Now That You Know
How would you like it, he said, if I stuck
my cock in your pocket
and pissed in your boot? —Sure, why not, I said (it was a leather bar),
but he turned and fled,
unable to cope with specifics. This happened last night, but lately
it’s been the story
of my life. I think I’ll take out a personal ad: GWM, healthy & poz,
seeks partner in crime . . .
Make no mistake, I’m needy and willing to pay. I’m having
that dream again:
my daddy makes me blow him behind the tool shed. I swear
I can’t say if that’s
a memory or not; there are places even I refuse to go.
At the Now That You Know
workshop, our humpy leader asks for a list of body fluids
(he’s writing on the whiteboard)
but everyone’s afraid to say shit, so I riff off cum, jizz, cream, spunk,
spooge—he writes one word,
semen, and I laugh, a contestant on the wrong
game show. I’m only here
because they’ll do my blood work free; there’s not a thing
I don’t know (now that it’s
too late) about HIV, but some of these poor boobs look really scared,
so I decide to shut up
and dumb down. It’s two more hours of How to Wear a Condom,
How to Tell Your Partner,
a slide show tucked in somewhere, with optimistic pies and graphs.
I refuse to kid
myself: I figure on ten good years if I’m lucky and the Republicans
don’t round us up
and stick us on some island (or worse). Humpy Leader tries
to peek at my yellow
pad where I’m doodling a mesomorph—flashy teeth, killer pecs,
salami halfway to his knees—We’re losing you, he says. What’s that?
and what can I do
but grin and say This? Hey, this is for you.
Ron Mohring is the author of Survivable World (Word Works, 2004), winner of the 2003 Washington Prize, as well as the chapbooks Touch Me Not (Two Rivers, 2005), Beneficence (Pecan Grove, 2003), The David Museum (2002, New Michigan Press), and Amateur Grief (Thorngate Road, 1998), which won the Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award. His poems are included in the anthologies Common Wealth (Penn State, 2005), Poetic Voices Without Borders (Gival Press, 2005), How to Be This Man (Swan Scythe, 2003), Sweet Jesus: Poems about the Ultimate Icon (Anthology Press, 2002), and Things Shaped in Passing (Persea, 1997). His poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Artful Dodge, Bay Windows, DIAGRAM, Gettysburg Review, Hanging Loose and many other journals. After 35 years away, Ron Mohring has returned to his home town and recommends you read George Hodgman’s Bettyville for an inkling of what that feels like. He is the founding editor of Seven Kitchens Press.
This poem is previously unpublished.