some more moss on that memory sandwich

at the filling station, the wayward bus docks,
and spills its water.
7 sexy adolescent boys
get up, go get something to drink,
piss, get a snack, and talk
to each other about things
of itinerant nature.
then, back on the bus,
the 7 boys, all chosen as their
high school's representatives to
this year's American Legion Boys State,
chat, and doze, and find hope in the
certainty that Williamsburg, Va,
is a nice town, with a good
campus (William & Mary), and
that, with a little luck and
good campaigning, charisma,
and charm, each of them
will be mock-elected to mock-office
and pass mock-bills and enact
mock-legislation in
the mock-assembly for the common good
of all those mock-assembled.
The American Legion wants
dreamers and doers. these 7
boys selected from their high school's
best and brightest
are there to do a job, make
their high school proud,
and indicate their
bulwark of society to
the culture of
belief systems that
are good, noble, and true.
hot dogs for dinner,
at night,
sleeping two to a dorm
on a campus lent to them
for the duration of their
stay (4 days),
there are
a plethora of
fuzzy-headed dreams,
some of them focused like
needle points going for the
hole of the button, some
of them drifting
american marigolds, just
before the
i was one of the American
Legion Boys State boys in
that group of 7.
many years ago.
while on that bus heading
to that year's
American Legion Boys State, a classmate
of mine, Greg, who was tall
dark and handsome,
put his head on my shoulder
and slept while he thought that
i, too, was asleep.
all these years later
(i'm 59 years
old now), i still remember
that moment: Greg's head
resting on my shoulder,
my heart pounding, my heart
is pounding so hard i'm
afraid he'll hear it and wake
up and confirm what i'm thinking.
what i'm thinking is i love
this moment and i love
that Greg is resting his
head on my shoulder
and i love Greg and
i love Greg
i love Greg and
the word
flashes like neon
on my forehead,
Greg's head
resting on my
please don't let him hear
my faggot heartbeat
don't let anyone see that
neon light stuck to
my forehead or
hear that bass-drum heart thump
as the bus nears its
as i see the King's Palace,
Williamsburg awaits.
years later: things that i know:
i know that i'm a homosexual,
i know that Greg isn't, that he
never was, that
he got married to his high-school
sweetheart. i knew he wasn't
a homosexual when he put
his head on my shoulder on
that bus trip. i knew his was
an innocent, friendly, non-sexual,
guy-on-guy gesture, that he
was sleepy, wanted a comfortable place
to rest his head. a basketball
player, he'd no doubt done
this, slept on
their sleeping shoulders, with other
sleeping straight
guys on other bus trips, basketball
trips, teammates, buds.
but the sweetness of the gesture,
his head resting on my shoulder,
him asleep,
on me, me just a regular guy
at that moment, this,
just one of the things
regular guys do with regular guys,
affirming my normality
the most normal guy
on the bus sleeping
on me
my heart pounding and pounding,
me pretending to sleep,
wondering why he didn't
wake up to the
pounding of my heart.
the sweetness of the gesture.
the normalness
of normality.
Williamsburg awaits.
me getting off the bus,
going to my room assignment,
no memory of who i was
assigned to.
somebody who wanted to
get elected to something.
somebody, now that i
think back, somebody who did get
elected to something.
Williamsburg was
Williamsburg was
no fun
at all.