The seeds of the royal palm look like puke
or flax. Up in the fronds bees are knocking them
around and down onto the pavement.
On the corner a couple in wheelchairs sings—
This summer I hear the drumming, four dead in Ohio.
Down further a guy hoses the sidewalk
toward sewer grates that filter out used condoms,
fake eyelashes, handbills, actual retch.
Some of the spray hits my ankle.
Whatever doesn’t wash down will dry out
in the Miami sun and be swept into a dustpan.
This is the point in the poem where I must sing such beauty.
The world—its complexities and contradictions.
And I hesitate.
Yesterday at the nude beach I paid six dollars
to take off all my clothes and roast my ass
to match my back. I stretched out
on the border between the gay section and the rest. My head pointed toward bears and leather daddies. My arms reached toward the small island of lesbians. My ankles were nearly in with the straights.
I thought I could feel them preparing
to yank me over by the Achilles tendons.
I fell asleep wondering if my labia
are visible if I’m flat on my stomach
with my legs together. They are
pretty long. I thought I felt a bug
crawl between my legs
but it was just sweat trickling,
and when I sat up, there it was,
the test of my poet’s vision:
the longest, sweatiest foreskin I’ve ever seen
pink and glistening in the sun like folded, sliced ham.
The French call my feeling le dégoût. Disgust.
The stronger adjective is déguelasse. Revolting.
It wasn’t any other body there that day
or any other body part that caused it.
And there were all sorts.
And now at this café these people next to me
are eating a pizza with that guy’s foreskin
spread all over it. I ask them
if the pizza is good. Yes, it really is.
I reach into my bag where the powder waits.
I tear it from the package that says,
classic beige, lightweight, and natural.
I spread it on my sweating, porcine face.