Monday, March 08, 2010

Benefit Dinner -- prose poem

Accompanying my wife to a benefit dinner, I bristle within my suit and wince at the executioner's grip my belt has around my waist. In my nervous discomfort, I quip, "I don't see why they raise money for Children's Diabetes. Instead of giving kids diabetes, we should be working to prevent it." My bon mot tumbled into a void galactic silence.

On my first venture to the bar, I was plunged into a nightmare of faces from my past, seeing a slew of girls with whom I'd gone to high school. O gawd, I was the most internally, infernally frenetic bundle of mis-wired nerves when I was in high school. I can't imagine how I came off to people. If I was remembered at all, it was no doubt as a budding clocktower shooter.

That was not surreal enough, however, for the chuckling deities. No. No, I actually saw the girl who was my first girlfriend back when I was eleven years old. She was absolutely gorgeous all these years later. She'd be thirty-seven or thirty-eight now, and she kept herself together marvelously: hermetically sealed in Plexiglas on her off-hours, bathed in a marinade of placenta and vitamin E, with pure arctic oxygen pumped in.

Meanwhile, there I was trapped in my Sumo wrestler body suit; erratic cowlicks in my gray hair. Walking past the mirrors in the restroom, I looked like a Yeti, and generally resembled an "after" picture of a Temperance League tract.

I said no hellos, but ogled from afar. It was like being an extra in a Philip Roth novel. Times like that, I wished I carried copies of my books to show that the damage done to myself occurred in literary pursuits, that I have cultivated the inner me, that I have done more in life than become an accomplished onanist.

No comments: