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Unterberg Poetry Center

Patrick James

Marcel Speaks to Edward and Henry at Heathrow Airport
For Patrick James

I met Patrick at MOMA in September, but it all really started when his head
                                                 began to bleed and he realized he had holes in his
                                                 hands and water was gushing from his side like a                                                  fire hydrant in summer.
                                                 "Fuck," he said, "I've got stigmata."
After that, I took him to see the new Almodóvar movie and his arm kept sweetly
                                                 brushing against mine and I got turned on. I thought
                                                 he might introduce me to hipsters in Brooklyn, but
                                                 he just kept saying that he didn't know any hipsters
                                                 in Brooklyn.
Then, one frosty evening he spent the night with me at my apartment and after
                                                 we did the things that people like us do in the dark
                                                 he told me about how he met you two in
                                                 Philadelphia at a dive bar with a drag queen running
                                                 karaoke. He thoroughly recounted the white hotel
                                                 room. He glorified your robust and serenading
                                                 bodies. He numbered the lines of Henry's ribs.
He said that he had acquired the ability to be two people at once, and in that
                                                 context a threesome was incidental.
                                                 (I think that was an excuse).
                                                 He said he was in love with both of you.
                                                 He remembered your cologne and the obsequious
                                                 way you asked questions about Joni Mitchell.
                                                 Edward, he admitted you were a gentleman.
                                                 And, as he described these miraculous things the
                                                 blood streaked his face and he held up his hands and
                                                 said, "Shit, stigmata again."
Patrick aspired to speak the explicit thing, his voice like trees towering in a row.
                                                 Instead, it came out as sophistry.
                                                 He blushed.
Then about a month ago I cooked him shrimp risotto and he mentioned that
                                                 he had unearthed a photograph of Edward which
                                                 was taken in the backseat of a taxi in Paris. Henry,
                                                 he told me he read about you in the paper,
                                                 how you were relentlessly choreographing your
                                                 dance of death.

He was not blessed that time. I drew us a lavender bath and we sat in the
                                                 tub and I waited for the consecrated wounds, but
                                                 they didn't come. He babbled incessantly about
                                                 Caetano Veloso, as if to prove his knowledge of
                                                 Brazilian culture. I guess he figured it would
                                                 impress me. I dried him off, poured a glass of Pinot
                                                 Noir, and called my mom in São Paolo.
I began to comprehend that he might be a bit wacky.
                                                 He did erratic things—but I recognized longing for
                                                 what it was. Patrick was a child.
So, one hot night while he was reading a biography of Diaghilev, little
                                                 drops of red peppered the page and a river spilled
                                                 from his side. "Damn," he said and tried to plug up
                                                 the holes. And yet, his body kept weeping and
                                                 groaning with an odor of sanctity. I drew him
                                                 another bath and realized we could never really be
                                                 together because there was too much divine
Afterwards, I dressed him in my Calvin Klein underwear and made him prance
                                                 around the living room. It pleased me until he
                                                 paused for a moment and serenely gazed at his
                                                 image in the impartial mirror. Then he said,
                                                 "Sometimes I think I might be a hermaphrodite."

Patrick James, a 2007 graduate of Manhattan School of Music, is a writer, composer, and performer. He lives in Astoria, New York.

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