Craig Cotter


Green algae on my fingers
cleaned the good luck bamboo

back in its Chinese porcelain vase


How did you get through people at the

who hated you because you were openly gay,
hated you for having the wrong university degree


It didn't roll off
as your poetry production dropped

as you were promoted the last years.
You didn't have time

to solve the drink
as I'm not solving food.


Nancy, where can we go?
Away from blueberry pie I suppose.

I'll go to Pie & Burger
to get the right kind

maybe call Julio.


See, it's all probably.
Except for sitting here


even a few days back
it’s probably.


Reading interviews of Wright,
he's not sounding as interesting as his poems.

He's sounding angry and disdainful,
pompous and arrogant

even as he talks about those who are
pompous and arrogant.


How to be perfect?
It is a question Mr. Padgett punted on.


"Nothing's perfect in nature" my dad
would say

General Motors engineer

You know other things about him
because you are perfect.

You are everything in this moment
I haven’t passed on

but for most of you I have.
Where did I go?

When they put me down for surgery
it was being erased


You’re my man Frank.
You are safe because I can't meet you,

I can't have you write-off my work.
I can't hero-worship you or suck your cock

or have you suck mine.


Times I did anything for humanity
often I was being a shit and failing


I'm in my cabin too Bill
two stories above the alley,

a/c blaring
this 93 degree Southern California day.

If you're going to throw your life away

why not throw it big time
by giving it to art?

Where more fail
than ballplayers in the minors.


I’m drinking gin
with pretty pills

to get myself awake.


Well old man,
it's late.

You should be 83 tonight.


Teens light firecrackers
in the alley.

Did you get erased?





Craig Cotter was born in 1960 in New York and has lived in California since 1986. New poems have appeared in Hawai’i Review, POEMS-FOR-ALL, Poetry New Zealand, Assaracus, Court Green, Eleven Eleven, Euphony, the Bicycle Review, Caliban Online & Otoliths. His fourth book of poems, After Lunch with Frank O’Hara, is currently available from Chelsea Station Editions (New York).
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