When I was chewing gum arabic
and you were putting fish hooks
through your fingers, you asked me:
“How art we to know what love is about?
and I said, “What love is about? Love is about movies.
and you said, “No, movies are about love.
To that I nodded sagely, and for that I stopped chewing.
After a time I noticed I was crying, and you asked, “Why are you crying?”
and I said, “The violins... during the credits, when the orchestra is surging and the gaffer disappears with the best boy and lighting technician, and you can't get your shit together. Your nose is running and people are trying to keep from tripping on your legs, but then they get stuck on some spilled Coke and they trip anyway. You mumble an apology, but it really isn't your fault. You're allowed to sit through the credits and sob. So you do, until the employees start sweeping, and you stumble into the brightly lit lobby - all without looking anyone in the eye. Then after a time you finally stand up straight and wipe your nose on your sleeve and walk out into the cold night air – that is love.”
and you said, “Which fucking part?”
and I said “The violins, definitely, the violins.”
and then you hit me in the nose, and I couldn't help but start crying again.
You immediately looked apologetic through my film of tears
, so I silently accepted your silent apology, and wiped my nose on my sleeve.
I was staring at your hands so I decided to ask about the fish hooks.
You said you were trying to induce
I asked, “Is it working?”
and you replied, “Verily.”
To that I thought about Jesus Christ and King James and fishers of men and catchers in rye and fat ladies and renaissance men and whether or not my life had been blasphemous or merely a collection of paranoid schizophrenic symptoms,
but then you started bleeding on me.
I said, “I hope you live as long as you want to.
and you said, “I hope I don't.
and I said, “What the hell does that mean?
To that you shrugged, but I knew you too were thinking about Jesus Christ and I couldn't help but choke on
the tongue I then found in my mouth.