Check-In #4

Kamelya posits a widening between X, the tangible self, and Y, the self as constructed by others in absence. So, as Kenneth X proceeds forth in changing or not, engages in processes of reconfiguration to which I am not privy, shifts Ginas X and Y around in himself like the wandering cups of a cheap bra, Kenneth Y is mine, and divergent. My Kenneth Y is premised on the last Kenneth X to which I had access, and also the warping forces of:

  1. Nostalgia. Anne says “Memory is created by what we need in the moment3” and I realize (too late) that the mind is a lie.
  2. Imagination. I imagine, in rapid fluctuation:
    1. He is unwell.
    2. He is well.
    3. He is exceptionally well.
    4. He hates me, thinks I’m bad, but this is unendurable, so I solace myself with half-well, as in:
      1. I wish him well.
      2. But too, not so quick to sweep our sweet parts away.

Even if any number of these notions resemble the reality of Kenneth X, they are like another person with coincidental eyes. Kenneth was as hairless as a dolphin when we met, and at last check a hair on his nipple measured four inches taut. He’d shed when we made love, the considerate chest wafting hair into the lulls between my ribs; the sweat of me held on so that my torso was a landscape, by the end.

I won strange competitions as a kid. My teachers seemed to nominate the small marketable bug of me for, once, a timed Lego build. In a conference room I received a hard-hat that warbled on my head like half a dinosaur egg, I received a heap of Legos and aluminum foil and perhaps other bits like string, and local media and parents spectated benevolently from the walls while I built a space shuttle with very careful attendance to the tools of propulsion. I showed the judges rockets, foil gas tensed to spew. I thought stasis was the worst sin, too. I got a check, which my mom put in the bank for a later date.

Meaning-making me can, with some confidence, envisage what some iterations of Kenneth might have built: the crashed plane on his childhood property4. A bike5. This is not to say he mightn’t deviate from mimicry, devotion to the small; he would just as likely build the outrageous bust of an alien glutting itself on spaghetti.

“You’re a fucking freak,” Kenneth X wrote on my 27th birthday card. “And I love it.”

In all these iterations, he’s adored.

3The easy intimacy. The barbs on a cat’s tongue texturing the day.
Dryer lint touch—you a thoughtless constant warm.
Dinner and the record player goes. Buena Vista Social Club, Kirsty MacColl. Then a smoke, and Alt-J.

4 You went to G&M for Taylor ham, egg & cheeses (SPC) and I thought a bear was menacing your dogs. I walked the plane, later, like a tightrope, you the opener of worlds.

5 Last week I circumnav-ed Manhattan, thought of you in Harlem’s hills. More worse than the saddle sore of the 41 miles were the quad cramps and the diminishment of everything.

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