Three poems by Chad Frame


Like the statue, slender
alabaster, curly locks,
the soft, full face
of youth, sublime
in stillness, yet each muscle
prepared to move—

We meet in the throb
of sound, neon-strobe
over the curves of you,
fragmented light pocks
the crowded room—wordless,
we come closer.

In a vinyl alcove booth,
pretending we are VIPs,
we speak of mutual love
of Neil Gaiman, characters
printed and drawn, of Tori
Amos, her elemental voice,

soft lips moving those few
moments they are not busy
pressed to mine, young
and ravenous. You stand,
hands on your hips, the back
of your neck, contrapposto—

you tell me tomorrow
you’ll be on a plane
home to Alaska, my arms
tight around you. I had
a northern lad. Well,
not exactly had…

We spill into yellow
sodium streetlight, wet July,
mutter quick promises,
and an idling cab steals you,
slinks into rain-blurred



Our first date with Slavoj Žižek,
a philosophy lecture, free

at the art museum, front row
in folding chairs sipping hot tea,

your idea of courtship. Charmed
by Žižek, deaf to everything

but the sound of his Slovene voice
slurring his words into thick stew,

shaggy grey face like a wire fox
terrier. I say I love you,

Žižek posits, pleased with himself,
only the way a poet does.

He says it again for effect.
Your eyes flash like slate blue diodes.

Later, you update your Facebook
with this quote as if it’s brilliant.

Of course a poet knows nothing
of love. I didn’t ride the train

here with a dog-eared book of Proust
for show. And you won’t hear from me

that I love you in any way,
even though I scan your soft lips

for an opening while Žižek
mutters, rational and empty.



You are on my back and we
are running and singing
for a while just like
any two people in love
might do on a Spring day,

pretending to be
a cartoon plumber
astride a green dinosaur
humming their chiptune theme
on a campus sidewalk

before a truck rushes by,
hurls cruelties out the window
easy as a flicked cigarette
sparking on the road
like steel off flint,

or a used condom
like a stepped-on slug,
or a Gatorade bottle
filled with two hundred miles
of warm piss—

but it’s none of these,
just a simple drive-by
with one word hitting us
like a Louisville slugger
off a tin mailbox. Faggots.


Chad Frame’s work appears in Rattle, Mom Egg Review, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, and other journals and anthologies, as well as on iTunes from the Library of Congress. He is the Director of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the Poetry Editor of Ovunque Siamo: New Italian-American Writing, a founding member of the No River Twice poetry improv performance troupe, and founder of the Caesura Poetry Festival and Retreat.

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