Nicholas Grider



It’s Saturday morning so men and sugar are around the corner, problem solved. Go out into the night of Saturday morning and stay there until it starts to rain, stand on the front lawn and sing

my body lies over the ocean
my body lies over the sea

in the glare
all men are alike and so you get confused about which ones to flatter and which ones you can glance at for a few seconds before they stop pretending not to notice

and what you’re looking for is underneath the bone, men are all bone and skin and nothing else, maybe horseflies and razor burn and gingham

under the spokes of light of late summer, nevertheless

some memories look great leaning casually with one arm against a brick wall, some men look great in emergency light

everything being on the same level, no mazes or moral imperatives, no cards in the mail today saying “come home already” world traveler

Mutual of Omaha presents: The Wild Kingdom of Men

hanging by their ankles from the trees


How to do things with advertisements. With teenage agency. Construct elaborate mid-morning narratives around their local wholesome heroes, where John or James wears khakis and suede mules to the park

and writes his number on the bathroom wall

and gets tied to the tetherball pole by the natives, a field of feral children waiting to grow up into something similar to men but looser-limbed in the head

re-writing history, but so far there’s only one character and then there’s men
and no narrative tension because “the war is over”

pink flags, white noise, eviction notices

Jack or Jimmy holding hands
but nobody notices, that history is silent to men, waving hello from over there as if you know them


Thomas or William or Ben

getting paid by the hour, if only not to be specific men

still shortening a Sunday afternoon
before winter finally begins

a red flag to mark his body in the snow


Men are in the backyard with their shirts tucked in, enjoying the scenic view, enjoying the science of the lawn

as a kind of wilderness as side-glance affirmation, nowhere terror

being forgotten

handcuffed to the chain-link fence

Incredible Adventures

over the course of a few mimosas, or Magnolias, not the one in your childhood hit by lightning but orange juice with a slug of bourbon

that’ll stiffen you up until the local wives and families and mistresses arrive

(all of this as if behind a screen) behind a window, violence

between neurons, followed immediately

by twenty years of white sky



Debate or erase you. Haunt you. Hunt you. Cross you out
and start over. With you in the spotlight

that old routine, with lamps

with an exit strategy. Do this, do that. Men don’t come home,

there aren’t any. Men and sidelong glances and silences,

there aren’t any. Stay in one spot for a long time
and the world begins to change, replace you, remanufacture you, return you to nature.

You’re what happens to be there.

Sucking you off while you watch MTV. You’re old enough to be my father.

Things could be worse.

Slowly, around midnight

reintroduce you. Restate what in plain speech means too much: interrogate you, whomever you could be, and tell you who you are.

Come here.

Go over there and turn off all the lights.

past simple home