Bobby was bigger, but only by a few inches; in a fight he always toppled me
effortlessly to the ground
with a swift kick of his Keds, a warm thud: undulated by the trampoline’s
attraction to the center of things. Bobby snarled like an innocent kid on crack as he stood over me, his hair almost falling into my face —
then laughing, jumping into the air,
landing on my belly
I was angry by this
invasion after school with something I could only guess was
fucked up camaraderie,
his cat calls of queer only adding to the sting of the taut tarpaulin,
the weight of Bobby,
my own inability to stand on my own two feet, the feeling of
too fueled with raw gut to understand what he meant when
he pushed his weight on my stomach,
his Abercrombie jeans against my ribs.
If there was intimacy,
it was only for a moment —
and even then,
he took my head
back to the grainy tarp, my face a contorted red mash:
His suck-my-dick mantra seemed a distorted fraternal gesture,
an initiation into the world of men,
inverted love and affection parading,
threatening to undo me —
pinning me in a corner,
giving me a cruel chance to
not verily “men loving men”
as I would read about later —
when I got older —
not a continuum —
but fractured fraternity,
And he would
clap my back after we fought
as if it was a ritual of friendship.
as if the previous humiliation was nothing, really, as if I had nothing to be ashamed about — any feelings I might have had were none at this moment because Bobby was kind
You did okay for a pansy. Really.
Can I borrow X-Men?
I would say “sure” and “okay” like a monk at chant.
“They’re in my room”.
But, he was my friend.
Bobby in his white cotton v-neck Fruit of the Looms
and Abercrombie jeans,
wiry blonde hair —
(he didn’t sleep; red circles around his eyes)
graciously accept my comic books
as a token of some sort,
a secret pact between us —
and he would bring them back,
in their plastic slipcases,
as if he knew they were precious to me,
punching my chest with a cordial
not too distant from my mother’s call
to come to dinner.