Necessary Excoriations, a Collection | The New Engagement

Necessary Excoriations, a Collection

By Steven Cordova


I’d write a poem,
& call it “The
Day My Father
Became a Piece    
Of Shit.” It would
Recount a recent
Trip my dad
Made to the mall
With my half-sis
& her three kids;

How dad left them
Saying he had
Some biz to do
In the men’s room;
How then my half-
Sis & the kids
Became concerned
When he never
Reappeared &
his cell phone just
Kept ringing. No
answer. None.

I’d write a poem
Telling you how,
As I heard this
Account, I exclaimed
“What the hell
Was he doing?
Sucking dick or
Getting fucked in
a men’s room stall.”

The poem would tell
How my brother—
Who relayed this
To me via
My half-sister—
Said, “Maybe, be-
Cause when the kids
Finally found him—
In the food court!—
He was covered
From head to toe
In. His. Own. Shit.”

I’d do all this,
Write such a poem
Though some will say
It unkind to
Use an old man
For a cheap laugh,
For catharsis,
To prove a point
I’ve made before
Ad nauseam.

I mean, my dad
Has always been
A piece of shit
Or acted like one
Anyway. But

Even men who
Abuse their spouses,
Abandon their
Sons & hate blacks
Deserve something,
A modicum
Of  sympathy
A touch of pure
Loving kindness.

In that case, I’ll
Just write the poem,
Let someone else
Give it a name.



The successful novelist—
two of his books have been adapted
for the screen!—is pontificating

again, claiming that hetero
versus homo is a dated
binary concept,

one that doesn’t reflect
the more fluid sexual desires
of today’s everyman

& I, seated on the floor—
among his many handsome acolytes!—
their bright heads nodding

like so many pansies
in a fragrant field—
I have to refrain

from raising my hand
during the interminable Q&A,
though all I want to say is

“Hi, my name is
Steven & I’m gay—
Just. Plain. Gay”



I propose twist as the collective noun for twink.
Tonight, for instance, a twist of twinks,
will take a stroll up 8th. Said twist

will come upon a score of bachelors.
Said score will get its collective panties
all in a bunch over the attractive twist.

Not too much later a sloth of bears
joins the fray & by the crack of dawn,
the twist, the score & the sloth are spent.

A dropping of pigeons, a ruination
of rodents and a yech(!) of cockroaches—
none of whom have the time of day

for the contemplation of collective nouns—
take back Chelsea. The gayborhood
was theirs to begin with.

Steven Cordova's first full-length collection of poems, Long Distance, appeared from Bilingual Review Press in 2010. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, The Bellevue Literary Review, The Journal Northwest Review. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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