Ai Ogawa (1947-2010)
You know what hunger is, Father,
it’s the soothing half-dark
of the Library men’s room
and the Reference Librarian,
his head pressed against my thigh,
as tears run down his pudgy face.
Sometimes I unzip for him
and let him look,
but never touch, never taste.
After all, I’m here to try to reconcile
with the Batman Comics philosophy of life
and this pathetic masquerade,
this can’t be life in caps or even lower case.
This is 1955 and all I know is boredom and desire
so when I leave, I cruise down Main Street
for girls and q quick feel.
They call it the ugliest street in America,
but I don’t know yet
that it’s just another in a lifetime of streets
that end kissing somebody’s feet or ass.
I just tell myself to drive and keep on driving,
but like always, I swerve into our yard.
You’re still at Henrahan’s,
Drunk and daring anyone to hit you, because you’re a man goddammit.
I climb the stairs to my room
and lie down under your boxing gloves
hung above my bed,
since your last fight in Havana.
When I can’t sleep,
I take them down, put them on
and shadowbox, until I swing,
lose my balance and fall.