Three Poems by Timothy Liu

Blind Date
By Timothy Liu

He slept with his back
towards me, a ladder
I’d learn to climb
even if it took till dawn—
we who wanted to live
past the expiration
date that was printed
on the condom wrapper
neither of us had
wanted to tear open—

Do Not Disturb
By Timothy Liu

Offshore salt lapping up against a lighthouse flashing red,
my husband next to me in a waterbed by the sea
with “Do Not Disturb” signs hung on every door—
my lover on the other side of the ocean, unable to tell
if the fog will roll out as the day’s first headlights
make their way down a coastal road as he texts me
a face I cannot touch, a mystical rose that keeps its own
scent. What good would it do to say I miss him
when saying nothing makes me miss him all the more?

I Need Your Body Near Me
By Timothy Liu

An ocean is nothing, there is no separation
between two lovers. And I knew just what
it took: six hours, two meals with a movie
in between, blinders over eyes, plugs in ears
as I tried to get some sleep. When I awoke,
I knew I’d crossed more than a time zone
for my body was always nearer to yours
than anyone else’s still sleeping in your bed—

About the Poet

Timothy Liu (Liu Ti Mo) was born in 1965 in San Jose, California, to parents from the Chinese mainland. He studied at Brigham Young University, the University of Houston, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

He is the author of Luminous Debris: New & Selected Legerdemain 1992-2017 (Barrow Street Books, 2018); Kingdom Come: A Fantasia (Talisman House, 2017); Don’t Go Back To Sleep (Saturnalia, 2014); Polytheogamy (Saturnalia, 2009); Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse (Talisman House, 2009); For Dust Thou Art (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005); Of Thee I Sing (University of Georgia Press, 2004), selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2004 Book-of-the-Year; Hard Evidence (Talisman House, 2001); Say Goodnight (Copper Canyon Press, 1998); Burnt Offerings (Copper Canyon Press, 1995); and Vox Angelica (Alice James Books, 1992), which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award.

About Liu’s work, the poet Fanny Howe has said, “Timothy Liu writes out of an angry materialism, ill-fitting body, disappointment at every turn. He takes on his point of view wholeheartedly and compresses the consequences into phrases that echo and mimic each other, thereby increasing the sensation of claustrophobia and fever.”

Liu’s honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize and the Open Book Beyond Margins Award. He is also the editor of Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, (Talisman House, 2000).

He has served as a core faculty member at Bennington College’s Writing Seminars and is currently an associate professor at William Paterson University. He lives in Manhattan.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

2 responses to “Three Poems by Timothy Liu

  • Steve

    My gosh, what great and powerful images through his words! Thank you! I love the “Blind Date” poem best of all with the image you included! I would love to be a ladder someone would climb up and down!

  • Joe

    I thought these were great poems too. I’m glad you approved of the image I used. I had a lot of debate about what the best image would be for these poems.

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