Stevens becomes famous.
This fact leaves me a little bit cross-eyed with wonder,
as I have known him all of my life and he has always just been Stevens.

Stevens did not enter this mortal coil riding a golden chariot.
He did not emerge from the sea, fully-formed.
He did not used to say things like "mortal coil",
but now he does,
and he's got me saying them, too.

Listen, he used to bury his army men in the sandbox,
using a yellow plastic bulldozer.
He used a space alien figure for the preacher.
Waggling the alien in his hand, he would make it say,
"Private Pumpkin is dead. Blah-dee-la, church stuff, amen."
He would mash down the grave with a flat stone,
giving it a few whacks for good measure.

Then he would dig up Pvt. Pumpkin, toss him in the air,
and hit him into the neighbor's yard with a baseball bat.
"I'm Kirk Gibson!" he would crow,
but he was just Stevens.
Now he is famous.

In those days, my favorite thing was my horse ranch set.
If I ignored Stevens in favor of feeding my ponies grass from the lawn,
he would grab one of them and make loud noises,
so that the pony sounded horribly flatulent.
This could go on for some time,
until we were both laughing.

Today, Stevens sends a car to pick me up.
I was hoping the chauffeur would be female, 
wearing a snappy uniform and cap, but nooOOooo.
It is some silent Asian guy.
There is a wet bar in the back.
I don't drink.
I make one of Stevens's old fart noises, long and drawn out.
The driver's eyes flick back, just for a moment,
and I give him my best what-are-YOU-looking at? stare.
We non-famous must do what we can,
in order to avoid total invisibility.

I have worn heels, hose, a faux fur and a pillbox hat.
Yes, I am propping myself up.
It's a nice retro look; the more like his mother I am,
the more he'll hate it.
He'll give me some cut-offs and a tee shirt of his wife's to put on,
and we'll play Jenga for half the afternoon,
until the CNN interviewer rings
and Stevens has to take the call.

Maybe I should have married some corporate hotshot
and cranked out some kids.
I'd have a club membership,
and a fucking race horse.
Instead, I'm an available boho lesbian poet chick
with two books that never sell, 
and an extensive collection of stuffed toy raccoons.

Fear me, World.
I am a little cursor blinking hopefully on the screen of life.
Sitting there in Stevens's wife's weekend clothes,
I wonder what it would be like to matter,
to be famous,
to burn brightly, if briefly, upon this mortal coil.

Right then, Stevens comes back,
and he sits on the ottoman in front of me.
He takes my hands in his,
and his look says that he has read my mind,
seen my melancholy,
heard the lowdown blues of my dinky little heart.
He makes a long, operatic farting noise,
and then I am laughing
and telling him
that he was born for fame, 
as surely as Kirk Gibson, or the Transformers,
and he kisses the top of my head with his famous lips.


Sherry Blue Sky said…
I grinned all the way through this, it is so much fun to read. Your stories just slay me. The fart noises are a perfect touch!
hedgewitch said…
This is a lovely complex gourmet dish of all kinds of tastes and flavors, from good whole grain bread to exotic $100-a-plate hors d'oeuvres.The idea of fame is such a bunch of knots for me--it's not something I would ever want or enjoy, yet here I can see both its attraction, and how not having it could be a loss, but also perhaps, an affirmation, as who in this world that is famous actually is what they pretend? How real can you ever be, even making farting noises? Really an excellent, excellent poem, Shay, and congrats on the great interview at IGWRT.
Kerry O'Connor said…
This was a very happy-sad tale for me. I completely believe in its authenticity, and if it's not true, it should be.. It speaks so well of friendship, life and all the little changes along the way.
TexWisGirl said…
i loved it. a true friend all the way through.
Mama Zen said…
This feels so true. It's touching and funny.
Helen said…
You do burn ~~ brightly!
Kathryn Dyche said…
I defy anyone reading this not to laugh at the farting references injected so skillfully through this.
Jim said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said…
Stevens seems to be the of 'friend' a person would wish for. Not looking for an attachment but just one with whom chewing the fat for old times sake both of us would enjoy, on and off again. I have such a friend but haven't seen him for a couple of years. The only female friend like that I can recall, for the moment, is my sister.
Shay, did you have an invisible friend in early childhood?
Lynn said…
I can just see the whole thing! Wonderful, FB.

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