Read This! Benjamin Garcia’s Electrifying Thrown in the Throat
Author: Edit Team
August 11, 2020
The following is excerpted from Thrown in the Throat (Milkweed Editions), the debut poetry collection by Lambda Literary Fellow Benjamin Garcia. With exhilarating candor, Thrown in the Throat explores unrepentant sexual desire, interrogates fraught familial relationships, and examines our troubled cultural moment.
Ode to the Peacock
In the language of handkerchiefs // there’s really nothing // I don’t want I’m glad to be paid in gold // when the devil beats his // you know what if you think it’s indecent // for a body to fan open iridescent // gird your gaze because honey I’m throwing up // my kerchief like a flare gunshot // watch me unskirt a frosted muffin // top me with sprinkles // I’m flashing red-yellow-green-go you’re the stallion and I’m the mare // smear my queer into the mirror // now you are the mare and I am // the stale smell in the restroom stall // and you’re an all- you-can-eat buffet // let me say your eyes are the most beautiful // urinal cake blue blew as in the past tense of blow // blow as in coke even though you // suck it up buttercup and butterscotch // a man named Scott wants his scotch // filthy gorgeous or maybe that’s a martini // a man named Martin a man named // who knows what who knows what it means to pluck roses // from my chest // using just his teeth and sometimes yes blood // which is thicker than water // I know something thicker it’s called incest // when a nephew makes his uncle say uncle // say pee say cock Katy Perry sings the song // let me see your peacock-cock // behold my royal flesh stamped with eyes // don’t tiptoe in your slippers // stomp on eggs shells balloons lick my boots until I see myself // being spit on like // you’re squelching the inferno sometimes fire sometimes feathers // elect a whip or bind me //blind me in leather pink polka dot and seafoam green // if you don’t already know // let me show you what it means for a boy-to-be // when hard in my harness you'd best call me daddy // but don’t call any of this dirty // not unless the person doing it wants it then it's smut // wipe rosary from my brow // use the fabric pouring from your lips
Conversations with My Father // A Poem in Closet Verse
When was the last time you took a girl to the movies? // It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie. You should marry a pretty girl in Albuquerque. // I don’t think I’m ever moving back to Albuquerque. God wants us to the know the joy of being a father. // Maybe God doesn’t want me to be a father. When will you be a father, like me? // Having children doesn’t make a father, at least not to me. I mean, I would like it if you made me a grandfather again. // You either are or you aren’t. There is no again.
On the Slight Cruelty of Mothers
Just look at these hands, holding my small palms in hers. They have never had to work a day in their life! She spit into one, shut the other over, rubbed them together, and with her hands on my wrists made me comb my hair in place You want to be a handsome boy. // I brought her a pink rose, but in one pull she stripped off all the petals and made me hold out my hands, palm-side down. I thought she might strike them. Instead, she licked one petal after another, placing them on my fingers. I could do this all day when I was a girl. // And when I watered her roses, she snuck up behind me, slipped a stem between her middle and ring finger, like a wineglass, stroking with her thumb the near- open bud: wouldn't you like to have a dress as wonderful as a rose petal? Well, not you, digging her thumbnail into the flesh. But that would be something.
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From Thrown in the Throat by Benjamin Garcia (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2020). Copyright ©
2020 by Benjamin Garcia. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. milkweed.org