I feel sorry for my neighbor’s pug
squeezing a loaf on the third-floor balcony
while I watch it in the rain
There are so many sufferings…
At bible study the sexually frustrated males
talk about video games, and not looking at pornography
The guy who writes screenplays, tells everybody he’s tempted
He looks me in the eyes, like I’m a guru
Word has gotten around—that I’m a radical
I told them all, they shouldn’t touch themselves
they shouldn’t look at women
and they should refrain from all sexual thoughts.
“But what about when we get married?” One of them asked.
“What about it?” I said.
“We can think about our wives, naked, can’t we?”
“Sorry—that would be lust. Jesus tells us not to.”
“You mean I can’t lust after my wife?”
He looked at me, like I had canceled Christmas.
“Lust and love can’t occupy the same space in your mind. Lust is selfish. Banish all sexual thoughts. Purify your minds. Do you think Jesus lusted after the church?”
“No,” everybody said.
I turned to the guy who writes screenplays. “I’m going to tell you a secret that will change your life.”
He was actually listening to me.
“If you don’t play with yourself, you will become a genius, and your screenplays will all become movies.”
He was waiting for me to make a joke, but I said it with a straight face.
At the gym today, I avoided the crazy cat lady as long as I could, but I needed to get on the treadmill, eventually
thankfully, she was talking to another young guy
She knows them all, and she talks about her cats, constantly. “I just don’t know what to do. Romeo’s brother has cancer. The poor thing is down to 12 pounds. I cremated Romeo last week—it cost me 350 dollars. Those cats keep me alive. I spread Romeo’s ashes on my flowerbed.”
“Uh-Hugh,” the young guy said.
“I just am sad all the time—and I eat when I’m sad.”
Then she started crying, and the young man said,” Don’t cry.”
“Oh—don’t worry about me—it happens all the time. I had to put tears in the eyes of my cats with a water-dropper. It’s okay to cry.”
I thought about her suffering
I thought about the suffering of the young men listening to her
they needed to work out, and they were too polite to say, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
I know most of the men in the gym restrain themselves
Nobody talks, except the crazy cat lady
and everybody politely listens, including myself.
I ask her about her cats, and I try to be understanding as she tells me the same stories, over and over again
Now, I time my workouts at 4 AM, and right before the gym closes
the problem is, everybody else is there too, when the gym opens and when the gym closes.
We’re all too polite
Maybe, we’re all cowards
or maybe, we have compassion.
Probably, some of each.
I do feel sorry for her, though
And for the young men at bible study
And for the pug, left outside to shiver in the rain
Society doesn’t care
like the weather
it just rains,
and there’s nothing we can do about it.