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The Centurions

 

 

My best freind in high school
was reading a book
about the centurians
those roman demi-gods
in steel and leather skirts
and bronzed helmets
fucking anything that moves
I asked him "can I borrow it?"
"What for?" he said
and the look was in his eye
we all know that look
--faggott---
the cat jumped halfway from the bag
what well-read queer-boy has not dreamed of
Caliguila with his pick
of any man-boy on the estate 
lining them up before bed
killing them after, if he felt like it
Or before (how bad am I?)
Is sex in chains better
For the holder?
Would you knowing it would be 
the best sex of your life
stay if he told you
he would kill you at the end?
Ah brave Centurians!
It's not about the chainers and the chained.
It's about who chooses to accept the manacles
And who decides when they should come off.

ii

my brother and I were freinds
he was younger but stronger
he protected me
from bullies in the neighbourhood
he was deadly with a tossed stone
and taught me how to smoke 
slowly inhale, not too deep, then let 
the air rush out
co-mingle smoke and breath
I got sick; lay down on the pavement 
next to the bridge
and heard sirens
I thought the world was ending
When in fact it was only
old margaret joudrey's house 
burning to the ground
I call him now and again
my brother
he is poor, alcoholic
litter of broken homes behind him
living in a shack of his own making
no longer deadly
his hands shake
before noon
and the first drink 
his chains are thick and long
he doesn't know who holds them 
oh centaurian! let my people go!

iii

my sister sleeps in gardens
with nostrusiums in her
long black indian hair
yet tough as raw turnips
if the wrong word is spoken
she's kept there by vines
soft as the veins that pulse blue
in the soft translucent
skin of children
she will not break them
her husband ugly and fat
without remote appeal
he beats her
modern-day centurian
in hunter's orange
shot-gun
mounds of pot
what keeps her there?
bonds of trust and family?
fear? let my sister go.

iv

and me?
What bounds me?
high on crystal meth
sweetens limbs like lead-splashed gold
and lifting assess like
magic into air
some cocks rage
others sulk
crystal chains
chemically-bounded
needle tearing flesh
oh sweet centaurian
save me from what not even
God himself can understand.

poetry is such a lonley art.

v


now there's you
always you
centurian yourself
e-mail images obscure
for Shakespeare's monkey
to draw a naked Hamlet
I am not mad
I was angry
at myself
for involving you
in my vision
When I can't even find a picture
reclusive they say
neurotic perhaps
just words
I will beg no more
But centuarian hear this:
Rome did fall
Because they let
too many barbarians
through the middle gates.


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