Excerpt: Michael Montlack's Poem "On Castro" From Cool Limbo

5.27.2011

By Max Berlinger

Author Michael Montlack—known for his Lambda Literary Award-nominated anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them, and poetry chapbooks Cover Charge, Girls, Girls, Girls, and The Slip is back with a new tome of genre-bending verses titled Cool Limbo. Ranging from the hilarious to the poignant -- or sometimes embodying both simultaneously -- the book's cover, of a classic '70s chick smoking weed and drinking a beer poolside instead of babysitting the frantic young swimmer vying for her attention -- the book is subversive, perverse and a whole lotta fun.

For a taste of what lay between these covers, Montlack recommended this poem -- one of his many amusing and touching works:

On Castro

You might be stopped and commanded
at 3 am—to help sift the curbside debris
for the rhinestoned Mr. Potato Head earring
some breathless Chinese drag queen—Ida Ho—
dislodged during her demure attempt to re-bouf
her bouffant, sashaying home in platform thongs 
from yet another benefit for dyslexic children
of Neo-Buddhist-Jew dykes on bikes. 

This may be the same revolutionary corner
on which Harvey Milk started his business—
down the block from Moby Dick's and Jackhammers,
where sagging gray men won't surrender
their black leather hot pants, admiring from stools
glossy be-glittered kids aimed for clubs uphill
or in the Haight—those boyish girls and girlie boys
passing like a sequin storm as you squat and pan
—some drunken drafted gold digger. 

But when you discover that sandy earring, 
Ida'll be so grateful—her outfit again complete.
My hero, she'll sigh. You saved him. Now
his partner won't be alone.
And neither will you

or anyone there on Castro—never quiet or closed
to any wandering freak or square, native or foreigner—
and always just a little more American
than America is willing to admit.  

To purchase Cool Limbo, click here

Tags: Popnography
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