Untitled Love Poem I

In the midst of my confustion you came
with big black hands
and led me away from my distress
in the fact that pink panties
and adolescent breast
did nothing to excite my manhood
(which you taught me was more
than the liquor I could hold
or the meat between my legs).

On the street we appeared as brothers
as you charted a course that led us past
people my mother said to stay away from.

Behind closed doors we were lovers.
You caught me in my stumbling fall
as I ran from the other older men
chasing me out of my age of innocence.

From you I learned that addicts, whores,
and hustlers didn't always mean harm
were human and sometimes good company
and that loving another man didn't mean
being, acting, or even thinking like a woman
(or any imitation thereof).

But now that I have reached the age that
you were when we met I realize that
you never showed me how to plot a curve and
navigate back past the tracks in your arm,
the ten years of living between us, and
my disappointment in you so that I can lead you
away from the distress you presently find yourself in.

But I don't know how to reach over the image
of you and Wild Irish Rose
sleeping with the bums on Howard Street
or you locked-up in jail
hustling head for some "cebas" and a syringe.

But if I had a map I would come
to get you and bring you back to
Mt. Pleasant Street with all its inconsistencies
cause that's what real friends are for
and the least that any lover would do
but I don't so I can't and as you
slip further away from yourself I sit here
gathering memories of Saturday afternoons,
sneaking to see you, and big black hands
molding young madness into a man
and wondering why? how? after you
did all this for me you cannot save yourself.

—By C.S. Prince

From Blacklight Vol. 3, No. 5