For PRINCE, for Carol, Princess.

My TRUE story about PRINCE or This thing called life or The jagged grief of the broken and dissolute or by the way, VIVA JOANIE LAURER! or On a road trip to Memphis like a million years ago, my girlfriends all chose fantasy boyfriends and we then made up dirty stories, PRINCE was one, he was wearing black feathers and a purple suit and his dick was inside the marble we simply needed to get it out with a chisel or Boy Gregory or Can you make it rain harder? or This hurts like Michael or THE BEAUTIFUL ONES—

1989: Carol and I listening to “The Beautiful Ones” at her apartment on Markham on the sofa and crying inconsolably:

We are both in relationships; we both love, passionately and impossibly, other men who do not love us back.

We cry like girls devised by the Brontës, not for the boys, I see, as I look back at my beautiful friend, all long black limbs and the dreads that would creep to her waist; her cat’s eyes, black dahlia mouth; her long, elegant hands cloaked in silver and pewter and white gold, holding a cigarette, the sign of the times in the exhales,

Everything is so beautiful, and we are crying for our youth.

Old birds, listing on branches: this is what it sounds like,

Dead birds, their wings folded like tiny Arlington flags,

Cars crashing when Carol takes her long legs out for a walk, slicing the air beneath small, bespoke-by-her, flowered or hieroglyphed or panne velvet dresses and big black boots,

Bees drifting on the Doppler of her smell, creamy soap and smoke and her.

We saw each other a few weeks ago, after so long, and she had changed and she had not: embroidered flowers everywhere, a mass of spiral curls, blue, she was all in blue, queenly Carol waved carelessly and turned the corner,

There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body at all, a sheriff with purple hair says, just now, on City TV,

Her skin is smooth Citrine, her eyes warm, topaz, do not confess to ever having cried, or loving me.

If I could stop her from turning the corner, if we could linger at the music gates or freeze, press the red elevator button that stops it, the one no one ever touches.

Some new reasons to cry; additionally, terribly, Prince dead:

Who will smile, shyly and sly, like him? Turn a guitar into God’s wrath and absolution, sing what we all want, sing what we cannot say?

My friend made his clothes for him for the last few years. I visited her shop, and looked at a creamy, extravagant coat, made to hug his 

Beautiful body and, wildly, I licked the lapel to kiss his hands, to kiss him, on the deepest level, and in the most devoted way possible.

Because he would never know—Carol, do you know it was not petty jealousy but astonishment I felt that I feel for you? 

The way our bodies’ most infinitesimal elements interacted and fused and I am a part of him, a part of me has died,

A part of me died the night Carol and I grieved like wolves, knowing the unspeakable, that we will get older,

And older still and lie still and stop breathing.

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