Thursday, October 21, 2010

colors

I can see in color,
I can see stars,
I can steal cars,
and gas money to drive
and girls,
I can see boys
that look like girls
that look like boys.
I can see black shadows
made flesh,
hanging out,
and taking pictures
sweating in color,
blowing stars through
saxophones
into microphones
and algorhythms,
and micro tones
and whales songs chopped
into a million percussive phrases
broken down to morse code
transmitted across the ocean
an ocean of color, and change.
I can see in stereo,
I can see in color
and I can see stars,
all around me.

Summer Sets

He says he doesn't notice, but I don't believe him. The smell of sulpher is something you never stop noticing, like Bradford pear, or rancid meat coming out of the sink onto your dishes, out of the shower head onto your body, masking the smell of waste in the toilet bowl, overpowering any other aromatic sensation to the dull form of a purely nauseating smell. That's what comes out of the sinks in my grandparents 'summer ranch' house in far upstate New York. It's odd to me why they decided to relocate to somewhere so remote, not upstate New York in general, but this particular location. Perhaps they plan to die here. Perhaps they planned to die in Florida and it hasn't happened, so this is like a plan B, a safety net, just in case. Just as long as it doesn't happen in public. That's what matters. Keeping the furniture, floor, the counter tops, shower curtains totally spotless is what matters. It's always mattered. All dirt, grime, and unpleasantness kept as far away as possible. Maybe that's why they decided to settle on this house. No matter how clean it is, inside and out, whether it be body, or environment, there has to be a stench. Something ripe, organic, and powerful. Overwhelming, never to be gotten rid of. A kind of disembodied excrement that you wash things away with, like sweet vermouth, or bitters. Cheap vodka is also a good substitute. That's what He's taken to drinking for the past two years or so. I first noticed it in a half empty Gran Legacy bottle with the ominous type face, and the black label. Just like poison. Just like bad water, clear, odorless, but pungent. It's strange though. For as much as the water reeks when the dishes are soaking in it, and the smell takes only 5 seconds max to reach you no matter where you are, it doesn't taste bad. It's allegedly safe to drink. The drinkable water is too cold and hurts your teeth. The lake water, too filthy; pure and simple. Looking around at all the decorations they have (and like many octogenarians they have settled on a distinct aesthetic style that reached perfection sometime in the 1980's) everything is nautical. Clean, crisp, pastel, soft muted tones that play off each other. It's soothing and cool, especially on the water. But it doesn't make up for the lack of real, pure, potable water. Perhaps that's why they asked him to house sit while they were away, back in the world of plan A. Maybe they grew sick of his not having out grown his lust for their approval. He wonders why there aren't any pictures of us in the house. I've never thought of us, or me, as being black sheep, but I suppose if it's written all over your body, it's hard not to acknowledge it. Everywhere else, pictures of everyone else. Except for us. No brown pictures. Brown smelly water, but no brown boys in sweaters hanging on the wall. I think about this house. I think about him staying here. I think of their disgust with him, of their disgust for his need of love and approval from them. Their despising him for having placed them on such a high perch. I think that's why they asked him. It was either that or providence. They hoped perhaps, that with them gone, and all of their personal effects remaining, they would finally become just people, and be free. They hope he can see that they have had regrets, made mistakes, and done irreparable damage that they can't figure out how to stop perpetuating and now their being punished. That's why they let him stay here for so long. 'Look! This water smells like SHIT!!! Isn't that strange to you? Can't you see it?! We did it on purpose! It's penance, self sacrifice, and we want you to acknowledge that we have acknowledged our own regrets subtly. That we're sorry for inflicting hurt against you, turning you against yourself so that your greatest achievements can be undermined constantly with no effort on our part. We're the only ones who really know, and we're he only one's who can really release you, but we don't know how, or we don't really want to acknowledge the problem. So we'll just leave the house for a while. We threw you away, and now we're throwing ourselves away into the wide open corner of some rural little house by yet another managable lake. Don't drink our water, it's bad for you. You're too good for it. We're bad. We're just bad enough to deserve it. We dug a sink hole for you, and now we want to lie in it too. But not while you're around. Not while you're here. Not while the new neighbors can count how many times our cars are in the driveway together. We want to come back, and see you changed, so that we can finally be freed from our own guilt. Just as we were perfect on the outside as a family, on the inside there was something rotten. It smelled like booze, it smelled like bodies, and you didn't want to drink it. You didn't want to taste it, but we had no where to dump it, so we picked you, and now we acknowledge it.' It might be a rude prank, yet another time. It might be their attempt at subtle symbolism, but whatever the case, the water smells bad. I haven't showered since I've been here, and I won't before I leave. I will wait until I'm back at HIS house, where the bathroom is dirty, the stains are abundant, but the water is safe for drinking.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Last Kiss

I once lived in fear for 10 days,
far from home,
waiting anxiously by the phone,
carrying it with me everywhere,
hoping, praying
that every gust,
every involuntary twitch
of my thigh,
was her reaching back to me.
Checking in, letting me hear
that sweetness in her voice
yet again.

I returned not satisfied,
not at ease,
until I saw her again,
and could hold her against me,
and sigh that we were safe and together.

We ran for a bus,
just made it.
I can remember feeling her sigh
with a feeling of safety
against my shoulder
so that I could put my arm
around her and kiss her head.

I remember, I spent the last of the
money I came back with on two movie tickets,
and a large dinner to split.

We came back to my apartment,
she made fun of the novelty
mask of polished stones that I'd
purchased in the desert, because
the vendor wouldn't leave me alone,
and I didn't have the heart
to tell him to go away.

We sat there together for a while,
only briefly in the semi-darkness,
spoke little, but smiled, both of us,
together.

And when she rose to leave, I let her go.
And she let me hold onto her for a moment,
I put my hands around her waist,
and she bent down politely
and kissed me once, and the walls were cracked.
Twice, and the stones all melted.
The third time, I died,
and hovered above my body
watching her walk toward the door
as I breathed a sigh of
relief.