Poem 342 ± May 11, 2016

Joe Eldridge
Two Poems



Kaposi’s Sarcoma—such
a lovely, lovely name
Sounds like an uncut
Greco-Hungarian porn star

Don’t hear it much anymore
like the conversation-stopper it was
when bandied about
in the early plague years

Roger had it
on his pleasing face
shiny purple spots
like opals and amethysts

At the Heart’s Ball
I tried to fasten
a glow stick around his neck
He stopped me

said it took a team
of beauty consultants
and a crate of Cover Girl
to hide his lesions

Feared the blazing
disco lights plus heat
from the piss-colored choker
might melt

his meticulously applied
natural looking base
his hidden gems.


Crew Member

Him I hardly knew—but his dark god beauty
I certainly did, as well as the galley gossip
on those countless all-nighters crossing the pond
when we fellow flight attendants
prattled on and on about his many conquests
amazingly made what with him
looking all Tiffany blue
yet sounding pure Capote.

I thought nothing of crashing his bon voyage
party where sycophants assembled to send
him home to Buffalo now that dementia bought on
by a head full of tumors rendered him somewhat
narcoleptic yet him rousing
for an “Up yours Reagan!” rant
and me laughing along with his rapt audience
at every gaffe he intentionally made

and along with that group
cursed the captain who stopped his wheelchair
at the jet-bridge door forbiding him boarding
with the all too familiar excuse that he looked
contagious. Well for Christ’s sake tell me
who didn’t look a bit gaunt at that time?
I’d really like to know.

Less than a month later I joined in the merriment
at his memorial service where his boozy fag hag
a-shimmer in a black Holly Golightly dress
narrated a slide show celebrating his life
a mixed tape of Manilow and Midler setting the tone

and at dusk along with the distraught horde in thrift
store designer duds purchased specifically
for this most bittersweet occasion
released baby blue Mylar balloons over Lake Michigan

then at the after party in his soon to be sold condo
I fucked his widower. What else could I do?


Joe EldridgeJoe Eldridge earned his MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago where he is currently an adjunct. He has published poetry in Assaracus, Court Green, Moonshot, St. Sebastian Review, Velvet Mafia, Clementine and The Gay & Lesbian Review, among others. to name a few. He received a Pushcart nomination for his poem “He Looks at Clouds” which appeared in Rhino. A black belt in Seido Karate, Joe has also been a flight attendant for the past 30 years, circling the globe with his circle of friends.

These poems are not previously published.