Dare Williams

I Could Live Forever in This Drift
                     cento after David Wojnarowicz

see the quiet outline easing into the distance

teeth of red factories, small sparks of airplanes
flooded gutters in that late blue and yellow

splashes of red and green neon
sliding across the wet pavements

luminous white ships plowed through
the waters of the river

orange interior walls illuminated by the metallic
blue of a video monitor

an overly sensitive microphone
split rail fencing preventing us from crawling

soon all this will be picturesque ruins
motorcycle continuing the downward arc

then the still camera: portraits of his amazing feet,
his head, that one open eye

some passive self into a lifetime
of psychic control causes my breathing

to resume, and the dream shifts
the room is filled with AIDS

then slides into a view of darkness
dismissal is policy in America

I see myself seeing death
I scratch my head at the hysteria

the whole world is still turning, and somewhere it’s raining
all I can feel is the pressure and the need to release

the huge ticking mass of it
time is now compressed

maybe it’s what we call sadness
maybe it’s darker than that

ten pounds of pressure ten pounds of rage



He Says He Wants to Split Me

all day I’ve longed
to see a tree

and there are none

concrete columns
jut out past

the transom
of a building’s ego

in the fossilization
of memory and construction

the city lost its money
obvious where one
style ends

looking at the grid
my complacency

governed by doom
I meet this stranger

he wants to throw
my body around
a decorated room

I want softness
the bright touch
of a leaf’s lapping edge

in the end
there are no feelings

he just keeps telling
me what to do

despite how well
I behave

after this
I won’t
recognize my life


not even worship
will fulfill him



Dare Williams is a Queer HIV-positive poet and literary worker rooted in Southern California. A 2019 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, he has received support/fellowships for his work from John Ashbury Home School, The Frost Place, Brooklyn Poets, Breadloaf, Tin House, and Vermont Studio Center. His work has been featured in Foglifter, Frontier, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. He is an associate poetry editor at Hooligan Magazine and an MFA student at Warren Wilson College. To learn more about Dare’s writing, visit Darewilliams.com