Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
5: Karen yells at and kicks out a guy who blatantly takes a bottle of Jack Daniels out of his backpack and starts drinking it five feet in front of the bar. His excuse? "I bought one drink. And I even tipped! But I couldn't afford another one."
4: Kimberly Hyphen-Surname refuses to serve a clearly intoxicated guy who tries to sneak in through the back door. During the open mic, both Emily and Kimberly have to approach him as his drug-fueled enthusiasm is bothering the people sitting around him. As the last poet takes the stage for the open mic, the guy comes to the bar and asks me for a beer. I say no. So he asks for a ginger ale. As I turn to get a glass, he grabs a bottle Jack Daniels and starts to pour it into a plastic cup. I yell. Very loudly. Dude, who was hella high, jumps up, drops the cup, first tries to run into the ladies' room, then the mens' room, then the doorman leads him up the stairs and out of the venue. He hasn't returned.
3: Having driven all the way to Providence to pick up the night's feature, Zuzu expected to be able to read on the open mic. She is denied by the host, so she orders food (remember when there was food at the Cantab?) and a drink. When she pays for her bill, the server gives her incorrect change. Like, change that doesn't even make sense. Zuzu and the waitress argue quietly, and Zuzu goes next door to what is now Tavern On The Square but was then...something else, and gets deeeeeerunk. She re-engages with the waitress after the night's slam (which was a regional bout). The waitress who keeps repeating that she is from Revere and she will "fight a bitch" and all hell breaks loose. I don't think there were punches thrown, but the room cleared out entirely. Apart from the host, even the other emplyees got the fuck out of that basement. The waitress continued to shout that she'd "fight a bitch", Zuzu kept shouting "where's my nineteen dollars?", the host soft-voice shamed everyone still in the room, and the bartender did a lot of shouting. Zuzu was banned. When I interviewed the bartender for a project I was working on, she admitted that the waitress had almost definitely stolen the money, as she "had a history of taking things from people she didn't like". Independently of this, Zuzu was unbanned.
2: The first of two entries which could be subtitled "When Emily's Not At The Bar, The Crazies Take Over". In 2007ish, somebody great was featuring. This was before fire code, and I don't even want to consider how many people were crammed in that room before the doors were locked. Rudy snuck in through the back and nodded at the host. The host nodded back. Rudy's nod meant "I want to read tonight." The host's nod meant "Hello." The open went way over time (again, no Emily), and Rudy, who'd showed up forty-five minutes late and never actually used verbal communication or written communication to express his desire to read, didn't get to read. So, in a crowded room, he went up and started shouting at the host. Asterisk got involved. And thenthe bartender. The bartender was annoyed enough that she got out from behind the bar, leaving me behind it for, I think, the first time. In the midst of his tantrum, Rudy decided to leave, and threw an elbow at someone who was in his way. Someone who happened to be The Owner's Granddaughter. The bartender yelled at and banned him, which, in the long run, probably saved his life.
Rudy would also appear on a list of the Top Five People Thrown Out Out Of Tuartas By An Angry Bar Staff. I think he's even show up on that list multiple times. Perhaps, he would be all five. We're a bit stricter about the kind of people we let back in.
1: A Poet Who Shan't Be Named Because Fuck Him Getting Any More Attention came to the bar on yet another night that Emily wasn't around. Apparently, he had started a fight with me at Seattle NPS in 2001. I have no memory of this. But he was in a bout with the team I was on that year. Flash forward to 2010 and the guy buys three drinks from me, and seems amiable. He's loud, but he's not obtrusive. Then, during the feature, he starts talking during a few of the poems. Asterisk approaches him to be quiet. I don't know if he got quiet, but I didn't hear him. As the slam starts, he is loudly talking nonsense to a friend. Asterisk, again, approaches him, this time snidely. The guy starts yelling that he "read at The Nuyorican" and is "allowed to be loud" (He was not FROM the Nuyo, he was just letting us know that he'd been there once). He then tries to order a drink, and I refuse. He responds by offering to fight me, Asterisk, and Wiz. Wiz laughs. Asterisk gets enraged. The featured poet tries to subdue things. I go upstairs to get Cowboy, the bouncer. The upstairs bartender asks why I'm getting Cowboy, and when I say "I'm throwing somebody out." he joins the party. All of this is taking place WHILE the slam is happening. When the upstairs bartender, Cowboy and I get downstairs, The Attention Glutton is still yelling about himself and how he's not going to leave the bar. One look at Cowboy changed that. (Cowboy is....6'5? 400 pounds? Not to be fucked with.) As he was being led up the stairs he shouted at us that he was a former Mass Poet Fellow (Turns out he shared the title with another individual because he helped design a website for poetry. Using Angelfire. Remember Angelfire sites?) and we would never be as important as he was. He then stood outside and took video of poets, asking them why I was crazy. By the time I got home, he'd sent me four e-mails calling me pejorative terms for female genetalia, and asking me to call him so he could help ME be less crazy. He also claimed to have helped book our show (translation: he'd been on an e-mail chain wherein poets were invited to participate in a regional), and has since claimed (falsely) to run another reading that I've gone to.
He has not returned.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: All y'all pillowhumpers who won't stay off the fucken stairs, or who think you're cool enough to go into the back room. There's probably fifty of you on my FB page. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
When the Chinese restaurant under Asterisk's apartment started letting their trash pile up onto his fire escape, and blasted Chinese pop after they closed at 2 AM, Asterisk decided it was time for war. He made an offhanded joke to Ben that he was going to start posting missing cat posters throughout the neighborhood, forgetting that Ben had both copious free time, and access to an industrial printer. The next day, every lamp post, telephone pole, and wall of an abandoned building was littered with flyers for Snuffy, Shadow, Anabelle, Mr. Whiskers, Grape, Francis, Hamlin, and dozens of other fictionally missing felines. All with some variation of "last seen in the vicinity of Jade Panda" , many rife with misspellings, backwards lettered children's scrawl, and wet with fake tears. It was truly a work of genius. Wait. No. It was truly a work of racist. A genius plan would have actually solved the problems of the lingering trash and loud crimes against music. The posters didn't help with either of those things.When I use ironic racism, I try to stay far away from actual racist stereotypes. I may lament how those fucken Hawaiians drive me insane with all their fucken bowling tournaments, or how I'm tired of the waking up on Tuesday mornings to find a Navajo on my front porch trying to convert me to Shamanism.
So it is with great shame that I must include the elements of cats and Asians in yet another story, but the two things just seem to keep showing up to the same parties in my life, doing little dances, and then wandering off alone.
#3 exuded theater major in most of the common ways: flair for the dramatic, intense eyes, and the creepy smiling as a defense mechanism that so many actors seem to adopt. He was, however, missing one of the most crucial properties of a theater major: he seemed employable.
Months later I discovered that, while at no time was #3 not in a play, he was also, at no time, a theater major. "Bitch, please. Do I look like a theater major?" Again, yes, he did. "I am a psych major."
"Pfffffffft." I replied. "Theater majors at least have a little bit of fun getting their useless degrees. Psych majors all end up bitter Starbuck's baristas wishing they'd majored in something more useful like theater or competitive Bocce Ball."
He shot me a Theater Major look.
Our first date was on my birthday. Which happened to also be my anniversary with Sora. Which, on the list of my great ideas, was probably not in the top ten.
After a delicious meal of Vegan Chinese food, we walked back to my house, and each had a piece of my birthday cake that my roommate, Koko, had made for me.
"What do you think?" She asked.
"Wellllllllllll, it's ok, but I'm more of a Red Velvet guy." Pause. "I'm joking. It's delicious."
All three of the people I had started dating so far were way gayer than I'd imagined. In fact, after our successfully chaste first date, I called #3 to schedule a second date. "Helllllloooooo?"
"Hey #3." I had been very up front with the numbers that they were, in fact, being labeled as numbers. "What are you up to?"
"Ohhhhhhhhhh, you know, I" and then there was commotion.
"Yo, Stone." said an unfortunately familiar voice. Goldschlager.
Goldschlager was a poet I knew from The Cantab. He had a long, hyphenated name, but had earned the nickname Goldschlager when he'd showed up at my house with a bottle of that glittery monstrosity that calls itself alcohol, as well as a date. He had brought a date to the writers' group I held at my house, and then had the nerve to be surprised when she broke up with him.
"I knew it!" He said.
"I knew you were dating Dallas. He said he went out for Chinese food with a poet, and I knew it was either you or Ben. I also know you have a thing for tiny Asians."
I dredged my brain for the logic in that statement. While I had certainly dated Bacchus since I'd met Goldschlager, I was pretty certain the two had never met. "What are you talking about, Schlag?"
"Ummmmmm." Not many people can make the letter m sound as nasally as Schlag could. It was a gift. One he should probably return to whoever gave it to him. "Well. Sora."
My brain exploded. "Sora is Puerto Rican, not Asian. He's also 5'8"."
"Right. Puerto Rican is a type of Asian."
The fuck? "No, asshole, Puerto Rico is in the opposite hemisphere from Asia, across both axes."
And in the background I heard #3 say "Sorry, Adam." It was very melodic.
Once Schlag gave #3 his phone back, he invited me to Guerrilla Queer Bar, a weekly event where a bunch of gays crashed an unsuspecting bar and turned it into their night.
Neither #3 nor I were especially amped about being completely surrounded by other gay and bi people, but we both agreed we needed more gay friends who weren't people we'd had awkward sex with, so we made it a date. 8:00 on a Friday night.
I got home from work at 6:30, took a quick shower, and headed into my room. Once dressed, I filled the cat bowl, and tapped it with my finger. Motherfucker came running to the bowl. Selina did not. I clucked my tongue in the universal Come Here Cat manner, which always caused her to either run to me or from me. Neither thing happened.
"Selina?" I called.
"Where the fuck is Sel---" the top half of my bedroom window was open. God DAMN it.
I called #3. "Hi. I might be a little late. My cat has gone AWOL."
"Reeeeeeally?" He sighed. "That's ok. I have a couple of friends who are going. We'll just....entertain each other until you find your cat."
I spent the next hour walking up and down my street calling Selina's name. I was relieved that, at least, it was her that ran away, and not Motherfucker.
At 8:30 my phone rang. It was #2. "Hi!" he said. "What are you up to tonight?"
"My cat ran away." I said. "And I can't find her anywhere. I keep calling her name, and thinking I see her, but it's always some stray cat taunting me. And there's all this caterwauling, and I had Selina fixed, but she's so slutty, and so cattractive that I know the longer she's out here, the more pregnant she's going to get."
"Oh, God!" He said. "I'm coming over right now!"
So, while #3 sat in a bar with a bunch of sparkly shirted flirters, #2 and I walked up and down my neighborhood, through people's back yards, searching for my slutty, lost cat. God DAMN it.
At 9:15, I called #3 and told him there was no way I was going to make it.
"You look really stressed!" #2 said. "It's cute how attached you are to your cat!"
The truth of the matter was, I was mostly stressed because I was missing my date with #3. I liked #2, he was cute, eccentrically fun, but there was no long term potential there. Apart from the sex, the only thing we had in common was that we both enjoyed reading and writing poetry. Sadly, there were centuries between the poetry we wrote and enjoyed. #3 was more than just a cute guy I wanted to fuck. He had...something. That stupid intangible something.
Maybe it was just that he was the first guy I'd gone on a date with in three years that I hadn't put my penis in the first night we'd met. Maybe it was his smile. Maybe it was the melodic sound of his voice.
"You owe me big time." He said, during the 9:15 phone call. "I am. Not pleased."
I sighed as I hung up the phone. Across the street, #2 was shining a flashlight in the neighbor's hedges, softly calling Selina's name.
An hour later, we were in The Slut Across The Street's back yard when he #2 said "Oh my god! Oh my GOD!"
"You found her?" I asked. I wasn't hopeful, we'd had a series of false alarms. There appeared to be more stray cats in my neighborhood then there were houses.
"No!" He said. "But I just realized this is your fortune!"
"The cat in a broken airplane! Your terrible journey! It even involves a cat!"
It was too dark for him to notice that I was rolling my eyes. "Right. Look, I'm kind of tired, and thinking of just putting some food out on the porch, and sleeping. That way I can get up early, and look for her when it's light out."
"Oh! That's a good idea! Want me to stay over, so I can help you look tomorrow?"
And he looked at me with the most hopeful eyes. Nothing sexual, an honest I Want To Help You More stare.
"That'd be great." I said.
I made him some tea, and poured myself a Cherry Coke. In my room, we talked about his insane roommate.
"Yesterday, after you left, he started shouting at me because you stayed over!"
"I'm sorry." I said. "I didn't mean to cause drama.
"It's not you!" He said. "I pay rent, I can bring over whoever I want to! But last night, he decided he loves me!"
"I know! I locked myself in the bathroom when I got tired of talking to him, and he knocked the door down!"
I put my arms around him. "Jesus."
"I know he doesn't actually love me! He's totally in love with this other guy! When he came home last night, he had just finished getting fucked by the other guy! He is SO fucked up!"
"You need to get out of that apartment."
"I know! I know! There's this guy in Philadelphia who thinks he's totally in love with me! He bought me a violin last week! He's creepily possessive, though! But sweet! I think, if things don't get better by the end of the summer, I'm going to move down with him!"
"But," I asked, "do you really want to move down to a city you've never been to in order to spend time with some creepily possessive guy you don't even know? One who thinks he can buy you with gifts?"
"Oh! I think it's a terrible idea! But I cut up an apple last night, and it revealed that I would soon be taking my own journey! That it would be hard, and filled with awfulness!"
"Yikes." I said. "So, I'm going to throw it out there that you probably shouldn't go."
"But I have to!" He replied. "The apple said I'm going!"
I let him go, and looked at him. Really, looked at him for the first time. At the end of my first date with #1, I'd been shocked to discover that he was a Drag Queen, and then sat back and thought about it, and realized I really shouldn't have been shocked. I was having the same experience with #2 now, only instead of realizing he was a drag queen, I was realizing he was out of his fucken mind.
"You think I'm crazy! Don't you?" He asked.
And I thought about the the split apple, the many dying plants in his basement apartment, the tea leaves at the bottom of my cup. A cat in a broken airplane.
"You will soon go on an adventure!" He had told me on our first date. "That's the airplane.! But see how it's split in the middle?" I did. "That means it's going to be a sad journey!"
"Ok." I said. "What does the cat mean?"
"The cat is a sign of deceit! Your journey is going to be littered with lies!"
At the time, I thought that maybe, instead of reading my future, he had read my past. That the tea leaves represented my life with Sora.
Tonight, #2 had decided that the cat was not a metaphor for deceit, but actually Selina. "Which is great!" He said. "That means I was wrong about the lies!"
And now here we were in my bed, him looking at me with that stupid, hopeful expression. "You do! Don't you?" He asked. "You think I'm crazy!"
And I looked him straight in his gorgeous eyes, and said "No."
Everything splinters over a time. Sometimes it's a gradual shaving, and sometimes an explosion. Whether beautiful or troubling usually depends on where the splinters land. A kaleidoscope of colored wood on the floor being much preferable to a single blade of tarnish lodged in the plantar.
When I was living with Celeste, Sora, and Sir Trick in Mission Hill, our front door was the only door in the house that wasn't splintering. It was solid and brown, while the rest of the doors flaked paint on the floor, and wore at the hinges.
Divine moved in in September. And the other doors continued their slow wither, and the front door continued to be, well, a door.
In December, Sora let me know that he was going to be in town, and he wanted to talk. And the talk was uneventful, and uninformative. He was, as always, late. I was, as always, forgiving. I bought the meal, and we parted company when he realized he was half an hour late for meeting some of his other friends.
I traveled home without incident. Opened the door to the house, which was never locked, got into the tiny lobby, and the door...the door to my apartment, solid, brown, sturdy, had been thoroughly decimated. The hinges were ripped from the wall. Huge chunks of splintered wood lay in ideograms on the floor. Each one reading something to the effect of "theft", "loss of trust", and "holy shit".
I plodded to my room, because the house was empty, and what good would running do? Everything appeared to be in order. Nothing ruffled through, nothing missing.
I went into Divine's room. Everything appeared to be in order.
Nothing missing in the kitchen, the empty bedroom (though they could have easily taken nothing from nothing and I wouldn't have known), the bathroom, or the pantry.
I called Divine who asked me, right away, if there was a Raspberry Records bag on top her TV. There was not. "Oh no!" (S)He said. "That's where I'd put the rent you gave me."
(S)He stole my money and broke down our door to make it look like a theft. (S)He then used my money to pay the rent to the Landlord and make me look like a rube for not having it. I wasn't sure of it at the time, but after another four monthe of h(im)(er) not paying any bills, my trust was was splintered into ideograms which read "(S)He is a fucken thief who would concoct any story necessary to keep h(er)(is) drug habit going."
A year and a half later, I'm sitting on a couch in a different apartment with Bacchus, surrounded by my roommates, watching The Roast Of Bob Saget when someone starts pounding at the door. I imagine it exploding inwards, so I rush to it, and open the door, and...and it's Asterisk. He's tanked, as per usual, "What's up motherfuckers? I was coming down the street and saw your lights on and OH MY GOD, IS THAT CLORIS LEACHMAN?"
It was. And Asterisk gracefully stumbled over to the couch (he's had a lot of practice stumbling, he's very good at it), and sat to my left. A befuddled Bacchus sat on my right, leaning into me whenever Cloris said something hilarious. And every time she said something scathing, Asterisk dug into my left leg with his right hand. And so it was that her humor was bruised into me for days.
Asterisk left at the end of the roast, and Bacchus and I surrendered to my room. "Asterisk was very..."
"...drunk?" I offered.
"touchy with you."
While he was, surprisingly, hands on "There wasn't anything romantic or sexual about it. Asterisk and I have never been and will never be anything more than friends."
And I reached my arms around him and "Not tonight." He said.
And this is where my memory splinters.
I remembered the restaurant correctly. A Japanese place with excellent soup. I remembered him seeming more awkward about halfway through the meal. I remembered a guy sitting at another table recognizing him, walking over to our table and saying he was surprised to see him there. "I thought you only came here to break up with people. " Then turning to me, and saying, " I'm sorry, I hope you two aren't here on a date."
And I saw any future we had, tearing at the hinges.
What I remember is him growing distant. I remember him saying he wasn't all that interested in me as anything more than a friend, and me saying "I already have friends." or something snarky that devalued our relationship for no good reason other than I wanted to hurt back.
But, after a few months of not seeing him, I ran into him in Cambridge, and he invited me back to his apartment to watch The Bourne Supremacy (which wasn't about Cape Cod at all), and when it was over, and he invited me to stay over, I asked why he hadn't wanted more out of her relationship.
And he tried to give me a funny look, but failed. He only looked hurt. "You broke up with me." He said.
I didn't want to argue, so we talked about other people we were seeing, and I stayed the night, but nothing happened.
Back at my new home in Brighton, I checked my old e-mail and instant messanger conversations, and sure enough, I'd asked him if we were going to continue just fooling around, or whether we had a future as a couple. And he had said he needed some time to think about it. And I'd told him that wasn't good enough.
It should have been good enough.
Jim, my roommate Byrne, and several other people in the poetry community seem to have the mistaken impression that I hate all Gay People. "And I don't mean you're self-loathing. It's just other Gay People you hate. I mean, if I were to make a pie chart of The Gay Community where the red part was people you hated, and the black part was people you liked, it'd look like a watermelon."
"To be fair," I replied, "the chart would look exactly the same were you to divvy up the straight people I did and didn't like."
But it's Pride Week, and most of the people annoying me are Gay. Here's the thing, I don't like PDA, even when it's hot gay guys groping each other and doing the type of kiss that surrenders to Germans. I don't like the huge rainbows, the Madonna karaoke or the horrible fashion shows with clothes designed by people who should never be given scissors within a hundred yards of curtains or bathmats. When I was invited me to read for Coming Out Day, rather than Pride, at a local spoken word venue, I knew the organizer understood me.
Ryan and I had a couple of hilarious conversations about how we hated melodramatic gay people. Which made his choice to kill himself rather than come out to his parents all the funnier. Ok, I didn't find it funny at the time, but it makes me giggle now. Ben and I used to riff on hating stereotypical Gays, too. And that was funny because Ben is as stereotypically Gay as you can get without bursting into Flamer (note, I am not calling him a Flamer...he's just sort of sparky). But it was Sora that I really bonded with on the loving homosexual men, and disliking Gays.
And while I may joke about not liking Gays because of their fashion sense, their musical taste, their propensity for PDAs, their coifs, their deliberately screechy octavoices, or their gonorrhea; the truth is none of them seem to know how to kiss properly.
Trey kisses like a damp sponge being pressed against your lips and slightly squeezed into your mouth. I met him, as I'm sure you're shocked to know, over The Internet. And his kissing was the only thing I could fault him on, but I haven't called him back.
Breezy uses his tongue like a woodpecker searching for ants at the back of my throat. I wouldn't have called him back either, but the thing is, he has this great apartment. I mean, the apartment itself is average. Not furnished very well, devoid of any art, but it's on the water, meaning bay breeze, which, given the current heatwave, is good enough reason for me to continue seeing him.
"So you're dating a guy for his apartment." Asterisk said. "I've done worse. I've dated people because I've liked their dog."
And while I've never dated someone for their dog (and I do love dogs), I did threaten to break up with someone when their ex-roommate got custody of their awesome cat.
But it's not just the apartment. Despite his being the sort of Gay you can see from space even when your eyes are closed and you're facing in the opposite direction, staring into the sun, he looks really good naked, and since he has no roommates, we spend a lot of time naked in various rooms. But we're not dating. I know we're not dating because both of us had sex a few hours before we met up (with other people, natch), and then a few hours after we parted ways.
Clem was the guy a few hours earlier, and he received kisses exactly the way a closet case kisses back when they're about to freak out. Our sex didn't really last long. We'd been trying to meet for months. And by we, I mean he. I gave up on him after the first night of his utter wishy-washiness. He wanted to meet. He wanted to bottom. He had the night off, but, horrors, what if someone saw me go into his house and knew I was A Homosexual? What would the neighbors say? (I surmise they'd say "Yawn. He could do better.") Three months and eleven potential meet-ups later, he sent me his address, and I hopped on a bus that connected with another bus, and yet another bus that dropped me off in his neighborhood. We made very small talk before we went into his bedroom, where he closed his shades, turned off all the lights, and took off his clothes. When I tell you he had the tiniest penis I've ever seen, I'm not trying to insult him. As much as I can appreciate a good looking penis, it's not the part of the body I'm most looking for. His ass was assdequate. But barely had he slid his skivvies around his ankles, when he started stuttering. He had one hand on my cock, and said "Your c-c-cock is so big. I can not b-b-bottom for you." Which is flattering, but not at all true. Not even remotely true. So I started putting my clothes back on. "I can jerk you..."
"No." "You can't." "You've got a car, right?" In the movie version of my life, I'm smoking a cigarette. Perhaps two cigarettes.
"Yes. I have car." Apparently, my cock was also so big he forgot how to use articles in his sentences.
"You're giving me a ride home then."
And he did, without question. And as soon as he dropped me off at the house, I e-mailed Breezy, and he took care of my Indigo Testicles. And I took care of his. And he took care of mine. And I took care of...you get the idea.
When it was finally well past time for sleep, Breezy plopped down beside me on his bed, and grabbed my arms around him. Which is fine. I can be rather cuddly when the mood strikes, much to the chagrin of Sora, and the amusement of Zach. The latter referring to me as a Reverse Teddy Bear. "A big furry thing that never lets go." Breezy was the first guy I've ever thought of as aggressively huggable. Every time I was certain he was asleep, and I tried to move to a more comfortable position, he would wait for me to adjust, and then commandeer both my arms, roll his neck under my chin, and slide his butt up against my cock, which is a pretty surefire way to get me to not move too much for a while.
"Where are you going?" He asked when it was time for me to head home, shower, and consider going to work.
"Not yet you're not." And he was correct. Three times.
When I got the e-mail from Diego, telling me he would die without a sperm transfusion, I wondered if meeting him was a bit over the top. True, I hadn't been laid since Wednesday afternoon, but it was only Friday afternoon, and I had a show to go to Friday night. But he was insistent that he come over. he was insistent about everything. Kissing too desperate. Mashing of mouths, yanking of head. It was like kissing a fish that kept flopping around to different sides of your face. "Am I too rough?" He asked.
"No." You just suck at this.
"I am ready to be-" don't say it, don't say it, don't say it "taken by you, Big Boy."
Sora developed a sense of dirty talk sometime after the first year or so of our on/off/on/off/off/off/on/whatever dating cycle. I think this goes back to a conversation we had where I mentioned liking when a guy was vocal in bed. But what I meant was guttural, or pleasured, not loquacious and porn talky. But Sora gets away with it because I like him & he has a sexy voice. Diego...Diego doesn't fall into either category.
It's not just the bad kissing, the bad porn talk, or the everything else. Diego proved something I suspected, but didn't know for sure. I'm not into black dudes. It's not a racist thing. I cold surely fall in love with someone black, and I can damn sure realize when someone black is hot, but I'm just not into them, precisely the same way I'm not into women. They can get me hard, they can get me interested, but they can't make me come. Diego tried and tried and tried and tried, until Byrne knocked on my door to let me know it was time to go to the show. I don't think he heard what we were doing (and if he's read this far, I'm sure he now regrets it). "What do we do?" Diego asked. "You have not--"
"We've got to go." I said. "Sorry, I didn't realize this would take so" epically "long."
"I will call you later." He, I hope, lied.
"You are such a whore. Again." Dmitri said, when I relayed the stories to him. "Who killed himself this time?"
"Ouch. No one. I mean, I'm sure someone, but nobody I know. It's just..." Oh shit.
Trey kisses sponge, Breezy woodpecker, Diego cinder block, Clem like a terrified mannequin. Diego is too needy armed, Trey too non-existent. Diego too existent. Clem not enough anything. These ass shaped men trying to fit themselves in my heart slot. And, in theory, the piece should fit. Not perfectly, or even well. But they should drop into the too big space for them, and slide around like the last pretzel in a kiddie pool sized bowl. Everything about Breezy is nearly acceptable except that he isn't Sora.
The best thing about having your perfect boyfriend commit suicide a month into your relationship is that you realize pretty quickly that there's no way you can improve upon your relationship or bring things back to the way they were. He's never going to be nearly as responsive, even if you dig him up and put a tape recorder in his chest. He's never going to kiss back, or silently judge you for your horrible necrophilia jokes. Ok, he will always silently judge you for your necrophilia jokes, because silent judgment is one of the few things corpses are good at. But, I digress.
Sora is, thank everything, in no way shape or form dead. Nor is he, nor has he ever been perfect, as my friends frequently remind me. But he kisses properly, which is sometimes enough. And we've become accustomed to our cycle of whatever it is we do or don't. And Zach was right about me. I'm just this big, furry thing that never lets go.
Cher is one of the luckiest unlucky women in the world. When she and her husband drifted apart like wood on opposite sides of a hurricane, she worried that she'd be the first person in her family to be divorced. It became inevitable, so she began searching for a lawyer, and the proper documentation. She needed her marriage license. Only, as it turns out, the man who presided over the ceremony, never filed it. So she couldn't divorce her husband because, legally, she was never married to him.
Cher also happens to be fluent in Sexy, though she is not, by nature, a sexy person. And she has it on good authority from several gynecologists that she has one of the tightest pussies on the planet.
For this reason, I'd have been a fool to not go to Cher's going away party.
I am no fool.
I was given a ride from Worcester, where I was doing poetry, to Slummerville, town I live in as well as party location, by Arnie. And, while I generally have a "don't hang out with men over thirty who have nicknames that end in -y or -ie", Arnie is an exception.
I had neglected to get a gift for Cher's going away party, which is a gift in itself, as the whole point of her party was to get rid of shit, not accumulate more. But Arnie had this six pack of IBC Cream Soda he wanted to get rid of, so I was given the task of dispersing it.
A nice (read: boring) person might have found the designated drivers, and passed them out accordingly. I am not a nice person. The thing about IBC Cream soda is that it's contained in bottles that look suspiciously like beer bottles. So, if a drunk person, were, to say, rummage through a beer cooler, he might find the bottle, and begin drinking it, mistaking it for alcohol. It's not an evil prank, and not even very funny, but I decided to do it.
An hour later, I'm sitting in a room with Asterisk, Cher, Elinor, and many many other poetry people, as well as complete strangers. There is a band. And by "a band", I don't mean a bunch of people with, per se, instruments. I mean: two acoustic guitarists, and three hot guys banging loudly on tables, the floor, and anything they can hit against something. The music starts off sort of Nirvana-y (ok, very Nirvany-y, in fact, four Nirvana songs in a row), and then starts to skew weird. The Venga Bus song, Prince's "Little Red Corvette", Will Smith's "Getting Jiggy With It", and C&C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now", which Arnie knows all the words to, in the proper order.
During the last song, one of the drummers begins doing this insane solo, banging on the table, and a stack of large tupperware bins. Cher's dog goes nuts at this point, barking and whining, and Asterisk (who is drunker than usual, which is a neat trick), tries to shush the dog by yelling at it.
"Right!' Yells Elinor, "Because it's the dog that's behaving inappropriately."
And we all laugh. And Asterisk takes a swig of his freshly opened, oh god, Cream Soda.
Now, I've known Asterisk for about eight years now. During this time, I have never at any point seen him sober. Ever. As in, not once. In fact, I've never seen him drink anything but PBR or Miller High Life. I've certainly never seen him drink
"What the FUCK is this???"
Arnie's jaw drops. No one else in the room is aware of what is happening. Stunned silence.
"Cream soda." I say.
"Heteronormative, teeny-bopper bullshit!" Asterisk shouts, and begins gagging. He runs into the kitchen, tossing the cream soda in the trash, runs his tongue beneath a faucet, shouting obscenities.
Arnie points out, "Asterisk doesn't like Cream Soda." to the astonished onlookers.
Heteronormative, teeny-bopper bullshit. Heteronormative. Teeny bopper. Bullshit.
I'm not sure what it is about you straight people with your damned cream soda, but I am tired of being oppressed by it. And you kids these days with your iPods, your Pokemon sheets, and your Cream Soda. In my day, it was 8-tracks and Moxie, and that's the way it always should be. GET OFF MY LAWN!!! Cream fucken soda. It's just faux-Rootbeer, and we all know it, so cut the bullshit, and fess up, you heteronormative teeny-boppers!
The PBR cleansed not only the taste of the offensive beverage away, but also the memory of Asterisk's outlandish statement, until we, his evil friends, started dropping said phrase casually into conversation, like roofies in a bottle of Jones Soda.
"I hate you motherfuckers." Asterisk says, whenever the phrase's origin is revealed to another outside person. "Promise me this will stay just a small thing, and you won't go, like, spreading it all over The Internet or something."
I promise, Asterisk.
For years, I've had a No Fly Over rule with another gay, redheaded poet from Boston, Asterisk. This rule made dating in Boston increasingly difficult, as he has slept with everyone who's ever even thought the word Boston. It's one of the reasons I'm glad things with Ben never worked out.
A few months ago, Ben, Asterisk, and I were involved in a spoken word show. Among the crowd was an amazingly hot guy that Ben was trying to bang. "He grew up in France." Ben said. "He was going to be a prostitute, but he had a curfew."
When Asterisk started hitting on said Curfew Boy, I was legally obligated to chastise him. He and Ben had both ripped me apart over Sora, who was eighteen to my twenty-nine. Asterisk was comfortably in his thirties, and Curfew Boy was eighteen. Barely.
And, despite some major triangle trauma (by the time it happened, I was, fortunately, well out of range), Asterisk ended up with the guy for the night. (Ben ended up getting him several times later.)
But before Ben slept with him, Asterisk was chiding him about how good Curfew Boy was in bed. "Man, that kid's ass tasted like gold."
"Eww." I said. "Who wants to lick gold? Now, if his ass had tasted like Golden Grahams, you just get me a spoon and some milk, and I'll be over that."
So, Steggy, the poet I toured with in 2003 is here in Austin. He is dressed in his blue footy pajamas and his rabbit ears hat on a near full time basis. I haven't seen him since he moved out of Boston in 2004. So I called him to see where he was hanging out after our bout. Turns out, he was with Mr. Drunk Bisexual from the previous post, as well as with my friend Asterisk. So I go to their hotel room, knock on the door, and go in. And there, leaning against the dresser, is Ben. Just after I say hello, my phone rings.
"Hey Safey, it's Sora. Are you okay? I just got this feeling that something really terrible is happening to you right now."
Sora wins at life.
The band geeks are discussing how one of them got a 98% in band even though all he did the entire semester was sit between the two most talented trombonists and copy their arm movements. "I never once played a single note unless I was asked to demonstrate something solo. When I inevitably screwed up, I told my teacher I didn't work well with pressure. So I ended up with an A in the class despite the fact that I can't even play my instrument at all."
The pretentious know-nothing is discussing why he didn't like the night's poetry event. "Poetry is meant to be read on a page. Performance is sooo unnecessary. Because poetry should be like music. And the people performing had a guitarist, which is music, but it's not the kind of music that I like, so it's not musical. And anyway, the dick with two belts just cried the whole time while the other guy wasn't being as subtle as poetry should be. Poetry is meant to be performed, and I felt like I should have had paper in front of me to understand what he was saying."
I'm on the phone with Nerdy Punk Rock Anime Hair who says "'I'm so bummed you haven't come and visited me. I'm hanging out with your friend Jud, and we're gonna go to this dance club in a few minutes, and I'm gonna get him drunk and let him fuck the hell out of me. What do you think of that?" And since I'm The Other Guy that the Know Nothing was talking about, and I wasn't in a very good mood to begin with, I tell him, honestly, "I'm not sure which one of you two to feel sorry for. You're both terrible in bed."
The guitarist is being smoked out by a trio of girls who haven't said much to me when I've stayed in their apartment. When they leave to go to The Dance Party (which turns out to be one semi-cute Latino guy playing bad reggae and not wearing a shirt), the Guitarist says "It's good to be in the band, everyone always smokes out the band. And since I am the entire band tonight, it's gonna be awesome. Did you see those girls? They think they're so much better than every one else who lives here. Especially the two conventionally pretty ones. They hang out with the fat girl because they think it makes them look hotter. But even though she's a snob and kind of a slut, the fat girl is much prettier than the other two will ever be."
I'm on my way up to the computer because, apart from the guitarist, there is no one downstairs yet that I want to hang out with. Asterisk (the dick with two belts), Ellen, Paula, Arthur, and all the other roommates who weren't cool enough to be part of the Snobs Smoking Out The Guitarist aren't back from the show yet. I'm nearly there when another girl I've never seen before says "I loved your show tonight." I give the obligatory thanks. "My brother has your CD on my computer." At first I'm flattered that her brother not only has my CD but has been playing it for his sister and saying how good it is. Then I remember I DON'T HAVE A CD. "My CD?" I ask. "Yea, my brother bought it in (location withheld until I raze it) from (name withheld until I pummel him into a little ball and kick him until he burns up in the atmosphere). It has the Math Poem that you did tonight, and five or six other tracks." So someone recorded one of my shows, and is selling it without my knowledge or permission for a profit. If I wasn't angry a minute ago....
After I've calmed down and written a fairly terse e-mail to Mr. Copyright Violation, I go back downstairs where everyone I wanted to hang out with has shown up, the Trio of Snobs has left as well as The Band Geeks (now who's the snob Mr. Mode?). Asterisk is telling me about this guy we both barely know who "has a cock only about average length but it's wide as" and here he takes his tall Pabst Blue Ribbon Can and fellates it. This is my cue to wander to another conversation.
Over on the couches, which I will dub The Cool Corner, people are talking about other poets who've crashed with them. Steggy's name comes up as another good feature. And someone says "The first time Steggy was here, he was being all cool and really touchy-feely, and drunk...definitely drunk. And he turns to someone and whispers in their ear and the person shouts out 'ARTHUR? BUT ARTHUR'S STRAIGHT' to which Steggy replies 'I'm so confused, I've never seen so many gay seeming straight guys in my life.'" Amen, Steggy, wherever you are.
At 1 AM, Asterisk decides he wants pizza. He lets us all know by screaming "PIZZA!!! I WANT PIZZA DAMNIT!!!" So, I go and get the number of the local pizza place, which is, naturally, closed, it being 1 AM. Domino's is open until 4 AM, however, so I begin asking for the number for Domino's. This gets all of the Politically Aware in a tizzy because the owner of Domino's supports the Pro-Life movement, so no one wants to support them. Whatever. Every corporation has owners or prominent members who have political values you're probably going to disagree with. Boycotting them for that is inane. If you want to boycott Domino's, boycott them because their pizza sucks.
An hour or so later the pizzas arrive. While we're sitting in the kitchen, munching on slices, Mustache Screwface (he wanted that nickname...don't ask) tells the story about how he lost one of his teeth during a stagefighting accident during a production of Cabaret. He says "I didn't really mind losing the tooth. It's kind of a manly thing to lose your tooth in a fight." "You didn't lose your tooth in a fight." I say "You lost it during a stage fight that was part of a musical. The only thing gayer would be if it got knocked out by a cock. Wait a second. Actually losing your tooth in a musical stage fight is gayer than losing a tooth to a cock. I could see how someone could lose a tooth while accidentally coming in contact with a cock. No one has ever accidentally been in a musical."
By about 3 AM, people start to head to their respective rooms. Astri follows a cute straight boy who doesn't even seem gay to his apartment. The guitarist and I each take a couch. Upstairs, Pretentious Know Nothing has returned to bashing on poetry, which he clearly has never been exposed to in his miserable, keg party existence. He is trying to impress some girl and make out with her. I know this because he's also discussed his "making out prowress". I envision him on stage between Arssssss and I, copying our hand movements and mouthing along with our poetry, hoping to get an A in Seducing Hampshire Students. I wish him all the luck in the world. And syphilis. I wish him syphilis, too.