“I wish you’d read The Art of War.”
He shook the remote control towards the Gaza Strip,
which once again, burned the innards of their television.
“Discussing all that fighting madness
might help me make sense of the world and its creatures.”
“We earth men—”
“And women, dammit! Don’t you ever forget women.
If your tactics leave them unequal, half-wanted or neglected,
I will battle against the misogyny rotting your tongue.”
“Rotting my tongue?”
He had no choice but to attack.
“It was…” he almost shouted, It was just a damn quote
from The Martian Chronicles.
But there was so much fire in those big, beautiful eyes,
so much energy fueling the lashing of his lover’s tongue.
You are ardor made art, heart of my heart.
His husband deserved veracity, alliance, a double shot of hope…
So he placed Bradbury in front of the television,
abandoned the initial scheme,
allowed tenderness to capture and overthrow treachery,
and cited time tattered wisdom (cynicism-free and trueness anew):
“We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”
His husband’s vision had gone liquid,
wrung raw by all the non-fiction horror in the Five O’Clock News.
But neither hurt nor social disenchantment could silence the man he married.
“Sleeping beauty,” his husband said, “awoke at the kiss of a scientist
and expired at the fatal puncture of his syringe.”
He picked up Bradbury and caressed his cracked spine with his trigger finger.
“Do you know why I read this novel when you weren’t home?”
“Sun Tzu told me,” he said, flashing the universal conspirators’ grin.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
and when you make your move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
Husband met husband in the middle of the living room.
With Bradbury and Sun Tzu as witnesses, they kissed.
And the words they didn’t speak into each other’s mouths, said,
Let’s make love and lightning, not war or ruin.
for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Get Listed)
cover art for The Martian Chronicles