Not So Young Man

Paulus Kapteyn

              The not so young man has a notebook. he’s drawing or making marks.
He holds up the notebook to a Chinese young man with a left leg he can’t
bend. The not so young man looks happy and sad and maybe sad because of his good
looks. He wants to be with someone beautiful, to spend leisure time with them
and bask in their beauty and feel enlivened by it and not feel tired and have to answer why he feels tired not to feel tired.
              The not so young man would like to lose himself less.
He would like to be ruled by an absolute passion all his own that is not
someone else’s. He asks the young Chinese man if he understands
the signs denoted on his notebook page.
The young Chinese man doesn’t understand.
              No he says.
              The young man asks for the schedule in the abstract.
Wherever he goes he asks for a schedule. He has time on his mind.
              Do you have a schedule he asks the young Chinese man.
              I want to call my mother.
              I have to see my mother in ten minutes.
              She will be mad.
              I won’t be there. She will leave.
              Can I use your phone?
              The batteries are dead.
              The not so young man feels the batteries in his head are dead. He wants to be with
someone as beautiful as the young Chinese man. He would like
for that someone as beautiful as the young Chinese man to lock the
door of their room and simulate the heinous act of rape.
              The not so young man hears himself compulsively asking for his mother.
when he doesn’t desire to see her. If anything he wants
to get away from the image of his mother, that speaks to him in his
dreams, at odds with the image of her on her death bed when her skin was
like wet paper.
              Can I use your phone to call my mother.
              Don’t worry about your mother.
              I do worry. She’s going to be there when I get there.
              Good luck with your mother.
              He likes the Chinese young man, even though he’s neutral.
He likes the idea of asking a stranger to call his mother when
she doesn’t exist. He’s tired of talking to people who know how to counter him.
They are patient and understanding and unyielding in their understanding and patience.
They always agree with him and then tell him what to do.
              Yes we’ll get you the phone they say.
              Can you give me the phone to call my mother.
              No I can’t give you my phone the young Chinese man said with a nervous laugh.
              He wants to be alone with the Chinese young man. He wants to stare at his bum leg.
It would be like his dog at home that licks his hand with its rancid tongue. The bum leg would erect itself and lick his face and mouth and stomach. He would make it a peanut butter sandwich.
The bum leg would condescend and tell him that he understood him when he was
a question mark to everyone else. The young Chinese man would guide his leg with his
slender hand to traverse the room. They would order room service when there wasn’t
room service to be ordered. It would be hopeless and unpleasant.
They would eat another peanut butter sandwich while they thought about the tardy food
that was never ordered in the first place. He wouldn’t need to call his mommy on the cell phone and she wouldn’t pretend to be alive in his dreams. He wouldn’t feel tired and depressed and hopeful not to
feel tired and depleted. He would wish for nothing, not even an email from a prospective lover with a working cell phone to borrow to call his dead mother. there would be no regret.
Time would pass and their hair would grow and choke the room and they would have died
when they leave for their respective domicile, the young Chinese man with his impaired leg
and the young man with his unseemly notebook.

About the Work

Paulus Kapteyn

Paulus Kapteyn is an artist/writer who resides in Portland, Oregon. He has shown his artwork in NY, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. His poetry has been in Lungfull, Lit Mag, and Monarch Review.

back to:

From the Archives