Garth Greenwell writes dirty prose
dirty as Anacreon’s Thracian filly, amongst bat-naked Bulgarians,
those bastardized Greeks. Where is Bulgaria? The American mind is clotted
like noncirculating wealth. Garth’s reed pipe voice
disports the querying woman, and I smirk, a cynosure of my own seafaring.
Bulgaria is spraddled in eastern Europe one thigh
bridled by Russia the other discharged
like premature ejaculate into the orifices of the European Union.
I was a double exile. Garth
in his hierophant’s coat as if in a film noir,
face and hands like a closeted Galatea,
descending from the ivoried Palace of Culture
into some sublunary realm, Sofia’s lip-printed bathrooms,
an illiterately sheened body signaling its intention to suck.
This must have been Colette’s den, or else the backwaters
of my apartment in Tirana
in which the baker’s piping burst like a drunken brawl,
and my neighbor Valentina scorned her son’s soft speech:
You are not gay. Americanized gays talk like houseflies trapped in ewers.
Are there gay communities in Bulgaria?
(Two penises overhanging CNN town halls on homophobia)
Bulgarians talk of the Turks’ penetration and the communists’ surveillance implants
and whatever somatic circuits the Orthodox Church buzzes.
Writing programs fanned out like iambs on Garth’s computer screen in Kentucky.
Garth eschewing the écorché of a sentence: To write muscular prose is to acquiesce to the straight body. I wanted to be a large promiscuous queer body
to spin legs like bottles with those wine-shaded Bulgarians
and muddy up on the banks of the Danube sentences
about the Romanians calling the Bulgarians, their immediate neighbors, thieves.
The heads of the Rutgers auditorium sway in the meniscus of Garth’s wine voice
but mine is the only one that leaps up : The Starova family
in my native Albania, I write, traces its roots to Bulgaria,
and by day I would interrogate endocentric expressions with their son
but by night the Aromanian boy from across the street and I
would fall into the spell of a story, tickle that story’s scrotum as well as its G-spot.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 2.
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