Poem: Anniversary

The big day started as big days do

with a whimper, exultant pulling from a bottle

bubbly of poison, morphing itself by the pound

into savage recompense for arrogant sins

that opened the door, for her to step through

calling me a loser, or maybe revealing

the truth of it, that I cannot shield a viper

from its own poison, but she stares at me

with hurt and disappointment, shivering at loving hands

as they caress the past, calling it a lie.

 

This poem was supposed to be about

the night of a chilly wind, smelling sparkle

dots on all sides while we fell

into each other, on the sidewalk

half a decade to the day ago, but I am poison

piss and blood, ruining everything

because I’m a fuck up

less than suitably whatever, swiping at spider

webs, hands not hot enough

to do any good, the legs and the poison

are everywhere, horrifying with love, hate, and history

in equal measure, the links of covalence.

 

Also called codependence, and it makes me

sick every time I fail her, giving her less

always than what she asks, calling it a need

moves me not into the greatness

over the horizon, is this fear or incompetence

I wonder, or maybe it is bitter

punishment for every insult paid

me by a callow cur, as it serves

her right to treat me this way, I will rise

to expectations, eventually I hope

someday, but in the fire of her eyes

I see a skunk, turning and raising its tail.

 

Five years in I disappoint the day

with truckloads of bullshit, but she caresses

my face and digs in my back

with pleasure, gazing down

a gentle spell cast wordless

soothing sounds, omit the logic

leaving me with love, future fumbles

await me as a flogging scourge, and I’m ready

so bring it on, forever onward, I’ll never turn

back, onward to the future sun.

Poem: Anniversary

Sylvester (volume 7)

As I lay beside Sonia and covered her with my bare arm, for the first time in my life I had a dream in which I could fly.

I sailed above sand dunes in a desert, skimming just over their crests.  I whistled through the air at increasing speed, and had the sense that I needed to hurry, and feared that for some reason I would be late.  I didn’t know what my deadline was, but I sensed my time was almost up.

I hurried as best I could, and as my speed increased I began to feel that I would make my deadline, whatever it was.  There was a single great sand dune ahead of me, bigger than all the others, but as I approached its pinnacle, the ability to fly suddenly left me.  I plummeted down toward the sand, and at the moment I hit the ground, I started awake with a loud cough.

“You’re up?”  Sonia quested from the kitchen, where she sat at the small table eating a plate of eggs and toast.  “You slept for a while, you were tired, huh?”

I sat up and yawned, raising my hands as high as I could behind my back.  I swung my legs over the side of the bed and felt cold linoleum under my bare feet.  My eyes shot open and my spine straightened.  I trotted into the kitchen and took the seat opposite Sonia.  “I guess, what time is it?”

“Two,” Sonia said, crunching into her toast.  “Hungry?”

I said “Yeah” as I grinned, anticipating a tasty breakfast.

Sonia likewise smiled, pointing towards the stovetop at the laid-out components of a growing breakfast.  “There’s the eggs, bread, the toaster, and here’s the butter,” she indicated to a small dish at the center of the table.  “You know what to do, I’m already eating.”  She sat up in her seat with an impish grin on her lips, pointing at things with her fork.

I silently made my way to the stove top, cracked a couple eggs, and dropped their insides in a pan.  “Did you sleep?” I asked, over my shoulder.  I wanted it to seem as though what was happening was completely normal to me, and no big deal.

“Yeah,” she answered simply.  I breathed a grateful sigh of relief.  She’s playing it cool too, I thought.

I flipped my eggs with the spatula to my left and turned to the right, watching Sonia through the edge of my vision.  “Good,” I said, raising my two eggs over hard out of the pan with the spatula.  I placed my plate of eggs onto the table and joined it with a piece of toast, onto which I began to spread butter.  “So what’s up for you today?”

As I started to ask the question I could tell by the wrinkles in her nose that it was annoying to Sonia.  “I don’t know, what do you care?”  Her left eyebrow elevated slightly, indicating what could have been incredulity, but was more likely bitterness.

“I don’t know. . .” after this first phrase I let a pause hang in the air.  I thought about what I should say, and then I remembered our conversation from the night before.  “I care because I guess because I like you, whaddya want me to say?”

Sonia stepped towards the sink and began to slap her palms down on the counter to the side off it, laughing uproariously.  “Oh yeah,” she leaned over the sink and turned her head around to look in my eyes.  She smiled softly, as if grinning on her own in a private moment, and then lightened the mood with a joke. “Did we ever find a dick in the sky last night?”  As she said the word “dick” the teeth in her grin shined like the whites in her eyes and warmed my heart.

“No,” I said, returning her smile with my own as I did, “We can’t see stars in the city.”

“Right, of course,” said Sonia, taking the seat at the table opposite me.  We both ate our meals slowly, inspecting each other’s faces, staring into each other’s eyes.  “I bet if we could we would find dicks all over the place, though.”

I returned her comment with barely a pause, as if I were reciting written dialogue.  “I imagine cavemen did.”  I slowly took a bite of my toast.  “They probably saw whatever they dreamt about in the night sky.”  As I spoke I thought about the way that, in the past, before even literature, human imagination had to be ignited by perceived patterns in the stars.

“The stars were their TV, I guess,” Sonia chuckled to herself.  I couldn’t remember ever meeting anyone who chuckled as much as she did.  “I bet there’s lots of swastika’s up there too.”

I cackled furiously, and as we continued to discuss constellations, each of us burst into laughter over and over again.  We imagined seeing written messages in the stars like “WASH ME” or “FOR A GOOD TIME CALL—“ as well as comic tableaus that told stories of people falling on their faces.  Our discussion went on and on, accompanied by rising and falling waves of laughter, until I finally looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was 4:03.

“It’s four already,” I said, smiling wide and flashing Sonia the most tender eyes I could.  “We’ve been talking for hours.”

Sonia, who’d just been sitting on the front room’s couch, yawned and stretched out onto her back.  “Yeah,” she said, allowing her voice to fade away as she stared at the ceiling.

“Yeah,” I parroted, thinking about all the things we could do together.  I imagined us as a private-eye team in the twenties; some cuckoo dame could come to us saying that she thinks her husband is cheating on her, but we would find something far more nefarious.  Or maybe we could be lovers and artists in 19th century France, discussing the signals god sends us through the clouds.  I could feel myself falling in love, for real, and then being in love.

I’d fallen in love in the past, or anyway I’d felt that great pain plenty, but I called it love only because of the cliche that “love hurts.”  This was the type of love I’d grown accustomed to, the unrequited variety.  This type of love is very sad, powerfully disruptive, and completely selfish.

I call this type of love selfish because when love is unrequited the loved figure ceases to be her own being, in my mind, and becomes my personal object of desire.  This both strips her of her own identity, and means that she can only become a symbol of pain in my life.  But now it seemed that I might actually get to “be” in love for a time, and I was excited to find out what that would be like.

As I sat on Sonia’s front room couch looking out the window, I daydreamed, allowing my conscious mind to flit around wherever it wanted.  “Have you heard back from your mom?”

Hearing Sonia’s question was like stepping on a bear trap, and I was instantly curled in pain.  Oh no, my inner monologue screeched, I forgot.  “No, I should probably head back home.”  I said coolly, as if everything were going splendidly and to plan, but inside I was a nasty cyclone.

You idiot, I cursed at myself silently through clenched teeth.  While trying to seem calm and in-control, I clutched at my right thigh as hard as I could, feeling the shape of the bone in my thigh.  She could be dead by now you useless, fucking loser.

“I’m in a show at Gallery Cabaret tomorrow,” Sonia chirped brightly, unaware of the emotional iron lung I was in.  “It’s a stupid kinda show, basically an open mic really, but you could come, the show’s at eight.”

“Eight o’clock, tomorrow?”  I spoke, thinking that I might not make it, because my mom might be dead.  “I dunno, might be working’ late at the store, Tuesday’s our inventory day.”

“Oh okay,” she said, chirpy as ever and showing me a smile.  Her cute, lovely eyes made me wonder why I’d lied to her.  Tuesday wasn’t our inventory day, and I didn’t understand why I’d claimed it was.  I said something nonspecific about hanging out later that day and got out of there.  I had one concern: I’d been away from my normal life for too long, and I needed to see about it.

Before I could look back on my own mind and guess why I’d become such a liar, I slipped my shoes on and hustled out the door.  I stalked onto the sidewalk in a big hurry to get home.  As I sensed a matt of flop sweat on my forehead I imagined that I probably looked disheveled, desperate and lashing out at the world with passion.

I half-grinned as I hurried along in my khaki’s, huffing and puffing in rhythm with the sound the legs of my pants made rubbing together.  ShvooBAH.  My fat little stub legs made this sound as they crushed into each other with a crazy rhythm.  It wasn’t more than maybe ten paces of this hurrying bullshit that my inner thighs felt like they would burn off.  But just as the pain seemed a bit too much, like my pants would literally catch on fire, I found the strength to go on.  I knew, as I saw Welles Park, which was about the midpoint between Sonia and I, I for the first time felt that maybe I would actually make it.

 

The pain was great and liberating.  My legs burnt and I breathed smoke.  I had collapsed onto one of the benches outside an organized middle school soccer game at Welles Park.  As I sat there panting and coughing, watching little kids run and run, my head dropped, planting my eyes on the sidewalk beneath me.  I closed my eyes, folding my hands between my knees.  I grimaced, bearing my teeth and emitting a painful groan; what was I thinking?

As had happened frequently during my life so far and was likely to continue happening for the foreseeable future, I raged at myself without understanding why I’d done what I’d done.  It was the right thing to do, I decided, to leave Sonia’s home for my own, as it may have been, but I shamed myself for doing it in such a sudden and unexplained fashion.

I considered going back, ringing her doorbell and waiting just outside for the door to open.  With the door open, I’d have been free to shower Sonia with kisses to my hearts’ content, but I realized in the middle of this thought that it would have been a terrible idea.  I calmed myself down, assured as I was  that Sonia really did like me.  I regretted leaving her as abruptly as I had, but I felt we’d really made a real connection, and that our connection could last for the foreseeable future.

I stood up from the bench and trotted home, the tension melting off my cheeks.

As I walked out of the park, my pace slowed greatly and I inspected every pile of leaves I came across, wandering over expanses of grass in lazy loops.  I retrieved my phone from my pocket and called my mom once again, expecting her to answer and place an order.  It was at that point around 4:30, and I knew that it was around this time on most days that my mother is overcome by a need to buy some liquor.

I rolled my eyes as I heard the start of the first ring, expecting my mom to pick it up after only a couple rings.  When she did not, and the answering machine picked up, I left a pointless message.  “Hey mom, how’s it going?”  I don’t know why I asked questions like this one frequently in voicemail messages, but I always have.  “Yeah anyway, so I had a great night last night and I hope you did too.  I’ll be home in just a few minutes, see you then.”

Theree was no real reason to leave such a message, when I could have just hung up.  I was suddenly gripped once more by the tremendous fear that I might discover my mother’s corpse.  As I turned onto my street, and stared down the long row of houses to the end of the block, my pace quickened again.

I thought about finding my mother dead on the floor, in front of the TV, with a line of drool trailing from the edge of her mouth.  Along with my fear that my mother could be dead when I arrived home came the sad realization that perhaps she’d be better off.  She’d been hurtling downwards into despair for as long as I cared to remember.  My biological father’s death, which occurred when I was only two years old, effected her more greatly, I think, than she ever let on.  Maybe if I found her dead, I realized, I could believe that she is once again with her love.

Of course, I don’t really believe that.  I believe after you die you will probably spend most of your time underground, and that’s about it.  If my mom died while I was out, I realized, then I wouldn’t get to tell her about Sonia, and that would mean that my mother died believing that I was lonely; and without anyone.  This fear more than anything, terrified me.  I’d been excited to tell her about Sonia the next time she was sober, but she could have died while I was out.

This possibility gripped my spine and pulled me forward, causing me to sprint down the final half-block, coming to a rest before my front steps.  As I slowed to a halt, my shoulders fell forward and I placed my hands on my knees.  Doubled over, I gasped for air as quickly as I could, believing that more air would stifle the pain in my legs.  I rarely run, because when I run my legs burn like the devil.

I moved slowly up my front steps and put my key in the lock.  I began to feel very powerful and conflicting emotions about what I might find inside.  I feared the grief that would overtake me when I saw that my mother was dead.  Though through my fear of the great sadness I would feel upon discovering my mothers’ death, I also anticipated great relief.  I thought a calming might overtake me, and it might be awesome.

This thought, that my mom’s death would be great, added a sharp layer of guilt onto my mess of emotions.  This type of guilt is very familiar to co-dependents like me, it is the guilt of not making sure your addict has enough of their preferred drug.  I didn’t need to worry, though, because when I opened the door and walked in, I saw my mother snoring, passed out on the couch.

As I’d long claimed to suspect, though actually I knew, my mother had several small bottles of vodka hidden around the house.  “Hidden” isn’t the right word.  I’d just say they were placed around my house, and while I was out my mother’ed downed a few.

She lay, passed out on the couch in the front room of my house, and I sighed theatrically, as if there was someone to complain to.  She snored loudly as I slowly approached to guide her into her bed, but before I did I noticed Scrabble was out and set up.  My mother had even put two words on the board, opposite each other; one for me and one for her.  I smiled, because this was the same shit she always pulled when we played Scrabble.

It was a joke we shared.  She’d set up a game of Scrabble for us, and she would place our first words.  Her first word would just be a random jumble she made on the spot, and my first word would always be something unbelievably good like “ZOMBIFY” or “PACKWAX.”  She would then say that these two words were completely random, and this meant that I began the game leading by one hundred and fifty points.

I never once bought it, though, and I would shake my finger at her.  I imagine I was probably really cute when I was five years old, sneering at my mother and scolding her.  “No cheating,” I would say, demanding that we draw again.  We would draw again, and she would absolutely destroy me.  I never was able to beat her, and I never will, because I don’t count it as a win unless neither player passes out before the end of the game.

My left hand rose to cover my mouth as I began to cry, softly and only a little before I was able to jam it back down my throat again.  Another wave of tremendous guilt overtook me, as I remembered leaving a message saying that I’d be home soon, and even suggesting a game of Scrabble “like old times.”  I thought this indicated that she was also excited about Scrabble, and that I’d driven her to drink by not coming back when I said I would.

I imagined her on the couch, setting up Scrabble, sitting and waiting.  Who knows how long she waited, but she waited.  I resented her to my core, for creating the circumstances that led me to feel tremendous guilt that I’d not made it home in time to play Scrabble with my mom.  She’d have been drunk anyway, I told myself, lifting my mother from the couch and guiding her into her bed.

She was very heavy, like me, and I wasn’t in great shape especially after the walk.  I regretted carrying her all this way, because I could have dragged her or just left her on the couch.  Grunting and straining, I put her over my shoulder and dumped her on her bed, collapsing next to her sideways over the mattress.  I realized then that I would love a sandwich, so I was off to make one.

Heading to the kitchen, I was excited by the possibilities.  Open-faced grilled cheese with bacon on top!

Sylvester (volume 7)

Sylvester (Volume 4)

“What!?” I coughed theatrically, almost like a rim shot, in response to Sonia’s proposal.  After my mind cleared the initial shock, I remembered my mother, and that she was most likely waiting for my call.  “Oh I almost forgot, I have to call my mom.”

Sonia’s face drooped and her eyes sunk.  “Oh o-okay um, you can use the kitchen.”  She pointed to the room with white walls.

Immediately I realized how disappointing my response to her proposition must have been, and I felt really bad about it for both of us.  Sex was right in front of me, all I needed to do was step forward and take this opportunity to have it.  Instead I stalked to the kitchen.

I was kicking myself, for I knew the only thing for me to do would be to walk back over to Sonia and kiss her.  As the kitchen door closed behind me and I heard it latch shut, I slid the phone from my pocket and called my mom.

After a few rings, she answered.  “What!?”  Mom was drunk, she probably had hidden liquor in the house and tricked me into leaving so that she could drink it alone.  This wasn’t a new trick for her.

I could hear her anger in response to my call, and it made me far angrier than she had been.  I was calling for her, because she wanted cereal, so what right did she have getting pissed?  I indicated my frustration with my tone.  “What!?  What, you wanted cereal right?  I didn’t come back yet, it’s been like two hours, aren’t you worried?”

I waited for her to say something, but the next thing I heard was a long, faint groan.  She followed the groan with a pause that drew on.  “I-I-I, um. . ..”

I hung up the phone.  I felt a rush of anger flow down my arm and into my right fist, and I drove it as hard as I could into my left thigh, bending over slightly as I did.  This was a habit I’d gained in childhood, and it was a good way to release frustration.

The pain in my leg allowed me to focus myself and calm down.  I considered where I was and what was going on.  I settled my mind and my body.  I realized that I could hear laughter coming from the other room.  Sonia’s laugh was distinctive and percussive.

The kitchen door opened into a living room with a dining table that flowed directly into a small breakfast nook.  The breakfast nook consisted of a large couch opposite a flat-screen TV, where we had just been talking.  The couch was now occupied by Jason and Jacob, Sonia’s young tenants, as well as a large blue bong.

Okay, fine.  It’s Sunday, Mom’s already drunk, I can spare a couple hours.  So, using this reasoning to draw me, I decided to get high with Sonia and her tenants.

So we got high, and it was great.  It was the most fun I’d had in a long time, and I don’t regret it a bit.  That said, I was kicking myself for hours, having whiffed on the opportunity for sex.  She had actually said, ‘I kind of wanted to have sex with you,’ and I whiffed.  It was privately humiliating.  I told her that I had to call my mom “real quick.”  I suppose I did have an excuse that would have made my behavior less perplexing had I given it:  “I’m sorry, my mom’s an alcoholic and I’m co-dependent.”  I’ve sometimes thought that a line like this might actually be alluring to certain types of females, but I’ve never had the balls to test this hypothesis.

It is best for all relationships to begin as honestly as is comfortable, and legal.  This means no questions that denote how far you’ve “Come” in your life.  Questions like “What do you do?” or “How many children do you have?” are absolutely banned.  Sonia made this very clear, however I was able to gather some information.

A few things I learned about Sonia Esposa when I got high with her and her tenants: First: She is a stand-up comedian.  This could mean a lot of things, some of them good, some of them bad.  As she put it to me, “[she’s] kinda new but [she’s] starting to get a little known by some.”

Second: She is divorced, and she does have a child she doesn’t know or live with, but gave it up for adoption when she was an unwed teen mother.  The divorce came several decades later, and their were no children involved.

Third: She is intensely focused on truth.  Focused, not necessarily on honesty, but on truth.  She said she hated the way there is a set of standard social behaviors that everyone is expected to participate in, and a set of behaviors that put people off and make them uncomfortable.  Sonia hated any and all “social contracts,” and thought them wastes of time.

Fourth: She is extremely sexy.  To see her bright teeth flash under her smooth upper lip as it expands up and out is incredibly alluring.  Her body is a delicious collection of circles; neither too many nor too few.

I was most interested in her stand-up comedy.

What I found out from Sonia about it is that though it sometimes is a nightmare, stand up comedy is one of the most exhilarating things a person can do.  She claimed to love stand up, and that she was hosting an open mic that night.  The open mic was to take place at Lincoln Square Lanes, the same bar/bowling alley where we’d met the night before.

“Isn’t that place a bowling alley?”  I asked, before instantly regretting the directness of my question, as though she would be embarrassed.

Instead, she slapped her left thigh with her right hand, laughing.  “You should come by, mic starts as 9:00 but I’m usually there by 7:30 to set up.

Immediately I said “Yeah, I’ll see you there.”  It was almost magical, the way nothing will happen for a long long time, until you start to wonder whether anything romantic will ever happen in your life again.  And I didn’t dwell on the grand opportunity for sex that I’d squandered, because I knew I was nervous, and for the first time in a long while, it appeared there would be more opportunities.

Anyway that was what I assumed, leaving Sonia’s house for home around 4:30, having laughed and rejoiced with these new people I now considered my friends.  The exhilaration of new friends, as well as the sexual proposition I’d nonsensically turned down each had me bouncing my way home.

I felt like I was riding on top of a huge rubber ball, skipping along the ground as it went.  Suddenly it dawned on me, I hadn’t spoken to my mom since I’d hung up on her, and what if our conversation had driven her to drink beyond her limit?  I didn’t know what her limit was, but I hoped my rudeness had not caused her to push past it.

The closer I got to my house the greater my dread became.  Imagining that my mother was at that moment either succumbing to alcohol poisoning or hanging herself in a closet, I sprinted the final half-block leading up to the door.  Before I even got there, I was kicking myself for being so selfish as to leave my mother alone for so long in the middle of the day.

pe

“Mom!  Mom?”  I slammed the door open, driving the doorknob into the wall.  Seeing nothing in the entranceway, I rushed into the living room.  The TV was on, showing the end of Judge Judy as it led into the local news, and my mother was lifeless on the couch.  Lifeless, except for the fact that she was snoring loudly.

Anger shot through me with instantaneous pain, and I almost lashed out at my mother, as I wanted to scream at her for ruining my opportunity with Sonia.  Of course she hadn’t ruined anything.  Clearly I’d screwed up my own opportunity for sex, and I couldn’t blame anyone.

Anyway that wouldn’t have been a good way to start a relationship, or so I’ve been told, so I told myself I was fine with it.  As I plopped into the recliner next to the couch, my mother’s pleasant, droning snore caused a faint smile to break across my lips.  For the next several hours, I watched TV while my mother lay passed out on the couch.

This was something that had happened many times before, me watching TV with my mom passed out on the couch, almost like it was some kind of sick tradition.  But this time, my mind was alive and excited.  I ran through all the possibilities for the future that I could think of.

I thought about the fact that me and Sonia had been hitting it off, and every conversation that we had left me wanting more.  When she’d told me not to apologize for something that wasn’t my fault, I’d felt blood rush up into my penis.  I don’t intend to be vulgar, but facts are facts.  Blood rushed into my penis and it became erect.

The fact is that I sat for a solid hour and a half with a raging boner, thinking of the way she’d cut through the bullshit and made that magical Sunday afternoon happen.  It wasn’t magical, really, and I might have really screwed up when I reacted to Sonia’s proposition the way that I did.

I hoped I hadn’t screwed up, and I didn’t think I had screwed it up, but I knew that just considering the outcome implies its potentiality, so I might have screwed it up.  But then I remembered that for the last three hours or more, me and Sonia had been hanging out as friends, and from friend to lover was an easy jump to make, in some cases at least.

I think me and Sonia’s was a case in which shifting from friend to intimate lover happens quickly and easily, or could.  And I’d missed my opportunity.  I raised my fist and crumpled it again painfully into my left thigh.  An involuntary groan slipped out of my mouth, and in that moment my mom began to stir.

She inhaled sharply and repeatedly, snorting and honking in between.  This was a pattern of behavior she repeated every time she woke up, and though I had once found it funny, it bored me now.  I rolled my eyes.  “Hey Mom,” I paused waiting to see if she’d opened her eyes.  She opened her eyes and smiled, “How’a you doin’?”

I tried to make my words slip out syrupy and sickeningly sweet, emphasizing their sarcasm with every overemphasized syllable.  Of course, my mom just groaned and gurgled, belching just for good measure before speaking.  “Sylvester,” she stood before me, blocking my view of the TV from the recliner.  “Whatta you want to eat tonight?  I’ve got some macaroni.”

“Yeah macaroni’ed be great, I’m goin’ out tonight.”  I was proud of myself, as I had cool news my mom was sure to enjoy.  My mother was very interested in my romantic life, and I was sure she would be delighted to hear about Sonia, but I didn’t feel like she’d earned details.

“Oh-you goin out?”  As she asked me about my plans in her own way, she kept busy heating up the macaroni.  “Who’re ya going out with?”

“This girl Sonia I met today at Dominick’s.  We talked a little then I spent a few hours at her house.  She lives over on Gunnison, I think.”

I tensed, forcing myself not to laugh thinking about the hurricane that must have been going on in my mother’s head, trying to remember if she’d ever met a Sonia.  I glanced up at my mother as she put shredded taco cheese on cold macaroni and heated it up in the skillet for me.

I knew, once I’d glanced at her, that she wasn’t going to ask me any questions.  I thought about it, and I realized that she’d spent the whole day drunk, basically, and she couldn’t really hear me at all.  She was either smashed and only barely noticing what was going on around her, or she was sober and pissed.

As selfish as I know the sentiment is, I sometimes think I’d prefer if she just got drunk every night.  If she did that I could feel free to stop worrying about her because there’d be no point.

Instead the two of us sat and stared at the TV for a couple hours.  Sitting right next to each other as I flipped from channel to channel, I had no idea whether she was awake or asleep.  I became part of the couch until 7:45, when I put on my shoes and left for the bowling alley.

Just before I left I glanced back at my mother, slumbering peacefully as the light from the TV made shapes on her face.

 

https://andrewhalteromniblog.com/2016/05/30/sylvester-volume-3/

https://andrewhalteromniblog.com/2016/05/16/sylvester-volume-2/

https://andrewhalteromniblog.com/2016/05/09/sylvester-volume-1/

Sylvester (Volume 4)

Poem: What they Did

I don’t know what she’s thinking, circles and star wand

waving speaks volumes but not to me

because probably, I don’t know what it does

or did, garble roaring from beyond and behind recalling

poison prejudice and misting it around, but that’s only me

living in past fantasy short stories I scribbled

on bathroom walls, but prison shower brawls

are titilating so never mind because that’s what ignited

all of my phallus fulcrum tilting face first

into fantasy, so maybe that’s her too, maybe.

Her name was Samantha.

 

I describe what I am as parts and pieces missing,

that’s all there is really and you’re all just weird

about it, no never mind is more than I’ll go, thinking over

what quote unquote nature puts as my outline

in this reality but it’s only rules, so they can fuck me

over with a penis, but I am what I am and that’s all

that I am a woman is all that I know and I can’t

live this way anymore so I won’t, and that’s all they need

to know, is that I am a woman, and have ever been.

His name was Jeremy

 

Jeremy and Samantha burning lake of laughter

fuels a fire, an ignition inferno expanding and licking

all the lips, in and out shimmy shammy and they both loved

the inner body, licking his and her arteries exploring

each and every option of all possible permutations,

but then he discovered what she used to be and he laughed

and said that he knew, and that they should do

what they were made to do and so they did.

They made love and it was cool.

Poem: What they Did

Sylvester (Volume 3)

3.

I thought a lot about the moment when Sonia told me not to apologize.  It was assertively kind, forcefully soft, and incredibly sexy.  I thought about the way her nose had flared as she said “Stop it,” and the way her cheeks had been kinda flushed like she was excited too.

There was a dusk to her face, I guess I would say.  It was exotic smokiness.  Maybe one of her parents was an Arab, or an Ashkenazi Jew, or maybe even South American.  Her eyes were slightly almond shaped and her casual bob hairstyle was thrown apart, wavy and black.  Her eyes were a hazy brown and I could not help but notice the collar of her shirt was a bit undone, displaying a more-than healthy shock of cleavage.

In my life, I’ve found few things as provocative as cleavage.  Sonia’s cleavage was what I might’ve called “hot,” like two pillowy-soft pound cakes with a matt finish  As I followed her to her house, which she’d assured me was just a few blocks away, I thought about what was happening in an excitedly detached way.

An attractive woman who appeared to be in her late thirties was leading me to her dwelling, where the two of us would “party.”   First of all, this was absolutely unprecedented, and I needed to acclimate to this new social landscape immediately.  I wondered what the word “party” had meant, and every possibility excited me.

Had she meant to imply that we would have sex?  I had had sex before, a couple of times in college and a few times since, but it had been a very long time.  It had been so long I didn’t even think about it anymore, or anyway that’s what I told myself.  Sexual desire is such an unconscious thing that I have no way of knowing whether I thought about sex all the time or hardly at all.  The psychologists say all the time, and they’re probably right.

So I wondered, if I were called upon to perform, would I rise to the challenge?  The possibility that I would not be able perform sexually scared me enough that I decided I would not have sex that night, even if it were offered.

I would refuse sex once, however, if sex was offered a second time, I would give it a shot.  Imagining Sonia offering me sex not once but twice made a slow smile tickle across my lips.  It felt possible.

“You’re not gettin’ any,” Sonia said, making me slightly disappointed, and far more comfortable.  Her eyes beamed up at me, and noticed the growing grin on my lips.  “Of course, anything’s possible.”  She smiled wide, opening her mouth as wide as it would go as she guffawed.

I looked away from her and stared straight forward, thinking that I should say something.  I didn’t say anything for what felt like a long time, or anyway long enough that I thought Sonia might feel embarrassed.  “Uh, um, uh—“ searching for words and considering the possibilities rendered me mute, like a mumbling idiot.

“Relax, there’s no pressure.”  As Sonia said these heavenly words she grinned sweetly and leaned her shoulder against mine, nestling the crook of my elbow against her palm and fingers.  “We’re just gonna hang out, and maybe you’ll meet my roommates.”

Roommates?  I figured that I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.  As I considered what this woman in her late thirties would be doing living with multiple people she called her roommates, I realized that I had one of my own.  Oh shit, mom!  “As soon as we get to your place, I gotta make a call real quick, if that’s okay.”

“Yeah that’s fine,” as Sonia paused before asking her next question, I realized what it was likely to be, and instantly dreaded it.  “Who ya gonna call?”

I knew I had to think fast, so I glanced at the catalog of references in my mind for a way to deflect the question without answering it.  I didn’t want to tell her so soon that I lived with my mother.  Luckily, I saw my best option instantly.  “GhostBUSTERS!

Sonia laughed for a while in a way that appeared genuine.  I figured it probably was, either in a genuine or an ironic way, real laughter.  As her laughter began to die down, she wiped her mouth with her forearm and chortled slightly, before returning to her question.  “No, seriously, who ya gonna call?  Your wife?”

“I don’t have a wife,” I responded instantly.  I considered briefly lying to her, saying that I should call my ex-wife to ask about our son or something, anything to avoid admitting to her that I still lived with my mother.  Thinking about it, though, I realized that Sonia’s situation seemed odd enough that I wouldn’t expect her to judge.  “I live with my mother, and she might get worried about me.”

I watched Sonia nervously out of the sides of my eyes, anticipating spirited chuckling or something, but I couldn’t detect any affect at all in her expression.  She just said “Okay,” but I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, and had to clarify Sonia’s understanding of the situation.

“She lives with me, I mean, I mean I look after her, I guess.”

Sonia shot back almost immediately.  “It’s cool, there’s no judgements.”  We walked up the few steps to her front door she remarked flippantly, as if it meant nothing, “I have a ten-year-old son.”

I was taken aback by this information.  I stood behind her, stunned and still, as she unlocked her front door.  “Don’t worry,” she said glancing back at me with a devious grin, “The kids don’t usually bite, just don’t make any sudden moves.”  She cackled as she slid her key into the lock and turned it.

 

When I was walking up the stairs behind Sonia and she was looking back at me laughing, my heart started beating a little faster.  I mean it must have, because I was breathing much harder.  I focused, believing that this moment could become monumental to me in the future, either for good or ill.

This could be the moment I met her, the woman who could change my life.  As Sonia unlocked and opened her front door I thought about everything she had told me about her life.  There wasn’t really much to consider, I began to realize  She told me she had roommates, and that she had a ten year-old son.  Was her son being playfully referred to as a “roommate?”

Thinking of it, I wondered whether this decision I was making was a huge mistake.  Could I be walking into my own linoleum-sided mausoleum, acting like a new father or older-brother role model for some rugrat miscreants?  I thought that Sonia might be a harried single mother angling for domestic support, and if this were the case, It probably wouldn’t be all bad.

I could pal around with a little kid, I bet it would be fun.  And if a youngster came to look up to me, or rely on me for emotional support, it could conceivably be emotionally transformative.

But as soon as I entered Sonia’s front door, a puff of smoke floated into view above the couch opposite the TV.  On the couch were two young adults, whom I guessed were college students, and I could smell that they were smoking weed.

I detected the odor of marijuana as I followed Sonia into the house and it took me back to my college days.  I’d smoked a fair amount of what the adults used to call “dope,” but it had never really been my thing.  Seeing the smoke, she said, casually, “Oh goddamnit, guys, already?”

The one on the left giggled a bit, “Already.”  They simultaneously erupted into cackles of a kind I remembered from discussions of John Cale and The National Lampoon.

“These are my roommates,” Sonia said, walking past me into the house and opening a side door.  “Jacob and Jason, I call them the J’s.”

Jacob and Jason erupted into giggles when Sonia called them the J’s, which I suppose had been her plan, because as they giggled she tried to whisk me up to her room as fast as she could.  It wasn’t fast enough, as after us I heard her young “roommates hoot and holler, with one of them yelling “you go girl” at the top of his lungs.

Sonia was beat red, and she almost seemed as though she was having a breakdown.  I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but the effect that this set-upon, untamed world seemed to be having on her was very alluring.  I imagined her as I saw her, all wide eyes and gasping, clutching at shining moist collar, her lips open slightly pushing the air out softly but as hard as she could.

“Kids, ya know?”  She said as she closed the door and turned into her front entrance way.  Sonia’s apartment seemed full and fully-appointed.  The couch and the chairs around the dining room table seemed lived in, as though they were often moved and sat upon.

I was waiting for her to tell me who the young adults smoking weed downstairs were, but she was just concerned with entertaining.  “Take a seat, I’ll get us a couple drinks, vodka-tonics good?”

“—Oh, uh, okay, thanks.”

Sonia turned and confidently stalked into the kitchen, allowing the door to swing closed behind her.  I sat on the couch, and having seen the cable remote on the coffee table adjacent, I reached for it.

It was a familiar remote to the one I had at home, so I turned the TV on and leaned back, staring into it.  I heard the familiar opening tones of The People’s Court’s theme song burst from the television’s speakers.  This reminded me that my mother was waiting for the cereal I’d said I would get a while ago, as well as any surprise liquor she might have assumed I would get for her.

This concern was was swept aside the moment Sonia burst back into the room holding two tall glasses of clear liquid, each filled with ice and holding a lime wedge on its rim.  “Here is yours and here is mine,” she said before sipping from her glass and holding my glass out for me.  “So, I saw you in the bar last night, why didn’t you just come over, I wanted you to.”

I sipped my drink and was caught by her eyes again.  She wanted me too?  I never would have guessed that.  I reminded myself to keep steady, and not to show her how exciting all this was to me.  “Oh well, I don’t know, I guess I was tired, musta been drunk.”

“Nah,” Sonia began, chuckling as she did.  “you weren’t drunk, you just left.  Sorry I insulted you.”

That Sonia remembered the insult she’d paid me and felt some regret meant a great deal to me, but I could never let her know.  Immediately, I said “It’s all right,” bringing the matter to a close, and allowing me space to change the topic of conversation.  “So what’s with those kids downstairs?”

She hung her head and sighed in an agonized fashion.  “Just some kids from DePaul renting the downstairs.”  She said this, and without any emotive aspect to her speech, she took another long sip.  “They rented it out during school for the last two years, then they graduated, now they just live here.”

“Oh,” I said, taking a deep pull from what I was beginning to realize was a very strong gin & tonic.  “So, um, what else do you do?”

Sonia seemed vaguely offended.  “What, what kind of question is that?”

“I don’t know, one of the normal-type questions ya ask people, I guess.”  I thought that my answer seemed satisfactory, and that she would understand, but Sonia seemed to be railing against social convention itself.

“Normal questions, I’m so sick of normal questions.”

I thought that maybe she was sick of questions about herself and her life because she didn’t like the answers she would give.  I could understand, having himself been familiar with this type of dark dissatisfaction.  “Alright then, how ‘bout you ask a question.”

“When did you lose your virginity?”

“What!?”  I was surprised to the point of jolting my head back like I was dodging something.  The question seemed to come at me like a blow, but considering that Sonia seemed to be playing a different game from the one I thought myself familiar with.  I knew than that I had simply to let go, and a wide grin broke across my lips.  “Leela Heathcoat, freshman year of college.”

Sonia rocked back in her seat, rolling with laughter.  She slapped her thigh as she spoke, “Okay, now ask me a question.”

I dropped into my own mind, considering what my question would be.  For a moment I considered asking something general like “What is your favorite color?”  Then I considered briefly making a Monty Pyrhon reference, “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”  In the end I came up with a question I’d been dying to know the answer to.  “Why did you bring me here?”

She smirked shyly.  “I don’t know, I’ve been noticing you around, and I saw you at Harvest Time and . . .”  She trailed off as she lowered her chin to her chest as she beamed up at me with Kilowatt eyes.  “I kind of wanted to have sex with you, I guess.”

Sylvester (Volume 3)

Movie Review: Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset (2004)

Director: Richard Linklater

Writers: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Richard Linklater

Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Before Sunset, Richard Linklater’s follow-up to his well-received 1995 date movie Before Sunrise, is to me is the most effectively emotional, wonderfully acted, and masterfully contrived romance in the history of film.  In Before Sunrise, having just broken up with his long-time girlfriend (he was dumped), directionless college student Jesse (Ethan Hawke) spends a daylong whirlwind romance with spunky french beauty Celine (Julie Delpy).  The film ends on a major cliffhanger, with the young lovers promising to meet each other on a certain day at a certain place in six months.  As Before Sunset begins, it’s been 9 years, and Jesse is on a publicity tour for his new novel, This Time, which is a fictionalized account of the night he and Celine spent together almost a decade ago.  He stops to do a book signing in Paris, and just before leaving the bookstore he sees Celine, a beautiful vision from the past.  Together, they have another day of romance, in which they speak at great length about their their lives and their feelings, and we see it all.

I say that we see all of it because at the moment during Jessie’s book signing when he first sees Celine, we begin to follow them, completely without cuts.  The entire film is one extended conversation between these two former lovers, wherein we see that in their time apart the love they shared has not shriveled up, and is more intensely felt than ever.  At the moment Jesse first sees Celine he is answering a question about future book ideas, and as he first sets eyes on her, he is in the middle of saying “. . . and it’s obvious to him that time is a lie.”  This is significant, to me, because at the moment when he sees her, he is transported back to the way he felt on their first night together.  In the moment when they first set eyes on each other, a huge set of powerful and contradictory emotions is written on each of their faces, and these emotions are brought fully by the masterful performances of the two leads.

Hawke and Delpy (who also co-wrote the script along with director Richard Linklater) step into the characters of Celine and Jesse easily, imbuing each with intense emotion.  Hawke, as Jesse, spends most of the film staring at Delpy’s Celine, mesmerized by her beauty and absorbed by everything she says.  Delpy’s Celine is extremely intelligent and self-possessed, but when Jesse is near her jabbering to himself, she can’t tear herself away.  Both characters spend the film trading monologues, each fascinated by everything the other says, and filled with heavy longing.  I’ve seen it many times, and I would recommend, when watching the film, watching the face of the character being spoken to rather than the one speaking.  The silent emotion on each of their faces is the core of the film.

The emotion constantly spilling onto the characters faces is so obvious that I could not help but feel the same.  In one scene, late in the film, when Jesse describes two recurring dreams he has about her, Celine reaches her hand out, almost touching the back of his head, before pulling her hand back, embarrassed.  This moment, to me, perfectly describes the relationship of these two star-crossed lovers.  He is entirely obsessed with her, she is always on his mind and filling him with love.  She in turn is intoxicated with him, and is as devoted to him as he is to her.  If I’ve seemed to get a bit flowery and romantic in my language, it is only a consequence of having just re-watched Before Sunset.  I whole-heartedly recommend the film, for its intelligence, its acting, and most of all for its flood of emotion.

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Movie Review: Before Sunset (2004)