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  • the sky here reminds me of the oysters we shared that day driving on Highway 1 towards Stinson Beach

    we are in Paris, and we are walking, along the Champs Elysee, the chestnut trees march beside us in militant columns. they are blooming. it is spring.

    everything rhymes here, the stone buildings, the pearlescent light, the flannel sky, all shades of ashes

    we are searching for a gay disco, a foam party.

    we are young and the young like to slither half naked, damp with desire, against each other

    we missed the louvre. we never went to the picasso museum. nor the musee d'orsay.

    we haunt the bars, the after-parties, the sex-clubs.

    we are young and the young have appetites that are deep caverns, that can devour an entire night.

    we sleep at dawn. we awake at dusk. the museums are closed.

    i sip my cafe au lait. your face is flaked with pastry crumbs. chocolate stains.

    you tell me. all your friends from childhood are dead or in prison.

    you tell me. how hard it is to be gay and Black.

    i change the subject. Gaultier's latest runway collection. fabulous or not?

    later that day, along the Champs Elysee, we will wander, again looking for that disco-foam-party

    you will tell me. your first day in second grade, in boston, you are eight, you have taken a bus to a new neighborhood, a new school, there is a crowd gathered in front, men, women, their skin, white as pastry flour, they are hollering, shouting, with crazy, indignant, pink faces, skewered with hate, and rage, you are scared, but you walk, clutching your backpack, like a shield, you count numbers, to calm yourself, the gap between the bus and the school narrows, you dare not look, you stare ahead, and you are almost on the first step (there are twelve) when you feel this dampness against your cheeks, like a teardrop, it takes you a moment, to realize, it is someone's spit, an ugly kiss.

    i do not know what to say. i point to the chestnut trees. they are blooming. so beautiful.
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