Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.
Argument of Situations
by Shangyang Fang
I was thinking, while making love, this is beautiful—this
fine craftsmanship of his skin, the texture of wintry river.
I pinched him, three inches above his coccyx, so that he knew
I was still here, still in an argument with Fan Kuan’s
inkwash painting where an old man, a white-gowned literatus,
dissolves into the landscape as a plastic bag into cloud.
The man walks in the mountains. No, he walks on rivers.
The man moves among shapes. He travels through colors.
The mountains are an addendum to his silvergrass sandals.
Wrong, his embroidered sleeves are streaklines of trees.
Neither could persuade the other, as my fingers counted
along his cervical spine, seven vertebrae that held up
a minute heaven in my hand. But it isn’t important.
It is not, I said. It is just a man made of brushstrokes
moving in a crowd of brushstrokes. The man walks
inside himself. The string quartet of the tap water
streamed into a vase. My arms coursed around his waist.
We didn’t buy any flowers for the vase. It’s okay.
The sunlight would soon fabricate a bouquet of gladiolus.
To walk on a mountain for so long, he must desire
nothing. Nothing must be a difficult desire. Like the smell
of lemon, cut pear, its chiseled snow. The man
must be tired. He might. He might be lonely.
He must be. The coastline of his spine, the alpine
of his cheekbone—here was where we stopped—this
periphery of skin, this cold, palpable remoteness
I held. The dispute persisted. Are you tired? I’m okay.
That means you are tired. You’re bitter.
Whatever you say. If my hands departed from his skin,
the heavens would collapse. The limit remained
even though we had used the same soap, same shampoo;
we smelled like the singularity of one cherry’s bloom.
The vase stayed empty, the sky started to rain.
My toothbrush leaned against his.
The man must be lonely, I said. No, the mountain
is never lonely. Burying my forehead inside his shoulder
blades, the mountain is making itself a man.
Copyright © 2021 by Shangyang Fang. From his book Burying the Mountain (Copper Canyon Press, 2021).
About the Author
Shangyang Fang grew up in Chengdu, China, and writes both in English and Chinese. A graduate from Michener Center for Writers, he is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His works appeared in The Nation, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, Forward Book of Poetry Anthology, The Best American Poetry, and Pushcart Prize Anthology. He is the author of the poetry collection, Burying the Mountain (Copper Canyon Press, 2021).
- Day 1: Self Portrait as a Body, a Sea by Donika Kelly
- Day 2: Birthday Suits by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza
- Day 3: Obsessions by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué
- Day 4: The Baby Inside My Baby by Nomi Stone
- Day 5: To Be Saved by CM Burroughs
- Day 6: At the New York City AIDS Memorial by Stefania Gomez
- Day 7: Love in the Time of PrEP by Jaques Rancourt
- Day 8: The Morning After by Ellen Bass
- Day 9: Argument of Situations by Shangyang Fang
- Day 10: Ode to Sneakers by Tory Adkisson
- Day 11: Boombox Ode: Enjoy the Silence
- Day 12: Soon by Makshya Tolbert
- Day 13: Photograph by Jenny George
- Day 14: Salt Lake City by Christian Gullette
- Day 15: Humpty Dumpty by Spencer Reece
- Day 16: The Antihero by Megan Fernandes
- Day 17: On Growing Bored with Synonyms for the Apocalypse, I Rename It Carl… by C. Russell Price
- Day 18: All My Friends are Sad & Bright by Cameron Awkward-Rich
- Day 19: 2000 miles and this is the love letter I send you over text by Noa/h Fields
- Day 20: Book VI from The Queerness of Eve by Emilia Phillips
- Day 21: Oracle by Ari Banias
- Day 22: gxrl gospel iv: beast of a southern wild by Aurielle Marie
- Day 23: Let There Be Pride by Richard Blanco
- Day 24: Jacob Riis Memorial Beach by Stephen Ira
- Day 25: from Dependence, the Joistrix / How you are made by Emily Martin
- Day 26: The Need for Repitition by Jim Whiteside
- Day 27: Arm’d and Fearless by Julian Gewirtz
- Day 28: Polyamory by Madeleine Cravens
- Day 29: GPOY as Rainbowfrog.gif by Aerik Francis
- Day 30: Gay Epithalamium by Benjamin Garcia
Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.