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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Chew Toys & Tug-of-War Ropes, Forever

“I need you to sit down –

you need to be sitting”, he says - I hear him and I’m listening -

- and I respond “no”

I’ve sat down too often for conversations throughout my life


I am not prone to fainting when hearing bad information –

smelling salts are not required –

I’m not Teflon – but I am some generic form of it – or, so I think


“I’m in love with Ariadne” (my former girlfriend), he says

and, so, I sit down –

I sit down hard and ungraceful and sloppy -

and the couch is a disaster to comfort -

its blue with red paisley and swirly designs –

the designs less clever than when we bought it

we bought it together – we did –

and who gets to take it now?


My boyfriend sits in a chair 4 feet from me

(eyes green, like emeralds without flaws, but flawed) –

his legs crossed; his eyebrows crossed

and a chain with the cross of Jesus hangs from his neck –

“Okay”, I say – and I recognize this is my most common response lately –

perhaps he and I have recently disconnected –

the battery light flashing red, needing a charge or a change -

perhaps this has been going on for months…


“I don’t think I’m gay”, he tells me –

“Okay”, I say as I shift uncomfortably

Perhaps the air around us is decreasing (?) –

because I’m not entirely certain I am breathing right now –

…at this moment


I’m wearing the designer t-shirt he picked out for me to wear –

we were at the mall at one of the stores we cannot afford –

and I tried it on -

he said I looked handsome in it –

so, I bought it, brought it home, and am wearing it now


“Okay”, I repeat – as if I’m a record skipping –

Then - I am silent, and I hear the birds chirping outside –

and I appreciate their melodies –

I suspect I might be physically rocking back and forth, slightly –

almost to a tune – a rhythmic and predictable tune -

it’s what I do when I’m uncomfortable and wish to leave a situation

it’s what I do moments before I grab ice cubes and hold them in my hands –

so I don’t disappear into chaos, into waking nightmares –

venturing into places I don’t forgive myself for being me


“The dogs stay with me”, I say –

and I say it forcefully, like I’m not dying inside

“Okay”, he says – “but, I get the cat”

“Okay”, I say, “she loves you more than she loves me –

but the dogs love me more than they love you”

“That’s fair”, he remarks –

and my posture has deflated to the point I may no longer (technically) be sitting

____


U-Haul trucks are ugly and cruel –

Uncomfortable to ride in – and painful to watch as they drive away –

I am not sitting in either seat (the driver’s or the passenger’s) –

I stand in the driveway – on the concrete –

it’s solid and stable – and I will not leave it


Our cat’s name is Kalaya –

Her name, in Hawaiian, means “beautiful” –

I found her – and I named her – I saved her (from where she had been) -

and she is moving swiftly away from me in the cab of the U-Haul,

forever –

I said goodbye, but it wasn’t enough


The U-Haul truck drives down our comfortable street –

and I cannot tell if I am tearing up because of the exhaust –

or because my life just fell the fuck apart –

it just fell the fuck apart - into pieces –

shattered – it just fucking shattered into pieces –

to make me bleed forever –

if I will allow that to happen…


I won’t allow that to happen… (I’m holding the ice cubes in my hands)

I won’t allow that to happen… I repeat (I’m holding the ice cubes in my hands)


I walk inside and the dogs are there –

they look confused – their heads cocked to one side – and then to the other -

I smile – because I cannot do otherwise while I’m with them –

I lay down on the floor –

and they happily pounce on me as we begin to play


This day is shit – but it’s not total shit –

we play on the kitchen floor with chew toys and with tug-of-war ropes –

and, then, they take a break to eat their food and drink their water


And I watch them –

I watch their happiness – and embrace my own (in this way) –

they are the part of life I appreciate most -

“I’ll never leave you”, I say aloud

“That will never happen”, I confirm – “I will never leave you”


Both of them look up at me from their bowls and pause –

they know I’ll never leave them…


and I never will – and I never do


We, again, play on the kitchen floor – and then into the living room -

Chew toys and tug-of-war ropes –


For hours – and forever


and forever


Photo: Jimmy Broccoli.


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