Jericho Brown twists reader expectations in “I Have Just Picked Up a Man”. First you believe this is a homoerotic hookup. Then the scene shifts to a dinner and one believes the speaker is committing an act of charity. But the bill of fare is “some poems”. Then it just gets superbly weird since this is narrated in the first person the reader experiences split identification with both the reciter and the listener.
What is being read is not only the poems but also the man. The three final stanzas:
But either way, I’ll read him
Some poems, glance at myself
In his eyes, and in the moments
Before I drop him anywhere
He wants to go
Neither of us will be alone.
We just might not be with each other.
The poem in question is to be found in Jericho Brown’s Please and deserves to be anthologized widely. All those glanced moments pile up and deserve some outlets.
And so for day 2358