Two Poems by CJ Strauss

RETREAT
After O’Hara

How tragic you are today in New York
like karaoke at Stonewall
and St. Patrick’s still perfectly upright

here I have just slumped into a bed full of commotion
(I got tired of going) and pink you there still,
reeking all the same
all I want is a faithful spade
and your hand to guide mine
and even the wilting basil is a way
for people to spare what they love
and when their sutures fade
they don’t quite
all the way (which way)
I run my fingers across your chest and I say
that garden’s just pink enough

where’s Lady Gaga
she’s eating out
and Monae’s saving the Met Gala
everyone’s getting tattoos
so they can hide themselves from themselves
and the M-train’s dumb with people and their haircuts
and chunky Filas
who are often mistaken for ex-lovers at Mood Ring 
another shot
the cast of Are You the One shout for beams of light
and in a sense we’re all beams of light
we’re living
 
one day we’ll have an apartment of our own
on a regular street
and the bodega guy’s always smiling
even though gentrifiers ruined Brooklyn
when they invented secondhand shopping
now everyone’s moving to Kreuzberg
despite the history there
not that we lack history (we just ignore it)

and the mirror is pieced out on the sidewalk
outside the experimental theatre
so passersby have something more interesting to ignore
and later you’ll read an obituary 
but you won’t buy the newspaper

oh goodness it’s beautiful
to stay in bed
and drink just enough
and eat just enough
and love you just enough


Portrait of the Magician with Disappearing Fist
Bent backward as a copper crane
The eyes wet shut on combo shots,
Never were the charm so plain
Could such a spell forget me not. 
Upon thy breast the heart is fain
And pleasure piqued with potions wrought;
What testament to ill refrain?  
The foolishness her taste begot!  
Bone-tight brunt of fable-fingers
Her honey-hoaxed and specious ichor: 
Upon thee will the wet but linger,
Though Sodom’s stare did spouse turn salt, she savored still to lick her.  
Seizing the sable rein, strapped solid as a prize buck,
“Fool,” said my Muse to me, “I’m stupid horny. Wanna fuck?”


CJ Strauss (He/they)
CJ Strauss is a model, poet, and vegan chef based in Brooklyn, NY. Their work has been featured in Lunch Ticket Magazine, DREGINALD, Utterance Journal, and elsewhere.