San Francisco (op. 0115) by Kevin Simmonds


Palms to my Theremin
the slow conjugation

of the body

I make animal sounds
if you hit it right

shake it to sequins

The plate glass of Twin Peaks
the thrown stone of that disease

one gay bar among the mythic arks

O to sing like Papa Walt
who never got here

I corroborate our unison

A pulse weakens
while another strengthens

Let them Zen

Smother my name
the verbs in my name

swallow my name



Kevin Simmonds is a San Francisco-based writer and musician originally from New Orleans. His writing has appeared in Asia Literary Review, Cincinnati Review, FIELD, jubilat, The Moth, Pank, and elsewhere. His second collection, Bend to it, appeared from Salmon Poetry in March 2014. He wrote the music for Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica, which won a 2009 Emmy Award, and Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey in Verse, both commissioned by the Pulitzer Center. Most recently, he received the Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner and a Creative Work Fund commission for the Japanese noh-inspired theatre work Emmett Till, a river. He lives in San Francisco and northern Japan.