Homme Libre, Toujours Tu Cheriras La Mer

by dschapman

As though all the blondes and terrapins were left to dine on dopamine and soft serve, while we, the choirboys, sung ever clearer, our throats like flutes and our cocks like clarinets, unable to attend the wedding. Were I sitting drunk in St. Nicholson Square, handing out my last dime and running a hand perpetually through my hair, feeling as yet unloved yet somehow lovable, the pages of my journal blank or ripped out, and were I to smile nonetheless, with a cigarette shifting coolly betwixt my lips, collar buttoned up right and ascot fitted tight, for if I were a dandy man, if I were a foppish man, or even were I a tender man, and were I hopeless, or hopeful, or a liar in the bathroom while I talk about my past to a former lover who I’d rather not look in the eye, and were I decent, were I scrupulous, were I young and bright-eyed and bold like Byron or Billy Joe and were I life-affirming then in life I’d put my faith, and I’d lay my life on the line, and prepare to cash out while I’m winning (there will be no double or nothing).

If you’d care to talk, you’ll find me under the willow ever day around this time, alone and at ease, cradling a cat between my fingers with the hairs of the deceased, of past loves, of rat tails and poppy stems, and well-dressed. When I’ve something on my mind I drink a gin and tonic but in times like this you’ll find in me a fellow American, razing the frontier with cider in my jug, a heart in my breast and children in my living room watching cartoons while I boil egg noodles and spinach so they’ll grow strong, like their old man, and maybe I won’t end up dying alone, not this time.

Here I am, however, in my paddleboat, feeding the ducklings phenethylamines.

“The prettiest women in the world are Belgian,” well-tempered and enigmatic, oxidized and left to dry in a pounding summertime heat, wrapped up in seal skin and dosed up on opiates, hang up the telephone and make the conversation private, dial up the television and give your head a rest, nevermind the microwave cooking mice in the kitchen. She’s cut out a sailship for to paste on the window panes. I tell her, “You needn’t be afraid of the streets,” but truth is it’s I who has become afraid, and who is screaming in the mist, and whose hair is falling out it clotty handfuls. It’s like, stomp-stomp-stomp on the wraparound porch, sipping that sweat tea, loosening that necktie to let the sweet, slow sweat flow a little freer down his neck, easier, nibbling Cripp’s Pinks in virtue of lifestyle over flavour, an option for the flippenny bit, a snap of the wrist and we’ve laid the matter to rest. Be it snow, or be it sleet, you may sleep assured in the nest of my arm.

I wasn’t always this way.

I used to be on the brink of something, stupid, pinning a complex ideology to my wall, kicking around archimedes’ points like marbles, and I used to be a devotee. The world, as magnificent as she may be, had yet shown me her face, and I was yet unaffected. I threw shadows, I read poetry, and from time to time I climbed a tree. As ever as the sand did turn beneath our heels in the retreating tide, as ever as the wind did push the smoke out from the coopola and the mud did clean the tar from our skin, and as ever as ever was, was I.

One day, a very old woman died. Another day, a very old house was taken apart. I was a boy before I was a man; keep saying it; I was a boy before I was a man. I mustn’t forget. A very young boy, little D. Scott, lived a very fruitful life and saw a very vibrant piece of existence. He had great and sexual barns, toy soldiers and burning silos, snow-capped valleys and neighbors with rifles in the woods, evergreen trees and a horse in the stall and gardens as far as the eye could see. There were ceramic jars full of fruit pastilles and a hamper full of eggs. As the needlepoint over the bedside read, Everyone is queer but thee and me, and sometimes I wonder about thee. Little D. Scott had watery blue eyes and plump henhouse cheeks and met a quick and just Death by the side of the road with mangled limbs and a rather pretty grin cast grimly on his face.

The memory tapes roll ever onwards in their decks, gussied up in blackface.

“My name is Daedalus S. Chapf and I am the son of a farmer. I am no stranger to how ever you may feel at night, curled up in bed, with a very real feeling laying dormant and deep within your breast; and nor am I an acquaintance .”