Friday, April 28, 2006

His place was on the way to mine. The movie was fine, dinner less so. But at least he had a sense of humor about the dinner. What were we thinking, going to Cafeteria?

Our laughter then was the only moment that I thought we might have a future. But a few bites later I decided it was the future of the friend, not the lover. The friendly acquaintance. He wasn’t right pheremonally. I can usually tell right away. If I have a type, it’s ineffable and pheremonal.

We stopped at his door. “Wanna come up?” And I hemmed, a bit, and hawed. I’d steeled myself for this moment by talking, early at dinner, once I knew he was all wrong, by talking about having to meet my trainer in the morning.

“Sure,” I said. Why? Why was I so weak? Was it politeness? I hated myself immediately. He offered to play a “potpourri” of funny video clips he’d gathered over the years as we climbed the stairs.

I’ve never been one of those fags who knows shit about what goes with what and where. I always figured I’d fall in love with one and he’d do all of that. But I knew the living room was all wrong. I’m not the creative type, but I can judge. And the sofa was tiny. He got a couple of Sam Adams Lights and I stared at the flat-screen television that was way too big for the room.

He sat on one end of the sofa. I sat on—well, the rest. Our legs touched. I tried to adjust the red velveteeny pillow, but it had nothing to grab its little tendrils onto—it just slid me toward the center, like a satiny sled. Into him. His arm went around my shoulders, maybe because there was nowhere else it could go. Did he plan this when he bought the sofa? I wondered as he put his face close to mine, and I felt my lips part, in spite of themselves.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

The house has been empty for months now, and neglected before that. Dark windows stare out. She looks up. The roof is missing shingles. One step, a shuffle, really, the past dragging at her heels, down the front walk, concrete cracked down to crumbles and a fistful of brambles. Her mind skitters across the back porch, her eyes wander to the horizon, shuttle back into the shade of the shuttered window eyes.

Lady-like she pats her hat, looks around. Her stockings are laddered and patterned with marks of poverty, her shoes carefully polished but the wear shows through.

Two more steps, still hesitant, but becoming more confident. She keeps her eyes fixed on the gravel rubble beneath her white white shoes. She stops again, rubs her hands, noting with vague surprise the raised map of veins announcing itself. Somehow she has forgotten her age. “Ashy,” she mumbles, and tumbles back in memory—a flash of sunlight and the porch is full of people, a woman rocking and fanning herself; a group of children laughing, two men smoking on the steps and a small girl sitting in the corner, looking on.

The house belongs to her. She wants to fall and keep falling. She closes her eyes and, frightened by the darkness behind her lids, immediately opens them. She looks down again, smooths the white skirt of her uniform, reassured by its crisp brilliance. In the dark dusk, it shines.

from “Living (4. House)”


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I’m not sure exactly what I’m being accused of whenever anyone finds out I can watch Forensic Files back to back for hours. But it says something about me that doesn’t sit well with people. That I know where all the famous murders have been committed. Where Sharon Tate had her last meal (Mexican at El Coyote).

The blood isn’t what attracts me. I can’t watch ER or Nip/Tuck without covering my face. I can’t bear Scorsese or Tarantino, because to see violence acted out is agonizing. Even the decimation of computer-generated characters in Grand Theft Auto upsets me deeply.

The murder itself doesn’t interest me. It’s the aftermath I’m drawn to. The clues that reveal people and their behavior. People at the end of all hope, driven to end everyone else’s hope, or that of one person in particular.

The aftermath; when all is in repose. When the crime becomes stately, and minutely observed. The ritual of investigation. The solemnity of interrogation. To me, this seems like grace.