-the crystal death-
*by someone whose time to die hasn’t come*
(frankie leone, just a man)
*i walk the streets after 12am on a muggy august night without tangible purpose. the exact hour’s obscured by apathy.
my thoughtless hope’s to find her even though she’s long gone. lost to me and our city.
she haunts me still and i search the streets of downtown manhattan for her specter.
i remember her beauty. i remember her warmth. i remember her coldness. i remember her horror. i remember her in every light. flickering dim ones and blinding bright ones.
and i know i’d do it all again if another six shooter of love, with only one round in its cylinders, found its way into these long scarred tattooed fingers.*
*my mobile phone’s fished from the pocket of skin tight levi’s and i search for a replica.
something i can grasp and gasp onto through this night. it’s dark enough in my mind and on these avenues to get black lung from a breath of after-dusk air.
even though the street lights shine onto my five o clock shadow i can’t feel them anymore, but i will feel something with someone.
desperation can be a wild sexy beast. especially in a city that can’t lower its lids.*
*he’s a pretty man, looking much younger than his years. i assume the soul that might reside inside him matches his youthful looks.
a makeup artist i met by chance in the waiting room of her rehab clinic midtown, on the east side.
i went there to support her. him and i exchanged cards after a pleasant chat. gorgeous blonde hair, feminine mannerisms, and pretty features caught my eye.*
*i text him at this inappropriate hour to see if he’d like a cup of coffee. i love gay guys. they are always ready to get a cup of coffee.
…as the kids call it these days.*
*”hey you. >=)”
“hey handsome devil. 🙂 what’s up?”
“nothing just wandering around downtown. wanted to know if you’d like to grab a cup of coffee. ;-)”
“i’d love to but i’m in for the night and live in harlem. you could come up here. i don’t have any coffee but i have something 5000 times better.”
“sounds interesting. 🙂 i’m close to the train at union square.”
“oh great. i’m on 127th between park and lex. take the 5 train uptown a few stops to 125th. the night can go wherever you want. ;-)”
“i’ll text when i get off the train.”*
*the neighborhood’s desolate except for blatant crack spots every two blocks. one is right on his corner. it’s staffed by a fat look-out in his 40s, three teenagers from the neighborhood, and a silent og sitting high up on the building’s steps.
the people on the streets greet me with unusually friendly salutations for our city. even men who seem like they don’t often talk to strangers. a lot of what’s goods, what’s poppins, and ‘sups are thrown my way. even by those who aren’t peddling controlled substances.
i’m used to this when passing through the hood.
a man who used to be famous once referred to my look as “80’s junky rock star.” it’s out of the norm here and people are welcoming the rough-around-the-edges novelty that happens to be me. despite the combination of the depth of the night and my white skin*
*jonathan young lives in a rooming flop house on 127th street. i text i’ve arrived from the front door.
a disheveled looking woman runs down the hallway steps as he lets me in. a large man wearing a gold rope necklace walks coolly down the steps behind her from the common restroom on the second floor.
i mind my own business and walk through the door with three locks into his room.
the bed’s on fire and the room’s filled with smoke.
it takes a few minutes to put it out and open all the appropriate doors and windows.
luckily there are no smoke detectors.*
*he apologizes profusely in the most charming manner i’ve seen in a while, and invites me to sit on the damaged bed with him.
jonathan offers me a 4 loko- 22 ounces of candy flavored malt liquor. i decline.
a flash of her lightnings through my psyche and i agree after his second offer. it’s funny how little i’d missed the taste of alcohol in the five years i’d been free of drugs and alcohol previous to this first sip.*
*we speak candidly and flirt without restraint on his singed sheets. a connection is there.
he tells me he’s of lithuanian descent. i notice his arms have almost no hair.*
*time passes towards dawn and many verses of conversation are exchanged.
i’ve never seen it before. it’s more of a west coast and midwestern thing. except in small pocket’s of our city’s gay community.
he offers me some. it looks like splintered quartz. i love pretty things, but hesitate anyway.
the ghost of her floats through my mind. as it does most moments of most days. i accept on his second offer.
“it’s better when you smoke it,” he explains, and takes out a water pipe he uses to smoke the drug.
instead of water i see he’s it filled with pink fruit drink from the corner bodega.*
*and so it began.
mind-blowing sex. stealing. exposure to dark pornography. a return to hustling various things. the most intense one month relationship of my life. lying. brutal physical fights. the rise and fall of a small club kingdom. deals gone terribly wrong. my forgetting of her. loss of my friends, sanity, money, job, home, and even bicycle. the end of my will to write until now.
it’s nearly been a year.*
*looking back from the end of the line with sobered eyes i blame no one.
not her. not jonathan. not even myself.
it’s simply the way the cards had to fall.
but unanswered questions haunt me.
why am i still here? why have i survived when so many i’ve known, who were better people than i, have fallen after less insanity? why have so many of the fires smoldered out, but my passion for her memory still burns like an inferno through my core?
i call upon him to answer to these questions. i challenge him to show up, if only to finally kill me after all his reaper’s attempts at seduction. i want to know why. in my heart i know he’s not coming.
i know the hard truth. the replies to my questions will come as my personal answer is lived. or they won’t at all. either way, i’ve got to keep putting one of these battered wing tips in front of the other.
the angel of death is looking for action somewhere else, for now.*
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