Oyster Boy Review 05  
  September 1996
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» Levee 67


That Old Patina of Love

Kevin McGowin

So the evening wore on and she got this idea, and told me she'd always wanted to be fucked on her dining room table and would I please do so to her now. Well, it wasn't like we'd never done it before, and I mean done it good, in bed, but I figured sure, if that's what this chick wants, and I did it, and man, I mean she was loving it. She finally threw herself up into my arms and screamed that I just didn't know how good I was making her feel, that I was the best lover in the world, I'd invented fucking, and now fuck me again, and do it hard and deep oh yeah baby. Well, she took me home after that and the next day left me for this guy who was a Marine and for all the hell I know he's fucking her on the dining room table right now, but for all the hell I give a shit one day I was reading Dante's Inferno and just ceased to care about all those lovely springtime hours almost ten years ago, when I was real, real young and she was younger and our organs were younger and so was the world.

But it never ends, really. Except now I'm scared, my life is run by mounds of fear and I can't cry like I did when I came in her arms and once I saw someone's brains blown out by a handgun at short range by accident and they landed in my lap. This was 1989. I've seen my best friends seep away into the grave and once this guy said all I want is for you to sit on my bed and read to me, you have such a lovely voice, and it conveys your soul. I went over there with some poems and he was curled up into a fetal position and said, thank you, honey, and while I read he went into a death rattle and three hours later he was dead, and the book still lay open by the AZT on his night stand. See, you fuck somebody, you see somebody die, and it all stays with you, and it's like furniture. Just the fuck like it, dear. It holds and drags you down but you can't get rid of it and every year a new layer made up of the love and the shit of your life is caked on to it and it's you. It's wood, like a cross. But you know, it's hard when you're getting hard inside to polish off the surface—I've tried, booze, drugs, gratuitous sex on the bed my mother died on. I'm a bastard, and all I care about is me. That's what my mother always said. All you care about, she said, is the Big K, just the Big K, all the time. And it was true, or it became true, who cares which. And that's love. You know I love you because I tell you I'm a fucking bastard, and thus expose my vulnerability, and vulnerability has a great, great deal to do with love. I used to have sex only when hung over for this very reason. God, I was stupid. Christ, what a moron. And I would do it all over again. Yeah. And there's someone out there tonight getting laid or dying and I'm sitting here writing this on a piece of furniture. It's covered with dust and ashes. And late last night I looked down and saw the handwriting on the chair leg wall and it said, I think, wash me.