Craig Cotter


We were driving
unpopulated New Mexico

no people that is
going north

or some other direction
summer, blue sky

your poetry
                             taking us

when "Because" came on
from Abbey Road.

We were driving west
or some other direction

their voices dilated
New Mexico.

You sat beside me
as my CRX flew east

or some other direction
more perfect

than snipping basil
on the poached egg

because we weren't alone.

                —for Diane Wakoski
                —See Diane’s great poem “Breakfast”


                for AH

A dark pink cloud
green bottom
in the east
(of us)
after sunset.

The next day
pink, blue & green clouds

      before sunset.


The distance from LA to Santa Barbara
side A & B of “Let It Be” and
side A & B of “Abbey Road.”

He’s a young doctor
didn’t stitch me up tight enough
7 pink spots on my white shirt.

Surgical scars
heal & disappear,

when I carved your initials into my arm

Where did I put my favorite letters?
Together with a rubber band.
You wrote me a letter when you were a senior in high school
to my dorm,
I was a freshman at Michigan State.

You were a pink, blue and grey cloud at sunset
drifting with the currents of our acne and hormones.

                Your acne
                I loved to look at and kiss.

                Cleared one summer.

At night you’d climb the fire escape,
open the kitchen window,
quietly get in the futon.
I’d see you first
when I’d wake-up hard in the morning.
Your smells
settled me.
Opening my eyes
I’d see your face,
the back of your head,
your feet—you got in
in every position.
      You’d sneak a girl in
      when I was at work.

16 to 22
those summers.

You’re thinking of me now
other side this continent.
Now our skin is dry.

When we were kids
we put lotion on our oily skin during massage.
Now we’re absorbent.

You floated over
my best teenage years
we took it past.

Driving South on Rosemead

stopped at Las Tunas light,
three cross—

one—twink so slim
grey cords painted on his bubble ass.

19, 5-10, 125—

Maybe can use
his image

to inform my life.
I was, in that way,

so slim—
not happier—


The Highland Curve

First off Gardner in West Hollywood.
Cute (a model)
but untrained.

Second in Hollywood
Melrose and Cahuenga.
Thai guy 2 weeks in LA.

Third massage
West Pico in LA—
Kevin, and I had him pick a girl
for 4-hand. He chose Teya.

Wan Ming Yang from China.

Mano brought me fried bananas from Wat Thai.

On the way to massage 3
I found myself on the curve Highland takes
as it floats into La Brea—
the secret route Bernie taught me from LAX to The Ravenswood.

Wan Ming Yang is 5-7, 110, beautiful black hair—
perfect skin with perfect blemishes on his cheeks.

Barring accident or disease
he's a lock
for at least 5 more years
of beauty.

I'm very worried
about nothing.

Long Pond Road

The first time I waited at the new bus stop
on Long Pond Road
by Lake Ontario
a boy I thought beautiful
around my age
jeans, leather jacket, long dark wavy hair.
I only looked at him.
He wrote death threats,
put them under a windshield wiper on my dad's car.
He wouldn't show me the letters
(thought I'd be too upset),
told me to be careful.

After I knew he wanted to kill me,
I still looked at him.
He was more beautiful
that he might attack
with fists or a knife.

That summer
I found a beautiful blond boy
who loved me.
We learned to lie with expertise.
I had a girlfriend
so did he later.
He had four sons with her.

Craig Cotter was born in 1960 in New York and has lived in California since 1986. His poems have appeared in Caliban Online, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Free State Review, Great Lakes Review, Hawai'i Review, Ottawa Arts Review, Poetry New Zealand & Tampa Review. His fourth book of poems, After Lunch with Frank O'Hara, is currently available from Chelsea Station Editions.

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