Two Poems


Poem in Which I’m Allowed to Go to the Lilith Fair

or, rather, “Poem in Which I Bother to Ask
to Go to the Lilith Fair, Not Convinced
the Answer Will Be ‘No, You’re Too Young
and It’s Too Far Away and Besides, That Music
Is for Lesbians.’”
                              Poem in which Mom says yes,
she will take a week off her job at Lockheed
programming software that launches satellites
into precisely figured orbits and drive her son
two states away to a feminist music festival—
she loves that song “If It Makes You Happy,”
and Sheryl Crow will be on the main stage
of this poem.
                      Poem with Mudgirl and Love Riot,
with Kitten and Wild Strawberries.
in which I meet Tracy Chapman and cry
and say how much “Fast Car” means to me
even though I’m only thirteen and live
in the suburbs and don’t even like cars!
Poem in which Tracy Chapman understands,
of course, how a boy like me might feel
trapped. In which Tracy’s autograph
looks like two half notes on an invisible staff,
harmonizing, and all she writes, “Best
wishes,” is enough.
                                    Poem in which I’m not
the only boy—there’s one at the henna station,
and look! there’s another one buying his
boyfriend a beer!
                                Poem in which two lesbians,
between the Shawn Colvin and Jewel sets,
tell Mom how their hearts balloon at the sight
of us on our quilt singing along to “Sunny Came
Home” and eating apple slices.
                                                        Poem in which Mom
smokes a little bit of pot, a gift from the lesbians,
and tells me about the time she and her girlfriends
snuck into the dressing room at a Yes concert,
and Yes was in their underwear (ladies’ panties,
the style at the time), and the lead singer,
Eric Something, flanked by groupies,
talked about how much he missed his wife
and kids on tour,
                                and Mom tells me how
terrible she was to my father, a monster,
and that I’d better be good to my boyfriends,
and I don’t pretend I don’t understand.
Poem in which I learn what Yes is,
the stars come out, and Mom dances.


“the third tone of the diatonic musical scale”
–The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary

I sing me
across my sofa,
my rococo torso
a French vanilla
tureen of Tofutti,
my serified hairdo
lush as avocado,
I croon me,
my lives’ libretti,
into my loofa
while hips hula
or twerk vigoroso.
I’m a virtuoso
on the Nintendo
Switch, its pianola
high-scoring me
as I buff Tifa
or recruit a yeti.
Cool with cacti
and tying a lasso,
fresh as alfalfa,
I’m from Colorado,
where love found me
a pet tarantula
and enough tequila
to become confetti.
I don’t regret me
any: dipso,
amoroso, weirdo
and square. No fa
-çade and all fa
-çade, a hoopla
in a tuxedo,
I’m this sesti
-na, this arioso
refraining me,
-gable fella, so
real. I do me.

James Davis

James Davis is the author of the poetry collection Club Q (Waywiser 2020), which won the Anthony Hecht Prize. His poetry has been featured on NBC News and CBC Radio, as well as in journals such as The Gettysburg Review, Copper Nickel, 32 Poems, Bennington Review, and The Gay & Lesbian Review. A PhD candidate at the University of North Texas, he serves as Poetry Editor for American Literary Review and teaches literature and creative writing. His website is