For today’s inaugural post, two new poems by 2010 Lammy finalist Brent Goodman.


Repelling skyscrapers they
watch wind perfect their
tussled hair in mirrored facades.
Across-the-bank-lobby eyes
penetrate soft spots in perimeter motion
defenses. Smiles sharp as
fluorescent chrome. Because he wears
black slip-ons I must be
good for something. I’m convinced
a handshake is an archeology of bones.
But to him my palm is
an empty wallet. Everyone
who wishes me harm shares
impeccable patience and invisible
trigger fingers. I used to be
one of them. I used to part
my bangs that way. Now
in the cologned bathroom of this
velveteen up-lit wine bar, I cannot help
but tell my reflection He’s too good for me,
alone opening a capsule of white powder
across the small table into my Shiraz,
or maybe his own, knowing I always find
reason to taste danger first. Returning,
red candles turn half our faces to water.


I’ll toss an easy smile at anyone
who’ll smile at me first. Sleeping
on a stranger’s couch the pillows
smell like strangers. My voice
returns carrying nothing
from your empty house. I wore
the boxers I was hoping you’d see
me wearing. A transparent flower
opens, a faint bluish cologne.


BRENT GOODMAN is the author of the chapbooks Trees Are the Slowest Rivers (1998) and Wrong Horoscope, winner of the 1999 Frank O’Hara Award. His full-length poetry collection, The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry as well as the Thom Gunn Award. He is an assistant editor for the online journal Anti-.

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