Categories
Fiction Issue 1

Boys

great viral chains all drawn and stretched out anchored to some undiscovered point past the clouds cosmic and leering leaving whorls and eddies of cotton in their wake as meandering fingers doused in white drag across the bone dry blue one day the boy will look at the fingerpainted sky and dream of floating beyond it weightless and tumbling away from it all suspended in motion and time he will climb the single sided ladder the nucleobases stacked all high and he will reach for its end but the backbone will crumble beneath him and the steps will crack and twist lying atop one another and by the same process of touching metal in space will weld together without heat and all this and more will fall into itself fuse and shatter as so many fragments crystalline and jagged and he will be impaled and then switch places with the impaler but eventually the boy will not be a boy at all but pieces of a boy or perhaps several boys all gathering at the bottom of a chest in the creases of old report cards and school pictures and ribbons and signed yearbooks and the lingering trace of his scent infused in too small t shirts and sweat soaked paper will trail off indecipherable but the mind will pretend it is still there and memory will work as though puffs were still sent off conjuring up snapshots with the saturation turned all the way up high deep color and the flutter of the heart both bleed over the edges one day the boy will be bought flowers lavender someone approaching the counter will say it was a political thing lavender the weight of mauve and i cant remember whether he liked the smell or instead the feeling of it but he will be remembered for a last time and the fragments in the bottom of this chest covered in cobwebs and mold will be removed and forgotten torn and alone but today the boy swims in glasnost and orange rinds his cuticles all soft plump and do hold this gaze you can see the boy if you look close enough through this window and if you tilt your head yes continue to strike that pose and contort your neck just so dont you see him there sitting on his bed blankets smoothed by the hands of the boy as a boy approaches the boy and of course a boy and the boy are different and a boy begins to stroke his face his fingers all long and thin while his joints supple and round protrude stalks of wheat tempered reaching from his palm white and chalky and now it seems oh yes a boy is kissing the boy on the lips in the shadows of the room lit dim by a kerosene lamp and naturally it is kerosene for the boy is in to this sort of thing and by this i mean that the boy has a soft spot for the old the obsolete although at least one could reason sicherlich that this return to the old is non traditional that this switch to the old is itself a new invention neuheit or novelty you said wo ist die schlimmste neuheit as you created a series of subtle movements of the body until it could no longer be contained the spasms and convulsions your lungs and stomach rising and falling with such intensity and speed um keine schwuchtel zu sein you told me ridding yourself of it how to hide the smell of us from your parents roommates you said a collection of gestures signs fabricated only for their own sake and in our apartment even now you hesitate and look around before touching even though you once told me this would end na klar you pleaded and you proved if for but a moment that its possible to go slower to hold composure as you watch yourself in the sheen of an oil spill a guy looking you in the eyes under the gaze of the man imprisoned in the moon in a small town held in time and in space rocking your hips as you bounce into an alleyway to steal a kiss you showed me that if you accelerate too hard the rubber begins to strip and melt away above the rough cement and the rocks where you tore up your knees and palms in the spotlight when it became all that it needed to be it was you who first exposed me to baudrillards corbières and saint clément and yet and yet and now we you and i know by the gentle light that the boy has decided to turn off the fluorescence its radiance gives me and it seems it also gives the boy headaches did you know that fluorescence is actually a series of flashes instead of continuous light it is astounding how we are not able to perceive this great unnerving blinking the chaos and the beauty of discrete things being congealed all together which was in some sense the goal of al haytham and leibniz transforming discrete events into continuous ones and analysis would be borne from the fruit dappled ground surrounding a virgin brit with much the same idea as you must recall echoes of epsilon delta awaken this in us today and the boy first came into contact with kerosene only a couple of months ago but since then he has burnt gallons of this plane fuel for as you know kerosene is nothing but plane fuel domesticated and dyed or perhaps it is the other way around plane fuel is the domestication of kerosene squared away in the hull of metal birds their wings stretched all high carrying the weight of it all but either way the summer i graduated high school i boarded along with my friends a plane from omaha to fort lauderdale for nationals and laying in a hotel room all alone as the night dragged on one guy texted me asking to come over and just lay down that his friends were too much that night so he came in and said i made it up there is nothing wrong but i wanted to be with you so i closed the curtains and he locked the door i kissed him he spit in my mouth it tasted like smoke and garlic he ran his coarse fingers in my hair scraping the skin of my scalp depositing dirt and grime lifting the oil and his pants tented and he unlocked the door and left while tears run down the boys face he says i cant do it anymore i just cant lie like this and he is rubbing his nose and eyes all wet and glistening on a boys shirt and a boy asks what are you lying about and heres where it becomes profound he asks does it matter and without answering the boy begins once more to kiss a boy and he moves to unbutton his shirt and jeans and the calvin kleins they are the pink long kind of boxers the first pair i ordered on amazon came the day after i turned 18 the day i installed grindr as a young guy these pink shorts laid underneath ripped jeans granted momentary bliss in the backseat of a green sedan on the road in a gated community just outside my neighborhood and we were watched he and i from one of the miraculous seven bedroom houses that adorned the street and we would later learn that he turned off his light and stood from the window and took stock of himself fingers wrapped as he saw all this being held by a stranger on a fiery night the façade of the moon blocked by the earth all rusted and creaking and he saw the moment i took off my glasses the moment sweat condensed along the black black rims as they sat on the dash the moment i felt history build up inside me and someone once told me maybe it was one of my boyfriends who studied aids art history the candies as a body of ross in la the way people respond to exile traumatic and scornful and nostalgic and weepy in the days where three teens killed four either way someone once told me history does not pass but rather it accumulates something like a commodity wheeled to town bid and spit on by strangers and friends the act of the roman dezimieren described in books of historical warfare as killing a tenth of an army one in ten and a short time ago rick santelli said maybe wed be just better off if we gave covid 19 to everybody and then in a month it would be over while in college i saw untitled hujar dead and i asked my boyfriend at the time will they let this happen again and he told me they made this happen hujar was expendable and we are too and sometimes when i step out of the shower and have my body shown in the mirror i see figures clawing their way out of the steam their mouths gaping as if permanently stuck screaming and i wonder how raw their throats are and if they remember being held or if this suspension is all they know and if i look close enough i can see the faces of men i held in the mist lurching toward me sticking out their hands grazing my face their fingers rapping against my clean shaven skin as memory comes flooding back but that boyfriend later dead from aids has never come to haunt me as an apparition leaving me to wonder if he chooses not to be seen or if he has been erased and i was in the small town of kaltern an der weinstraße a stop on a summer holiday in südtirol reliving memory alone while we had not spoken for a few years i received a letter from his lover after a day being submerged in what we used to call lacque del lago di caldaro on our ride back to our hotel in the heart of pèrzem im suganertal mocking the accents of the italians we shared this space with the knowledge that the house of habsburg once ruled this knowing it would one day become österreichich again and the letter from his lover was signed from washington and it said aids has taken him and when we first met he told me in his stilted english you know grid was better than aids making jesse helms confront gayness all in the name but aids is invisible with the name suggesting it helps anyone and i ripped up the postcard with its black and white image of the pentagon and large monospaced letters reading united states department of defense put my speedo on and went back to swimming the silent screams endemic to this haunting in the fog troubles me but the utter absence of this soft spoken boyfriend a lover of the döner kebab and sachertorte we ate in small towns appearing as so many pockmarks throughout thüringen campaigning for die linke carrying extra jars of aprikosenmarmelade in the deep pockets of our rain jackets his absence plagues me more so i wonder who i will haunt when i got to college to study math and take a group theory class the study of symmetry in an algebraic sense as though there were any other sense with a key result telling us an identity is unique that each element living has a pair to annihilate with till its empty ineffectual null and i began to ride my bike with a buggy behind me both ways under the same sun along the same path that another guy rode to and from work silent and meditative until he flagged me down and pulled me into the dark under the cottonwood trees to which i am allergic and with me sniffling and sneezing he dug his fingers in my collar and pulled it and the belt off until he left my body exposed in the popcorn shade and he wiggled out of his own clothes and soon we were connected as one and he told me you know ive never done something like this im straight and i said yeah me too while i slipped back into my skin and once a week we would stop at that enclosure bathe in the darkness and silence and it was all i imagined it would be come and go and cum and go feeling and being felt and seeing and being seen and now in any event this and by this i mean two fags meeting in the backseat of a sedan the man in the window in a cul de sac saw and the düster socks the ones with white accents on the heel are all that remain on a boy and now dont look away this is important for the boy holds a boys skin between his teeth and says yes this is enough a boy just smiles and now a boy screams and pulls the boy up from the ground and they encircle one another with their sorry arms and the boy gulps and his body shakes and the first boy that made my bladder tingle was in gym class with me and we shared a locker and sometimes when we took off our shirts and pants to change our limbs knocked into one another setting the thin hair on our arms upright goosebumps spreading across our exposed skin as so many ripples and as i grabbed a badminton racket he asked youre gay right grabbing one and smacking the face of mine with the handle of his and i told him you know youre not supposed to do that hitting rackets together can rip the netting but he just laughed and served a birdie and so we began to play batting this shuttlecock back and forth in silence as we quickly grew sore and breathless and when i walked home he ran to catch up to me youre gay though right he grabbed my fingers and laced them up in his untangling them whenever a car or bike passed us by and as soon as the coast cleared he wrapped us together again and even though a peck on the cheek was the furthest we got a pair of lips grasping the walls of the others when our journey together ended it was enough to feel whole as though reciprocation meant more than just a dream and now here you see a boys hands frame the boys face pulling him closer not being able to let go and they are sleeping next to one another naked with their limbs intertwined forming not striation like sediment and fossils and until i was 5 i grew up in ashland a town somewhere in the middle between lincoln and omaha with the house standing atop a ledge overlooking a great ravine wooded and full with life whose fenceline dropped something steep maybe 100 feet and coyotes screamed there for hours on end tormenting us as we tried to sleep and at this time i had an incredible fascination with dinosaurs the fact that something so immovable could have once been so grand and tall or maybe the fact that something displayed in museums with glamor and prominence could have once been elusive to the point of assumed impossibility but either way i liked to imagine that ones like graciliraptor the name meaning graceful thief still walked those woods and i dreamed and hoped to influence the jaunting ancient beast and sometimes i traverse the edge of the property and those woods and these remains of calcium in dreams hoping to make sense of where it all went wrong but back to and through the window the bodies instead form continuity a space of roots connections abound but connections are in some sense where it all went wrong and there is something understated and sexy about the bug introducing itself for two weeks as sore throat tender lymph nodes fever there was of course no reason for this i first heard about giftgiving my freshman year of college as i moved into the dorm with a sign saying looking to poz your neghole if interested call and he stood frail with his chest caved inwards it was hairless and smooth and disgusting except for the purple blotches of kaposi riddling his body as so many rings of copper raised from the skin cool to the touch and his body pulled back as i ran my nails along the rim and his body shuddered with every breath as he asked me do you know what youre getting yourself into and i said yes before me stood ein ungeheures ungeziefer broken and frail for weeks after i routinely checked my temperature and inspected my throat for inflammation celebrating when the strength of my grip weakened when my muscles ached waiting for the t cells to be defeated and my doctor called me six months later asking can you receive information over the phone and i said yes to which he replied okay you are positive it is impossible to tell when it will happen but if this is left unmanaged it will become full blown this was their favorite phrase full blown as if the disease had the ability to be hidden appearing in half blown or null blown ways in some real sense instead of watching all this history pass us by i found myself situated in it the center of infection and contagion and pandemic and loss so many falling with me not falling away something you have to feel to believe the contemporary version of empire in black and white 1964 it was the poet mark doty who wrote that this is not even a real word but an acronym a vacant four letter cipher that draws meanings into itself reconstitutes the world though in truth there is no world left hundreds of thousands dead and dying entire villages eradicated bars and salons closed to touch serge lang the great number theorist investigating transcendence of homomorphisms of distribution he denied that the virus progressed into the disease empiricists in new haven may be able to call this into question with their oblique methods of rigor of a tradition of science but for me its no use with the quick development of tuberkulose that summer persistent pain in my joints the same burgundy nodules raising on my skin as sat around the small of his back accumulating on the event horizon waiting to slip and fall in just so turning to hairline strands of spaghetti for which azt bought and buys time so that i can be saved but there is nothing left to save except that all this might be exposed public as a testament open to being seen from afar but now to and through the window things do not end the boys cock and a boys arm are one larger system of flesh and one day we will begin to call this system of men a boy the boy or maybe we call it the boy a boy both of the bodies considered as one but oh the plane fuel has run out so we are enveloped in blackness you and i and so you adjust your neck to look away peering back inside on our side of the glass