The playground looks broken in
December's plastic moonlight.
The basketballs have turned
to orange ghosts on the court
and the purple clouds above
resemble one-eyed teddy bears, smoking cigars.
You hold my hand between zombie oak trees
and stutter through a Michael Jackson song.
"Ben, the two of us.." you whisper,
then press your lips against mine.
It's surreal but I swallow your laughter
and stick my hand inside your jacket,
making you gasp as I trace
your shy muscles.
Boy, I want to scare off all
the bad memories that still
linger in this park;
the jump ropes and
games of hangman.
But you say, "Let's go" and
we turn towards your neighborhood,
feeling the arctic breeze
tear through our clothes.
And lust eats away at us
as we reach the front door.
The action figures in your room
play haunting cowboy tunes
and I find the unrequited love
you hid inside a weathered comic book.
Jealous, I want to drown the photo in
a sea of red dye, imprint something
new in your toy truck memory, boy.
But what do I have, except
careless writing, number 2
pencils and Swiss chocolate bars?
You deserve more than
a Phantom of the Opera type,
medicine cabinets, doctor's notes.
You deserve a superhero in
tight pants, a prince with a
flirty mask, not a statistic like me.
Candy land nostalgia;
the world isn't just black and white,
it's the shades of grey that wreck
our sleep and make us think about
fast lips and rainbow-colored drinks,
people in dive bars
who tell us love is easy and free.
I picture your cherry wood irises
and feel guilty but
you say, "I still want you"
with iceberg tears
sitting on your lashes.
"Baby, I can't do better."
what have we done here?
It's too late for men to
jump off of buildings
in their shiny capes.
They lie on their backs in the yard,
the letters on their chests
no longer glowing with power.
It's the end of a spell.
The timing is perfect.