Rudy Kikel: Doug (a poem)

“How could you have corrupted
a nice boy like that? my father
asked me out of your hearing
when for Thanksgiving I brought you

home. It was easy — I drew
on your already having been
corrupted by a dream, which
after meeting you that night at

Chaps I helped you realize.
I only failed in not being
able to draw corruption
out for good.  Instead, we became

friends — with a similar dream.
Or is it — corrupt, I mean? Why
should I think so when you’ve not
once visited baths in Boston,

claiming that they’re reputed
to be not very good — as if
that ever kept anyone
out of them!  We have a standing

date — Sundays, at 5:30 —
for a Dignity Mass. What do
you pray for, Doug? Isn’t it
that something — say, Timmy’s coming

back to you from Orlando —
will spare you final subjection
to dream? Well, at least to my
mind’s eye you look luminous in

the midst of a surrounding
darkness, the way you appeared on
the night of your debut at
the Mineshaft, wearing as if in

darkness about the demands
that would be put to them, a t-
shirt and a matching pair of
carpenter’s pants, perfectly white.

from Lasting Relations (1984 The Sea Horse Press)



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