By Edward Field
Box is likely one of the first American poets to jot down proudly and obviously approximately city homosexual life.This new-and-selected (Field's sixteenth booklet of verse total) indicates that his virtues—and limits—have remained constant all through. At his most sensible box is direct, likable, modest, captivating, a storyteller : he writes purposefully and without delay of bathhouse existence within the Nineteen Seventies, Jewish-American historical past, center jap travels in an international the place, not like ours, males like one another; and allegorically of the Pacific octopus, who wishes love,/ who's a multitude in case you meet,/ yet who can open up like a flower with petal fingers. At under his top, Field's unadorned variety could make him sound predictable: his poems are just as fascinating as their tales and ideas. these days there's not anything radical left, not at all/ within the Village, he complains in a poem from the Nineteen Nineties. a up to date September 11 poem items to a gang of psychopaths taking on the govt.. Irreplaceable within the heritage of homosexual American writing, box helped invent the various attitudes and the subgenres which are now in universal use. If a lot of Field's personal poems now appear flat and dated, sufficient nonetheless appear clean to provide severe energy to this publication.
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I catch your breath amid the glistening of insects; and in dusk that wants a father, almost touch your cheek the old, ungilded way God touched you. I cannot bear to watch another petal sweep the shoulder of the haggard, gleaming girl who stoops above your grave.  Where She Always Was 3/16/04 12:55 PM Page 33 VIGIL Finally she lay with the sheets turned all the way back; her wig gone, fever down; basking in breezeless sleep while he came every hour to turn her, to place his fingers over the throat of her wrist as he’d been shown, and listen hard for the black wing-swish of her pulse: a moth not flying, clinging to light.
These are displayed on a clothesline for one week in April.  Where She Always Was 3/16/04 12:55 PM Page 50 W H I T E S H I RT You lived near the projects, five months clean. You had Elena glint your hair with strands of light pulled through a cap. Your last Dollar Day alive you bought two bright used dresses, hung your whites out from your window early since you’d worked three night shifts in a row. Tears blew from sheets, your son’s tiny jockeys, your best blouse. All you keep beyond the drag and force and unheard moan is this bleached tee.
So many nights I’ve wrapped myself in your barbed arms, and held you the way I would hold myself if I knew why you keep each blade this hot, why you nest them in such neat rows until next time, then gently tighten their velvet bows.  Where She Always Was 3/16/04 12:55 PM Page 49 T H E C LOT H E S L I N E P RO J E C T * Thirty-five women tear off their shirts. Now they can wash their bodies back into the hot single bedroom at three in the morning, the air from the alley the moon avoided, the rank palm clamped over the mouth, the six hours it took trying to want to live with each spent sinew, the approximate height and the scrape of the hair and the scar and the slant of the laugh remembered down to a raw valentine.