Bookmarks by Timothy Robbins

I laminate bookmarks because I can’t
laminate men.
Not one bad actor lighting another
bad actor’s cigarette
in a fake transport plane. Not the
stuntman rising from the sand,
his parachute opening behind him,
framing his safe landing
like an O’Keefe canvas.
I mark my books because I can’t
mark men. Not the astonishing

Filipino, maybe named Nathan.
Two years of lunch hours visits.
He was all business
till our last time. When he knew I
was leaving California,
he kissed me on the cheek and
made me swear to be happy.
Not Gerald, who took me to meet
his best friend
as though it were an audience,
in a house that smelled

so strongly of hairspray, it must have
been pumped in through the vents.
Afterwards, the friend told
Gerald, “That one is a keeper.”
I left a week later.
My latest bookmarks were cut
from issues of Men’s Health
sent to Victor Mason at our address
(I guess he lives here in an
unstable parallel universe).
A male couple walking with hands

on each other’s hips marks Nancy
Scott’s Ah, Men. The PSA (not the
prostate exam) urges couples
to test for HIV together. The lovers are
dressed identically, have the same
haircut and practically the same
profile. They walk toward us,
looking at each other like an
introverted Janus on a coin from
the Gay United States. Unlike us,
they do not mind if they stumble.

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