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A diatribe of love.



My love: things are growing on the hillside. Saber wide blades of crabgrass rise in waves at angles so steep they'll never be mown. Stems of mustard die yellow brown and ignite in brushfires lit by crickets chirping accidentals over bits of flint last chipped for arrowheads by Ohlone tribesmen arming to ambush Father Junipero Serra and his invading Spaniards. There are thorny blackberries germinated from seeds that passed through the alimentary canal of a golden retriever named Wilf who stopped to relive himself while chasing a frisbee his owner flipped errantly in a fit of uncoordinated muscle movement because he wasn't watching where he was aiming.

A sapling grows from the core of a Fuji apple you tossed. It's inches wide now and big enough for shade.

There was a blanket I used to carry in a Macy's shopping bag so when I opened the trunk and people were around to look inside they wouldn't think I was driving around with a blanket in my car. You brought foie gras that came from a can your brother brought back from Roissey airport when he passed through on the way to a business trip to a company called Bull where he worked on computers and practiced his French on a receptionist named Guimette. There were two bottles of wine because each of us thought to bring something not as heavy as a zin or as old-sock smelly as a pinot but quite between in the risky ho-hummedness of a medium priced '99 Sonoma merlot blend.

There was a hummingbird you named Jerome.

We were here and talking about things with no meaning beyond wanting to be together speaking, words in stochastic sequences, fabrication, improvised soliloquies and where we said, "you know?" and nodded without thought beyond needing to be near the yes of all the things that rotated in planetary orbit around the pain running straight down the middle of our lives, the empty trough of living without another. We stared into each other's glassy eyes for ever lengthening periods, trying to decide whether to lower defenses enough to undo a button or pull a zipper one rung as a lure to draw the other closer like flies to honey or wildebeest to rotting piles of freshly mown elephant grass.

I was thinking I was knowing our hidden flesh would soon be separated by less than a sheet of white Nordstrom-distributed Egyptian cotton when I noticed you were sleeping and the bottles of wine, once opaque, had become containers of green-hued sunlight. And as I stared at the light in the bottles the heat ran up my arm and into my head and took root behind by eyeballs where it ballooned like a sheep's bladder haggis filled with oatmeal and broken glass, tearing my prefrontal lobe and retinas to ribbons in the late afternoon blare.

A group of children ran past and kicking a dirty junior-league soccer ball that rolled across the grassy hilltop coming to a stop only after transferring its kinetic energy to the back of your skull with a thud reminiscent of a watermelon exploding on impact after a long fall from the roof of an abandoned warehouse in an uninhabited section of the Bronx.

Still, you did not awaken, but only increased the depth of your breathing until you began to snore like my father used to when he fell asleep on the living room sofa watching reruns of Johnny Carson and b-grade horror movies from the era of the lull between Hiroshima and the Korean War. At this I decided to return to the car to retrieve what I was sure was a bottle of aspirin and turned out to be a container of breath mints with all the analgesic qualities of a glass of vegan tofu. And when I staggered back full of headache mouldering drunkenness you were gone. The blanket and the bottles were there, and the crackers were there, and they were half smeared with the foie gras each of us found as repulsive as liverwurst infused with bacon and slathered with mayonnaise. And the opened can was there and the haggis was growing behind my eyes, pressing against my optic nerve and drilling spikes of molten nails through my head that made me want nothing at that moment other than to sleep or scream in mortal agony like the overacted victim of a black-and-white Boris Karloffian Frankenstein. Yet I had to find you and I didn't.

I traversed that hilltop looking for you. I crossed the green lawn and the gravel lots and passed the wooden posts with the signs that told us we couldn't drive motor propelled vehicles or explode weapons or set fires or swap out motor oil or declare war on New Zealand while residing in the hill park. I went to my car and back and then synthesizing a scenario where in a stupor you tumbled down the hillside and broke your femur and clavicle and were lying in a pain wracked heap shivering and nearly unconscious with greenstick fractures protruding bloody, and jagged and leaking marrow through your torn satin flesh, I attempted my descent on the steep side where I met the crabgrass and the apple core you tossed and the mustard that exhaled flame when bottle opener that had come from my pocket struck a glancing blow against a large rounded boulder and threw a spark.

Away from the flames I raced. Away even though I heard the fire trucks and the helicopters and the calls of the first aid responders and the vox-breaking squelch of the thick black Motorola brand weather-hardened radios the CDF smoke jumpers had clipped to their belts when they parachuted out of passing C-130 aircraft with picks and shovels and began to cut a fire break in the hillside above the private residences and the condo complex and the home for retired convalescing executives of major American manufacturing firms. And I would have, I should have burned to death looking for you because at that moment it was unclear to the logic of my mind as to whether you were safe from the fire I'd caused or presently engulfed in fire and sizzling in boiling bodily juices and liquified fatty acids. But the little roulette ball of consciousness bounding across the almost random, game-theorized processes of my thoughts landed on the idea that I should have, but for the stupor induced by a bottle of fairly inexpensive merlot, realized you were safe in the fireproof, asbestos-free porta john, puking, and that it was me who should flee for his life and almost certain effective and terminal prosecution by overzealous public prosecutors seeking election to superior courts and city counsels.

And I was right.

Later I found my insurance would not cover the loss of my car, as so much property had been destroyed and I was under suspicion. And later, when I was not under suspicion anymore, I saw you and your husband and children walking through the mall. And you had a bag that said Nordstrom that didn't contain Egyptian cotton sheets, and your man that husband had a bald spot the size of a melmac cereal bowl he painted with black waxy stuff that came from a can he was pursuaded to purchase by an extended television advertisement at 3AM one morning when you were asleep and he was mulling over whether or not to tell you about the Porsche 911 upon which he'd just made an irrevocable downpayment. And your children are named Cecil and Charles but you don't call him Chuck even though you call the other, Cece. And their hair is nearly blonde and their GI Joe action figures have lifelike action sound when you pull the ring on the cord on their plastic backs, though Charles's needed a little prodding to get it to say anything other than, "Let's rendevous at the landing zone!"

Our lives jumped a track. Like when you drink and it goes down the wrong pipe, you went one way and I went another.

Just like Jerome.

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