An online ‘zine | Patrick J McTiernan, Publisher
Published 2011 by: Patrick J McTiernan Copyright ÂŠ by Individual artists/authors 2011 Cover Art: Thomas de la Garza
Dedicated to all the poets, artists, and writers who have stirred my passionsâ€Ś thank you. A big thank you to the award winning poet, Marti Clemmons, for her wonderful contributions!
Contents Death of a Man ........................................................................... 6 Stone's Throw ................................................................................... 7 ―Straight/Narrow‖....................................................................9 A Sleep in the Park .................................................................. 11 Next Year ........................................................................................25
Patrick J McTiernan 5
Death of a Man We are shouting and dancing “He is dead!” Too happy are we washed and foolish ones But here we smile so proud of our actions Seeming much too eager to see his head On a platter, polished with his bloodshed Know the price of souls; make sure it’s billions Because you know we made these decisions All we hear; “It’s for a safer homestead” Yet much better you hear this from me now Because I swear to you and this I vow Blood is not the thing that oil gets clean So when we all are taking our last breath You must believe me, for I know of death It clouds all, and we might never again be seen
Stone's Throw Marti Clemmons Marching down 6th Avenue days after a shepherd was left to die. Police herd us like cattle down blockaded streets. Riding their high horses rearing upon us My candle flickers between ―Faggot!‖ and ―Dyke!‖ My candle flickers during my Stonewall. Middle of nowhere Holding his hand taunted and shoved Question identity question sanity 7
breaking point tortured to no end Your candle flickers between thoughts of death. Your candle flickers during your Stonewall. Today, we fight Inspired by civil rights the sweat of it all Freedom of love, to love in the open, out Yes, we are here we are your neighbors Our candle flickers As we stand on the court steps Our candle flickers during our Stonewall.
â€•Straight/Narrowâ€– Marti Clemmons Dusty wheatscapes reflect silo shadows rusty guilt drips from my brow. Wondering if you will trade your bibledeflecting shield for this sturdy plow? Burdened by burning visions, my entrancing thoughts yield. Sticking endless torture fields. I walk amongst dares, another hole to my sanitybelt added by their seven-bladed stares. 9
Pass through your narrow-minded gate. No time to waste wishes on instilled hate. Spew negative obvious toward my chest, shield converts rainbow graffiti on your Sunday best.
A Sleep in the Park Patrick J McTiernan Weather for Denver, CO 48°F Mostly Sunny Wind: NW at 19 mph Humidity: 29% Tue 5 Sept 2000
49°F | 30°F
Bang- Bang- Bang! The pounding on my window startles me awake. Although it is fall, and the air has begun to get crispy, the sun pouring through the windows has transformed my new Chevy Blazer into one of the lowest levels of hell. There is a torrent of sweat that has soaked the front of my undershirt, and as I try to shake off the sleepiness that has become a constant companion these days, I remember where and why I am sleeping in the park. If only I could sleep all the time… oh what joy that would be. ―Patrick, it‘s time to get up.‖ Oh that kid, but I can‘t be too mad; he is making sure I can continue my daily subterfuge. 11
―I‘m up, thanks‖ I mumble as I wipe the sleep out of my eyes. ―No problem… can I have my five-dollars?‖ Paul asks, reaching out his hand. ―Here you go, and could you come at eleven instead of four o‘clock tomorrow?‖ ―Sure, but how come?‖ ―I have that nunya thing planned for tomorrow,‖ I reply, pulling on my freshly laundered white shirt and tie that was hanging on the backseat-hook with my black wool suit jacket. ―Nun ya business… yes, I get it, but maybe someday you will tell me why you sleep in the park every day in a frickin‘ suit?‖ he says hopefully. ―I have to meet Marvin for lunch tomorrow, okay, now are you happy, you prying little monster.‖ ―Yes I am! When do I get to meet him?‖ he asks eagerly, ignoring my irritation completely. ―Never, I told you, he doesn‘t know about my… well, no, you won‘t be meeting him‖ He knows me well enough by now to tell I am done with this conversation, and he turns to leave. Paul has been waking me up every 12
weekday for almost four months now. Hard to believe it has been that long already. It still feels so fresh. It‘s strange, but this kid has never missed one time to wake me up, and this from a street kid… strange boy, but cute as hell. Paul was selling hand jobs for ten-dollars a pop when I first met him. I hoped the five bucks he made from just having to wake me up would somehow minimized the other stuff he had to subject himself to, but the five bucks didn‘t change anything. He reminds me again, ―I like cock Patrick, and I get paid to worship them, life is good— lighten up‖ he jumps on his skateboard, and skillfully flies down the cement stairs, and out of sight. If he was only a few years older… oh well, he is way too hot for his own good… how the hell do you tame something like that? Okay, enough of that, time for a ―birdbath‖ in the cold and dirty park bathroom, and then I better get my butt home and start dinner and ―the pretending‖. Weather for Denver, CO 41°F Cloudy with rain Wind: NW at 20 mph Humidity: 48%
Thu 7 Sept 2000
35°F | 22°F
Bang – Bang – Bang! Damn that kid, why does he have to pound so damn hard? Well, to be fair, it‘s probably pretty hard to wake me up these days. All I want to do is sleep. I had no idea that it would affect me like this. I knew it would be hard, but my mind seems to just want to be in ―sleep mode‖ all the time. ―So, how was lunch with Marvin yesterday? I imagine you eat at one of those restaurants I see in movies. Everyone is really quite, and all you hear is the clanking of silverware on plates, I imagine you in a velvet booth, and drinking martinis.‖ ―You‘re cute. It was at subway sandwich shop. No velvet and no martinis‖ I reply, laughing. ―Did you tell him?‖ ―Nunya,‖ I reply with a grin. ―You have to tell him sooner or later… won‘t you run out of money?‖ ―What part of nunya did you not understand? I knew I never should have told you anything yesterday-- I had a moment of weakness‖ 14
―Grump—see you tomorrow,‖ He flies down the stairs on his board with what appears to be no thought to his own wellbeing—oh to be young and dumb. Well, time for my nightly show; How was work sweetheart? Marvin will ask, as he scrubs the already clean kitchen floor. Marvin has a little touch of germ-a-phob, and scrubs the floors everyday on his hands and knees. Oh, it was rough today, I lost a huge account. I will lie. That‘s where we will leave things. He doesn‘t seem to know how to deal with me these days. We will eat dinner, and cuddle on the couch until it‘s time for bed. Nine years we have been together, and he is starting to feel like a stranger to me. The man I worked so hard to land; he was the most eligible gay bachelor in Denver when we met, and he made me work for it. Two years we went out before he said he loved me. Two years! That‘s like ten in straight world, as gays are known to move quickly. Weather for Denver, CO 48°F Cloudy with some sun Wind: NW at 9 mph Humidity: 19% Mon 11 Sept 2000
49°F | 32°F
Bang – Bang – Bang! I wasn‘t sleeping today, and the pounding made me jump out of my skin. ―Why do you pound so hard you awful child?‖ I kid with him. ―Because soft doesn‘t usually work for you, well, it doesn‘t work for me either,‖ he says laughing and winking at the play on words. ―Clever,‖ I say flatly, but secretly smiling. ―You‘re such a grump… what made you so sour? Wait; wait, I know, ‗nunya‘ right?‖ ―You‘re smarter than you look.‖ ―Ha ha, very funny,‖ He jumps on his skateboard, and defies gravity down the steps, and out of sight. He looks good these days… he got off drugs, and you can certainly tell. He is six foot two, and has the most incredible blue eyes I have ever seen; azure seas with some green flecks, like seaweed, and gorgeous dark brown curly hair to his shoulders. Perfect skin revealed it‘s self after the drugs left his system. He has one of those bodies that look like he spends two hours a day in the gym, but he doesn‘t have to lift a finger. I hate him; I have to work hard for half as good a body… brat. Oh, but to be nineteen again.
He looks cleaner; fresher somehow today. I better stop looking at this boy like this, or I will surly get myself into trouble. Okay, back home to the Patrick and Marvin nightly act. It‘s a tired act, and should be closed. I wonder how much longer I can keep this charade up. I quit my job as lead broker at The Bradley Agency, and the $175K salary that went along with it, and have been pretending to go to work every day since. Each day I put on my suit, and I kiss Marvin goodbye, and I secretly thank God for my cell phone, and his aversion to calling my office because of what he calls ‗the incompetent boob you have answering your phones.‘ I have been depleting our saving account, and he hasn‘t noticed… yet. I am in fear of being caught every day, but I can‘t bring myself to tell him. He has had a perfect life, and he does not understand grief, or why I can‘t seem to ‗just get over it,‘ as he says. His inability to understand what I am going through has put a huge gulf between us. I wonder how he will act when his mother dies. Will he ‗just get over it?‘ I doubt it since they are just as close as my Mom and I are, or were. It is still weird to think of her in the past tense now. I lost her on
Mother‘s Day, and I have been sleeping ever since. You don‘t feel pain when you‘re asleep.
Weather for Denver, CO 24°F Sunny Wind: NW at 19 mph Humidity: 9% Thurs 13 Sept 2000
29°F | 12°F
Bang – Bang – Bang! ―I‘m awake, you awful, awful child!‖ I say, but secretly I am happy to see him. I have been telling him the details of what he thinks are some kind of exciting ―movie-of-the-week‖ script, but he does seem genuinely interested, and it does seem to be cathartic for me anyway. ―So you left off your story after you told Marvin your mom… um… passed-on, and you said he seemed not to care?‖ ―No, I said he seemed not to understand; there is a big difference,‖ I unlocked the passenger door so he can climb in. It‘s cold today, but the intense sun has a greenhouse effect on my Blazer, and he climbs in to the relative 18
warmth. My God, he looks incredible. I never imagined the drugs were hiding such beauty and intelligence. I hope he continues down this path. He has gotten a job at Jack-in-the-Box, and is no longer giving hand jobs in the park—well, not for money anyway. ―Okay, so the funeral was to take place in Rose Hills, which is in California, and I decided to drive there to try to clear my head. Marvin and I had already decided that I should go alone, as there was no way he could get away from his job as the Tire-Center Manager at Costco. His assistant manager was on vacation, and it was not possible. I also think he was at a lost as to how to deal with me.‖ ―He sounds like he is kinda mean‖ Paul interrupts, and is starting to look a bit angry. ―No, it‘s just that he has no frame of reference for grief. He has had no tragedy in his charmed life, and he has little tolerance for weakness,‖ I say, trying to defend Marvin. ―So, anyway, as you know, I have been sleeping a lot as a way to cope… or not to cope, depending on how you look at it, and I left to go to California two days in advance of the funeral. I had to stop constantly to sleep, 19
and I only made it as far as Aspen on the morning of my mom‘s funeral, and decided I better let my family know I wasn‘t going to make it. Of course my sister‘s became unglued, and freaked-out, so I just hung-up, grabbed the 8X10 of my mom that I had brought with me to set-up on the church podium as I read her eulogy. I headed up a little hill on the side of a rest stop I was at, and when I got to the top, it opened up to the most beautiful view of the valley, and a small river gently flowing over mossy-rocks below. I thought to myself, this is just the kind of place my mother would love, and put her picture on a rock and read her eulogy out loud. Then the strangest thing happen; I could smell her on my clothes. Suddenly it was like she was all around me, comforting me. She always wore Chanel no.5, and it was everywhere. It was in the wind, my clothes, and my skin… all around me,‖ I stop short at his loud sob. ―Patrick, I am so sorry… this makes me want to start talking to my mom again,‖ Paul says, as he wipes the tears from his eyes. ―We haven‘t talked since I told her I was gay, and she kicked me out. She has been trying to get ahold of me through my little sister—maybe I‘ll call her.‖ 20
―Please call her Paul. Don‘t leave anything unresolved. The one great thing I can say is that I got to spend a week with my mother in Reno before she started her cancer treatments. She called me, and asked me to meet her and the rest of my brothers and sisters before her hair started to fall out from the chemotherapy. We both love to gamble, well actually, the whole family does, and we all had a blast. There are six of us kids, three boys and three girls.‖ ―Wow, big family. It‘s only me and my sis,‖ Paul says, as he starts to get out of the car. ―I have to go to work; same time tomorrow?‖ ―Sounds good, I will see you then,‖ I grab my cloths and head to the bathroom to freshen-up for tonight‘s final showing of the Patrick and Marvin show. Weather for Denver, CO 51°F Cloudy with some sun Wind: NW at 29 mph Humidity: 23% Mon 17 Sept 2000
52°F | 38°F
Bang – Bang – Bang! ―Wake-up Patrick‖ Paul yells into my window. 21
―Hey there, what‘s up?‖ I reply as I try to shake-off the nightmare I was having. I don‘t remember the dream exactly, but I woke-up terrified that there was no one left on the planet but me. I had never been happier to see someone as I was to see him. ―Climb in,‖ I tell Paul, as I unlock the door for him. ―So, how did it go? Did you tell him?‖ Paul asks eagerly. ―I did, and it didn‘t go well,‖ I reply, staring out the window. I only came to the park today to see Paul. Marvin knows I no longer have a job. ―He freaked-out that I had spent our entire life savings, and I can‘t say I blame him. I guess I would be mad too.‖ ―I think he is a prick!‖ ―Hey, you have never even met him, so you can‘t say that… only I can.‖ ―Well, what now?‖ Paul looks sad for some reason. ―What do you mean?‖ I ask, trying to understand why he looks so down. ―I‘ll never see you again, will I?‖ He really looks upset.
―Of course you will still see me. You have my cell phone, and you can call me anytime you want, and we can hang-out,‖ I say. ―Okay‖ he says, looking a little unsure. ―Go on, get to work, and I will see you soon.‖ ―Bye Patrick,‖ he says as he gets out of my car for the last time. ―Bye Paul, and thanks for everything; you helped me a lot.‖ ―I helped you? I am the one that should thank you. Thanks to you I am back at home and talking to my mom again. It‘s not perfect, but it‘s getting better.‖ ―Excellent, stay sober,‖ I yell as he had already closed the door. Okay, well time to get home, and try to figure out what to do next. Weather for Denver, CO 8°F Rain and snow Wind: NW at 18 mph Humidity: 49% Mon 5 Feb 2001
14°F | -2°F
Bang-Bang-Bang! ―Excuse me Sir, but we are about to take-off, and I need you to put your seat in the up-right position‖ the American Airlines Stewardess says, as she 23
knocks on the back of my chair. ―We will be taking off for Portland in just a few minutes.‖ ���Okay, thank you,‖ I reply, as I push the button to raise my seat back to its upright position. Marvin and I tried to make things work, but it never felt the same. I wonder if anyone can understand something tragic when they have never been through anything tragic in their own lives. Was I asking too much of him, or was he not giving enough? Well, that didn‘t matter anymore, and I was on my way to my Sister‘s house in Portland Oregon to start my new life. I left him the loft, the cars, and all the trappings that seemed so important once. I had no idea what the future had in store for me, but I was excited to get on with my life. Heck, I was just happy to be awake.
Next Year Patrick J McTiernan The stove ticking into coolness signals the end of courses Lingering in my nose; rosemary, cranberries, cinnamon and apples Coffee adds bitter oils with perks from blue enamel Whistles blaring penalties from volume strained televisions Bring groans of protest from our men, sated with food and drink Brother Kevin louder than the rest, again more drink than food
Hushed voices carry gossip from closet to sister to mother again Lemon scented dish soap bubbles citrus into the air amongst whispers 25
Dishes and glasses pronounce with a squeak and a clank that all is clean here Coats and gloves decorate clumsy and wine fueled goodbyes Seeded with promises to see each other more often, itâ€˜s been too long This was the year I was going to tellâ€”maybe next year for sure