The Invitation - Poem by Fred Odom
In the nightmare,
The pool party invite said clothing optional
But meant ‘casual’ or ‘California casual.’
I wore neither. Things went downhill from there.
Worse, I had never played pool or billiards,
More difficult sans clothing.
And nothing for me to hold my winnings in,
Should there be any. There weren’t.
It was an all male, hetero party.
I had brought my seahorse floatie to ride in,
Thinking it would endear me to the female guests
That I was not allowed to remove.
I am allergic to the sun,
So my blazing, dayglow, whiteness appeared to stand out
Against the green felt of the pool tables
As though a spotlight was shining on me,
Particularly, when the lights went out
And the black lights came on.
I pretended to be a sculpture, posing.
Everyone laughed at ‘The Thinker’ wearing a seahorse floatie,
Until they couldn’t breathe.
The party was being taped.
Not as bad however, as the postings from cell phones
On the internet. And to my mother. And to my minister….
And to my prospective employer… at the FBI.
Neighbors were perturbed with the increasing loudness of the laughter and
Called the police with a noise complaint.
And before they could get there,
I ran out of the house in a panic and
Into the approaching arms of the police,
Arrested for indecent exposure
And they insisted I wear the floatie
In my booking mug shot.
I reported the ‘dream’ to my therapist the following day.
She arranged for in-patient, psychiatric hospitalization.
And now I can’t tell if this is still part of the dream.
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