Spooky Boyfriend #5

Is This a Poem For the Year 2219?

Yes, this is a poem for the year 2219
about the fact my bathroom is above
my neighbors’ bedroom, and I sing
Roy Orbison songs at immaculate volumes
during my routines, which is partly my love
of song and partly my obsession with the idea
of audience. Dear 2219, a bathroom is a private
chlorinated water repository filled with hair gel
and other methods of impression insurance,
like sleeping pills. Neighbors are people who
lock the downstairs door just because some
random bro started fingerpainting their door-
bell Sunday night. Oops, he said. You’re not my
parents. Neighbors leave notes asking you to park
considerately and curbside boxes of giveaway bins
to judge them by. In bedrooms, 2219, what you do is
sniff a cowboy shirt you’ve plucked off the floor to see
if it’s okay to wear for teaching the kids I guess you call
First Moroccan Restauranteer in Space and Single Season
Small Needle Home Run Record Holder. You leave the mandarin
peels on your bed after having awesome sex with your girlfriend
but throw them away when she leaves for work. In 2219, you may
instead want to rub the peels all over your chest. If so, history
repeats itself. Golly. Singing is a method of generating inside
you a logging road, dawn-ish, swards of sugar beets, after driving
all night, knowing it’s about to rain but it’s not raining yet, thanks
sky! Singing may also be catalogued as Christmas underwater
and hiking slowly along the railroad ties with the best candy bar
but no home. For the sub-category of song known as Roy Orbison,
ditch your footnotes, 2219! 1936-1988, popular for soaring R&B
and indoor sunglasses: that’s not Roy Orbison! Roy Orbison is a
naked knee so lovely you’d cry if you weren’t afraid of the knee
getting wet. Other things you need to know, 2219: I am afraid of
everything. We would rake the stars into piles to say what’s after
us. Happiness without certain phone calls is impossible. Your father
will die. Last Christmas, I ran into my friend Reggie at the cineplex.
His kid was cute. Me and my other friend were making fun of the movie
Reggie wanted to see. Reggie and I cussed together for the first time I can
remember, but I think we’re made of different smoke. 2219, I might be
above you or something. But I’m probably just below you. I take so many
multivitamins. Sometimes I try to make sure the best songs in my iTunes
have the most plays, but I don’t know why. Carolyn’s a better singer than
I am, and Dorothy told me that when I sing Bridge Over Troubled Water
it sounds like I’m falling apart. Is that a good thing? Wouldn’t it be more
considerate to just spend my time recycling cartons of apple cider for
you, 2219? Instead I carry a pillowcase full of laundry to the laundromat
and try to memorize my life enough to remember my life. I walk streets
named after people too dead to meet and try to sing loud enough to get
stuck in strangers’ heads. Carolyn and I go down on each other to hear the
other make their sounds. One time I saw my downstairs neighbor in a
line, and she smiled, waved at me. I couldn’t remember who she was.
She left her place to come talk. Then I remembered. 2219, they just
found water on the moon. Your love will only count before it’s gone.

Mike Young is the author of WE ARE ALL GOOD IF THEY TRY HARD ENOUGH (Publishing Genius Press 2010), LOOK! LOOK! FEATHERS (Word Riot Press 2010), and the chapbook MC OROVILLE'S ANSWERING MACHINE (Transmission Press 2009). He co-edits NOÖ Journal and Magic Helicopter Press. Contact him at his blog: http://mikeayoung.blogspot.com. He lives in Northampton, MA.