Are we friends, or something more?
He’s the prince of peasantry
The duke of old propriety
In a renegade society
Were we just friends when your lips pressed against mine for the very first time, my hands shaking, my heart quaking, my breath yours for the taking? Were we just friends when I left a love bruise on your neck that we patched up with powder and cream, to hide from the people who would seek to destroy us? Were we just friends when I found myself in a daydream, your name on my brain in a flutter of velvet and fog?
You’ve always been a lonely wolf, and I’m a swan with tigers under my skin. You’re a Carolina baby, and you walk the autumn trail of your ancestors in tattered moccasins and Levis. Your olive skin is more than just an accessory to you, your history more than a subject in school. I’d wear feathers in my hair for you.
I was born to be a side piece, to be a Lolita-inspired coquette, a notch in every man’s belt, a piece of communal property with no landlord or sponsor or patron saint to call father. The pavement grows cold and hard at night, with the dazzle of fireflies to be my only solace. Some monsters are blood-borne, others are homegrown. I always knew I’d grow up to be alone, and I was fine with that.
I’m a boy of privilege
A future present, that’s vintage
Retrograde in the distance
Self-esteem falls below image
I already had plans, to live in a single-bedroom apartment in Chicago, with every room painted a different pastel color. A vermillion kitchen, a seafoam den, a vanilla bedroom that is anything but. Cozy enough for me and my cats, but with the possibility of neon fun any other night. Then you came along and shook up that picturesque snow globe of a reverie with your southern drawl and buzzcut.
You make me feel dangerous and brave, not as if fear doesn’t exist but as if fear is irrelevant, a ghost of a factor in a simplified equation. Addition is easy, but division is hard, especially when the dividend is so beautiful. You make me feel important, as if my purpose on this galactic ball of mud is more than to occupy dead space, as if speaking is the most precious thing my lips are capable of.
But no matter how bold and ferocious I may feel with you, there remains a mousy angst of what might happen if just-friends escalated to more-than-friends. Would you still be my friend if we shared a room, a bed, a breadth of skin? Would you still be my friend if you wore a silver circlet on your hand for me? Would you still be my friend if I saw you at the end of a passage in white and tears?
Or are certain sacrifices necessary in the adoption of a relationship?
I’m hardly a harlot
Perhaps a one-night starlet
Don’t think me to be a floozy
I just tend to make boys woozy
You make me want to dedicate, to give my fervor and revelry to something real and tangible, a name-brand label with a bona fide foundation and pillars with the intent of forever. But forever is a long fucking time. I love sushi, and would eat it every day in theory, but in practice, having only undercooked fish for life makes me want to taste my own bile.
Though I’m no construction worker, I have a habit of quickly building bridges. But I’m also a firestarter, and set them ablaze as quickly as they finish. Some people want to watch the world burn, I just prefer one river at a time.
But could I put aside my arsonist ways, leave behind the streets I know to be home and the validation of any man’s trousers, and settle down? I’m a comfortable cotton-nylon blend, but am I husband material? Are my hands clean and steady enough to wear something so pristine and concrete?
I’m not certain of much at all. I don’t know what the hands of Mother Future hold. I don’t know the lullabies to put you to sleep at night. I don’t know what labels look best on my back. But the pain I feel between my clavicles when I look into your eyes is something I know to be true.
I’m a deer so baby blue
You’re the arrow-headed Sioux
Tame me now or let me go
I’ll love you still, but let me know
Do I keep you up at night?
Am I worth a constant fight?
Do you paint me like a whore?
Are we friends…or something more?