ode to my leather jacket

Oh leather jacket, you make me so happy when I pull you on again after another short Berlin summer. When I bring you out of the front closet and ask you to take me back. Why did I ever think to leave you? Why? I bought you used, in the heat of an Iowa summer, at a store called cowboys guns and guitars for 60 dollars the day my brother arrived. You were worn but quite fit. You’ve always had a faded tag that says butthole surfers written in sharpie. It’s your only blemish, but I forgive it. You had it then and you have it now. It was so hot and muggy that first summer, I couldn’t have you for months, not really. We only became lovers when I moved to Berlin in October and then you were there for me, inseparable, keeping me warm in the coldest winter. I remember that one night, when I was walking home from Kreuzberg all the way to Kopenhagener Strasse because I didn’t know about the night buses yet and I was too broke for a cab. We were walking along the old wall together at 4 in the morning and I remember how the sideways snow stuck to you and I was still warm. I was 25 and I remember how free I felt; how unhinged and yet protected by myself alone. But it was you and I together. You could be my guardian angel, I just never thought to thank you. How many times have I fallen on sheets of black ice when I’m still riding my bike through the winter and you were there right under me, saving my skin and bones? How many times have you been there for me? We’re such good mates, such a team, you and I. You’re so androgynous, so polyamorous. How many faces have you known? I wear you in my leather daddy fazes but also when I’m just playing Punky Brewster. You were there in the dark room listening to the groans of men I wished I could be. And sometimes just for a strip tease, with naked breasts underneath. You feel so smooth and strong. When I’m broken hearted you make me feel much tougher than I am. You’re like black eyeliner but much more resilient. You’re not too elegant but you’re so daring when you mix with glamour. You’re so casual and utilitarian when I’m just punking about. You and I, we can pick up girls and guys, we’ve sat on wooden stools and listened to bluegrass, we’ve sailed over mosh-pit heads and hands. I’ve shoved you in the piss corner of dark clubs; you’ve never run off with someone else—without me. It is raining these days and you keep me dry, even the stupid expensive electronics which I love to hate, you keep them dry in my pocket so I can keep listening to my music with my headphones on and feet scrambling my pedals. Oh leather jacket I love you. I never carry a knife but I might be. I can carry my knife when I do and when I’m not I might be. I could keep that blade right next to my heart and you wouldn’t let it knick me. You have so many pockets, so many places, I keep everything in you because I am always embarrassed to carry a purse. You never make me act like a girl. You make me feel like a boy with tits and a cunt. You make me feel like me. You’re so sexy, you’ve starred in porn—more than once. You’re immortalized on screen. You’ve tasted glass and broken mirrors and dirt. I would use you as a mattress in a greyhound bus station in Montana. Your elbow is falling out, you carry my pen. My many pens. My notebook too. And that’s all I really need in life is a pen and paper and place to lay my head. I like to chew on you; you’re such a nice cud. I’ve left my bite marks, I’ve even torn your skin. I like to smell you just so I won’t have to smell everything else. I can turn up your collar if I want to. You’ve covered my eyes. You’ve covered my heart, you’ve held it, when it was too heavy to bear myself. I wear you with a black leather hat and I fit right in where I want to fit. I like to wear you with an expensive dress and high heels and dare my bike to rip couture. You never just rip. I would wear you to the ball, if they’d let me in. I’d invite you along to Bollywood or Hollywood or a punk rock show. I’d wear you to the ballet. You never smell like all the cum blood or sweat—you always just smell like you, that old familiar leather smell. That girl gang beat me up in an abandoned factory out east and dragged me across the gravel by your very sleeves. You were still there all that time. Your zipper has never broke. Not once. You’re cool in the warmer months and heavy like stone, never just a little whisper in my ear. You’re not a tease at all; you’re so direct. Your weight bears into me. I feel how real you are. I could never pretend, you are not there at all. I have no other jacket but thee, not in truth. You are the one for me. All the others are just second best. We’ve gone smoking cigarettes together on those rare broody evenings I have to smoke cigarettes and walk the city streets alone like an alley cat. You’ve laid on the sidewalk with me and cried. You never have to be fed, not like my voracious hunger, but you let me spill on you all the time. You cat around with me, you bike with me to lovers and guide me home again, guilty, electrified, scared or in love. You always hide my tears. You are sturdy and tall enough to be a pillow. I’ve slept in you, in my very own bed, without any pants on, just you. I’ve refused to take you off when my partner tries to part you from me. You’ve slept in the middle of the two of us, but you’ve never come between us. Tomek tried to sew you up once on his leather machine but you’re still tearing at all the edges. It just makes you more beautiful, the way you are fading and opening and giving us both more air. Leather jacket, how I love thee. My eyes are wet with adoration. You are for me and I am for you.


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