Tuesday, April 26, 2016

National Poetry Month--Coyote in Black Leather

The 7th poem in my sequence of Coyote poems for #NationalPoetryMonth that I'm posting to this blog as a kind of serialized chapbook is "Coyote in Black Leather." I wrote this poem immediately after writing the poem, "Outside Your House at Midnight, Coyote" (posted here yesterday). This is one of the most popular and reprinted poems I've ever written.

After writing this poem, I began to envision a whole sequence of poems about the bad boy archetype as Coyote in human form. Coyote is the trickster, the troublemaker, and yet often an ally of humans, even as he tries to seduce and exploit them. That seemed a good match for the anti-hero that the bad boy figure in literature, film, and television so often turns out to be.


Coyote slides on black leather
over the T-shirt
that reins in biceps, shoulders, chest.
Dark jeans and biker boots cover the rest
of his long, lithe body as he invades
your everyday, suburban life
like a growl.
You avert your eyes, pretend
you don’t watch
his tight, hard body, his mocking face.
You know he’s bad, doesn’t belong.
Besides, seeing him makes your face too
red, your breath too
short, your bones too
soft, your clothes too
tight. You pretend
not to peek, don’t want him to catch you looking
at the hungry way he stares at you.
Coyote has no class.

Coyote is your secret.
You tell him it’s more exciting that way.
He lifts the eyebrow bisected by a scar and stares
you into silence. He knows
you’re ashamed. He thinks
you’re ashamed of him.
Coyote takes you
to dangerous places.
In dark, dirty bars, he threatens drunks
and fights to protect you.
Coyote takes you
where no one else can.
Coyote takes you
where you can’t admit you want to go.

Published in Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press, 2009)


  1. Oh, my. At what bar might I find Coyote? He is a poem!

  2. Liz, I don't know where he's currently hanging out. I've learned the hard way to avoid those places finally. ;-)