28 W. 15th Street/A friendship With Somebody Else – by Dakota Pollock

This summer I sold out
and bought an a/c
Artists were meant to suffer
To transform their suffering
Into understanding and hope
By altering perspective
For those who were unable
To find it in themselves
But now, I was no good.

I was heat struck and heat warped
Caught in a fire like ash dump
While the humidity swarmed
Down on the rusted a/c units
In cramped window sills
And the old women
Fanned themselves off
With junk mail and rain beaten
Coupon books
on the steps of their stoop.

I gave in
Cause I no longer cared.
What it meant to be an artist.

What did it mean to be an artist?
I didn’t want to know because
The art, the creation, the apparent magic
Had failed me
Had blessed others,
That weren’t me.
Why would I continue to care?

I was hot
I looked 10 years younger
With smooth, glowing skin
And a thinner belly
From the sweating
In my bedroom
Which it felt like
A Turkish sauna.

This was better
Than suffering for art.

I should have charged admission
Inviting over all the gay boys
Who have to wait for the
Men only days on the bathhouse calendars
I could have played them my records
Or read them poetry
Or discussed the Matisse print outs
I had taped to my wall
While they rolled and licked
And rollicked and rocked
And fondled and felt
In the glistening steam
Of my intimate bedroom

But that wasn’t going to happen
Cause I had mounted the a/c unit
To my windowsill.

Cool air surrounded me
Like two towelless men
Wrestling in the steam tinted shade
Of a showerhead.

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