—for Samuel R. Delany & Stephen Boyer
When I was given my first rifle at nine my friend Chris and I went into the woods. I was a good shot and skinned and cleaned the squirrel in the creek and cooked him over a small fire. This was the first meal I fully provided myself, my Lord of the Flies afternoon, something to measure against the world.
How is wilderness memorized into the body? What lens does it provide? I went to where the wild is mostly hidden. At lunch hour I walked around JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia where men in suits poured out of skyscrapers in search of meat.
It was at busy street corners where I found most of my study participants. I would ask, “Excuse me sir, on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being thin and creamy, and 5 being cottage cheese, how do you rate your semen?”
One man grabbed my collar to THROW ME against a light pole, “GET OUT OF HERE YOU FUCKING FAGGOT!!” How thrilling!! I was told to fuck off, called a faggot a handful of times, told I was SICK, a degenerate. While all of this is interesting, I was looking for the few men who would step up to the quiet, feral interior.
Finally one man said, “I’m a 3.”
ME: 3, okay. (writing in my notebook) So that’s thick and creamy?
MAN: Yes, no curd, HAHA!!
ME: Very interesting.
MAN: Thanks for asking.
ME: Thanks for answering.
Another man wanted to know if anyone answered 5. We wondered if someone rating their semen a 5 is unwell, not eating properly. Semen is fascinating as far as suspension fluids on Earth go, created and produced with extreme pleasure. The orgasm the flash of light reconnecting to the original proliferation of cells and the construction of sensate flesh, which is a very marvelous thing, being here, all of us. My notes from the boulevard of quiet, feral interiors became a poem.
IF NO ONE COMES TO SAVE YOU
IT’S BECAUSE OF TELEVISION
carried away by fleas
one drop at a time
quick nod to the
doorman like we
tooth-bearing sides to
a job no one can frame
juries of the middle-sized storm
itching and finking for another golden see saw
formula for taking the season and turning it into a pie
pleasure in hard times gives us relief
until we all belong to the song
we were crying in the meadow
but that was never the worry
this thing catches up with us
we dream inside one another
literally and I’ve wanted to
be lost in this friend you are
grunting to the will
of coming beasts
things mark themselves off for order
until something expires in the order
we’re going to end this now there’s
nothing more nerves can haggle over