Trish: A Romance Parts 1 & 2

The story starts here : PAFA
has its yearly opening, and I
explore it with Lisa. I am
looking for Trish's paintings:
she has invited me. She is no
where in sight. There: it's her
self-portrait on the wall, called
The Vessel. Sepia, brown, colors
that have Spanish resonance.
Trish's in blue, half-profiled,
wearing an expression of pensive
angst. She looks at me from
the painting. She is my soul
sister. She's under my skin.

Our first date: Lisa still
in the dark. An operation I
enact covertly. We are going
to see a movie: Amelie. She is
merely cute. I sit through this
for you, Trish. I dialogue with
Bukowski while I sit there: I
deserve a blowjob for this. Hank
is amused but reticent. Trish
wears a green winter hat which
now sits on her lap. Her hair
is pony-tailed. She has had a
salad at Cosi. I am hungry, I
enjoy my hunger: mind-fucked.

Back at my place: 21st and Race.
I play Trish "Sweet and Dandy"
from The Harder They Come. She
dances without restraint on the
tan carpeted floor. Something is
becoming loose in us. Then she
lays down on my floor, in blue as
in The Vessel, and lets me paw at
her. Skyrocketing giddiness over
takes us. We are drinking grog
(rum and water) from capacious
blue mugs, each other's new toy.
Look: I have, in my pocket, a
copy of Aleister Crowley. It's red.

I am in an artist's studio: winter,
long broad windows, sunset, it's
going down. I am in a wife-beater
with braces, mustachioed,  jack-in-
the-box. There is a portrait of
Apollo on the wall: nude, in a
field of purples and blues. He
carries a fiddle. Trish and I are
drinking cheap red wine. There
is no one else (it seems) in the
building. Pipes drone steadily.
Warmed by the wine, we sneak
into a dark bathroom. I crash
through several floors of myself.

Pull-out couch: we are down for
the count. I have my hands on her
sex. She is shushing me. I make no
noise. There is no sleep here. The
windows represent being into a
new space. Morning: we will walk
back to my 'hood. We will eat at
my diner. I will feel, on Cherry
Street, that I have never flown
this fast around the universe. I
will be all the worse for being
happy (Lisa). Pancakes do
not taste as they ever have
before. They are ambrosial.

Phone message: "the first kiss
of love." Now I cannot avoid
telling Lisa. She takes it on
the face but not without a fight.
Word has spread around the store.
I wake up to find myself a book-
store Byron. Trish wavers. She
aims to please everyone. She says
she doesn't know. Then there is
another that shows up. He is
older. He dives headfirst into
paint, but without painting. I
have no defense against this
first onslaught. I hold on tight.

First night at my place: I
am able to have Trish to
look at up close. I notice
how different she is from
Lisa: long, lean torso,
tiny breasts, narrow waist,
flaxen straight hair that
reaches down her back.
She loves me wildly and
with feeling. "Hair upon the
pillow like a sleepy golden
storm," Trish slept late. Yet
she was out as soon as she
was in; "I'm with Roger again,"

she said, and pulled the plug. There
was a period in which we could
not talk to each other. I either
had to have her totally or not
at all. There would be no grey
for us. Was this karma for the
manner in which I treated
Lisa? Closing shift: Roger came
to pick up Trish. I heaved against
the glass doors before the manager
came to let us out. Romantic poems
were being written, informed by a
kind of desperation. I read Donne
for a Penn class and extrapolated

his stance (metaphysics abridging
Romanticism) and remembered
that first night, in which Trish
and I read "The Ecstasy" to each
other. Now, she hoarded her body
where I could not see. I have my
own conceits, I thought to myself,
walking home from Bennett Hall in rain.
Spring rains; Trish returns. She
seems chastened. There is a part
of her that needs me. It is a part
of her that she rebels against, so
that her manner towards me takes
the form of an interior war made

exterior. My folks take us to the
Pink Rose bakery on Bainbridge
Street, and Trish and I share a
big brownie. We go to the Eyes
Gallery on South Street, and my
folks learn Trish's eye, tastes.
There is a loaded sky bearing
down on us: Trish's eyes water.
We are to spend the night at Trish's
place. She lives with a handful of
artists at 4325 Baltimore Ave.
James is bi-polar and always causing
problems. Trish is turned on by him
but pretends not to be. Her room is

uncarpeted, wooden slat floors, big
wooden dresser, overlooking a quaint
West Philly courtyard. There is a cat
named Zooska, a preternaturally
intelligent girl-cat that plays with us.
For some reason we do not make
love that night, and when I wake up
I am fit to burst. I send red signals.
Trish's compassion overtakes her: I
am getting sucked off. Her glasses
remain on. She is doing this because
she loves me, and love-waves are
communicated in oral gestures. She
means it. I can sense James

in the courtyard, listening. Will Trish
close around me at the right moment,
or will she miss? As I go off the edge,
I feel her miss slightly and then hit,
and I have left the planet. She is so
far beneath me that there is no seeing
her. She swallows me, and I will never
leave her mouth again. It is sealed.