September 6th, 2010


I'm reading at INCITE on Thursday

which is a new queer poetry evening at First Out, those of you who are in London.

So, in honour of this, I thought I had better translate some of the not exactly heterosexual poems of Catulls this week...


I'd trust you friend with every love of mine
For you have standards. Some things you regard
As pure, untouchable. I know it's hard.
But do not touch that boy. He is so fine.

I am not worried random passers-by
will want to fuck him. Too much on their minds.
Your prick though, wanders. Into cute behinds,
often as not. I know you say you're bi

Can take or leave boys.So leave him alone
Make an exception, just for me. For it
is certain that I'll punish you, you shit,
If you betray me. Then you will atone

Strung up to be abused by all who pass
With spiny fish and carrots up your arse.


As you might find a dreamstone on a beach
hole carved in it by waves and tides and sand;
or brushing leaves aside, find in your hand
an owl mask in deep woods. You know that each

of these things is the same. There is design
but no designer. Things are as they are.
Magic is seeing links; it is as far
from making them as any will of mine

or yours from bringing friends back from the dead
and yet our memories bring back their face
bring back their words. Forgetting may erase
those for a while. He's not just in my head

as echo. In green mystery he looks
and waves at me from each page of his books

And tonight's Catullus is...

TO JUVENTIUS - Catullus 99

I jumped on you and kissed you - honey kiss -
while you were concentrating on your game.
I made you angry - we've not been the same
since - you were harsh to me. Your anger is

like being crucified. You wiped your lips
as if they had been spat on by some whore,
as if you didn't want me any more
not any scrap or drop. Chased me with whips

as if you were a Fury. Your mouth's taste
on mine changed from the softest sweetness to
the bitterness of aloes, myrhh or rue.
I think we're done, and that is such a waste.

For if my kissing you caused so much pain
I won't hurt you by kissing you again.

And tonight's second Catullus is


Aurelius, the father of all lust,
all hunger,all desire there's ever been -
I know you well and what you want. I've seen
the way you look at him. I cannot trust

you around him, him around you. I know
you're after his sweet arse. You stand and joke
with him like you were friends, and share a smoke.
Before you fuck him, you will have to blow

Me first. The thing that's getting up my nose
is - he is learning from you all your tricks
your ways of getting what you want - hard dicks,
soft buttocks. He was nice once. I suppose

he'll change. It happens, but before you win,
my prick will fuck your mouth, and go right in.