Jon Drucker lived in Albany and Troy from 1981-95, publishing the Greenhell Gazette in 1988-89 and also yelling a lot. He is the author of the poetry collection oneironaught and will publish a second collection in late-2016. He lives in West Philadelphia where he is a librarian and also teaches writing and gender studies. Jon is a regular contributor to Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon, a monthly erotic poetry, fiction, memoir, and sex education event. He is not now, nor has he ever been, the mayor of this or any other medium-sized east coast city.
A Quart of Strawberries
Over a basket of the first
strawberries of the year
I sucked a droplet of tart
sweet juice from the corner of
your mouth. You did not let me go.
All summer we romped through
hillsides and fields in the fervor of bloom,
you feeding me cherries we
stole from a neighbor’s tree,
me teasing your skin with just
softened peaches; raspberry
vines gently raking our exposed
bodies and staining us with
ripened juices, each walk through
the brambles a chance to lick one
another clean, every early sunrise
an excuse to lay down in a bed of
greens and feast, feast until we were
drowsy from the heat. Later we
snuck off into the tall corn and
scared the crows.
The days late heat gave way to
afternoon thunderstorms, and we
took the credit for that.
As the sun went lower we
scrambled for time in the light, in
anticipation of its setting, grabbing
what night we could, knowing we
would soon have to give over to it.
When the pumpkins swelled
more than we had, we started to
gather ourselves and slow the pace,
taking our time in the rows of concord
grapes, letting tomatoes redden before
gently snatching them away, only to
trace our own outlines with their bursting
juices. As we cooked and canned and
put up the summer’s treasure
we simmered and steamed
up the kitchen windows.
And slower, lower, softer we glowed,
sleeping a little later with each dawn,
warm languor of the afternoons moving
now into cooler mornings, burrowing under
blankets in order to burrow into each other.
You would lick away the sweat
of a day’s honest work, the good scent of
chopping firewood, cracking chestnuts and
feeding them roasted, my lips to yours and
back again. Our cellars filled with bounty,
our beds likewise.
This afternoon I found a quart of strawberries
in my shopping cart, the first local fruit of the year,
more than I could eat before they liquified.
Yet I bought them. Sitting at the train station,
cool red juice on my lips and chin, I knew:
We would not let them go to waste.
What to do When Your Boyfriend Needs to Spend Some Quality Time With His Shadow
The cliché goes,
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
And that’s only partly true.
It’s definitely not you:
you with your soft and fierce welcoming,
you with scars beneath your ink,
you openly afraid and yet eager.
No, and it’s not entirely me, either.
It’s what I might be, what’s behind me.
The little bag I drag along in my wake
gets a tad too filled time and again,
threatens to tangle my stride and
become ballast. It’s no heroics when
I go down with the ship: this fucked
up and fragile, I won’t take anyone with me,
you least of all.
It’s a necessity and a precaution, to
take the dive into my unlit depths
that when I rise again to slap
your queenly behind it will be
only to spike desire and not anger,
raise the delicious and not draw blood,
give in to our lust and not my rage.
My silence will piss you off, my absence
will break me. Give me leave to shatter
and knit myself back together, one
stitch at a time, knowing that I may drown
in the process but if I don’t I may
become unable to breathe.
I will dive into that amniotic black sea,
wrestle with the imps and angels who
grow bloated on my neglect. I will take
tea with the Kraken, just before I play
chicken with my own soul.
And when the drowned man resurfaces,
assuming that I do, take me to task for
every second I’ve been under the waves,
in the self-imposed dark. If I’ve returned
intact, I’ll welcome it; if not, then you
might want to throw your catch back,
or kick that motherfucker to the curb.
I know that return may not equal welcoming.
But should a human man re-emerge,
his heart and lips are at your disposal.
He would burn the oceans in order to
burn with you, to match temperatures
and temperaments, to swim in what remains,
so we might lie on that moonlit beach again
with nothing to weigh us down.