Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, and the Brown Boy’s Mother

By Ronaldo V. Wilson
When he wakes up out of sleep, the brown boy remembers two things: his white man calls and breaks the groans of Kevin Bacon, naked and writhing in pain on a hard and wet black street. Bacon has been beaten with broken bottles and has had his chest smashed in with a large flaming couch section. A mob of whites poured gasoline all over his chiseled stomach and then lit him afire. Brad Pitt lay next to him, his stomach breathless and glistening in the flame’s light.
     The brown boy knows this is somewhere between movie and dream, staring at each stomach; but more importantly, he knows that despite the fire, the bodies did not burn. They did not char or turn black. They simply shined in sweat.
     The brown boy will commit to his memory, most, Brad Pitt’s dying, and how he eventually turned over on his stomach, his penis turned down and scrape fucking the street—Brad Pitt ejaculating and on fire, the liquid shooting out of him as he looked up, staggered to his feet to let out something between groaning and laughter out to the black sky. Though Pitt had been beaten with bottles and wood, it was not clear where he was hurt, only that he was a screaming surface, dripping with lit gasoline and semen.
     As the brown boy ponders this surface, the white man has chosen to phone his brown boy. Their first conversation of the day is bound by this scene—and dutifully, for the white man, he wants to start from the beginning:
 
Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon are in a boxing ring in the middle of a football field. They are both wearing white boxer shorts, no gloves, and about to perform a dance routine. I am standing next to them, looking at Brad Pitt’s hair flop down over his face. He smiles at me before the music starts. From everywhere, broken glass bottles hurl at their bodies, and they are splashed with gasoline. We are also in a dark alley lit by fire. The two are still standing, looking over at me, though I can’t tell who is smiling. I only know Brad Pitt winks at me while Kevin Bacon is on the street, writhing as a large white flaming couch section is smashed onto his chest.
 
My mother was dead in the dream. I was looking through a dense stash of clothes in a cabinet. All of them were soiled, and none of the clothes were hers. I remember holding a pair of purple and green Speedos that were woven to a pair of matching polyester tennis shorts. These shorts were my father’s. I remember my mother making all of his tennis shorts. I also remember pulling out a pair of long sweatpants that were much too large for my mother and holding them up as crumbs fell from the legs. I tried to smell them, wanting to think of her alive.
 
      What the brown boy doesn’t say is that he wondered, in the dream, how his father was getting through this—living alone with only her smell left behind. Or how he pulled the sweatpants up to his nose and mouth, absorbing the whole of her scent through his body. Without revealing his father’s grief or his own, the brown boy breathes in the smell of Giorgio mixed with eleven years of shifts at the convalescent home, and gives the white man what he thought he wanted. He quickly shot to the end, where Brad Pitt grinds his fat cock in the pavement, the curve of it pushing down bent and spewing semen into the street.
 
Kevin Bacon stands up and groans, laughing as his bowels leak from his stomach. I was thinking about that before you called.
 
      The brown boy knows the white man wants to hear the brown boy rise from sleep, hear the spill from his head in the morning without saying a word. Though this morning, to this dream, the white man has two responses: He calls the dream bizarre and says nothing about the brown boy’s mother, only I feel sorry for Brad Pitt.

Ronaldo V. Wilson, “Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, and the Brown Boy’s Mother” from Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man. Copyright © 2008 by Ronaldo V. Wilson. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008)

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Poet Ronaldo V. Wilson

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

Biography

Poet Ronaldo Wilson earned an BA at the University of California-Berkeley, an MA at New York University, and a PhD at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Discussing poetry’s role in the American imagination, especially as a tool to combat powerful, persistent ideas about race, the body, and trauma, Wilson told Elizabeth Hildreth in Bookslut, “I love poetry for allowing the tools with which one can capture, create . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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