Sabotage, September 1998

1998 sabotage0001

We meet at the stop sign

like strangers

every time I drive down the mountain

to my job in the valley

and every time you drive up the mountain

for afternoon classes.

We don’t talk anymore

and I don’t know why.

Last year we talked for hours

every day in art class, and I thought

we were becoming friends,

or possibly more.

You told me about the painting

you saw each day at the Art Institute,

how Hans Hofmann’s shapes yielded

to one another.

I saw a wall of golden color:

red and orange pulled me in,

blue pushed me away.


At the grocery store

your smile was wide

when we bumped into each other.

I walked into chapel one morning

to find you staring at me

and you whispered to your friend

when you saw me blush.

One day you cornered me by my still life

and drew so close

to invite me to a gallery opening.

I breathlessly agreed.

At the event you greeted me formally

as if I were a client,

as if we barely knew each other.

The next week at semester’s end

you left class without a goodbye.


On the first day of doctrine class this fall

you turned your head away

when I tried to catch your eye.

For weeks you’ve averted your gaze

and pretended I don’t exist.

I was nothing

but kind to you.

Do you remember?


I’ve considered changing my work schedule,

or driving an extra twenty minutes

down the other side of the mountain.

Why should I change for you?

I will gather my courage,

though a familiar pain stabs

each time I see you

behind my wayfarers.

You hide behind wayfarers too

when we meet at that stop sign.


Today I rolled the windows down

and blasted “Sabotage” as I passed you,

and for just a few moments

the Beastie Boys’ rage

let mine loose.

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