From the Associated Press, August 28, 1999:
A jury decides for the second time that Jonathan Schmitz
is guilty of second-degree murder in the killing
of a gay acquaintance who revealed a crush
on the Jenny Jones talk show. He faces up to fifty years in prison.
Thirteen seconds of bliss
to feel the weight of your drunken body,
to dance with your shoulder wedged
around my neck, your sweat
wetting my bearded cheek.
We laughed in our vermouth stupors
joked about two men kissing. You balked.
I covered my obvious swoon. The ominous
way you fell silent, flashing on your father,
his hunting rifle. Exposed, stumbling
like a deer who senses a poacher,
you cocked your head back,
shook sober: Well, I'm no faggot!
But all summer you had been daring me
letting your foot rest on mine at the beach
slapping my back, lifting your eyebrows,
mixing our Stolis, slowly licking the swizzler.
Nights at the bonfires, the two of us
in a boozy haze, even loaded I couldn't say it.
Those champagne and strawberry fantasies
blurted out on that talk show were a fragment
of what was crowded inside of me.
A full cartridge, twice-pulled trigger
won't end my life. I live in the trees,
disguised as sky. Everytime you touch
yourself, in every impulse
of desire, hear my voice, see my face,
my shadow partnering the solitary waltz
of your limping, wounded elk steps.
Gerard Wozek is the author of 'Dervish' which won the Gival Press Poetry Award. He teaches writing at Robert Morris College in Chicago.