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[for Hart Crane]

I’ve had more than just ink in my mouth. Grail
tasting like brine when you let go — you freed

your hand then leaped over the tramp ship’s rail
to drown. You could’ve called me rent boy, greed,

nephew, hint of hope. I’d have given you
my youth and made a life out of rapture

and bare-backing. You didn’t want rescue,
though. You didn’t want to wait. I’ve never

loved the despair of urban sprawl enough
to call it epic — but you did, I’m told.

You saw, “amor oscuro,” as dead weight,
a curse. The void called. No amount of rough

sex would hold you back. I tried to hold
you — but no, you let go, you wouldn’t wait.


Hart Crane (1899-1932) was a Modernist poet who wrote an epic-length ode to America called, The Bridge. He was also a chronic alcoholic, filled with homophobic self-hatred. While returning from Mexico, on the steamship Orizaba, he committed suicide by leaping off the deck. Dark love, or amor oscuro, is the term that the Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca (1898–1936), called his homoerotic desires.