I had on a pair of cargo shorts, the extra pockets would come in handy when it came time to put the crystal somewhere and a summer-weight orange plaid short-sleeved shirt that some trick had left behind. I had a cheap little mp3 player that I’d only just gotten and was listening to Arcadi Volodos play the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto, the one where two minutes onto the third movement there’s that funny little section that is the kind of thing one would expect to hear in a cocktail lounge in Heaven if there were a Heaven and it had a cocktail lounge. It would be like the one that use to revolve at the Marriott in midtown but the atrium would be infinitely high and my friend, Phil Emerson, would be there. Before he’d got AIDS and died — before he spent a year not being able to speak or walk and his lover Peyton, and sometimes I, would have to carry him up the six flights of stairs to their apartment; before I held his hand as he breathed his last telling him it was alright to go; after which I ran to the roof of his building on West Forty-ninth Street and heard keening only to realized it had come from me when my ex, Tom, came upstairs to ask if I was alright —- we would meet there in the afternoon to talk about life and art and he would assure me that I really could be an artist, that I had it and I shouldn’t be afraid because that was what I was meant to do. He would remind me that he knew this because when he cruised me that day on the subway and followed me home, we fucked and after we fucked, I played the guitar. I’d been taking classical guitar lessons and I played him a bit of something I was learning, I don’t remember anymore what it was, but I do remember that I knew it well enough to really play it. He said he could tell. Later, he would also tell me to watch the booze.


10 thoughts on “Prelude

  1. Bob

    I tried to reply earlier from my phone, but wordpress and Android voice to text disagree
    — OK, you can write, you can paint, you can fuck, you can keep a friend that many would strangle (you know who) and you can probably play the guitar. This is all good, and my opinion is that it puts you ahead of most, even when your circumstances tempt you to say you are not.
    And here is to all the wonderful, charming, talented, and loving friends who are not with us anymore! Maybe I need to recall them on the days when my own life seems to have gotten pointless. I should have been able to cry at their weddings, it sucks! (Actually, one of them should have married ME, but……….)


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