by Eric Burg

D.A. Powell

D.A. Powell is an experimental poet best known for his trilogy — Tea, Cocktails, and Chronic — about the AIDS epidemic. His most recent book is Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (2012).
 

"by the open air, I swore out my list of pleasures:
sprig of lilac, scent of pine
the sparrows bathing in the drainage ditch, their song
 
the lusty thoughts in spring as the yellow violets bloom
              and the cherry forms its first full buds
the tonic cords along the legs and arms of youth
              and youth passing into maturity, ripening its flesh
growing softer, less unattainable, ruddy and spotted plum
 
daily, I mistake—there was a medication I forgot to take
there was a man who gave himself, decently, to me & I refused him
 
in a protracted stillness, I saw that heron I didn’t wish to disturb
was clearly a white sack caught in the redbud’s limbs
 
I did not comprehend desire as a deadly force until—
              daylight, don’t leave me now, I haven’t done with you—
                            nor that, in this late hour, we still cannot make peace"

 
— from Chronic