Elements of Attraction

By Drew Pisarra


Outside the dorms, my head rests in your lap

as you blow smoke rings in your father’s car.

I want more but so far this as far

as you will go: Getting stoned, talking crap

about school and declining the crass suck

I offer up. You claim I’ve misread you.

You’re not gay, not bi, not in the mood.

Despite your last name, you’re not Teutonic

either. You’re adopted, of Long Island

stock, your heritage semi-Sicilian,

semi-Sephardic. Yet your cold orphan

heart ain’t the organ hardening behind

my nestled head. Far from it. I think gay

need not extend past this moment. Okay?


Your point being? You mean to say what? That

Parisian accent obscures your reply

which might not, as it happens, be a reply.

You might be asking me a question that 

I’m mishearing as a garbled answer.

Not that we two particularly care what

the other’s uttered. We’ve tired of asking “What?”

We may as well use “what” as an answer.

This pretense of foreplay, this nonsense of talk,

the suspense in flirting, verbal or not,

is dispensed with because flirting is not

our big objective. We don’t miss small talk.

End goals aside, I wished that you’d warned me

about your Prince Albert. That silenced me.


You’re depressed. I get it. The meds have made

you fat. Your feelings haven’t changed. Your mind’s

gone flat. You no longer attain those fine

erections you once did and your low-grade

libido doesn’t care. A kiss leaves you

content yet if I want more I’m being

pushy. Do you really think I’m peeing

behind that bathroom door? Please get a clue:

I’m jerking off then returning to find

you asleep with your face hidden by Kurt

Cobain hair. I wish I could swallow the hurt

as quickly as you downed those pink-and-white

pills. Our bond has been chemically reduced!

You’ve found happiness but I’m not seduced.


It’s a fairly straight shot from Downey to

Vegas but the drive feels long since your car

lacks AC. So we roll down windows as far

as they’ll go then hide behind shades that you’ve

pinched from an overlit mini-mart. Wind

sands our faces; skin clings to cracked leather;

we’re doomed to sweat sweat flash-dried by hot air.

This sun’s rays are relentlessly unkind

yet still we drive on, after a sleepless

night spent dry humping on your childhood bed.

Is that Mecca in the distance ahead?

No such luck. Sin City is one hot mess

of cheap brunches, rushed weddings, stained box springs,

slot machines, false teeth, fake breasts, and faux bling.


You are so much like the others, so much

like what came before you and what ‘s to come,

so unwilling to stick, to shine, to touch

upon more than the barest minimum

of who you are behind that bland façade:

balding, medium build, average height,

a man who believes believing in God

to be absurd. Your word. You keep it light

with forced asides about the day’s headlines

recycling in your Facebook feed. You never

wire from your interior; you malign

all but the superficially clever.

I wince at tin-ear laughs you self-create.

If you’re my choice, I’d rather masturbate.

© 2020 Drew Pisarra

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