We Wear the Mask at the Club

I was at this party one time & uncle Quincy came
through a flaming hula hoop & all the boys went
wild thinking about how long we had to live
like this. Umi said shine a light on this busted
ass prostate but damn, those guys could party. &
the gaggle of us, all body in one corner sat
lascivious & contemplating the apoplexy
of masculine life as a non-responsibility, for Boogie
& them: what a nigga need is a lot more
than I could summon in one alleged poem. I need
a bunch of Magnum condoms & what size shoe
you wear? & the impossible comfort of friendly
I love yous. Left all my pussy, money, weed
at Popop house & relapsed with uncle
Quincy reminiscing over the sweet clapping
of gunfire & bombs & hearing about how Giles’
car crashed into a pole or building or other hard
surface against which we have such a hard time
distinguishing—between the fact that I never
liked that nigga but would have loved to see him
make it. In the living room there is no light no light
to fornicate safely around all these ivory lines
& loaded uzis & it’s so good I might burst. Tell me that the pussy
is mine. Miguel: an ethics. Lying is how we make
tender mouthfeel & gobble up all that sweet that
nasty that gushy stuff left pungent on the nostalgia
dripping laminate floor of history: too much. All types
of butterflies be tryna flap up outta this
larynx, screaming shit like We want
preunp! We want prenup! & suggesting alternatives
to being alive. Lonely ass butterflies lingering
around some once upon a paracolonial landscape
in which John orders me a gin & tonic & someone says yo I heard
you was fucking so-and-so now & no one comes down
with Malaria or conjunctivitis, or cooties or homophobia
or monogamy,
till every so often we find out someone did. Heard
it from ole girl at Set if Off, heard it from family court,
heard it all at the Halloween party while getting my face
wet, heard it in the hospital waiting room, on the shop
floor, heard it from the boys who, rather
than stomp any yard post up off the highway
on ramp selling red-eared sliders to the sons of failed
ballers who work in the Lawn & Garden section at Home Depot
malingering in the lot & dressed up slickmoist
for baby boy’s forthcoming pool parties where a friend of a friend
of a friend of a friend says do you know him? Or otherwise
assumes the intersubjective position of knowingness
which we too often save for the dead, says I want
you, says damn, I thought yall was cool