BY Evan Kleekamp
SCENE ONE. The director says cut. Chimes glow faint in the background: strands of the boy’s dress, limp across the back of a wooden chair. Archaic vowels perched in the back of his throat. Like lips beginning to beg. Like the knife his hands brought into focus. SCENE TWO. Director says steady the camera. Blue tubes alight inside the amplifier. The boy’s chest quivers. Cologne hung on his left shoulder. The red dot next to the lens. The live camera; flashing off-and-on. SCENE THREE. Begins inside a mirror. The mirror evokes a frame. The mirror propped against the bedroom wall. Light-yellow wallpaper. Zoom out. Rack focus. SCENE FOUR. The boy’s head rises, bathed in smoke, prosaic; light in the shape of a halo. He exits the bathtub and tucks a towel around his waist. He smiles & lights a cigarette. SCENE FIVE. Wide-angle lens. A king-sized bed in the middle of an empty street; white sheets beneath a storm cloud. Smoke billowing from the camera. Rain. SCENE SIX. Just make sure no one sees the blood. SCENE SEVEN. A glass vase. Three white roses tied together. Not a single petal fallen. SCENE EIGHT. Action. In an atrium filled with cold air, his ass rises. SCENE NINE. The Director’s Cut. SCENE TEN. The ceiling bends, his eyes water. Golden magnum wrappers spread across the floor. An envelope folded around a gold coin. Letters of his name written in red ink. Tape across its seal half-broken. Cut. He brings the envelope to his mouth in the penultimate stanza.
Your body splayed across the lawn. A white Ford Ranger, windows smashed; paint on one side completely eroded. Spare tire gone. Let’s play a game, it’s a game called recollect. I flip the coin & you spit out the stories. Heads. You’re in a bed and even though it’s day outside, there’s no light coming through the windows. Tails. You hate tails. You know what tails mean. Two houses on the same block with the same interior design. The neighbor woman dies and they lose some furniture. You wake up on the couch, now the couch is gone. You wake up on the floor, the floor is gone. But you keep waking up. Heads. You’re in a Laundromat and your mother is calling to tell you she loves you. She doesn’t. That’s what the phone call is for. You say, sure mom, meaning you'll wait until the phone call is over to admit this is a waste of your time. You're just doing what you're taught to do. His hair is gold, the boy driving the Ranger, gold & covered in blood, so you like him. You’re one tough kid. You’re a shit-kicker. Except you’re all soft inside. Which is why he likes you. Soft & tight you. He likes you all tied up and bent over. He wants your neck pressed into his neck, breathing slowly into the night. Except there is no night. You don’t deserve it. He keeps you up moaning back to him. You better say you like it. Let’s name this boy. You can’t. It’s not your fault. That’s the sad part about the story. It never ends. This boy. That boy. What’s the difference? The difference is you. Pants caught at the ankle. Fly undid. You like this whole thing don’t you? You like being driven while sitting in the backseat of the car. You are the backseat of the car. Holding all that shit inside you. You take a train to fuck some friends. You should name your book that. Some Friends. Some friends will love you with all their heart. Some friends will tell you, you are broken. And they will mean it; mean it with all their little hearts. Sad part is, friend, we are all here to keep you broken. We have to get inside each and every inch of you, ‘til that real self starts trying to crawl out. Then we’ll get him. Heads mean you really meant it. Tails means we are going to really mean you up. You like a good fist to the face and the spit that comes before you swallow. We got names for folks like you, but they don’t seem good enough. We’re going to punch out your ribs, we’re going to dip inside each and every part of you. We’re going to chase out those last little words. And you know what they are. You know what we want from you. Some Friends. You give out. You give out all the time. You can get all abstract and call it affection, but that’s not what you do. You fawn, you give, you tame yourself, you’re a damn good boy. That’s what you do. And we love that. We love you. You should wear a wool scarf; you should cover the whole ground above the snow, elastic in your veins, draped across the bed consecrated in sorrow. We would love you to. We are going to shutter you in darkness and you are going to love it. We are going to fucking bloody up your nose. We're going to shoot a little more than blanks inside your canvas. But we don’t. We flip a coin. We make you say our names. We make you say it, I love; then we stop you. We want you to spit it up. We’d really love you to. We love a good denim jacket caught between our fists. We love a good ass to widen. We want to keep you gaping, you good boy you. Just like daddy taught you. Mouthing-off just enough. You don't want to give us any reason to pull our punches. Do you? We don’t like your shoes. We don't like you wearing boots. We like you looking cold and broken. Keep that smile though. Wide and white. Just how we like you. That one little part of you. We’ll be dancing on the dance floor, looking you straight in your glossed-out eyes. We can see you looking at the fire escape and we don’t like it. But we sure do like you. We hold you head beneath the water in this game of fuck. Do you recollect? Do you like it? Cause we like you. You’re a diamond in our eyes. You should really wear your plastic crown, the one we bought you. Why else did we buy it? What do you mean you don’t like it. We want to see it on you. Do a little twirl for us, sweetheart. We love this game. Don’t you? You don’t like being explored? Ça va, mon amor? You don’t like you? Neither do we. That’s why we love you. We do all the things to you that you wish you could do. Sweetheart, we’re your arms and legs. You don’t have to kick or scream. We’ll do it for you. Cherish evil, baby, it’s a sin to die without it.
Evan Kleekamp is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago. He is an editor at Columbia Poetry Review and serves as English Social Media Manager at Asymptote Journal. His work has appeared
or is forthcoming in Adult, Spring Formal, and Vinyl.