|Ish Klein, self portrait|
Smoke Outside [excerpt]
. . . CUT! Excuse me folks.
That was my nutty someone inside.
An idiot really, I smoke with him.
He wastes my time but I am a fan
all the same.
When I was young
he held my stuffed animal,
an abstract gorilla, away from me.
He had her face — the starboard
and I beheld her little shoulders.
She was burdened by my high ideals of costume
and appropriate place.
I’d pooh-poohed her dimension by doing this;
only half welcoming it. Yeah, the loving tucking in,
the hug and kiss, kiss, kiss,
the shared sweet dream where motorcycle cops adopt us.
She may be waiting still
for the helicopter.
It was confusing that I went to school;
that I shuffled from television to refrigerator to toilet
without explanation. Even when I brought her with me
I did not fully introduce her. I did not dip her
into the actual drink I was drinking, smear my food
on her face. You can imagine, maybe, my reserve.
She was for me to get in and out of.
My reach — a limited thing.
We are all, after all, mainly hiding.
I was a failure as a trans-dimensional male
and a laugh as a trans-dimensional female
and even as a loving goof I was 2 out of 4 stars. One and a half
after the laundry torture; the shallow reading of dust as separate.
Desiring cold soap scent to that of experience.
Neither of us could forgive this rejection.
Did I mention my sister has the gorilla now?
No, sorry, of course not.
She does love it.
My blasé mage sister who used to be perfectly brutal.
Now she outstrips me in everything
including forgiveness and PMA (positive mental analogs).
I smoke to make these things okay.
Okay, not okay but jokey.
That gorilla is often good for a laugh.
It’s stuffed but . . . who isn’t?
Puff, puff, hello mirror.
Hello, me in there. . . .