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Permission granted by author for anyone to distribute this
writing free of charge (including translation into any
language)...under condition that no profit is made therefrom,
and that it remain intact and complete, including title and 
credit to the original author.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

(A True Tale From The Castro. Eat your heart out, Armistead!)

© 1997 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin

     happy as a little boy
     with a new kite
     you marched down castro street
     with my life story
     wrapped in a crumpled copymat bag
     chest so puffed up your buttons could have burst
     (it was august the twelfth):

          silently grieving
          i sit at the counter of without reservations
          a chill winter blows across my heart
          trickling remnants of coffee
          in the bottom of my cup
               brown teardrops

     you suddenly dance through the door
     i am startled
          your happiness at my expense?

     you ask me how i am
     and the cup trembles in my hand
     i can't look at you
          how do you think i am?
          in the dawn of our knowing
          you pranced down the stairs
          charged right into me with open heart
          brave embrace
          and asked me that same question
          i lied and said
          to protect my self
                   my child self
                   my self that yearns to trust
                   someone         anyone
          for we were still

     but now
     with coffee in my hand and vinegar
     in my heart         i say
          how do you think i am?
          do you really want the truth or another
          glossy lie
          to appease the demon within your lion chest?

     i turn my head away from
          your loving gaze
          your sweet face
          your kind smile
               your soul
     and say
          how do you think i am?
          i lied to you once
          in the april of our love
          but i will never deceive you again
          no, i am not all right
          i am doing poorly
          my heart is badly broken

     i lower my head
     and withdraw from my heavy-gauge nylon backpack
     of my life in two folders
     in a copymat bag
     and proudly raise my head
     staring straight at the cash register
     and say
          here is the rest
               (of my love letters i've been writing
               since you left
               your old apartment)
          these contain records of my association
          with randolph louis taylor
          and some of my other
          i'm sorry it's so much to read
          but i ask only that you peruse them
          you can throw them away
          i have copies

     you snatch them up
     like a loyal soldier take command
     and say
          okay.     i'm  going to walgreens
          for some dental floss
          check on you later
     and you leave as quickly as you appeared

          dental floss?
     i think
          why don't you get some brain floss
          while you're at it?
          dental floss?
          i mean even less to you than
          dental floss?
          i bet the asshole doesn't even come back
          to join me
          for coffee

     so once again i sit
     sipping coffee from a tremulous hand
     grievous heart

     then i look up and see you

     across the street
     marching in the other direction
     happy as a teenager on his birthday
     with a boom box

     and i think:
          i hate that man