A Warm Bath

The seasons lifting forgotten wings, thin and worn

Birds two by two high above me and you

The shadow of their line against the moon

A desperate pair in blue, like a torn cloth wrapped round and round horses beaten by the mawle of war

It’s hard to watch horses die, their eyes so big and sad

Elephants too, the gorillas hanging upside down

Everything a distant bell  

When I read this to Genevieve, sometime long ago in Amsterdam, she looked at me and shook her head. Do you always think like this?  No, don’t answer … I love you, I do. We belong together and you know how to find me.

My face reappeared.  Well, if you please, I think all of this is sad, because … because there’s snow where footsteps should be and the whores have gone inside to drink their tea and later in the dead of night, they’ll look into mirrors and see a hole that runs through their hearts.  It will be map-less, that stare into the mirror, like a kidnapped girl trapped in the bathroom of a gas station.  Okay, if you say so, she took a deep breath and said, let’s buy the sex vibrator.  One of those authentic Amsterdam jobs, from the Red-Light District.  The kind that goes zoom, zoom.

We stood in the falling snow. The shop window was filled with different things, all relating to sex in one way or the other.  I left her there on the sidewalk and went inside.  The selection was overwhelming and some appeared to be surgical instruments.  One in particular caught my eye.  It was the Pleasure and Pain Shaft and the words were roughly embossed on both sides of the vibrator.  It was a red checkered affair with a nice little two-toned control box that hoovered just above my head.  I imagined how we would use it later in one of the booths at the airport hotel bar.  So, I bought it and when I got back to Genevieve, she said, I was propositioned by two men.  One was an old guy from Italy.  He said he liked my shoes. 

I hadn’t noticed before, but her shoes were those red clown shoes, the pair she’d bought in New York City.  These were special shoes, the kind that needed a painted-on face and a cigar topped by an old black hat.  He was persistent, she said.  I had to walk away.  The other guy was from that place we’re always flying over, the one in the Middle East.  He had a high-pitched accent and everything he said reminded me of that album Nilsson Schmillson.  Remember how we used to sing when we got drunk?  Sure, I said.  I remember.   Well, that was how he talked, like you and I were singing early in the morning and I can’t do right, had a little fight with my baby last night … remember? And I ain’t got nothing but the blues, yeah, ain’t got nothing but the blues.  Remember?  We laughed and it was cold and there was nobody, nothing on the streets except the reflection of red lights on the snow and we walked back to our hotel and got off in the dark booth at the back of the bar. 

We were like two people starting a fire in a warm bath.        

3 thoughts on “A Warm Bath

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