Party Politics

A poem for Sunday

The left half is plain grey, the right half is a man in a tuxedo with a mustache, his face obscured
Pacifico Silano

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I’m at a party where everybody has matching towels.
I’m lying. This is the setup of “Rock Lobster” by the B-52s.
Björk was right: poems can lie. Omission is a common artist’s lie.
A good book of poems could host deep dives on the feel of each
felt thing, each fleck of one’s lived life: dusts of knuckle
hair; how the hospital smelled; the faint sea-salt taste
on another’s neck; what color
the coffin was; through which shapes
light sieved down the forest’s trees—yet, somehow,
a luck-size gap: not a word on money worries.    


I’m at a party I didn’t pay to attend since I’m on the list.
The gays throwing it craft lengthy manifestos on community
care and the impermissibility of all -isms within the space
and charge forty dollars at the door. You, too, can cruise
utopia nightly for the price of one disposable income. The money
you have and the people you know: two ropes. A climb to safety,

or the bind round the neck. There was a free flight from New York to Havana
for the children of Cuban parents in the ’80s, my mother tells me, which she
boarded with her sister. She, thirteen; sister, nineteen. They return the next week,
and later, hear Alpha 66—a Cuban-exile, anti-Castro group—had planned a bombing.
From my abuelo they hear this. The right men knew him, and when they learned
his girls were there, the plan for the plane changed.        


I’m at a party answering a question for which I lack a good answer
like it’s a job interview. Now and again, someone asks how I see my
life, ideally. I often think I don’t need much more than some leisure.
Pleasure. Simple white sheets and someone with me on top of them,
like K was. He brewed coffee the morning after first hosting me.
It was a Tuesday. Windows in two walls glowed us gold. His robe
slipped right back off. I wanted him over and over; we knew
we’d have to work soon, but it felt like we didn’t.