To: What’sTheCat’[email protected]
From: [email protected]
Re: Feeling lucky?
22 Aug 2022
East River State Park
(What if I used your real name?),
I just left this complete loser’s apartment a few blocks from where that fancier pizza place used to be (he, I guess, teaches poetry). He’s cooler than you are lol (you know he isn’t :P but let’s suspend that belief). Pretend I started this email: I just left this guy’s apartment and he’s so freaking cool – he asked me what I did for a living. “I’m a sailor and I work on a ship,” I betrayed you. I gave the man a smile for free with these veneers.
“That’s a great job for a poet,” he flashed a smile of his own without realizing I knew that he had no idea what he was talking about. He talked shit about a skinny boy with a more intimate kinship to Ashbery than him in his published book (again, this is a metaphor haha I’m just kidding haha this is fiction) riding the subway. I laughed and told him the expected departure date of my oil tanker. See, we can all pretend – I think he missed the entire point of Ashbery’s work, but I’ve actually never read a poem! I haven’t seen Derek again, but I have adopted the way he swished his tongue around my mouth.
I wanted to lay in the grass so I came here midafternoon. It reminds me of every midafternoon I have ever spent here, usually with somebody to laugh and roll around with. Today I’m thinking about D. and the way our language never met head-on, and we could both speak slant while pretending we’d communicated. We did laugh but I think it was just from feeling care and attention and the knives in our backs. The entire time I dated him, I was texting another man because I forgot D. could see me staring at my phone.
I love being in love with somebody else.
Don’t you love being in love with someone else’s love?
I brought the man in Williamsburg a special bottle of wine. His eyes glinted when he placed it on the kitchen counter and I smiled. The sun hit through the apartment window – making him happy is what I wanted after all. It didn’t seem like he would love me. I said I forgot to feed my cat and excused myself before the cork was unscrewed because it wasn’t worth the risk.
I love lying to men’s faces.
I don’t like lying to you. I want to always tell you the truth.
My favorite part of the old park was the pink graffiti, elephants trunk to tail on the concrete boat ramp. It was cleaned away years ago, but every important time I’ve been here that art was there. The view of Manhattan is fine, the strip of sand and the water is fine, the boats are okay to watch. People, a family on vacation, voices I pretend are speaking in a different language so I can be alone aren’t the same now that things have changed. Baby, baby. Baby. Things are always changing.
Until next time,
P.S. I had a whole story about buying a lottery ticket and flirting with the man at the bodega but I wanted to write about this instead, hope that’s okay.
*Note: This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this Vocal series are either the product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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About the Creator
Hi! I'm a queer multimodal artist writing love poems in Seattle, one half of the art and poetry collective Eat Yr Manhood, and head curator of Stone Pacific Zine. Work in The Rumpus, Occulum, Peach Mag, dream boy book club, and others. :P