about the author

sam sax is a Bay Area-based writer, educator, and performer. He’s Oakland’s first queer two-time grand slam champion. sam curates a reading series, the new shit show, in San Francisco aimed at producing new poetry and has toured internationally, performing at universities, slams, basements, alleyways, and amphitheaters. sam is currently leading writing and literacy workshops for queer at-risk youth.

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sam sax

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who would turn down dinner?
spiced meat soups and artisanal breads
in a city neither of you know, not really.
pockets empty as a ghost ship.

who would turn down a ride home?
the rental car large as a boat meant to ferry
the famous from one shore to the next. his hand
and the dockyard shadows spilling up your leg.

who would turn down a place to sleep?
when the park benches in san francisco are all occupied
by more deserving backs, when last night you watched a glass
liquor bottle open on a man’s head one doorway over.

who would turn the car from the bridge
and stare out over the water? who would say no
to a west oakland motel? deep in a row of streets
haunted as a field planted in the dark.

who, once inside, would say anything but yes to the man
who fed, drove and bed him? who would let on, years later,
when you are still friends, that every time you speak
your mouth fills with spoiled meats.

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