David Stallings

Before you drink with your friends,
best have a little with me—
to learn your reactions,

says my mom
when I turn 16.

Next time home alone
I drink some of her bourbon
with 7-Up,
start smiling
dance a little
to the afterschool radio sock hop,
practice air guitar
and have another drink.

Then flop on the couch
and think about my friend Carlos.
What a cool fucker—
best ducktail haircut ever,
leather jacket tough—
guy who taught me
to dance Latino —
              Stay in the center like the sun,
              move the girl
              around you like the moon.

Linda, his girlfriend
just told him
her family’s moving
across the state,
looking for work.
He’s destroyed—
can’t sleep, missing school.

A tear slides down my cheek,
then another,
then a flood.
I sob for the first time
in years.

Author's Commentary: "Like the Sun, Like the Moon" recounts the advising of a mother and the subsequent utility of a modicum of alcohol in revealing to her 16-year-old son the depth of his compassion for another person and, more deeply, for himself.

David Stallings

In the unconscious of a man,
the feminine inner personality – C.G. Jung

My long journey leads
to a far ocean coast,
to the base of a high sea stack.
Atop the granite spire
the inner woman’s aerie,
found with help of women
who’veloved me
and taught me.

Near the base of the column
I find a bull kelp bag
holding a dozen small stones—
each rounded and ringed
by white quartz.

I climb the crag,
insert the stones
into nooks along the way—
each inlay perfect,
like caring eyes
that whisper.

Up rock stairs,
across windy gaps,
along narrow ledges
and skirting steep cliffs,
I near her home
atop the spire.

Final stone embraced
by last rounded wall cranny—
the arched door opens.

Author's Commentary: "Anima" is one in a series of poems dealing with a man's becoming aware of, and exploring possible ways to approach the mystery of his contrasexual self.

David Stallings was born in the U.S. South, raised in Alaska and Colorado before settling in the Pacific Northwest. Once an academic geographer, he has long worked to promote public transportation in the Puget Sound area. His poems have appeared in several North American, U.K. and Swedish literary journals and anthologies, and in Resurrection Bay, a recent Evening Street Press chapbook.