Took a series of self-portraits on my bed: one hand over my right eye then left as if to mimic another’s gaze.
What were you looking for? Farid asks.
On the couch we flip through photographs of male couples (1840–1918). Reading for intimacy: a hand resting mid-thigh, a cheek on a shirt front. Love or sex? The tilt of a chin shows nothing.
A friend learns his lover has HIV. Death is everywhere, he tells me, in his generation. An epidemic breaks, a highball glass slips from a hand at the bar. Some men seek it, he tells me, giving in to a desire
to shift the frame, expose themselves
to a higher power, some wheel of star, some splinter of constellation.
My first apartment in Austin perched on a hill at the edge of a blind curve. I’d wake nights to a shattering of headlight, resettling of metal against pavement, tides of windshield through the intersection. The driver squints, freezes: stoplight, telephone pole, moon, curb.
The last time I saw my friend, he took our photograph in a parking lot after a warehouse exhibition. Gaze makes a kind of touch. Death was everywhere that year in all the prize-winning books and Broadway plays.
Once a car skidded into my backyard, another somersaulted through the crosswalk. Once a driver sat on the road smoking a cigarette near his wreck. Once the EMTs pulled a sheet over a body in the street, and the whole night went mute.
Our views multiply as well as what we cannot see. My foot tucked into Farid’s pants cuff just out of frame. What moves me. I switch the hand over my eye and room shifts, a slide
drops in carousel that wheels like a galaxy under which we swerve, we shard, we accelerate, we fuck and break, my God, just to be seen.