Academic journal article TriQuarterly

First Night

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

First Night

Article excerpt

I met this guy at the Paradise New Year's Eve - a little odd, but also compelling: short; wavy black hair, brooding features beneath a back-turned baseball cap; terrific arm muscles. He looked like Keats.

After twenty minutes I could see it, his contorted soul, the involutions plain as facial movement, when he spoke familiarly about "the passions" as if they were a team or something, his compact body fairly bristling with sex ... but he was nervous, alarmed almost by the bowl of condoms at the comer of the bar where I was standing, getting turned on: "That ... act ... is so far from my mind -"

Maybe not too far: at least, he made no move to get out of the car, turning conversation from the passions to me - yes, my eyes are blue; yes, I do wear glasses - running a finger over the bridge of my nose, the gentle indentations, question after question, then - finally. Not the ritual pecks that count as commerce with the over-buoyant boys at home, but not the painful tentatives either that keep us apart, me and those who need to hide their sadness - this time complete absurdity and fire, as if in the abyssal space between the old and new years we'd allowed ourselves to fall into the deepest mutual solitude, kisses, kisses, slightly too close to a streetlamp -

while the 1990s picked up speed: so contemporary, the young men at the parking lot's edge, beers in hand and their faces in masks, gradually assembling around my car, silently at first, then howling, pressed against the windows, faggots! …

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