the hustler speaks of places

after Langston Hughes

I've known places;
I've known places weary as the flesh when it's had some,
    as rivers at last done with flowing.

My soul has been changed in places.

I mouthed a man dry in the Ritz-Carlton men's room.
I built a life upon a man's chest and, briefly, found peace.
I watched a man sleeping; I raised a prayer over his brow.
I heard the stinging, in bars, of lashes coming down on a
    man's bare ass, until it tore to the red that is sunset.

I've known places:
shaven, uncut places.

My soul has changed in places.


Carl Phillips, Cortege, 1995