Bonus Round

Gabe Pine

5/11/20182 min read

The Noe Valley Branch Library is a weird place to write poetry
and I sometimes write poems about my laptop keyboard
when I don’t know what to write about
but those are not love poems

Even though I’m 21 I feel like I’m seventeen I don’t know why
the word “Backslash” has so many odd synonyms
but those are not love poems
they are action poems (Bash! Hack! Escape!)
and it isn’t quite action
but love
to bus all the way to the Marina
from Bernal
to workout on the rusty outdoor gym and show off my new back tattoo
let it scab-up and harden in the sun
for a future lover who I ecstatically long for

This is the bonus round
I still have a chance
sitting on a hilly windy square of sidewalk in the Castro I think
the inner-thigh would be a strange place to get a tattoo of someone’s name
I scroll for love music on my phone but only find egomaniacal pump-up songs

There are moments
when Ryan Trecartin fucks up
and unending epically vapid acting
and for just an instant
a few words bind
with tender secrecy into
unadulterated love

My new back tattoo is not a love poem
but an action poem
maybe I can come home to someone later
much later
he would see my scabby faded tattoo
and hug me from behind
because San Francisco is a bottom city
to hit bottom in my journey
and it is said every gay dude is secretly
a bottom
when he returns

My exploit to write a poem about my laptop keyboard
and I want to go home but I don’t
love poems are historically slow
with the most gentle line breaks
but I want to read one to a lover rapidly
without pausing I don’t want to break

Forward slashes indicate line breaks when quoting poetry
and the opposite of the forward slash is the backslash
I’ve found during my laptop keyboard poem writing
that the backslash character is actually a love poem
it is the anti-pause
it is the excited poetry reading hurtling towards sex
the loving scratch or slash across his back

Someone I trust is capable of telling apart
performance and intimacy
and someone else I trust fucks backstage
after delivering twisting punk shows
rehearsed solo

Action movies are faster now
because every action movie rushes home
to a love poem.