Have you ever dreamed that dream of staring at a painting of a boy in shorts with his chin pointed at a cumulus cloud? Wind catches his hair and tugs it. The boy holds on a string, a cerulean balloon tinted to match the sky. One foot is off the ground? He is rising. His eyes are closed, but they too are blue, you just know it. They too are pure and full of air.
Pete says he never dreamed that dream. I shook him good but he was mostly still asleep, wrapped in a pink and brown granny square, sweating vodka. Other people’s’ dreams are boring, he said, then he went back to snoring.
Have you ever lived that life of staring at a man as he plods through the kitchen in the heaviest boots he could buy? The fluorescent light oils the oiliness of his face. The man holds a glass half full of whiskey and coke, dark brown and carbonated, like his eyes which are wide open but you can’t see through no matter how hard you try. He opens cabinet doors and shuts them. He looks at you. Opens his mouth and shuts it. There’s nothing here he wants enough to get it. Nothing he wants enough that booze won’t help him forget it.
The boy in the painting says he’s never lived that life. The boy in the painting says he wishes I would stop shaking his frame. Besides, he says, Other people’s live are boring, and please don’t pop my balloon. His sneaker falls off his foot, out of the painting and strikes the ground. And I do. I do pop his balloon and the museum guard arrests me, puts me in a cell with a toothless poet who hands me a chapbook written in her own excrement. I don’t want to take it, but she laughs through a puckered grin and says, you want something better girl, you’ll have to write that shit yourself.