It has occurred to me that in these final days of my life, with no spouse or heir to wait at my bedside for my final breath, that I should preserve in writing the few defining moments of my mediocre time on this Earth. While I doubt that anyone will be interested enough to read these entries, it seems wrong that one should pass from this plane of existence without leaving something behind. Unfortunately, as I reflect on my mundane existence, I realize that each defining moment is somehow connected to my late “friend” (for he would, until the end, recognize me as such, though I could not reciprocate the sentiment) Howard Foreman.
“Gold” is one of the poems featured in Periodic Boyfriends, a collection by Drew Pisarra (Capturing Fire Press). To be blond is to be bland is to bebetter is to be better than, betterthan silver […]
Cruisin’ down the road in her car — a pale blue slug slaloming along the blacktop sine wave. We head towards the gigantic red sun that swallows half the sky. Her hands are on the wheel, the polychromatic luster of her enameled nails keeps catching my eye. The windows are rolled down and her chin-length caramel hair is wild in the cool wind.
She has on an oversized off-the-shoulder cable knit sweater —her deeply tanned shoulders contrast against the ivory fabric. A huge pair of Gucci tortoise shell sunglasses with gradient tinted lenses obscure her eyes. She smiles and sings along with the radio to a song that doesn’t matter, except in this moment.
All I smell is ocean.
When he bites my skin,
I dream of how your teeth used to sink in.
These bites do not have your imprint.
I wish his hands would fit the way yours did around my neck,
But they’re not your yellow stained nails,
oh, how I used to hold them dear to my chest.
You used to say that the difference between falling in love and loving was paint. If you fall into a giant tub of paint, you’re covered in it — everything you touch will get an imprint of that color. But love is also an action: it is more akin to painting someone’s skin. If you’ve fallen into the tub of paint, any time you reach out to that person and touch them, you’ll be loving them. It’s inevitable. But if you’re outside of the tub, it becomes more of a conscious decision. You have to reach back into the tub to paint.
His name was Brandon, is what I remember, and he taught me everything I know about lightshaping.
I met Brandon when I was twelve. It was the first day of middle school and, as I approached the end of the single, off-pink painted building and the wide hallway with the four doors that would be our classrooms, from the shadows, Brandon appeared.
“Hey, you must be new,” he said and gave me his name.
His amber eyes, like two crystallized stars aglow in the night sky, and his soft, lunar smile invited me into his world. I’d never met someone so beautiful. I didn’t know what to do.
Holding herself together. Being enough. Keeping her womb comfy.
The last street before the IVF clinic. One foot and then the next. Walk steadily, with a light step. Careful. Avoid any cracks in the pavement which could cause a stumble.
Into the scarlet acorn Sam had plucked from the boughs he whispered, “I wish for love, beloved. I’m tired of the heartbreak. Please help me.”
As the ancestral tomes had instructed, Sam kneeled before the oak and he laid the offering on the fluffed earth. Gray tendrils broke the soil, buried the seed. Throbbing cracks of black earth laced over the auburn bark. Mud- and gold sap-coated roots twisted into legs, engorged into a torso and arms, then curled into a head. Liquid moothed into flesh and earth congealed into loose, black hair. A man appeared and the seed charred black as the moon.
“From the branches, I often watched you speak with my father and care for him,” said the man. “I’ve waited a long time to meet you.”
The experts said life would return to normal. They were wrong simply because, for most, a weary stasis had set in. Like pretty much everyone, my job had come to occupy nearly all my waking hours. But on that day, an inexplicable impulse propelled me to take a radical action. I went for a walk.
In the warmth of a summer afternoon, light sweat broke across my forehead and collected in my armpits, despite the shady, tree-lined street. Large, well-kept houses held silent vigil, shielding their unseen occupants from the outside world. After a couple of blocks, a woman walking her dog appeared on the opposite sidewalk. She kept her head down, though her little dog yapped at me. A little farther along, a landscaper snipped diligently at a hedge. He never looked up.