“Yellow Brick Road”
He is flawless and I will possess his heart, but he can’t know the truth, not yet. How I like a cold, fresh stick of butter, no crumbs, no residual jam smeared across the corner. I need my toast crunchy, and if it’s slightly burned, I start over. I like my bathroom sink dry, no splashes of water or toothpaste stains on the mirror. I don’t wear earplugs because I can hear my brain working, the crunch of bones and the echo of my swallow, throat clearing and nose sniffle is deafening, more deafening than the sounds I’m trying to cover up on the outside. When I sleep, the pillow between my lower legs has to fit from just above my knee to just below my ankle. It’s not the chalkboard or the dentist’s drill, but the excruciating sound of a paper napkin or a dry towel rubbing between fingers. My peace of mind comes from an empty trash bin or a sandwich cut evenly, no tomato slipping out the sides. No stains. No blemishes. Put it right. Straighten the stacks and layers. I hear my neighbor flossing his teeth again. He’s not doing it right. There are 59 black gum stains on this stretch of sidewalk. A homeless man is sitting in a pool of his own urine eating a hamburger. Don’t make eye contact. Hold your breath. Knock on wood. Wipe it off with alcohol, All of it. Wash my yellow brick road with Murphy’s Oil Soap all the way to the temple that is mine, where I sit cross-legged, quiet, focused, and perfectly clenched inside. Flawless man takes me in his arms like they do in the pictures and whispers something in my ear in a foreign language I don’t understand. He smells like cotton candy. Suddenly his voice is drowned by a galloping in the distance as he vanishes like they do on the transporters aboard the Starship Enterprise. The big sky opens up (sigh)…not him again. That Knight in unpolished armor keeps showing up. Take a number. Press eight if you’d like to hear more options or remain on hold for the next Unavailable man. Unavailable. Unclean. Unhitched. Seriously, I know he’s out there, but he can’t see me buried under these filthy loads, behind the clutter, over the heaps of things, through a thick coating of muck and 2.6 trillion pounds of waste in a massive landfill.