TC Tolbert

TC Tolbert

The Complete and Normal Failure of Art

Leslie Feinberg's face was held down in a toilet
full of cop shit before she was anally raped, plain
and simple, because she looked like a man.

I don't know how to make this beautiful.

I don't know how to take the image.

To fold the ace bandage she used
to keep her breasts down in a way
that doesn't remind me of broken knees.

The Palinode

It is your birthday and you are a beautiful boy. We are beautiful boys on a motorcycle. You wave to other bikers and the other bikers wave to the beautiful boys. Beautiful boys on a motorcycle waiting for a train and your gloved hand reaches for me. We laugh and your gloved hand reaches me. Your gloved hand and the motorcycle are missing. Your gloved hand waves to other bikers. Beautiful boys, your birthday is over. Your gloved hand, beautiful boy. Beautiful boy, your gloved hand. How beautiful. Beautiful. I'm cold.


Part of it is that we are at a gun show.
Part of it is that we are at a gun show
but we have not come together. The danger
of not coming together. Put the gun down, dear
and take the bullets out sweetly. Push them
one by one. Marry them
to the muscle that sits between our bones.


Let’s just say I remember everything. Eating a ham sandwich for the first time in your living room. My leather belt and the way you loved its smell at eye level. Markered up lids of olive jars. The gentle way the linoleum gave beneath you when you begged your knees into the floor. (New ending: I am the red-winged monster curled inside you like a fist. It is not so much the darkness that concerns me. It is the loose thing, the clambering thing I imagine inhabits your chest.)


As of October 21, 2006 I will officially be becoming a new kind of man.

You won't forgive me for taking me away from you.

When, for the last four days I've dreamt about you, I've woken

up close to the ugliest thing I've ever known:


I love you and you are out gun shopping.
(Forgive me. For taking me away.)
I love you. You. No longer. So I'm told.