It’s okay. It’s why we’re all here.
“Upon Seeing the Hollywood Sign”
“Did you ever notice,” Tate asks as he pulls down his shorts, “that when they ask, ‘What’s your dream?’ like they do in that stupid movie —” he turns around to face the tall white letters — “about the prostitute with a heart of gold — what was it? Oh, yeah, Pretty Woman — that they never — camera ready?” I say yes, the camera is ready. Tate opens wide his arms to The Sign, hefted cheeks glistening, reflecting the sun, flexing newfound freedom, a bounce… “ — really let you choose off-menu?” The phone makes the sound cameras make, a sharp click, as if something real just happened. “Know what I mean?” he asks as he pulls up his lucky shorts.
Library of Memory, finger on the spines that hold together me. Oh, I do not like this book! (Though I’ve read it a thousand times.) I was too young to understand. How was I to know? (I knew.) One night sags the shelf that ought to be in the Restricted Section (like the old days, when you had to ask for the books with drawings). These spines are warped. Horrible! I move on. My, this one is beautiful. Just look at its golden cover: “Full of greeting cards and fairy tales.” Here, I learn right from wrong and begin to build My Best Self. Things work out in this book (just like a Hollywood movie). Grandma really likes it. I really should read it someday. But they said I could take out only one. Maybe this one? Bright and Sunny Days? And there are other rooms, futures I’ve never visited, a place for faith. Philosophy. I really should… as I bow my head, reach for Mistakes and turn to you.
He didn’t give me his name. Just a question: “Are you sure?” And as I quivered, arched a vibrating spine, thought “no contract would be legal now, you have to be sane, prostate unfluttered, bliss-less” — You don’t even know who he is! (Every safe voice.) I do. He is Unseen. Unbodied mechanic. Quantum god or prisoner, jinni or egrḗgoroi angel-demon foreign-world alien — because, really — Oh, my god! “Yes!”
Those gray mornings north of Sacramento when Mormons came around seeking future Mormons and I hopped the fence to escape and to play: Thanksgiving was coming soon, and there would be no turkey, but I sat in that wicked tree, blessed, watching the missionary’s ass bounce.
What turned me into a whore, you ask? Courage. I said yes to need.
Listening for remnants — ear to plaster, voices carry — muffed and past far too quickly. (Dude, I don’t think she’s finished. But you are.)