Third prize winner of the 9th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.
I saw you. But you knew. You could see me on the rooftop with a lit cigarette. I knew you were dancing for me. The way you turned to the window and shook it. Your hips swayed to the long, slow drags of my cigarette. My specific pucker. I want you to know, I think of you. Inappropriate times. Once in a downward dog I felt a muscle so deep in its own sinew, I remembered the mean one. The one who took me up against the kitchen wall so hard that my back broke the dimmer switch clean off its bracket. And do you know what he said after? After the sex, and the blow jobs, and the DIY repair? He said, “You’re not ready yet.” I know you’ve been let down too, by the one you thought was the one. Something tells me you’ve been loved like that.
I thought of you when Sting on the radio squealed, “Roxanne.” Oh, those red lights.
I felt the nip in the air that night, the bright bloom out from Times Square, and you flipped on the light in your place just to be sure I had the best possible view. But I reflect my interpretation onto you, do I not? Your free, free will.
I thought about injustice, about Pussy Riot, in Si-fucking-beria. All the things they can’t say, or do, or show, or light up. Kids missing their moms. And what feminism means in a world that wants to know less about Maria and Nadezdha than Kim Ye’s fetus. A world where the greatest free speech activists are pornographers, hackers, white-haired accused rapists. And you.
I want to know, do you wait like that in your electric garland for a silhouette before you begin your window tango? For someone to turn eyes to you in the New York sky above the Chelsea Hotel? Its unmade beds?
And we bend over and take it, don’t we. Still. We take it from The Man. We take it from the mean girls, the mean boys. We take it from the schools. I took it from myself. And I gave it too. I might have given it to you, beautiful bioluminescent boy.
I’d say you, if anyone asked me now about the brightest torch by the Hudson. You, my welcoming harbour. My Ellis Island.
Last December I loved you for those ten minutes like you were the only man in New York. I loved you like no other. And that’s a cliché, and yes, I still think of you, the way you gave it right back to the world. You gave me hope in unicorns and midnight kisses. You showed me freedom when you waved your wang at the world. Stilled my ennui.