disappointing cocktail parties.
into a scented trash bag.
"We should get together again," I’ve said.
The words always surprise me as they run past my teeth.
The lie never does. I meant to do that.
I don’t think he did.
He wore those boots on our first proper date.
Neither one of us called it a date, but it had to be.
I don’t sweat like that otherwise.
It’s hard to feel sexy when
you have Florida swamp, Minnesota lakes, Mississippi River,
an entire uncomfortable country pooling under each leg.
Mark Twain could’ve extracted a short story
from the tide rushing under my right thigh.
But it was a date,
It had to be.
There were cloth napkins and drink specials,
multiple forks, specialty spoons, nothing made of plastic.
The conversations overlapped, outran us.
Or they did
until I told him that I’d be chasing another guy
if he were single.
"Do you want to come over," I asked.
"To watch a Robert Wyatt
That line might’ve been deployed once before
Probably in another country,
Definitely in another decade.
It was dusty and outdated, hidden on a shelf
behind discontinued cereal brands
and my shit attempts at charm.
But it worked.
We fell into each other while Elvis Costello
and Robert Wyatt explained the meaning of “Shipbuilding”
in tasteful black and white.
That was probably inappropriate
on a number of levels.
I heard Costello say those were his best lyrics.
His tongue pinned mine to the soft mat of my mouth
while I tried to
think of better ones.
"Alison" is too obvious. "King Horse," maybe.
He bit my bottom lip, tested it, tasted it.
"Man Out of Time"
"Less Than Zero"
He was a musician. He still is.
The guy, I mean, not Elvis Costello.
That’s true for him too, but Costello’s never
been naked in my living room
asking to borrow a toothbrush.
His fingerprints are all over my favorite records.
They were all over me too, in a more literal sense.
Although the figurative ones, the mixed metaphors
will last longer.
"I like your boots," I said the next morning
while he was still naked on all fours,
looking for an errant sock under the sofa.
The pose was half-seductive, half Carl Spackler.
I have complicated feelings about Caddyshack.
"I’ve had them for years," he said, his voice distorted
between the furniture and the floor.
"They were just resoled for the third time.
They’ll outlive me. They’ll last forever.”
It would be a clever, possibly cloying literary device
if I wrapped this up by saying
that nothing lasts forever.
just to spite me.
I didn’t really like them, although I said I did,
which makes us even.
The sign above this duplicate pair
written in blue ballpoint ink
says that it’ll cost seven bucks to shine them.
It costs nothing to forget.
It costs nothing to knock them to the ground.