We made love again an hour ago, and he held me so, and afterwards, he wept onto my left shoulder. The night was gingham bright in mid July. And I loved him more than words could tell time to slow down and re-capture him and me and all we had been through. I touched his penis becoming flaccid and he sighed against me and I pretended he cared. I touched his chest and found the sweat there and found his heart still beating rabbit fast. I loved being with him in bed, but he loved being in bed with someone else. Someone he had never had before and who had left him and the whole guilt of it was with Robert and I was nothing but pretend, while real, but pretend for the one who had left down the midnight streets.
Gone for good and done with. Except Robert would not let him go away, and he was killing the both of us a little more every day and night, and it was not Robert coming in my mouth, but in the other mouth of the one he dreamed of, and the air was honeysuckle dew and the night tasted clean and fresh and made of gingham soft and warm and dry and peaceful, except in our war nights, which were the nights when we made senseless love to one another, he to the love who never had been loved by him and now gone away, and me trying to fuck Robert into sensibilities, into the past gone and the future here and my calling his name in my own voice; my calling his name, making my own choice, trying to see him in the dark soul of his sadness and our bedroom, trying to fix it all together these fifteen years we had been together, and love held against the tide, that took so much out of me, this wet and dissolving clay, when Robert looked into my eyes with his midnight rims and caught something in them that was not me.
Thus, making me jealous of the thief he had not captured in myself, when it wasn't myself at all he was seeing into, and not the one who had cut him open and hammered him out of shape so long ago, but the dream of him, the memory of him, the sweeter lies of him, as we lay in our singular topography, as we wept into sexuality as though our bodies were blankets on a hot summer morning and we were trying to survive under them and inside them, but at the same time, they were killing us and smothering us, and I thought perhaps, just perhaps, Robert had carelessly given my immortality, because to him I was that other person, and not me, therefore subsuming time and its ravages and fate and its savageness on me but it was not so.
I was growing older and old, and he was growing older and old, but the one who hurt him in college days just stayed and stayed not aging, not changing, not even given me a chance to rearrange him and the years that must have taken its toll on even the great god HIM too, because there was no photo of him, only the photos in the secret grottos of Robert's mind, and no hunting down face book or yearbooks, from the fear that he would be as gorgeous as Robert claimed, as beautiful and undeniable, as stunning and unidentifiable in the world of mortals as he would be out of place, so I touched him with my mouth and tried to make Robert into him, tried to gray the hair and stoop the shoulders, tried to make the penis not erect itself with exciting, which was never done, because Robert had to shoot off his anger in someone, into someone, and it was the lost love who was never loved by Robert except in secret stanzas and old song now forgotten save for the singers and the writers and him, my life long love.
I touched his balls and weighed them in my hand like the scales of justice, and I wondered at them as I prodded him in his half-sleep, and I tried to make him a stair-step to my own past secret loves, or real ones, but there had been none other than this man beside me, other than the dreamer and the diver into diverse realms of succession, into realms of roamings quiet ways in Chelsea mornings and gleaming wharves and croissants for breakfast and French coffee, and never his eyes to stand in line again for a love that was here and I his willing concubine, oh God I placed his tip to my mouth and I swung my legs around him and scissored him as though time had come to its senses and stood still, to get it out in the open.
To tell him how angry I was at the college boy who walked away without a word, without a sign, without a wave, and the waves of the morning started once more crashing in my head, as at the same time, out the window, and in the night with salt and starfish and electric eel as its main sanguine course and I took him and he dreamed HIM and I massaged him and he moved his hips into me who he thought was someone else. A revenant. A ghost. A mirage and misty thing, something no god, no matter how creative, could ever create, or a sadness and sickness in the deep of bones, that no God, no matter how creative and compassionate and inventive and all suffering, could cure.
And we fumed in the morning and we started the day with our silent, angry breakfasts. And we fiddled in the night and we came into work and we worked harder at home than during the day away, and we watched movies and we ate what we could force down and we made love with passion of death and passion of life and Novocain forced in and sperm forced out and I loved him, I would say it over and again, I love you, Robert, and he would hear HIS voice, he would see HIS FACE; could Robert really remember that well? Aren't the patterns of his cheekbones getting a little vague? Aren't the colors of his eyes getting a bit fuzzy? Was his hair really that golden as you remember it to be? And was it that full and shoulder length and could the very sound of his voice make you almost come? And could you stand a little attention now if you please?
And I sucked him in to me and he said the college boy's name and there were only the shadows in me of screaming as I felt his flesh and felt the wane in me, thinking, he left you, he ditched you, he did not do for you what I do for you. Why is he supreme forevermore over me?
And I clamped his legs and I bent deeply over him and I pushed my hands to his nipples and I clamped them and Robert woke with a start at my digging fingers, and he wanted to throw me off, but his penis was already on the move and he could not stop, and I thought, this time, this single one and only time, I am going to get him to see my face here, to feel my fingers here; for all he knew, his love could be dead; for all he knew, his love had married and had a fantastic life and loving children by now and could have the world by the balls and not repeat not have thought of you one single time after he left you without a shrug of contempt even. But I could not lie to myself anymore, could not think as we finished, as I swallowed, as the night sucked the air out of the room and it was like we had hot blazes of grilling lights on us flooding us with hot sun stupor, I could not think, this time, he will break through this business of the GREAT AND WONDERFUL ONE, and remember that I have a name. That I have feelings and have loved him and have fought for him and for us, that I have tried to make up for what that BASTARD back there did to him, not out of meanness but just because Robert was a casual friend, and never ever would understand it.
How do you make up for someone else? How do you make up for Joel? How do you make up for end times and end games and his wanting to die to be with him again, oh God Robert, here am I, and here are you, and I'm erect and sitting on you and please take my hand and put it on me, I am so very terribly irrevocably lonely, the worst kind of loneliness, when one is two and two is never ever even close to one, and Robert turns away and I get off him and our bed is soaked with the sweat of despair and so much misplaced energy and frantic search for love over there, when it's been here within my heart always, Robert, even before I knew you, I loved you.
I fell in love with you the first moment I saw you, and I knew you could not love me because in your eyes, you were seeing him, even then, even before the letters were totally raised to upper case, HIM, and I couldn't compete, but I tried, God, Robert, at least admit I did give it my very best shot, but then you looked into my eyes and saw Joel, not me, not the boy who surprised you one day sitting at your table and saying could you pass the salt please? And you started and looked at me as if coming from a dream so deep and so far and you knocked over the salt shaker trying to pass it to me and I smiled and gulped and said thank you, and you were lovely, and you were the world, the beginning of everything, the touch of your fingers on my hand as you so clumsily tried to pass the salt and then you collected the spilled granules in a napkin and looked at me helplessly and wanting a friend because you had never had one before.
And we lie in our bed and we look at the ceiling of light and the sun still not gone down in a day that has not ended but has been snagged on a moment of time, and I think this is my sand pail moment, this is the moment where I collect all those grains of time and I put them in a pail, and I will transfer them, after all have been collected, the times of me and you, the dreams of you, the memories of Joel, the memories of me that you do not have for you were always too busy looking back over your shoulder for the friendly hand and for the friend who would not run away, who would not be so indifferent when all the time, love, I thought, as I put my head to your chest, I thought I was not good enough for you, I shamed myself and filled myself in secret with my love for you and then I dispensed it in quiet solitude, and I thought it would never end, the ache, my love, and so I did the only thing I thought I could---
I looked at Robert's face. It was cold and diffident. I deserved it of course. I deserved his brokenness. My stupid inability to figure it out. My not realizing about JOEL and what that meant, how that flamed him inside and tore him apart like a drunk mason taking apart the masonry work he had spent a lifetime building, and I came to you Robert and I held you Robert and I wanted to kill him Robert because he had savaged you by so much and I felt your hands in mine and I felt the love I had never allowed to be gracious before, all those times of hit and run and mostly running to hide in someone else, never feeling—anything. Just nerve endings. Just joy sticks and joy does not stick around long, and joy leaves the premises pretty damned quickly if you want to know the truth, for Robert I could never stay from you, I could never stay from a man because of some little who knows? Pipsqueak you passed the salt to, in the salt-less air of then, at lunch one Autumn university junior day, in an instant of meeting cute, like in the movies, thus opening the door of the sky, the door of the sea, for all to fall in and never to ever want to be free, or to even think about it...
..all those immortalities of seconds and minutes and hours later for you Robert, unwittingly, and so desperately had I known, but the awful awkwardness, you pretending me someone else, I pretending I didn't love you and did not count the minutes till you would return, and it's all so crazed and I began to cry on my Robert's chest, and I said, so filled with regret and too late and no matter the tries, and can't you see?, and how could I live up to JOEL, not even Joel could live up to Joel, not even Joel, my dear delicate fragile, of the mental break down known as Robert, not even Joel could live up to the JOEL you saw..
Who..I blew a wisp of breath across Robert's nipples..just happens to be, here's the laugh, rhymesters, near and far.. the forever lowercase me.