It’s been a day and as I curl into blankets to collect my notes and mind sketches into a single document, I see the black birds circling outside the window. In gigantic sprawling circles they swoop and descend upon the grass turning it from a sea of brownish green to a crawling wash of inky feathered movement. There is a woman who makes flowers out of sugar I came across today. She displays them online and the most disturbing aspect of the whole scene is how perfectly real these fake things look, decadent, cascading blooms you can practically reach out and feel their smoothness on your skin. Their petals look inconceivably supple and the colors are the most exquisite blushing roses, peaches, frothy powder blues. Where on earth do people come up with this stuff and how do they find the time to hone such a skill let alone the market to sell it to? I don’t know about you but I’ve never once been into a home or other establishment where was displayed a sugar flower not to mention a whole faux bunch of them. That I’m aware of, though now perhaps I’ll take to tasting them in the future just to be certain. Meanwhile, here I sit scrolling through her images transfixed. I am a writer who is terrible at spelling. What I create is a crime scene of red slashes before I polish and serve it up for human consumption. I once misspelled the word pieces five times consecutively. Also, the word consecutively appears to be a challenge as well since we are spilling useless information. I cannot imagine the sugar floralist ever makes a mistake although she must. Stomach growling for me to break my fast which started only accidentally because I forgot to bring lunch to the office again, I tie my hair in a mess atop my head and pull on a sweatshirt before starting the bath water running and shoving a spoonful of peanut butter into my mouth. There are days when you can’t get out of your own way enough to make any progress, mostly because progress is a concept you no longer concern yourself with if you can avoid it. You throw in the wash. You eat pretzel bites and cheese and drink wine and flick through whatever it is that unhinges your knotted shoulders from your earlobes and lets you forget for five minutes that the world is unglued, abused, and ablaze with a sickness you only hope and pray you washed off your hands before you grabbed that half eaten jar of nutty spread earlier. Undressing in haste, I sink into the bath letting the hot sting of the water rush my pale skin pink with just enough pain, just enough heat to dissolve into absolute pleasure. In my head the notes I took swirl into tornadic oblivion as I lift one leg and admire my toes with their mangled purple manicure chipped and neglected. Later, still warm and smelling of scented soap as I type, which I really shouldn’t for I’ve nothing to say, spellcheck bloodies its disgust all over the word tornadic. I smile and consider buying myself a cheap bouquet of actual flowers tomorrow. Just to watch the fuckers bloom, and wither, and die.
Wearing my great grandmother’s diamond chip ring, I notice it catches on a thread and makes a pull in my brand new sweater. Figures. Fancy things and I have a love hate relationship, we get along fine for a while but eventually I have to strip everything off in order to keep it safe from my own clumsiness. The sky is shattering to pieces in dark gray shards of liquid glass just like the raining people all around walking the streets as night falls into lush focus. Thinking about anyone else, I listen to a frazzled looking older woman screaming angry curses from the front seat of a dilapidated blue sedan as it rolls on by through driving waves of flash flooding. All the bright lights of the city weep sad tales as they glimmer and drip upon wet blackness. In my mind are tears of both regret and relief, suspended together but which refuse to be released. To think of all the nights I’ve spent pulling myself apart to examine the designs of the things I can never quite see through until the end. Not without drama, not without angst. I talk in circles around the things I am afraid to get close to, carry them in little invisible bits instead. Under cover. Under wraps. Underneath it all there are secrets and each one lights up in me like a twinkling star until I swallow so much I become another universe blooming inside a hidden world. The truth is I don’t know where I belong. The angst is that I should know by now. I pour a glass of chilled white wine, savor the curl of it as it slides down slow. Feeling the tension in my body ease, I light a cigarette, inspect the damage to my sweater with dissatisfaction but mostly indifference, and stare out across the stormy skyline. It is stark, it is unfeeling juts of steel. Perhaps I, too, am a city of dirty white lights, glowing skin wrapped around shoots of tall metal bone. It’s so easy to fall in love with a writer. Like tripping down a set of stairs you somehow didn’t see, you mistake aura for feelings. Skill for intention. It is perhaps the ease of it which startles you most. How jarring the affection which pricks at the palms of your hands, the itch spreading someplace you can’t reach. What you wouldn’t give for a taste of the blood in the words. A world has been created out of thin air, a world made just for you that’s warm and lusty and does not exist. As you fall in you fall out, what is moving toward you is moving away. I take a drag and down more wine while your fingers rake through a young woman’s hair as you kiss her thoroughly and lay her out upon your bed. Her face shadowy, her scent one of many all at once. In the clouds I see your likeness, the muscles of your body like thunder. A sinister stranger in a place with no name.
There are people who believe it is their fate to lose, that somehow they have inherited a life of loss. That all good things will be taken away from them so they don’t get attached to anyone or anything. I never really thought about it but if I did I suppose I could understand and even relate. It’s everyone’s fate, after all. To lose everything eventually, to be left with nothing but memories and even those can be cruelly snatched away like grains of sand on the winds of time. When I look at you I can see the struggle inside of you, your smile betrays the sadness in your eyes. And that is the part I want, that is the part I recognize like looking into a mirror. I have dreams sometimes in which I am trying to catch something I never do, I try to make it somewhere my mind wants to be but my body won’t move fast enough. And the whole time, I am reaching for something I never quite come to grasp, though time and again I come so close to it I could almost tell you what it is. There is a kind of loss in which something you had is taken away. Goes away, somehow. Then there is a kind of loss which happens on repeat over an infinite amount of time. It is hollow like the sound of a ghost as it passes through you to the other side, a breath sucked out slowly across an absence of tongue. It takes up an infinite amount of space and no space at all. You can feel it like lead inside of you although it is invisible, it is always sinking though it never touches bottom. It is the loss of something you never quite had. It is a feeling of perpetual stagnation, even while moving, even while intending to move. Perhaps some fill this void, this emptiness which contains weight inexplicably, with religious beliefs or promises. Perhaps some fill it with cars or money or women or men or fetishes or art or family photos on Facebook or plastic fame on Instagram. Perhaps with jobs or careers or titles or power or greed or sadism or masochism or nursery rhymes. They fill it and fill it with anything they know how but it can never be filled, only denied. Only ignored. Only feared. But what of the ones who sit with it, holding the hand of a clock without hands. Who instead of turning away from the ache, worship at its dimmed singular altar. Who touch the weighted face of the weightlessness and caress it into their very souls. The ones who mourncherish the loss of everything before it has gone. Who taste and seek the melancholy, the anguish and seduction of her sorrow laden song. I suppose we are the poets, and we name the darkness home.
He was a freedom I couldn’t quite see myself inside, though I wanted to. I wanted to so badly. But people can’t change their souls, only their habits and it is here at the feet of the dying of hope that I sit and wait in silent sadness. It may sound strange but the words I write to him appear in my mind as I imagine typing them, his image superimposed behind each one as if the words can see through him or perhaps he can see through the words. I doubt it, though, he’s never been one for attending to words. I don’t speak of the things which matter most to me anymore because they don’t matter to this world the way certain other, flashier, glossier, neater things do. I am too deep, too idealistic, too difficult. I get so close I forget to breathe. I can see how this would be true so I’m not sure how to react or respond, aside from the drinking and other invisible tools one uses to quietly, diligently dismantle one’s existential hangups from the inside out. What matters. What matters more. What shouldn’t matter to me but does, simply does. They speak about being yourself. They hurl it your way like a whirling blade, a cruel and punishing threat. Be yourself, as if I don’t spend every waking second trying to figure out exactly who she is and be able to hold her hand through everything in spite of everything else. Lighting a cigarette as I duck under an overhang to avoid the rain which is now torrential, I tuck into my coat and begin questioning my life choices one by one as they parade in front of me like a manic marching band, decision after decision obnoxious and loud. When I write I am not myself. When I write I am more myself than I am anytime or anywhere else. Did you know that gazing up in adoration at someone else can burn your eyes blind and scorch your skin raw? True story. Did you know that power can destroy innocence because beauty is not far enough away from sin to keep itself in line? You watch me. Feast on my words and spit out what you don’t like. But I? I open my mouth and my veins and my chest, and I, well… like it or not, dirty or sweet, angel or demon. I have to take all of it.
All dolled up in leather and lace, matte red lips and heels so high I’m half distracted with worry about teetering from the slow drip of my martini, I’m stood before you wondering what you think of me. I hate that I care but here we are and I’m unsure of so much that’s gone to pieces in this world but you, with you I forget everything else and focus. You exist somewhere dead center inside the line between aphrodisiac and sedative which perhaps makes no sense, this I’m willing to concede. It has been a while and by that I mean we have never been, but the way you pierce me with those eyes, electric, sharp, blue as God though I’m not a believer. As you speak I skim my hand across yours and I wonder if you know it means I would suffer for you. I would swallow the sin deeper and deeper until my veins expand and contract with the delicious agony of you, gliding smooth as silk across the melt of my tongue. You don’t say too much so I say just enough to keep you guessing. I like the way you maneuver inside the words you choose, the way you move into and out of me, tasting me, testing me. Daring me. Turning me round and round in your prismatic mind. As clever as you are, I can feel the heat rising in your blood. I see it in the way you sip your whiskey while your fingers cradle the glass. I can see your cool fingers upon my neck. I can feel your fingers unfastening the dread I carry around with me and all I can do is pray for you to continue. Please don’t stop. I crave the hellish tease of you. I suckle upon the torture which hangs suspended between knowing and not knowing the devious things you desire of me. Speak for me, coax me, breathe into me. Underneath my skin, my lungs are tender wings, my heart is a fragile race against a time when it is at last too late. Underneath the words I offer, there beats the pulse of the words I hide. Only a poet can touch me there. Only a poet could ever know the mysteries which glisten and burn within this darkness which calls me home to a place where good and bad no longer exist, only slow pleasure, only slow death, and only the holy have mastered the way to manipulate the difference. You finish your drink as you trace the curves of my body in silence. Only a mad creature of the word could ever penetrate these depths, hear the quiet beg of my aching reasons why.
I have to be away from the writing for about a week and I am dreading it. I don’t know why I am telling you this but I don’t think anyone understands except for writers, what it is like to have to put down the pen for a while. Even if it’s just a handful of days. It feels like severing part of me, the truest deepest most loving part of me, and leaving it behind. In any case. Hopefully maybe there are some rare times when, if you can bear it, the time apart makes the time back together even sweeter.
There’s a game we play with ourselves. The game is called denial and when we become quite good at the game we use it more liberally. It becomes as a salve, a soothing balm for slathering over the rough patches of our lives we don’t seem to know exactly how to handle. I don’t get too close because I don’t trust you because I know deep down you don’t even trust yourself. No way to live, but what’s the alternative? The truth hurts as does reality so better to run away inside that fantastic mind of yours and pull something shimmering from the discarded rubble. You have it in you, you just weren’t allowed to know it because nothing is more important to capitalism than distracting you, prying your attention away from the flutters in your stomach which beg you to resurrect your most magnificent parts and turning toward the outside world worrying what the others will think of you for having such petty dreams. Ah the mighty American consumer, not unlike taking a bite of the proverbial Apple iPad in the Garden of Eden, we are made to realize we are naked without all of our gadgets and things and consequentially shamed for it. Just the thought of all this nonsense plummets me to the bottom of a crisp bottle of white wine, the very liquid silk which simultaneously soothes and destroys.
Lying half dressed on the backseat of his car, she pulls her panties down as his eyes grow wide with mesmerized lust. They are young, as clueless as they are gorgeous, smooth skin a glow in the moonlight shining straight through the passenger side window and bathing their pulsing bodies in pale white light. Breathing heavy and shallow, his heart races as his fingers trail along her perfect abdomen, stroke gently over the soft slit glistening sweetly beneath his heated gaze. As she watches his movements, her body reacts in ways she had not experienced until now. As he swivels and strokes, her desire grows wet and hungry, spreads, flickers and licks through her veins like wildfire. She needs him, craves him. Everything about her that opens begs in desperation to be filled, stretched, plundered, ravished, taken. As he exposes her to such pleasures as this, forbidden treasures unlocked in the confines of this beat up old Volkswagen, this tiny trap of steel and leather, he is ragged with an ache he feels will rip him to pieces if not satisfied. In one smooth motion he removes his fingers and slides beneath her as she straddles him, biting his neck, his strong jaw, moving her strawberry tongue between his lips. Pressed together and quivering on the brink, they find the rhythm which carries them over the edge, shattering into prismatic ecstasy like a thousand shooting stars exploding one after another across the clear midnight sky.
The ones who say the youth is wasted on the young have forgotten the beauty in the wasted. As they slice and dice us and sell us back to ourselves in jagged little pieces, we continue to search for a truth we’ve known since birth but constantly deny. What good are fancy clothes when all we want is to be naked. What good is safe when what we want is to be free.
Tired and punchy due to a hangover I immediately regret having inflicted upon myself, not only because it’s a weekday but also because I have to sit through some hellish kind of corporate training during which the instructor is cracking jokes no one finds amusing except for him, I sip stale coffee and wait out the worst of it. The trouble isn’t me of course, it’s you. It’s you and it’s the rest of the world which sucks me in and weakens me until I am reduced to less than half of myself and thus reach for anything that will numb what can only be described as thinly veiled panic at the idea that there really is no way out of this absurdity aside from death. And yet. You are a drug that gets me high, you are the opposite of numbness. When you touch me anywhere I feel it everywhere. When you kiss me with that defiant mouth we spin in circles until each molecule floods with dark sensation. The rain was heavy last night as we walked the cobblestone streets of an old forgotten town by the river and as I am telling you some story about being a kid collecting lightning bugs in jam jars, I notice the way the street lights bend their necks down somberly as they shine dim yellow light into the wet depths of the pavement. The whiskey begins to burn in my stomach and I briefly wonder what I am doing here fucking off while the rest of my life is so heavy, but being with you feels like all the weight has been lifted from me and tossed carelessly out across the water. Some people are freedom and some are an escape and the problem is I can never seem to tell the difference when I get too close. Ducking inside the crooked foyer of the restaurant, we sit ourselves at the fine mahogany bar and I take in the strange atmosphere. The building is nearly four hundred years old and absolutely plush with crushed red velvet, cigarette smoke, and ghosts. There is something sultry yet sad here in this dark hideaway place, as if the people are sinking along with the uneven floorboards, as if they know their lives are meaningless but they smile anyway. Despite it? Because of it? Doesn’t matter. I haven’t smiled in so long it almost feels like defiance. The overly polished wood and the piano player tucked into his shadowy corner, the warm hushed sounds of people dining, glasses clinking, candles, laughter, song. Naughty secrets whispered into lovers ears as they blush. Crossing their hearts as they uncross their legs. There is a woman in a black evening gown cut so low I can see the perfect curves of her ample breasts rise and fall as she breathes a Sinatra song into a microphone while leaning her sparkly hip against the piano. The eyes of the crowd seem to stroke her and she laps it up like warm milk, they pet her like a cat as she sways, slithers and purrs. We order Manhattans with rye and walnut bitters, the drinks far more sophisticated than the things I imagine doing to you in my filthy mind as we sip them.
We tell the same dumb stories and repeat the same old lines but something inside of me seeks for the magic in the mundane, the surprise inside the necessary. You’re talking too much about the things you can’t stand and though I don’t blame you, I’m tired of listening to the sound of the way the words drag me down. Think bigger, stretch it out until you can swim inside it freely. Take your clenched fingers and pry them from their bone white death grip around what they tell you you’re about to lose at any given moment and just breathe. Running barefoot up a grassy hill in the heat of summer we tumble and laugh while trading fiery glances, drinking from the wine you brought along with some biscuits and fruit. Romantic and trite, we are wishing it could be this way forever as we get drunk because the reality of our situation while beautiful is also too painful to absorb outright. Straddling your lap on a flannel blanket, we kiss until I slide off my shirt and let you suck my nipples, perky and splashed in broad sunlight. Pleased at the sight of my breasts so smooth and natural among the flowers and butterflies as your hand moves eagerly up my thigh, I lay back upon the soft ground and run a hand through my cascading hair, spreading it out all around me like rays of shining light. There is an earthiness to the airy scent of these fields which makes me feel like I finally belong. The clouds are an invitation to a better life way up in the sky, I secretly accept and float away on the breeze, higher and higher, until my insides fizzle and I merge with eternity. As you insert two fingers my arousal warmly welcomes you and I open, pink and juicy before you. Desire, greed, hunger, holiness. Feeling dizzy with wine and pleasure, I watch as little birds soar and swoop, tiny sudden chirping movements among the underbrush. Afternoons like this are made for the dreams they forbid us to dream and we refuse to waste a single drop of intoxicated bliss. We were never meant to be together at all or maybe there is no such thing as fate but perhaps in this life you take what you can get and hope for the best. I write about a sadness in my bones which never seems to quit and you write your name in bright lights inside your mind. You give and you get and along the way there is sweetness if you can learn to let it in with open arms, and then find it in yourself to just let go.
Who will save you and by that I mean who will entertain you as your cursed ship sinks down into the bottom of the sea. Show me everything about yourself that gnaws at you, turn it all inside out so that the blood is fresh and the skin is crawling, corrupted, sweetly acrid for the vultures. And they are out there, baby, vultures, vultures everywhere. You write about the snakes, you taste the venom in your mouth and spit it down onto the page, how hard you get off when everything falls so beautifully, so desperately apart. At least it’s genuine, at least you can draw a perfect straight line between good and bad, telling everyone you meet how kind they are for watching as you cry beneath a teardrop moon looming larger than this life which seems to swallow you whole at every turn. Never say never and never say die but the thing is, I have died so many times it’s hard to keep count when the lights are this bright and the things they say, and the things they don’t say but you can hear the way they cut into your bones anyway, all add up to nothing in the end. Did you think I was sent along just to please you? Little bit of a god complex, have you, darling? Figure I was silently fervently grateful for those thin slivers of your affection? Think I didn’t see it coming, don’t know your kind? Did you think within me beats one single solitary buttercream heart? Not even close. I carry a thousand hearts within a thousand hearts, each pulse a new sensation both familiar and unfamiliar, and I am contained within them all. Try to remember this. Try. We don’t want love we want self-inflicted mutual distraction and the more I say it the smaller we become. The trick is not to need the screaming in the fibers of the nerves to stop. The secret is to not wait until the words are there to write them down. It’s hard sometimes to see things clearly when you’re looking up at the sun from so deep below the surface of the water. The view gets blurry and your sense of depth perception is thrown off. The body gets heavy and it’s awfully tough to breathe. But I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty. The sky today is blue as ice, the most menacing and cold I have ever seen it.