Tears streak a sallow yet porcelain visage
in the passenger seat of a car
in an industrial part of town
on a side street near a punk rock bar,
the others are waiting but the owner
of the face doles out truth, doles out
the story of how a now ex-love
lacked common human decency
and the ears in the driver’s seat
listened and wondered if they were
any different than the cad
in the story and wondered,
bewildered as to how anyone
could hurt something so pretty.
My high school friend has been following me
post-diplomas through junior college
and unto the travails of a transfer student
into the same university, when I’m doing
my MFA then she’s finishing up her undergrad.
She calls me to tell me that a grad student
is teaching her fiction workshop. She says
that he’s hot. She asks if I know him
and I say yes, he’s the master of miniature men.
I wanted to shock you
I had heard about you
from the mouths
of Mac and Matt
about how clever you
were and how keen
they were on you
So I said something
about the benefits
of dating Asian women
and how one was
how their smaller stature
meant petite vaginas, which
meant also having the illusion
that your penis was bigger.
Poetry girl, poetry girl
I don’t know you
and yet, I know you
Cut from similar swaths
of the fabric of time
and space, little specks
in the cosmic lasagna
that is existence
each other’s persistence
to be more than nil ghosts
of nihilistic apathy
Poetry girl, poetry girl
write me a psalm
or a sonnet
read them into a tin can
so I can hear them when
all’s still and quiet
Poetry girl, poetry girl
if you like this
then publish it.
Not to be confused with Mario Lopez
as she’s cooler than AC Slater
like an actual air conditioner,
has hair that comes in many different
hues and shades every time you see
her. She’s strong, stronger than most
and bolder than anyone I’ve ever known.
She’s the type of friend to call you
on your bullshit when she needs to
and pat you on the back when you
deserve it. She was the first person
I ever heard use the word polyamorous
and she was one of the first people
I knew to get seriously monogamous.
She makes someone I consider a great
friend, even if we don’t talk all the time
anymore, very happy. When I see them
together, it makes me very happy
because they both deserve it and it gives
me oceans of hope that I’m worthy
of that iron clad love and trust too.
Hoops Partytime’s her real name,
she’ll straight up slap a man
because she don’t take no guff.
She calls me Al-House, we get
along because we’re both
neurotics but our neurosis
originates from different
regions of the soul
and the psyche
yet we’re kindred, akin
in certain ways, we
Where others indulge,
we get sick. Where
others feel strong
and confident, we
shrink a little
we turn to each other
and have the other act
as a coach who pushes
us with an amalgam
of harsh gentleness
towards where we
both know we
Hugs, I miss them
giving and receiving them
from you and although
our lives have taken us
down different paths
down different roads
with different companions
I know there will always be
a part of us in each other.
calls a double cheeseburger a double chi,
befriends girls with heaving bosoms,
has a face like Ryu and hair like Ken,
espouses the virtues of the Wayne’s World
soundtrack and the Toadies’ Possum Kingdom,
doesn’t understand the Red Hot Chili Peppers,
isn’t from the 50’s but says “new fangled,”
prefers current Simpsons to classic Simpsons
because it’s more topically relevant, almost
gets gear stolen by RX Bandits cokeheads,
isn’t British but says “sticky wickets,” plays
a mean guitar and will play bass in your band,
even though he knows that not everyone
in said group is sane
he’s just that awesome of a guy.
Sitting in the passenger seat of my father’s car,
he headed westbound on 6th and made a right
onto Bandini. His red Mitsubishi marauded
like a tamed tiger down the street’s slope
and sagging droop of steepness
with East Meyler passing beneath.
Pedro High’s Summer School classes
had been dismissed for the day, fifteen
minutes and ten blocks back. A varied
demographic of teens trickled by while
we drove past, nearing the Y.
Looking for people known to me,
I saw none. Instead a shock of red hair,
the color of a spilled juice box, atop
the head of a little frame
clad in a wife beater
and plaid pants that appeared
to be highlighted on in crisscrossing
crosshatches of various Smurf shades of blue.
She sauntered in white platforms, determined
not to wilt in the heat with her bag slung over
a shoulder and a folder tucked in the crook
of that same arm.
All I could wonder was, “who’s that
and will I meet her?”
I’ve had a love affair with red meat my whole life.
Why should it end now? I’m assuming you do too
or how else would you have garnered such a nickname?
It’s not the only thing we have in common though. Stan Lee
wrought and Jack Kirby etched heroes, Ozzy and Iommi licks
of thundering yet tasteful heaviness, and talking about movies
until our tongues lull with dryness are just some mutual passions.
While some similarities hail from just having damn good style.
Upon integrating myself into your circle of friends,
people would often mistake me for you. To be fair,
we’re both bearded fellows on the fluffier side
who wear glasses. So if they entered a room
and caught a glance of me sideways
or from the back then I’d often receive a salutation
or greeting intended for you, which would sound
something like, “Hey, Bee… Alan.”
I didn’t mind as I’ve been mistaken for much worse. Yet recognition
and understanding are funny things, because they work in other ways.
We stood in an apartment of a girl I wanted who didn’t want me,
at least not in the way I wanted her. Jovial would be the way
that one could describe your usual visage, but it darkened in a pensive pallor
in a parlor of Marlboro smoke and drunks destructively dj’ing,
I asked you what was wrong and you tried to give me the brush off,
but I persisted and you told me a tale of loss that added another dimension
that I had not known existed and I listened because you needed an ear
and you thanked me and we were closer and I knew we were friends then.
Bamf! Like Nightcrawler, you just appeared in my life.
Well, without the purple light and smell of brimstone.
The new girl
on the scene in my 17th year back in the go-go 90s
and your newness had me keen. You’d left behind
a life of perhaps pristine prestige at Hamilton High,
a performing arts school where everyone left class
early to audition, and yet you locomoted back
to the motherland of surfers of a wavelorn beach,
teamster entitlements, and gangsta romanticism.
You came to Pedro like a college kid on winter break,
just visiting and knowing everything from being out
in the great wide open, away from the harbor. You
seemed like a Woman already and you made me
feel like a boy who wanted to be a man.
New Year’s Eve a year away from of a new millennium
and my folks had skipped town and I had what all
teenagers must have— a party. Do you remember
you and two other girls locking yourself in my room?
I’ve always wondered what you did in there. Not sure
that I should ever know.
You said I kept one of your poems. Here is one of mine.
My sister, my best friend I never see. ¿Por qué somos invisibles? To each other?
Your hermano, your brother,
your bother— My love for you is akin to
my love of all my favorite things, because I don’t
to listen to Smashing Pumpkins
or watch Star Wars or eat avocados
to show how much I appreciate them
because true care is transcendent,
but my life would be way better if I did.
You towering toothpick man’s man, you.
You ooze machismo like Iggy shirtless,
like a Nick Cave lyric, like an open can of Pabst
shotgunned at a firing range. You come
from a land whose name means China
in Spanish, where chickens once caged
now are mandated by law to peck at the ground freely.
You devoured a rare steak festooned in bacon
with asparagus as garnish
right in front me
with no intent of sharing.
You cavorted with drunk broads of indeterminate ages
at nautically themed bars,
not seeing anything wrong with a little bump and grind.
You openly listened to Nu-Metal and sang and strummed Nico,
Tyler Durdened as manager of a movie theater, Don Drapered
the fuck outta college, Warhol’d yourself a well-deserved art degree,
and broke the bronco that is prosody in all the ways I wish I could.
Fuck the Dos Equis guy, you’re thee most interesting man alive.