David Rosel

Beautiful Mercies. The Toothbrush and the Truth

With a PhD in covert masturbation theory I grappled too with florid fourteen year old fantasies of rock stardom with all the hair not straight enough cock not big enough and my slow     insipid     marginal self I traveled out via clandestine air guitar and pissy pretentious poems all the grand themes courtesy of my fourteen years.           White.

All the parties I didn’t go to the rights of passage not passaged the ferment not fury and who was it that wrote of wet cement serious books read in corners without understanding have you ever read one hundred years of solitude in a tree hoping someone would say heh     why are you reading one hundred years of solitude in a tree (no one did) just my mother consulting the relevant texts concerning adolescent angst eight point answers and her love had me at various times a homosexual heroin addict and hermit why can’t he be like the other good for nothing sons and daughters who don’t have to gently toil behind the news-agency counter and I alone am privy to the secret as to why Miss Marigold keeps her coppers and to whom was I thinking when catching the last tram home glumly     strangely     sadly watching the birds running senseless around the spire rocketing and darting as if their house was on fire but mine was without noise just the sallow reflection of a boy on the tram.           Pallor.

My first love the first to agree more than thrice the first to write me bad poetry and the first to share under-age public delights in humid basements perused you gobbling teenage drugs and not without small measure of pride playfully endured the policeman sent to search and scare us in the launderette by your mother Mother the Captain of your house and whom in her sinking ship has of four children two of shadowed slinking schizophrenia including you     my first     sour     love and your brother of concave chest and square nipples and another of whom being strangled by his own vomit navy blue skivvies from myers screamed on the train hiding in antique stores and wading through the city fountains not on new year’s eve and I was carried along gutlessly without remorse my mother tells me you are now with the pentecostals.           Fantastic endings.

Hopeful that leaving the dough would furnish both women and guile I only gazed upon sex in the right places with shallow exception in the railway caboose beside the shared-house toilet down and out in london not five minutes from mum and dad in the good suburbs     together my good manchester mate and me embarked upon the whole spectrum of mini-rock pop cliché only badly five gigs and everyone said we had an excellent drummer and yet I persevered alone with amateur bedroom melodies in keeping with my hair and the dole and lustful longings in my late teens.           We could have been something.

But most of all – I am possessed by you.

From the moment of our first toothbrush bought at 7-11 to your bed that squealed and wheezed like a good hearted asthma attack to holding a bowling ball in my left hand at the market and with you smiling in answer without a word when I said truly deeply my hands gripped in indulgence avocados coffee orange juice and bread crumbs in your sheets gliding blithely through galleries of paintings instantly forgotten     I knew because of the piss sobbing all over my feet at the airport toilet because I told Angela no you don’t know how I feel because of leaving sweaty pubs on Saturday nights in search of anonymous phone-booths to hear your crackled voice to rampant jealousies and jumping with glee through the fountains at Kings Cross at another phone call long distance love and every moment     fragment     particle and blissful shrapnel of the night of your return.           I still un-wrap your every letter.

And to South America you took me.
On flight we gazed deaf dumb and blind upon the Andes below like giddy school children and masses of smashed bluestone and not until the damp evening had fallen had we figured our lodging more bordello than hospice to the caricature crescendo of wailing and piercing oooh’s aaaah’s mmmmm’s si señors SI SEñORS SI SEñORS! and the laughless lustless Lima ladies to Zultahn the jolly German backpacker scouring the streets of Potosi for a secretive sedative to stash his beloved cat past the airport x-ray machine and through clouds walked three days over jungle mountains and lush gorges and dreams unaffected by gums stuffed with coca leaves and spittle at three thousand four hundred and ninety five feet above sea level on our way to Machu Picchu to shoe-shine boys plundering my sandled feet and bulbous bawdy baroque churches dripping in fairy-tale gold and fantastical figures of polychromed saints moaning and groaning in ecstasy with lunatic longing and the soft sound of old men clattering nonchalantly on archaic typewriters gently toiling under the white blazing sun on Plaza de San Sebastian.           Letters for lawyers and lovers.

Of our two children; the sweetest of accidents.

Of the dishes the washing the lunches laboured at six in the morning and the quiet humble still-life fixed in my mind of your uncertain smile from your first goal your first fish your first swing and so too son the cuts and stitches and your lazy arse trapped in the teeth of the escalator oh we can laugh about it know and sister daughter wondrous child the nappies the tantrums the hours by the cot and in every cliché is nourished a beautiful truth     “da”     the first of steps pedals and ridiculous dress-ups and when today as in every work-day I park my car and you both scream in anticipation spinning madly by the back door for your dad        and of all the best things I think the best thing for now is not the doing but the seeing the seeing you on the couch laughing with full heart and wet eyes at stupid TV and the way you dance when we’re not looking (I’m sorry my love we do look it’s a promise we break because we love you) and anyway the dance you dance is done with preposterous care and chewing-gum in hair getting lost at school fairs and at fat people you still stare           I am your father                    I am a father.

So it seems I have in fact done well all the ordinary things in life     our neighbours really are called Norma and Clive the mortgage the office and a godawfullemontree and with fondness we chuckle slightly at crimes not so heinous listed lovingly by our neighbourhood watch committee committed by criminals destined never to make the most wanted list or find fleeting fame on ‘crime watch’        so it’s ok to laugh and even not to laugh cause we’ve had our fun and made promises when young and given up on stuff that doesn’t touch and no longer our fingers get stuck on words where the words shouldn’t be           in dumb dictionary.

I have climbed Machu Picchu
but I breathe in Box Hill
slowly and beautifully
without art
with you…

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