Mythical Man

In David Ly's debut poetry collection Mythical Man, he builds, and then tears down, an army of men to explore personhood in the 21st century. Tenderness, toxic masculinity, nuances of queer love, and questions of race and identity mix in Ly’s poetry, casting a spell that enters like “a warm tongue on a first date.” He challenges mainstream ideas of male beauty, gay sex, and Asian identity with fairytale themes, showing how racism still pervades in queer spaces. As a response to this, instead of the narrator asking "what about me?" in these poems, Mythical Man poses the question "what will I become?"


The salt on your cheeks
needs to be wiped away. To be honest,
the devil should not be remembered
only when he wants to be.

He’s there when you slip, lacerating
the bottoms of your toes
on barnacles, and he’s there
when you slurp back ice-cold oysters

on the shoreline, golden and hot
with citrus
running down your stubbled chin,
speckling the sand’s darkness.

Before you leave, be sure to stand
and limp over if you have to.
Find where the devil stands
in the water, a wading merman

from the waist up. He’ll bow,
patient and understanding,
forgiving and waiting
to kiss the tears from your cheeks.

In the Back of the Sunfire

The rubber is ripped off, tossed
somewhere at your feet. August feels
like it will go on forever
when I bite your bottom lip.

Shifting between wants and needs,
rocking back and forth on top,
I hope to know you by more
than the sweetness of your precum.

But when I catch my breath,
summer slips away
like the sensation of your body
sliding out of mine.

Nice to Meet You

                 this poem is not exotic
                 this poem is not exotic

these letters are not exotic
these words are not exotic

                 this poem is not exotic
                 this poem is not exotic

this mouth is not exotic
this voice is not exotic

                 this poem is not exotic
                 this poem is not exotic