It scared the shit out of me, the thought of running
my fingers across the crass abs of those Greek gods straight
out of 1970, with their pornstaches and tight pants, scared
me so much I backed away, not me I thought, let
someone else be the guinea pig. Oh come on, the jackass
called, this jackass was the one with the tattoo, come
on, dive in, the water’s fine. And indeed, if you looked
past all that simmering man flesh, the ocean was blue
as lapis, blue as balls.
The other jackass, the quiet one, smiled like an idiot
and nodded like a fetish doll, I expected his fucking head
was going to fall off.
All right, I said, okay, shut your mouth, and I backed up some
more but this time just to get a running start and then took off
and threw myself against the painting, half expecting
to collide and bounce off into the asphalt street, but instead
sailed through like an archangel onto the beach, into
the mass of suntanned male bodies and sand and heat, my
arms flailing bird-like into their midst.
I landed with a roll and looked up at them staring aghast at
this apparition at their feet. Hi, I said, hi from the future.
The sun was bright, intensity magnified. I got to my feet,
brushed grit out of my hair and pushed out my chest. I smiled.
They milled around me, fascinated. The air was perfumed,
ocean, sweat, semen. From the future, they asked
wonderingly? Really? Their voices were like cellos,
deep and tuneful.
Painting by Len Paoletti, 1978