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Silent Footage: Keith Haring Dances with Basquiat


It’s twilight and I’m thinking of you. A bell rings

which tells me it is time to take my meds.


I’ve learned to like the little pink ones,

valentines to my blood.


Darling you thrill me.


These pills I swallow are politicians, all promise 

to keep me alive, though I’m not sure they’re working.   


Since I have come to love you, 

that turns me into a believer. 


Secretly, I’ve been saving a stash

when the government 


cuts us off— 

I promise to offer mine first.


Today I covered all the mirrors, 

not wanting to see 


my future staring back.

I always get lost in this joke, 


the one where I am sitting on your bed 

naked and completely cured and 


for a time, we don’t worry 

about policy or punishment or our dis-ease, 


just my wish to be painted up 

like something they won’t forget.


A masterpiece living forever,
a name you think of in every color.



Found Objects

We met in spring colder than usual 

A sun melted in our mouth  

The earth felt different after 

You caressed my bush 

I counted every freckle located on you


There were dinners with friends 

Polaroids later stained with coffee

That winter, my body broke 

You carried me to bed

Before you, no one had done that 


You drove me to the clinic 

I walked out of the lobby into a new life 

It came with a different type of instructions 

We took the medicine together, powder pink  

We kissed as it went down, eyes open 


That was a long time ago 

We were different people then 

Time is not a circle 

Time is a vase we hang onto 

While seasons pass through us





Collateral Damage

In bed you hold me down,

scent of sex outside

and the ash cloud raining.


I love the word bed

because it looks like one.


I love your name

because it looks like you

messy gorgeous lonely oh,


who says we haven’t met before

on a hillside of mustard and lilacs 

or a dark room with men

pulling us to our feet.


Our sadness travels

through the baritone of my belly

to the deep end of the docks

to the last leaf on a long stem

plucked from this ground.


Your hands find their way

to my openings as I caress 

your immaculate ear.


Our time anywhere

is a door half open

a grave we are always digging

for the lovers dying between us.





Dare Williams.jpg

Dare Williams

Pronouns: He/Him

4 Poems

Silent Footage: Keith Haring Dances

       with Basquiat

Found Objects

Collateral Damage

Space Invaders

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Space Invaders 2.png
Space Invaders 3.png

*"Space Invaders" was first published in issue 12 of Bending Genres.

A 2019 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, Dare Williams (he/him) is a Queer HIV-positive poet, artist, rooted in Southern California. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Best American Poets 2021, has been anthologized in Redshift 5 by Arroyo Secco Press and is featured in THRUSHNight Heron BarksExposition Review and The Shore and is forthcoming in The Altadena Review. He is at work on his debut poetry collection

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