Gasoline male-tears, do you remember how we got here?
Because I don't; or rather, I prefer not to recall
the tragic, heated argument down Memory-lane that
we had with my dad, how angry he was.
No, boy, I don't want to remember anything about
the beginning; middle or end of that
serpent-Sunday under scattered sunlight and showers,
all shadows, confusing bi-curious weather.
But you tilt your head to the side and say,
“Don't be afraid, Charleston-boy.
It's over, we're still here..”
As if I didn't notice the metallic taste of
blood in my mouth; as if I didn't notice
the shard of glass in my hand, the dull
pain in my side, broken stars across my cheekbones.
Can you tell me, honey; what is worth forgetting
when I'm pretty sure I killed my own father?
And yet, you say it's not my fault.
Boy, you run a hand through my hair,
blood on your fingertips; rust-colored
sand, whispering, “Stay with me.
Keep breathing; you're strong enough
to do this, to stay with me..”
Oh but I'm not the same; hearing
sirens all around us, feeling
these blinding red-blue American Odyssey
lights puncture through my eyelids.
Boy, I don't feel the same way
I did when I first woke up this morning
to the sound of birds chirping
on my window-pane, to the smell of chicory
coffee burning on a stove-top.
Then, I was just a kid; waking up
early, running through the woods
at daybreak to get away from my dad,
to get away from that traditional
suburban house; pretty and white on
the outside, bleak and dark within, filled
with ghostly echoes of my mother's screams.
Yeah, this morning; I was a high school kid,
trying to get through another year, blending
into the prideful eagle walls,
sitting in the back of a boring chemistry class.
But now what am I, tell me?
Are you my friend or someone I just dreamed up,
let myself get involved with because I was lonely?
And now I regret ever falling, ever trusting you
when you invited me to play ball with you and
the other jacked-up jocks on the lacrosse team.
“Don't say that,” you say,
your eyes looking pained, for some reason.
But it's true, Cancer-moon..
I guess I just wanted to prove that I wasn't
such a sad case, someone
to feel sorry for in a red-white jersey.
No, I wanted you to say,
“Damn, I was wrong about him”
when you saw me make that last shot,
hurtling the ball right into the ghost-net
of the other team's defense.
I wanted everyone to glance over at me;
silently shocked, thinking,
“God, we underestimated him.”
Because maybe then, I'd believe I wasn't
such a waste of precious space like
the demons in my head always
chanted in the background.
“But you don't need me or anyone else
to tell you that.”
Boy, we're lying here on sticky asphalt
on a darkened street corner,
our fingers wet with rain and hatred;
our shirts tattered, displaying
vulnerability in the form of
teenage limbs not yet fully grown
but still glistening, dirty in the
silver light of a gas-station moon.
And you want me to believe
that I'm somehow special?
“But you are.. It's not your fault.”
Words tumbling over each other,
wanting to be innocent like somersaults
on spring-humid grass, but they're not..
I want you to say thanks when I help you up.
I want you to look at me like I'm not a devil,
not quite an angel but something inevitably close.
And you almost do, my teardrop-star.
“But is it real?” I wonder out loud when you brush
locks of sweaty, bloodstained hair from my eyes.
“Why is it so hard for you to
believe that I honestly care?”
Well, because after my mother faded away;
a photograph no longer traceable
in our family album, I was blamed and now
I have no one to look back on, call my ally.
“That's over,” you say, wiping gold dust,
red-sand from my cheekbones.
“You're mine now; in my clan,
my circle of friends, protected night-magic.”
And yet, why are we still on the ground?
“Don't give up,” you whisper relentlessly
like the EMTs pressing down on our chests
when we're loaded into the ambulance.
They keep fighting, trying
to track merman pulses, in vain.
“Don't close your eyes;
boy, no matter what..”
I remember that's what you said
before they came, flashing lights
and all surreal panic.
you're stronger than the ash-gold
feathers attached to your raven wings.”
Oh before you blanked out; boy, you told me,
“Those will fall off, I promise.
Then you'll grow new ones; demon-proof,
angel-born heaven-drawn things.”
But even as fresh blood rushes through my veins;
clears my head, I think,
“How can you be so sure?”
And you laugh weakly, look up at the tainted sky;
say, “Because nothing lasts forever..
Don't you know, it's a wonderful life?"
And when we're cured,
when we're no longer in danger;
out of the hospital and back at your warm house,
smelling of cloves and
your funny, sweet mother making us tortilla soup;
I finally feel okay with myself, boy, but I still
hope to be as brave as you.
Yeah, friend; I want the courage to say to my dad,
“Even though it's taken me awhile; embarrassing
and frustrating as this whiskey-toned reality is,
I can finally admit that I am bigger than this situation.
I'm bigger than your confusion;
sharp-as-dragon tails harassment.”
Yeah, I want to say to him:
“You didn't care when you were pushing my face down
in the mud, making me feel guilty
under some fake Betty Crocker heaven;
making me want to disappear forever, fade until
there's nothing left of this body
but throwaway Lego-pieces, breakable flesh.
So now I don't care about how you feel, either..
What goes around; comes around, right, dad?
I'm a child; no, I'm a hero..
Bottle-cap survivor, you can't take me;
rip me up into useless shreds
of bourbon French silk.”