“Valentines Undelivered” by David Trudell
So last night to mark Valentines Day (or Single Awareness Day as some of us like to call it), I attended a wonderful event at Akbar in Silver Lake.
My great friend David Trudell was one of the Queerwise Spoken Word artists who did a reading during the fourth annual Valentines Undelivered show. I thought David’s was so good that I asked him at the after-party to email me the text so I could post it on the blog.
Here are Mr. Trudell’s Valentines Undelivered:
To the boy in kindergarten who grabbed my hand under the table during nap time: thank you for my first tingling sensation.
To the boy in my neighborhood who played honeymoon with me: thanks for being my first husband.
To the high school boys who strutted naked through the locker room, ever so cocksure, snapping wet towels and proudly shaking your dicks, enthusiastically displaying your freshly grown treasure trails which bloomed during summer vacation: thanks for years of masturbatory fantasies.
To the boy who graced the pages of my Tiger Beat magazines and flickered across the movie screen of the local drive-in, eventually flickering through my feverish boyhood dreams: thank you Robby Benson, for being my first celebrity crush. I leaned into the movie speaker fastened to the car window, your husky voice whispering only to me. In my nocturnal fantasies, Billie Joe McAllister never plunges to his death. I derail your suicide attempt by kissing you softly on the lips, handing you a freshly plucked flower as we stand on the Tallahatchie Bridge.
To Mrs. Ihlenburg: spanking me in front of the entire class fueled my first exhibitionist fantasy.
To the flamboyant, fashionista boy in a faux fur coat and eyeliner: you’re more of a man than those self-proclaimed “straight acting” gay men.
To the girls I once loved: I meant every word, every kiss; because of you, I’m a feminist.
To the boy who punched me in the face and stole my car, leaving me naked and bleeding on Franklin Avenue: I forgive you. Your life is much more tumultuous than mine. Thank you for reminding me that the appeal of dangerous boys should be left only to the imagination, for in the real world, dangerous boys won’t make love to you.
To the high school janitor in the ill-fitting purple cardigan: as a teen, I snickered when the local newspaper outed you for engaging in sexual acts with men in the Barker’s Department Store restroom. You disconnected your phone and disappeared. I hope that you’re alive, donning a bright purple cardigan and reveling in the newfound gay pride surging through our small town.
To the feminine boy in PE nicknamed Flower Power: I never defended you while the other boys relentlessly chanted “Flower Power.” I was complicit in my silence, deflecting derisive laughs and disapproving eyes away from my own “Flower Power” sexuality. I hope that you’re living a fabulous life and that you’ve taken the pejorative taunt of Flower Power and turned it into something empowering.
To the boy from Catch One who took me on my very first gay date, driving all the way from Upland to West LA: we had a lovely dinner, and eventually went out dancing, where you left me alone in a booth while you reconnected with an old flame, never to return. I wish you a lifetime of waiting in empty booths.
To my first boyfriend who is now one of my best friends: thank you for giving me the blueprint for a loving relationship. Future boyfriends may alter the architecture, but the foundation shall remain the same.
To the boy that got away: there’s always one.
To the boy I’ve yet to meet: I’m standing on a nameless star on Hollywood Boulevard, waiting patiently to be your co-star.
To the boy that I once was: welcome to the new, more evolved you. I’m glad that you arrived here safely. May you always live within me, stoking my curiosity, invigorating my soul and illuminating the myriad wonders of this planet so often obscured by the bustle of daily life.
(The artistic director of Queerwise is Michael Kearns who runs Moon Mile Run Productions with Ryland Shelton and Mark Bringelson.)