Dear Phil


Which are you? Are you doddering Phil, drinking bourbon in the greenhouse, or do you glide through the alleys now, rain caterwauling off your hatbrim? Are you the shadow nosing just far enough past the doorway to aim a pointed observation? Have you learned to detect like Janus both the past and future simultaneously? It would look good on your resume.  I hear they have seminars for it, and they are brimful with undertakers, morticians, and raincoat salesmen.

While you were diving, I walked off with your wife. She was just a kid, knock-kneed as a pelican, or so I thought. You never know what you are getting into, with women. It turns out, they can have agency. This one, yours, I forget her name now, she had all of Jupiter storming about inside her. She had gravity. You know I’m no good when I’m actually wanted. You know it makes me go all racehorse in the gut. Anyway, she still left me first, dragging me like a polluted wing behind her.

Consider that maybe even we never truly know ourselves. I drew my self-portrait only after several interviews with experts who think they know me from the movies. Consider the subjectivity of how we perceive color. The sea is blue with oil and the fishermen, sunburned, who dip their nets in and out and in again empty, their necks blister with green. Consider that shellfish makes my guts roll up like a ball of yarn, and that you shall get them yourself and I will gnaw sullenly on yams.

Last night I dreamt I saved your life. You were drowning. I put my mouth to yours and blew as hard as I could, then punched your heart until you sputtered back up like a boat motor. In reality, I could not do this even if I wanted.

 - Humphrey

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