SITTING ACROSS FROM YOU x Tate Swindell

Photo x AKA

Sitting Across From You

Tate Swindell

sitting here across from you. my legs over yours. 

I said you look like a mermaid. 

it’s your curves. I am entranced by them. 

you know this. but still you are unsure. 

and perhaps these are the steps we are dancing.

your voice, right now, fading asleep, whispering to me about poetry, as the cat treats the string lights as a punching bag.

each one of us strutting. 

when the overwhelming desire of want arises, we are no longer steering the ship. 

discussing your love of fotos, this instant, as you search for the right words, as I type this, foreplay, watching our fingers dance, as I type without looking at keyboard and maintain eye contact while your eyes engage and disengage with me. 

yes, fotos are different. 

yes, it is not the same. 

I do agree. 

yes. 

so now, desire expressed. 

laughed at. 

discarded. 

can be truly dealt with. 

another time. 

and so I type. I type. I type. I stereotype. for I am a 20thcentury white dude born and bred in the states so, 74% racist, at least.

I would love to negotiate a smaller number but the facts don’t lie of the year I was born.

I trust you to kill me. 

you said. 

it’s not a book.

it’s a film. 

so what are we dancing around now.

who else do I think of when I’m with you.

the Brazilian we met an hour ago at the bar. 

the one that kept glancing at me, and I at her, as we danced. 

then she announced her feet on the stool next to me. 

I said, you, my friend, was outside smoking.

feet abandoned stool.

shoulders turned. 

black hair ponytail

revealed back 

and

curves. 

once again.

you say, as fingers dance underneath the blanket, what’s the point of having a cat and not playing with it?

I couldn’t resist.

I had to state the obvious. 

yes.

had to.

the cat walks the tightrope.

always watching

always listening.

always in control. 

dancing. 

 

is my favorite time of day, dusk.

hesitation.

briefly.

yes, it is.

mine too.

please, tho, can we not try to describe it.

I’d rather not insult such a great poet. 

 

and the cat, in the corner, licking paws 

to clean self

in charge 

of the 

night. 

 

that shit. 

why I haven’t gotten closer.

that shit, is too real.

it feels too much. 

 

and honestly.

I want to pull back the blanket.

you lie under.

slide.

down yr

DAMN!!!

you interrupt

by asking

for 

pronunciation

of 

plymell

so I 

arise

grab

Benzedrine 

Highway

from shelf

drop it 

at your 

side

and smile

 

the 

dance

continues

 

the cat

in the corner

pawing

almost 

fully bathed

 

what’s that party in the street

no

that’s just horns

in the radio

 

no

yes

that is

the party

 

you

chuckling

at 

what

I’ve 

written

 

and I have flashes

of lovers

in 

los angeles

and

paris

and 

amsterdam

that are 

all the 

same

person

projecting

in mirrors

Archivist, Poet and Photographer, Tate Swindell is the founder of Unrequited Records, which specializes in poetry records released on the vinyl format. The latest release was an album of rare Gregory Corso readings from the late 1970s that included previously unpublished poems. He recently co-edited the Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman for City Lights Books (2019). Tate, and his brother Todd, worked extensively on the Harold Norse archives, which were donated to the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. He is currently writing a memoir about his experiences as a pioneer in the San Francisco medical cannabis movement. His previous collections of writings include Palpitations, The Creation of Deadlinesand Fotopomes.