7.18.2015 Journal Prompt

Photo by Mary Ellen Mark
Photo by Mary Ellen Mark

July 18, 2015: I thought he was…

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2 thoughts on “7.18.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. He’s hard as thrown stones or shut doors. And his mouth is all snarl and snap, and he stands up when he should stand down. Not because he’s stupid, he stands, but because he’s proud. And his fists are all the answers he has to what the boys in the houses say to him, and maybe, if he shows he is not afraid, maybe then they will stop asking him about his mama and the holes in his clothes and if he has washed today or any day. His name is Bugger or Bug.

    It’s like that wherever we go, wherever we put a brake to our wheels and rest our horses for a while. They don’t want us there, or anywhere. Not with our music and our laughter and our hearts on our sleeves – or is that their hearts we wear? At least they say that they don’t want us, though there’s men that come under the star glittering mask of night and they pay in silver coin that is true to the bite, and they sleep with Miriam or Lint, and such a restless sleeping, all breathless and moaning, like the horses when they are spooked in the dark.

    And boys sometimes, and they are only smaller copies of the men. And they come looking and smiling and their words are soft and slippy. And they are clean, on the outside at least. Clean as if they are new or washed like sheets are washed and hanging on the line. And they come to collect kisses and touches, and to have their hearts broken, and so they are very like the men who sleep with Miriam or Lint.

    But they do not look back over their shoulders when they leave, the men or the boys, their pockets empty and their hearts in pieces in their cupped palms. They do not give us a thought when they leave, do not think that we have hearts, too, and that maybe we suffer when they go. And so I turn always to Bug.

    And he’s hard when he needs to be, when he’s squaring for a fight to make his name clean. But’s soft too. I think he’s soft. And he makes me laugh more than any boy I know and he makes me cry the same. And he says I am moon pretty and his and that I should not make gifts of my kisses to boys who come calling. He says those boys will not remember, like he does.

    And Bug does remember, can put into small words the taste and the touch and the temper of my kisses, the kisses I make gift of to him. And he says he holds my heart in his hand, holding it gentle and sure so it will never be broken, holding it like blue speckled robins’ eggs and his hand a feathered nest and warm. And Bug asks only that I hold his heart the same, keeping it so he has it not and cannot give it away to the girls who dare to come like the boys and the men come.

    ‘Hold my heart and that way it is always yours,’ Bug says, ‘and never theirs.’

    And kisses he sells to girls in clean dresses and he touches them under their clothes, as much as they pay for, and he says their names, shrunk to breathless whisper, and the girls think maybe he loves them, but I have his heart so I know he does not.

  2. Don’t nobody love me like he does. And he don’t never need to say it, but I know. Like when we is up at the river and he shows me where the fish is sleeping close into the bank and he takes my hand and he leads me to a brown trout there and he tickles it under its white belly and he slowly lifts it nearer the surface so I can see. And it’s like he’s showing me his heart, and it kicks then, tail and fin, and twisting its whole fish-body in a rainbow commotion, and I get it.

    And Mickey just laughs and he looks at me and I laugh, too, and the brown trout breaks the water and then is gone into the cold deep dark. And Mickey says my name, like maybe that is the name of the fish, too. And he says it wistful, like he wishes it would swim back to his hand. And I lean in and kiss him, fish-wet kisses, and I say his name back to him.

    And Mickey, he holds me close and under the stars and the moon. And the smoke from a wood-fire is in his hair and on his clothes. And I breathe him in, all bitter and sweet. And I know he will always love me and love me like no other.

    I been with other boys and they is all running hands and blowing air and hard cocks pressing ‘gainst me through their clothes. And they is so taken up with their own breathlessness that they don’t even see me, and I could be any girl in that touching dark. And after, when they is done and I wipe my hand on the grass, and they see me then, it is not love that is in their eyes or their words.

    With Mickey it is different. He’s got all sorts of respect for me. And he blesses me with his words, and his kisses are not hungry, and he touches my neck and my hair and my cheek, touching gentle as birdwing or bees. And he lays all his secret wonders before me, and there is love in that.

    There’s a nest with eggs in the ragged privet hedge that runs along one side of Duthie park and it is a robin’s nest, he says, and three hen-speckled blue-sky eggs, warm as breath in my cupped hand, and he says we must be quick or the robin will know – worse yet, the boys will know, the boys that have names for us and those names sharp as thrown stones and they don’t ever leave us alone.

    And Mickey takes me to a box of bees that is out on the far edge of a field and we watch the to-ing and fro-ing, listening to the sound of ‘em, which is like music when it has no words and is simply humming. And he braves their stings to fetch me a broke bit of comb with sweet honey dripping. And Mickey don’t never have to tell me loves me, for it is there in everything he does.

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