Posted by: facetothewind | March 28, 2006

Then and Now

Then and Now 3/28/06 Tucson by David Gilmore

Saturday
Patrick and I met on a cool afternoon
Spied each other on the beach 15 years ago in San Francisco
In the shadow of the famous orange bridge
Like a big sister wanting her little gay brother to get a date,
She bellows out to us a low wonk…then a high wonk.
The fog has come in again.

Sunday
Now we tear up the courtyard in the desert house
Pulling out the boxwood hedges and the bricks
I sift through the dirt separating rocks from soil
I shovel dirt into a red shopping basket and shake
My balls wiggle in my pants when I go side to side
My biceps flap when I go to and fro
It’s middle-aged gardening for someone with dog balls

In silence I sift
We don’t really speak to each other
Not that we don’t like speaking
Not that we don’t have things to say
But after 15 years we know what the other is thinking
And we’d just rather not hear it.
Again.

I’m thinking, Why the hell are you drinking my beer without asking
when you secret your wine away to your room as if I would drink it?
He’s thinking, Don’t use my clippers that way, you’re grinding down the blade
Cutting into the dirt like that
I’m thinking jeez is he going to tell me how much he paid for those pruners again?
He’s thinking you ate my last 2 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese
I’m thinking you’re a parsimonious little shit – I was cooking your dinner
And wondering why we’re still together

Monday
I put ginger snaps in his lunch bag
He went to work to grade papers for $11 an hour
I stay at home and jack off and sit at the piano
Wondering what it would be like to compose a song
My fingers still hurt from using the circular saw on them
I play the same chords over and over again
Hoping that maybe they’ll sound better today than yesterday
Or that something will reveal itself between the black and white spaces
I wait and wait and all I hear is train horns in the desert

Tuesday
We spend the day on line looking for dates
Patrick lies and says he’s 34
I tell the truth
He gets dates
I get the consequences

While he waits for his date to come
We dig out the old irrigation in the courtyard
We then move on to changing the grade
Now it’s dinnertime.
His date never comes
Better to have lied and lost than to never have loved at all

Wednesday
My phone rings.
I have a date at last
I go to the back house and turn on the heater
I put on the electric blanket to warm the sheets
I get candles and matches together
I close the curtains and tuck a clean towel under the bed
I get the lube and hand moisturizer ready and some condoms
Just in case.

I shave and clip my sideburns
Tame the wild hairs in my eyebrows
That are like toothbrush bristles
I clip off the twigs growing from my ears
Smell my pits – just the right pheromone
Try on different underwear
I get hard seeing the white briefs
I never wear briefs except on dates

And then I wait
Around about 10 pm I fell asleep watching the Antiques Road Show
They’re in New Orleans this week
I get up to pee and turn off the porch light and latch the front gate
I hear the snoring upstairs and the TV still on
Patrick fell asleep with his mouth open
Somewhere between the Tiffany lamps and the 19th century Maple Secretary
I guess his date didn’t make it, either.
I like watching him sleep
I wonder if he’ll look like this dead sometime
But a lot less noisy

Thursday
We argue about money and the extra sharp cheddar cheese
FINALLY it’s so good to get the cheese out of the way and onto the next
Small token of our discontent

I crawl into my bed alone and watch a movie
It’s about a small child abandoned
As an adult he murders in cold blood
His only friend betrays him
He hangs from a rope in the final scene
His body twitching

Upstairs I hand Patrick the disc to watch
He is eating in the office chair
He swivels to face me and fakes a smile
He forgot that he was still mad at me
His feet don’t touch the floor
Eating by the blue light of the TV
His ears are lit from behind by his bedside lamp
like red leaves stuck on a pumpkin
“Great film. Watch it. It’s about you.”
He doesn’t. I knew he wouldn’t
Now he remembers he’s still mad at me
And he swivels silently back toward the TV

Friday
There’s a note stuck to the door
In the tiniest of letters it says “happy equinox” and a smile drawn in
Those two words of sweetness, scratched out on a 2×1” sticky pad
And attached to the door are all I get.
Does this mean, “I’m sorry I wouldn’t share my cheese with you?”
I’m somewhere between touched and deeply sick of this
All I could write is “U2”
It’s still there weeks later

Working out on the floor getting ready for another date
I try to see what a man might see in me
Hair, not yet gone gray, swirls around my navel
It used to be a goody trail. Now it’s the welcome mat
I lift the 20 pound weights to tighten my flappy biceps
I lie down to do situps on the floor
I notice a picture of Patrick standing beneath that orange bridge
Tacked to the bottom of the bulletin board by the door
My stomach tightens
Maybe this will be good for my abs.

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