man who looks up

for trees.  But I found the sky full of you, eyeless

and circling.  Unlike I know you now, in reasonable brown vests,

you pinwheeled through the border of the day in white robes,

careening like an uncontainable monk of tissue, searching

for your lost eyes.  What could be sadder?  I thought,

than a beautiful thing made blind, so no one can repay it

for the work it does each day in the salt mines of lovely.

So I picked up your eyes.  I wanted you to know I was a warrior

for justice.  I waved them in the air.  You dove onto me cautiously,

a steam-powered parachute, a radiant mushroom, a broken sled.

A perfect owl, with your pale head cocked and fluttering at me

and when I placed your eyes inside you, you curled into my arms.

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Stephen Ira is a queer-identified gay trans male writer, currently pursuing a BA in Poetry and Anthropology at Sarah Lawrence College. His poetry and fiction have been published in Spot Lit Mag and 365 Tomorrows, with poems forthcoming in the online portion of TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson’s Trans and Genderqueer Poetry Anthology. Ira also writes for the trans male magazine Original Plumbing, has contributed op-eds to the magazine LGBTQ Nation, and runs the queer social justice blog “Super Mattachine”.