Some say that I’m discovering my masculinity in Du Queer, but this self-referential squandering of the senses is not the reason for my meandering ways. It is always some time of day or night – I carry the stars with me in a newsboy cap, and they come scattering down around my ears as I arrange my chapeau upon my head. It is twilight. My dreams are dark clouds spread out along the horizon, and I’m strolling nonchalantly towards them. I’m in no hurry for happiness; it is something I’m unfamiliar with and mistrust. My grey herringbone trousers have patches sewn onto each worn-out knee. As I kneel to shake an errant star from my shoe, I look up to see you standing gloomily. Why the bog-face, if there are clouds nearby?
Sadly, I pack Lulu and Francy in their burnt orange leather cat carrier. We’re leaving home once again and I can hardly bear it; the departure, the shuffling of belongings and hearts like so many worn dollar bills – folded, filthy and disheveled. I need to leave crumbs so that we can find our way back again. And “home” – what of home? Is home a door that I will ever happily enter once more? Is home just a worn and battered pissoir on a sad, lonely street, good for the inevitable piss leaving my urethra in a hot gush, a faint dribble down one thigh, and then vaporizing into a memory of a pulse. I listlessly zip up my jacket, and stroke Lulu and Francy’s furry wee heads. Francy stares at my navy suede desert boots and meows a “What the fuck!?!” I look down; I’m so befuddled by the misalignment of the planets and the careless scattering of the stars that even my socks are mismatched. I sigh, and lock the door. There is no whistling today, only a bellow.
The air in your sitting room smells sultry, with a bite of sandalwood, pipe tobacco smoke, and spice. The lights are pinkish and low, but I can’t tell if the dusky dimness is deliberate, or if you have forgotten to make sure your light bulbs are in working order. I wait for you nervously, my damp loden green felt fedora balanced on my grey flannel-clad knee. I keep fiddling and twirling the gunmetal buttons on my jacket; I feel underdressed and slothful. I notice that the waxed shoelaces on my brogues are untied, and I lean down to retie them into a tight knot. I’ve never visited you here before, and it always makes me antsy to be in new places. The loveseat is upholstered in chocolate faux pony skin, and your Isfahani carpet is worn through on the edge of the diamond-shaped center medallion. The walls are lined with wooden bookshelves crammed with well-read volumes, but I do not feel comfortable or reassured. I hear you coming before I see you; you are softly whistling “Over the Rainbow”.
Googoosh is playing on the stereo, and the winter sun is setting. I’m dressing to meet you at the corner Italian restaurant, and mulling over the past two weeks while thoughtfully fastening the horn buttons on my window-pane checked jacket. I take my grandfather’s gold pocket watch from its velvet-lined ebony box, attach my timepiece with a T-Bar chain, and slide the watch into my silk lined inside pocket. There is a soft rustling, and I withdraw a piece of carefully folded yellow notebook paper. It appears to be either a shopping list or a mash note, and reads “one Tarte Pomme Pistache, three pounds of fine salmon, a bag of Demerara brown sugar, five assorted chocolate bars, one pound of mixed stars”.
گریه کنم یا نکنم
حرف بزنم یا نزنم
من از هوای عشق تو ، دل بکنم یا نکنم
با این سوال بی* جواب ، پناه به آینه می برم
خیره به تصویر خودم ، می پرسم از کی* بگذرم
یه سوی این قصه تویی*
یه سوی این قصه منم
بسته به هم وجود ما
تو بشکنی ، من می شکنم
(Gerye Konam Ya Nakonam sung by Googoosh)
It is a bleak Tuesday; only one day past Monday, but too far from Friday. I’m dressed up to go to a poetry reading, listening to music at the corner pizzeria as I wait for my order, and wondering about romance; is romance our clasped hands in the dark? Is it a bouquet of periwinkle thistles, or sweet whispered words in the night? When I was 23, I thought I knew all about romance, and that it was love notes and damp palms. Now this has changed. Sometimes kindness seems like romance, but sometimes all I want is a nonsensical sweep of something big. I’m waiting for the pizza gal to heat up my slice while sipping a glass of water. I am wearing a brown and black striped and waled velveteen waistcoat, black velveteen jeans, short buckled boots, and an iridescent green and black brocade jacket. She brings me hot pizza, and I take a bite.
“E’er since Miss Susan Johnson lost her Jockey, Lee,
There has been much excitement, more to be;
You can hear her moaning night and morn.
“Wonder where my Easy Rider’s gone?”
Cable grams come of sympathy,
Telegrams go of inquiry,
Letters come from down in “Bam”
And everywhere that Uncle Sam
Has even a rural delivery.
All day the phone rings, But it’s not for me,
At last good tidings fill our hearts with glee,
This message comes from Tennessee.”
(Written by W.C. Handy and sung by Bessie Smith)
I am cruising through Hampstead Heath Park in London, over by West Heath. It is dusk, and the setting sun casts warm pinks over the bog…adding a glow to the shadowy forms of men lurking by the untrimmed bushes. I am planning on trekking on over to Leg of Mutton Pond to let loose with copies of 250 missives that I have written to you. I’ve copied each note on crisp gold origami paper and folded them into wee gilded swans. They will be perfectly gleaming as they float across the rippling water. I have on my old denim patched sailor pants, and a yellow and cobalt blue stripped wool pullover. I’m wearing a tattered plaid tweed cap. I sing a little tune as I make my way through the park.
“How glad the many millions
Of Toms and Dicks and Williams
To capture me.
But you had such persistence
You wore down my resistance
And it was swell.
You’re my big and brave and handsome Romeo
How I won you I will never never know
It’s not that you’re attractive
But oh my heart grew active
When you came into view.
I’ve got a crush on you, sweetie pie
All the day and nighttime, hear me sigh
I never had the least notion
That I could fall with so much emotion”
(I’ve got a Crush on You – Written by George Gershwin & sung by Ms. Fitzgerald)