I saw Y on foster st.. He didn’t look the same. He had a shock of white hair. He looked like a famous dead artist. I walked alongside him and crossed over the Hawthorne bridge. I left him when I decided he couldn’t possibly be Y. The old man had nicotine stains on his fingers. Y didn’t smoke cigarettes. He fondled a pipe. Y had no interest in the arts. He did like to bang on the piano keys with his large hands. He had a set of watercolors he never used. He punished me and withheld his guidance when I confessed I wanted to be an actor. His frame was skin and bone. He had survived cancer.
I spoke with Y on 54 Ave. He’s a riddle. He looked like how I remembered him. He confessed he had killed a woman. His loneliness had led him to her.
She had called him sensitive. They had walked and separated. He had left her lifeless.
Y had never been seriously violent. He has a temper. The Y I remembered also has a larger nose and a thinner mouth than murderer Y. You’re an impostor I said. I can be whoever you want me to be Y said. I can even not be Y even though I am Y. I don’t think you are Y, I said. I can’t replace Y, he said. I felt misled.
I felt eager to feel eager. I was unemployed. I frequented a likable young Southern psychiatrist whose sexuality I can’t ascertain. I looked into the interior of every house that had lights on and no one in sight. I knew that it would be unlikely I would see Y. I felt dizzy when I scrutinized the dark. I didn’t want to criticize myself. I walked to the center of the park where there was a concrete basin. Y was there with a dog that was more wolf than dog. I had no idea that Y was a dog owner. He had red hair and blues eyes. I wanted to have the park to myself. I felt I had nothing for myself. I felt that Y had taken everything that I had and was taunting me with it. I wanted to fight Y’s wolf dog. What did I care if I was killed by Y’s wild dog. I would regret killing it. I felt that everyday I had to struggle to have something for myself. The medication abated the anxiety and depression but not the emptiness. I noted that the trees were stark and that they didn’t penetrate my slowness.
I looked in the mirror and saw bland handsome looks that could have been of use to another man not myself, an actor maybe.
I looked at a postcard Y sent me in his manic phase. It had an image of King Kong on the Empire State building.
Y has a long empty face. He often has dirt under his finger nails. He was manic. He posited his discolored penis. It was as long as his face. I was very still.
I should be in the movies, I said. I should be in the movies, Y mocked. I should be in the movies. I should be in the movies. Don’t you think I would want to be in the movies?
Who doesn’t want to be in the movies? You have to be a homosexual to be in the movies. They’re all homosexuals in Hollywood. And you’re not a homosexual.
I gave the wispy young lady money for the blouse. She has a senile mouth. I have questions about Y. I ask her if she has seen him. She doesn’t know of him. I describe him.
I second guess myself. Maybe my description is poor. Maybe I’m here for her and not Y. I would feel safer if I knew where he was. I ask her if she heard about the woman Y had killed. She said that she hadn’t. I feel I have to account for these large blocks of time when I’m not thinking.
She may not be the one to speak to about it. What is your name, she asked. It startled me. No one had asked for my name in years. I felt ashamed when I couldn’t remember it. The image of Y surfaced. Would you like another blouse, she asked.
I don’t see the coast guard, I said. Are you lost at sea, she asked. The guard is useful, I said. When they rescue us they hug us in our mid section. I was speaking to her in Chinese. She didn’t ask me to leave.
The Chinese are on my mind, I said. They say that the Chinese are not playing by the rules.
I don’t know what the rules are. I’m not a brain. I don’t think the ones who devise the rules know what they are either. I’m very curious about the Chinese. I don’t think they are curious about me. I don’t ever see the Chinese getting to know me. I have to go to them. I have been to them in the west side of town where they live amidst one another. The white drunk and the sexual addict loiter among them. I don’t have the capacity to know them. I have purchased goods from them. I did meet a very nice Chinese man who teaches
Chinese to western children. He was forthcoming and gracious and passionate about teaching Chinese to westerners. I have read Chinese poems. I like them. They have everything to teach me about beauty nature and cruelty. There have been brutal wars and great cultures in the history of China. The Chinese school teacher explained that each Chinese word has four tones which is to say that every word can have four meanings according to the tone adopted. I thought this was an amazing thing to have learned. I was happy to have learned it from the modest school teacher who was skinny and had a handsome bad set of teeth. I asked him if it is the same for the Japanese language. He said it wasn’t. I think there is something inscrutable about China. It is a place where I would meet many open minds.
I kept looking to see if she was listening behind her fixed gaze.
She had a prominent nose and long face.
A diminutive Japanese man with a large forehead asked me for five dollars. He said that he was very hungry. I felt bad for the man. I didn’t have the five dollars to give. Where did the Japanese beggar go to sleep? I wanted to go look for him. I would give him the five dollars he needed.
I liked fucking men in the woods. They appeared like deer. I fucked them against a tree. The bearded men were hunters, botanists, and hikers. The botanists were especially noble. They would ask me to smell plants and flowers. They would tell me the names of the plants and what use they had. They withheld their names. They had cold noses and small feet. They melted snow with their breath. They had warm bodies. They hated the idea of grants wanting to be still long enough to become plants themselves. They wiped their asses with leafs. The hikers were suicides. They removed bark from the trees. They washed their hands feet and mouth in the cold river. They plumbed the mountain side erect and bruised. I felt I was doing something wrong in the woods. I felt I was getting sharper.