Pain’s Erasure Reconsidered

by Bobby Parrott

When I tell you I love you it’s like listening to that big oak
outside my bedroom window grow in its own bark
a thicket reaching upward, stirring the sky, frothing heaven
into a peachy meringue of balloons. I look away
and back, and all the trees have moved closer, their whorled
hides memorizing me, misting my sap, concentric trails
of forest. The bright flavor of a breeze buzzes incandescent
in my mouth, drops a fistful of tulips. A fervent mirth.
I drop the cake of my fictional self out in the hallway
until my birthdays and pull-toys reconnect. Sometimes just
closing my eyes works. Or turning off the radio, letting the car’s
tires hum their unpuncture, beta-waves without battery.
My bathroom fan’s propeller rinses me, its metal hiss analgesic
to my jacket of daffodils in sunlight. And when I close the lid
on the Baby Grande of my sleepless mind, my foothold slips
and I pause the old record player in its grooves, exert amplitude,
and pray. We run, heedless children laughing thru rain. Funerals
fill my eyes. Roses dive into fuchsia back from black & white.
The caption under this frame never says the same thing
after you look away. Am I asleep? When you tell me you love me
over the phone, it turns my unmade head, asks me to try on
church, forgets the smeared skits we do over in sidewalk chalk.

Bobby Parrott’s universe frequently reverses polarity, slipping his meta-cortex into the unknowable dimensions between breakfast and adulthood. In his own words, “The intentions of trees are a form of loneliness we climb like a ladder.” Immersed in a forest-spun jacket of toy dirigibles, this queer writer dreams himself out of formlessness in the chartreuse meditation capsule of Fort Collins, Colorado where he lives with his partner Lucien, his houseplant Zebrina, and his wind-up robot Nordstrom.

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