Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 9 • Spring 2004 • Poetry


R. Zamora Linmark

You and I were yards away from Ken Afford's
Daily Special sizzling platter chopped pig's ears
Cheeks garnished with onions garlic and MSG
Which spells day-long headache and mononucleosis-
Like symptoms I didn't care I was already drained
From all-night dance lessons with melt-me kisses
In-between tango, jitterbug, and meringue numbers

After the first smooch you said your lover's
Touring Thailand with Dumbo I said I was leaving
Manila in couple days "Been here too long"
"Doing what?" "Conducting a government-sponsored
Grant to research 'Class and Gender Breakdowns
In Ballroom-Dancing'" "Great" then added "Just so
You know in case one of us starts to you know fall"

Nothing fell only dawn into day and sugar breaking
Down in our bodies craving for a stronger electric fan
We moistened the afternoon with VIVA mineral water
And French kisses then began another round of sixty-nine
In front of a window screening a blue afternoon quickly
Transforming into smog as hunger pushed us out of bed
Onto a street deconstructed by La Niña

The smog was so thick it protected flowers and barbed-wires
That dragged me all the way to St. Luke's
Miraculously no bumper-to-bumper there is a God
"Don't touch it" you said in front of the registrar
Then asked once more for my name "I am Dr. Cruz's
Patient" I told the admitting clerk "He's a friend back
In my childhood province he's a cardiologist yes I know
"Why is the blood not flowing" I shouted
You answered it was my body talking to the shock

"No stitches needed only minor abrasions two
Tetanus shots right shoulder still bruised"
I touch-typed to my fellow poets Justin and
Lisa "On Amoxicillin 500 milligrams q 6 hours
X 7 days Ibuprofen PRN for a pain that totaled
Fifty bucks the gash oh my gash is itching like hell"

"Tetanus today tomorrow flesh-eating bacteria"
Were Justin's salutation "P.S. Your W-2 forms
Came" "How symbolic" Lisa wrote "Slicing
Yourself open while bolero's lover is in Bangkok
Renting elephants by the hour P.S. Avoid tricks
Hurry home your cactus misses you"

A scar and you appeared five days later
"I want to stay longer" you said "but my lover's
Waiting in the car family business meeting again
You know how these Chinoys are always
Worrying when they already own two-thirds of
The country's Gross National Product but I can see
You're healing fast that's good that's real good"

R. Zamora Linmark was born in Manila, educated in Honolulu, and presently resides in San Francisco. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as The Best Gay American Fiction of 1997, Premonitions, and Charlie Chan is Dead.

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