DONALD RAWLEY

Los Angeles Three AM

I can taste premonition
on this black August morning
when rats in palms
run through cracked patios
of white tile and ants.

You whisper obscenities and hang them
like doves at my neck,
arched to the slap of your thighs
walking over me like farm soil,
planting rice in sea water, and salt,
poppies whose color
the sun will rip away.

My veins are full of you
in this morning city of one room
where canaries breed
behind screen doors
in bungalows under highways
cut like coffee shop pie.

In this dark tropic scratch
where white paint yellows
there is no wind,
I know why we are men
in a night of wasps,
jasmine, burned buildings,
and tamarind musk.

There are women fighting on balconies
like a hundred women on a hundred nights
of last calls, stained cigarettes,
and their hands walking the line
for men who are strangers,
and live for the minutes before dawn.

In this Jerusalem of men on the take,
take me. Become my last pilgrimage.
I want to see your chest on fire
and hard as the bricks of China,
hot as children's blood,
and mythical fish slit open and full of gold,
flapping on an early morning catch.
I want to see you naked forever.

 

Mecca 1991, Black Tie Press. All rights reserved.

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Chateau Marmont

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