“1954” by Clyfford Still

Clyfford Still


Approaching Thirtyseven

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After leaving my exboyfriend sleeping in his bed,
I think about turning thirtyseven in ten days,
and about being alone the next thirtyseven years.

There are some advantages. Give myself to poetry
wholeheartedly, undistracted by love’s demands.
Give myself to the unchanging arms of casual sex.

Back home, watching my favorite porn video,
the blond college freshman begging for the fist,
I take all of ten minutes. What to do with the other

fifty minutes to the hour, and the hours after that?
My books turn their backs on me. I clean
the common bathroom not cleaned for weeks,

but the grinning toilet bowl is a loser’s trophy.
I’m craving dully for the next hit, the bang of sex
or the wham of sounds transposing into an image.

In the interval between sex and poetry lies death.
The freshman intuits that. Which is why he begs
for the gloved fist to enter him again and again.