by Katherine Wilkie
Downtown picking up the Pieces
I’m blue, and I’m also downtown. I’m brushing fringes of hair out of my weathered face, I’m gripping this beer so tight it’s bathing my hands in foam, and I am trying to cheer on the Jets but; all I can think about is you out of your clothes.
I’ll play with the skin stretched taut over your chest, rib bones protruding like a mast on a ship, until it is too late to remember ever being alone. It’s easier now because you’ve left me stranded, sunk offshore while you skulk into the stern of a closet where many young men, like you, prefer to make house.
And I’m blue if I should have stopped you from crawling inside but, I am only a man in boys clothes; playing the part of the devil except sheathed in white. Underneath I have little to hide, at least past my bones.
I’m blue, and I’m also downtown. I’ve been in this place for so long that my beard is growing brash, giving me too much confidence, so that I now stand parallel to another man, his tongue seeking a floating victim in the dark; all the while I’m quietly sipping.
I can hardly hold my liquor; torpor is building in my lungs, making my eyes red and bright all because I can’t get to you.
I know where you are, you are uptown in a seedy bar. You’re covering your ears so blood won’t spill because you swear you just heard someone insult the man you love. But I’m still blue, and I’m still downtown, and I don’t know that you love me.
So: pace twenty two blocks deep and four blocks wide. Put one foot on the O-bus’ platform and one hand to the stranger reaching out to pull you inside, because she must have discerned that you love me and are coming to tell me.
Turn right at Park Avenue; let it comb the loose lips that have been making tender on and off another, implying that your lover is near. Turn right at Park Avenue if you want to be clean, wipe the ash off your forehead because you can’t be religious if God made you a sinner.
Last updated April 09, 2011