Ballad of Matt Sweeney
My roommate, Matt Sweeney, is tall and fat; he could be, if he wanted, in a musical. And it’s that his High C is really extraordinary, almost like his gift Of giving—his gift as I lover, I meant. His do and his re and his mi. Matt Sweeney snores in the room next door.
You ought to see him when he wakes up with his bald-spot—with his head—full of twisted antennae. You ought to see his Heineken-green eyes, his glasses and his intellectual nose and his runny nose, you ought to see his mouth and his teeth and his tongue and his chest and his heart (tattooed over his heart), you ought to see his belly and his back and his ass sticking out from above his underwear.
Only Matt Sweeney looks like Matt Sweeney, especially in the mornings (he drinks a six pack of beer in front of the TV every night, watching a soap opera): he has the assured air of a triumphant entertainer, with his head stuffed with marihuana and a happy bon vivant smile; Matt Sweeney rises like a balloon, looks at himself, opens his mouth and says, “Good morning, dude!,” exactly as though he’s just gotten back from California. “Mornin’,” I respond.
My roommate Matt Sweeney is a little bit weird. He had a Filipino lover who was crazy for bears. He’d hug him and call him teddy bear and Matt would respond I wanna be your teddy bear shaking his ass like Elvis.
None of you know what it’s to live with Matt Sweeney. (What a hard gig). Sweeney, Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney! “Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd,” he sings to me some days. I’m explaining to you for now the life of Matt Sweeney and a little of mine. Allow me to sing out of key.
He’s a real pig: he leaves the sink full of hairs, the lid of the toilet splattered and he often forgets to flush. He’s doesn’t wash the dishes until they’re covered in verdigris. He leaves his dirty underwear on the sofa, a shoe under, spliff ash on the floor. He piles up newspapers and magazines. One day he lost his toothbrush and asked to use mine. No way!
Every night I’d hear him jerking off in his room and when he finished he’d snored until the next day. Bedbugs escaped from under his door. I asked him to please
lower the volume once in a while. And he told me, clean shaven and fixing the knot of his tie: “I got my hair I got my head I got my brains I got my ears I got my nose I got my mouth I got my teeth I-got-my-tongue…!” And then without taking off his headphones he added: “Welcome, my child, to the Kingdom of Matt Sweeney, observe all around you and know that some day, my beloved ––and here he placed one hand on his chest and the other on his crotch––, all that you see, all that surrounds you (and that which you neither see nor imagine) will be yours, will be yours, all the kingdom––my kingdom–– the kingdom of Matt Sweeney!”
A man rots inside the subway. Actually, he’s been living there, here, for several years. He came in, dying of cold, one February night, before the attacks. His coat reeks of cauliflower. He has a gum wrapper, traces of vomit and the down feathers of some bird in his beard. He pisses in a bottle that he empties when the doors open. He shits between the cars. Since the system runs 24 hours, he stretches out on the seats until the multitude awakens him the following morning.
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I left the house completely asleep, without realizing that I’d walked out naked.
Cornelia St. Café
I thought you were looking at me, but then you turned to kiss your 90-something year old lover. You who lifted your arms up and shook your hips while the rest of the crowd cheered you on. Now everyone busies themselves with their drink, with the music or interrupted conversation. There’s only light on the stage and the candles on the tables: he runs his hand down your back. I’m not old enough to see certain things.
What a Rose Is
A rose is a mushroom is a violin is a piece of cod is a bowl of melted ice cream is a rock is a nipple is a whirlpool of blood swirling down the drain.
Long Island City
On my island there are palm trees, there are divers, there are towers that resembling each other, there are trucks selling ice cream, there’s spectacle. Also there are lobsters and furry crabs (you better believe it) scurrying under the rocks. There’s a Greek fish shop, a Brazilian supermarket, and an Ecuadorian watch store. Above two Indian clothing stores and a place where they sell live poultry the elevated subway tracks pass: the bridge enters a tunnel, arrives in Manhattan and after that the United States and those places that have yet to be made union.
I always see her, with her sun hat and dressed in white, at the door of the strip club. She never looks at me: sometimes the bouncer chats her up until her taxi arrives; other times, she puts on her sunglasses, talks for a little while on her phone, slips it in her bag, lights a long and thin cigarette and stands on the avenue absent-mindedly. On those days a limousine picks her up. She has a magnificent ass. One day I’ll say something to her. Then neither her lisp nor her cantharidic breath will turn back my desire for her.
2005, Halloween Night
All saints are dead. All the dead have something to say. I ran into the army that got off the last car of the subway train. Obama, the president, smiled to a pumpkin. What do we know about night? There are vertical coffins in which cadavers shake. The witches don’t brush their hair: their tangled hair is their flag and the bats that shriek for Obama, nipponese city, inland Hawaiian, dormant volcano in Kansas; for the rats that fly shitting on the caps of soldiers; for the infants who plunge into ponds and carry their pockets filled with candy; for the extension of the bordering crosses between both oceans. Nine nurses walk out of the supermarket and smile me and almost show me their breasts, because I’m dressed up like a captain. For Obama the judges take off their wigs. For Obama the newborn babies dressed up in the flag. For Obama the vagabonds dressed up as a prince. For Obama the widows have dressed themselves up like sluts. For Obama there’s an old man dressed up like a Brazilian woman and a Muslim man who prays, secretly, for Obama in a dead end alley. The monopolizing multitude circles a building with its lights on. For Obama a Jew stretches out his foreskin and the laundry spins the sheets. For Obama a minister has tattooed his face. For Obama the vampires bite each other and a raccoon-pulled sleigh carries Santa Claus along.
We don’t know when this night of the dead and lesbian necrophiliacs will end. Two sailors kiss on a platform for Obama, the last train of the night or the first of the morning couldn’t care less.