Kevin McLellan

Not an Anthem

any use of we feels self-
serving or assaultive

to you / in other words

you would like his heart
inside of you / though

his disinterest / instead

adopt what he said / each
work has its own imperatives

/ or did he say each word… /

thus another encyclopedic
entry / yesterday’s entry

/not a body bag / an oversized

duffle bag / not EMT’s /
utility workers / further proof

we are unreliable narrators


on Youtube a tattoed

-him with split tongue
/ pointed ears / talks

about sub-dermal

implants at the base
of his shaft / says that

he prefers doggie style

‘cause he can go deeper
/ remember your 20s? /

the San Fran afr-AIDS

years? / now in the cock-
tail years men your age

disappear once you get

close to them / and now
on the other coast in

the safety of this WiFi

café a he-writer dis-
regards desire / yours /

so your cross-country

homo-eyes shift out-
doors to a strobe / not

a disco / a clean street /

the darkness / the trees /
darkness / the tree-lined

street / can’t discern the

bicyclist / can’t discern
if you are too pre-

occupied with appearing

License Plate Number

self-assured in denim cutoffs
/ white tee / Doc Martens /

approaching the Castro / from

behind you a car slows / pulls
into a shallow drive / someone

says something / you turn / face

4 teens in red jackets / out the
open window the driver laugh

-asks do you like it up the ass? /

you ignore him / must continue
walking / from behind hear

the swerving / the car gunning

at you / between a taproom and
a blue house an alley / you up

a chain-link fence / the 4-door

backs up / with all speed the smell
of burnt tires / out of nowhere

a mannish bartender appears / asks

if you’re okay / hands you a book
of matches / on the inside flap

the handwriting / a sequence of

numbers and letters / you return to
the embroidery / the backside of red

Three Men

lean a leggy ladderagainst the building

yours / watching them

from above / from
an open window / you

must decide / close

or keep open before
you leave / now

outside the sky / half

divided by light
and dark clouds / the

other half clear

/ aware of risk
you pause / must

watch / must again

shift the focus to
the moving / the still

Kevin McLellan is the author of Hemispheres (Fact-Simile Press, forthcoming), [box] (Letter [r] Press, 2016), Tributary (Barrow Street, 2015), and Round Trip (Seven Kitchens, 2010). He won the 2015 Third