Wednesday, January 11, 2012
That painting of yours ... the red bench in the woods ... it's hanging on the wall above our bed except I've painted over the bench with a bear and he's dead. There's blood streaming from his head because he's been shot and he's checking Facebook on his phone. He's alone. It's dark, no stars or moonlight tonight, deep within this acrylic and oil on canvas with ink. The bear is you, I think, and I'm the bench, replaced, or the bullet, depending on who you ask.
We met, back then in the diner. You knew my friend and I was drunk and you in that dress, you were so pretty, didn't you know it? You ran your hands through my hair, your nails across my scalp and I was a dog with a broken leg; you took me in.
And we fucked.
Your dad and I talked about football and Bukowski and he stocked his fridge with my kind of beer. Your mum said I was queer and giggled on account of I don't know why. She always hugged me tight when we said good-bye and then she died of cancer. At the funeral you read that poem I wrote and you cried in the car. We swam in the ocean.
And we were happy.
When you graduated I quit my job. A year in London and Paris and love and then we drank champagne and quit smoking weed because you got that job at the bank.
And we bought a house.
I slept at night, warm next to you and I dreamed I was the captain of a ship. You were a pelican and I asked you to guide me through the rocks. By dead reckoning how could you not say yes? We'd safely navigated channels just like this a hundred times before. Then, spying a fish you dived down deep into the sea.
And somehow you drowned in the thickness of it all.
Of course, now I see what you were telling me all those years ago with your brush and with your paint. A red bench in the woods, it's beautiful, how quaint. But it's not natural; it's out of place. It's me on my knee, green grass, at the beach, sunset.
But I didn't drag that bench into the woods.
We built it with our hands and our bodies and when people asked about it we smiled and we knew.
You are not a bear.