the last 72 hours

The sunset orange as it always is, the locomotives stern as usual, the umbrellas dependable the way they are. We were on holiday again, and you were burning up; your skin pale and salty, your feet shapely and alabaster. The bbq hot burned away loose char; the mosquitoes called a truce, they stapled it to cottage door: “your human blood disgusts us—spill it yourselves, on your own time.” And so we did: 280 burned to death in Paraguay. The seaweed tickled us, and then strangled us; the zebra mussels congregated and sliced sunfish to ribbons. I thought, there is strength in numbers. And cowardice too.

For ten hours I was inside a breeze; my toes talked to the grass, my nostrils full of mink shit and crayfish heads; the watermelon on my lips, the hot beef flayed to bits on a grill. Lake air breeds an appetite. But my skin always blushes in the sun, so I went back to the city. I drove the lake road, visited my new home. Empty and humid, with wood floor gleaming and ceiling scrubbed white - I like it that way. Though it won’t be empty long; soon my friends arrive, having met their Waterloo.

Orange again: terror alerts, policemen frantic, the grenade tossing paranoia, the yodel cocks, the village: velour-covered sacred scarred wraith-men with hook-hands and pig noses who whisper and cut dogs to pieces. (What contrived cinematic rubbish). In Little Portugal basements lies furniture borrowed from the abandoned shack: I stole your bedroom mirror and placed it lovingly it in my hall; I see you inside it each time I walk by . "You look just like me; like who I used to be, when we shared each other… you and me." What I mean is: I can’t tell what I look like anymore.

We wandered invisible to the edge, we crept underneath fingernails, we chewed on ice blocks and screeched chalk across tablets, but it was quite unnecessary: the truth was all over the front page – you can never keep a secret.

The parade in full swing on Lakeshore, black and brown and olive men jiving it, getting along, everything irie, nothing wrong; only three days of the year it’s like this. Otherwise it’s rat-tat-tat and the name-fame-blame-game; tribal domination, Jonesian competition, elation too little too late. You hear, a little boy drowned in a river yesterday? They ought to outlaw swimming in rivers, they should... They ought to outlaw idiots like that. For some of us, there'll never be enough reasons to shut up; for the rest, there is never enough kleenex.

But for you, you, I tear hair out of my body with aluminum tweezers, and the wounds leave little red marks all over my feet, but they disappear in hours--another well-groomed esthete. I am vainer than you know—it doesn’t show, I know—but I’ll be beautiful for you; I’ll glow like ruby when you see me; at the gate you’ll seize me; I want you to want to breathe me; I will even wear cologne.

And soon I will be home.

(I’m so lousy on the phone.)

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