Do you remember ten springs ago? Back in that season of renewal, I remember gulping down IPAs at a now-closed dive bar with my roommates. At Market & Fremont, we wobbled onto the crosswalk in a pack of testosterone as a klatch of estrogen strode toward us.
Under this intersection’s red light, a woman offered me $20 for my corduroy pants. Would you plunge this transaction forward? I stripped down in San Francisco headlight glare gawking at my pale whiteness.
My brain can’t wrestle down the detail though I know I used my newfound money for a special dinner of either Rocky Mountain oysters or dos tacos de lengua.
I still have my tongue so I’ll slingshot you this story I’ve hashed out pantless with oysters or tacos digesting inside. You decide. Did I stop there? I danced on the plague marking the division between landfill and bedrock, between sleepwalking and an awakened state.
Before a hotel window painted with vomit, I laughed and hugged the doorman as if he was my father. Down the block, a drum-and-guitar band played “Like a Rolling Stone” for BART riders to throw in charity change.
In a bus stop shelter, I found security beside a man waiting for a 38 bus. With a smoke resting on his lips, he bought my Psycho T-shirt for $10.
Pantless and shirtless over at 6th & Powell, a black high heel sliced my heel. Flat on my ass, I gaped at a woman shrieking. After hoisting up my biped self, Vanessa pleaded What can I do? Well she bought my boxer briefs for $25. When she rang her BF, Larry came right over. I sold him my dick for $50: he now sports two dicks.
Naked in weekend shadow, I shook their hands with blood smeared on my palm.
At the Tenderloin Museum awning, my skin, sinew, and muscle went for a penny to a soul shivering under their thin blanket. As I clutched the sum of my body’s value, I rushed past without staring at a homeless vet sleeping in his wheelchair at Everywhere & Taylor. Clank clanking on shit-stained concrete,
I snaked up into Nob Hill and finally found my heaven when an employee removed an old mannequin from a storefront display. The owner hired me without even an interview.
How glorious! Swing by soon — I feel alive whenever a customer nods in approval and purchases the business casual attire my skeleton frame advertises.
Hired hands undress me every night. In the morning, I’m propped back up with a new clean suit gleaming in affluent sunlight.
Keith Mark Gaboury earned a M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. His poems have appeared in such publications as Poetry Quarterly and New Millennium Writings along with forthcoming chapbooks through Duck Lake Books and The Pedestrian Press. Keith lives in Oakland, California. Learn more at www.keithmgaboury.com.