Body for Sale

They can turn you into anything they want. You should know that going in but you won’t because they are good at tucking away all the signs. You won’t see the red flags. There are none. The red flags are shiny coins you collect along the way. It’s clever, really. You seek them out yourself. Compliments. Praise. A glance. A wink. A dark sensation which excites and terrifies you. A touch. A touch. A touch.

And you can trade that shit in for prizes. A certain kind-of attention. A certain kind-of power. A certain kind-of status. But you don’t realize that you aren’t the powerful one, you are not the owner of that power so much as you need to collect it coin by coin, bit by bit, from them. You may acquire some currency but they are the ones printing it in their basements to begin with. They can turn you into a collector, a trader, a black market, an employee. Even the play is work-for-hire.

You learn to roll with it, though, I mean sure I was a slutty thing, hungry, bright-eyed, electric and alive for whatever could jolt me out of the plain old hell I was living as an every day life. Yes, it’s a game rigged against you all the way to the end but some of it’s fun. I remember a time when all I wanted was to give every guy in the office a hard on. Part of that was about me trying to understand if I had power, if I was desirable, because that made me important and not invisible, not useless, not a throw away. Part of it was just that I was bored.

Life doesn’t always present you with all the options. They bank on you not thinking for yourself and buying into whatever their vision is for you. Husband, house, a bunch of kids. Now you hear all this bullshit about the need for millennials to have more babies or something? In order to stimulate or maintain or keep afloat the economy. This is hysterical to me in the grossest, most disturbed sense of the word hysterical. Hilarious also in its blatant transparency that all along women are essentially just fuck toys or baby-making machines.

Sound harsh?

When you spend your life collecting the flashy coins, you do it because you think it will make you rich, and you are compelled to do so even though it’s never really clear what ‘rich’ means. Or could mean. You think it will somehow – and granted you hadn’t worked out all the details entirely – buy you safety, protection, leverage, allow you some sort of confidence or freedom to live your life on your own terms.

The trouble comes when you realize that the currency you stashed away, all the ways you used your body in the hopes of liberating your soul, was actually debt. There is no end, there is no way out because all along the coins were red flags and the red flags were worthless. So you just have to keep selling yourself.

Secret Life

Seventeen drafts and not a single post worth saving, I delete everything hoping the emptiness will somehow grow into something new and more beautiful. I delete all my social media accounts. I delete all my posts and photos and works in progress. Fuck it. If it isn’t done by now it isn’t getting done. If it isn’t sparking anything inside of me now it never will.

The past is a story you tell yourself to try make the present a little bit more bearable. Which is fine, and probably advisable really, but that doesn’t make any of it real. You don’t want the past, you want a clean slate. You want a do over. Maybe next time you won’t be such a fuck up or at the very least maybe you will be proud. Could be worth a shot and so without any more clever idea, you just kill the story off like putting down a sick animal to let it out of its misery.

I see people who cling to the way it was. The way they were, by that I mean the way they think they were even though it was never really the case to begin with. You see, you can hang on all you want but even what you think it was can’t live up to your distorted expectations now. Too jaded. Too gutted, pale, carved out like soft melon.

I am just sick to death of it all I guess. How it drains you whether you are in the game or out of it, then you realize there is no ‘out of it.’ The web of toxic vibes glistens and tears all around you only to be rebuilt even stronger. The code. There is a code threaded through everything we do these days. What you buy, what you look at, what you speak about with friends, it’s all tracked and coded, bought and sold, so they can keep selling you the same shit over and over again without you realizing it.

Feels good though right? Feels damn good to spend the cash and order another round. Feels good to buy the swimsuit and pretend the body comes with it and the house on the pretty beach, too, and try to exercise what little freedom you have left and delete yourself all right off the map, drown your sorrows and insecurities and inabilities right down the straight center of the bottle, kissing and hissing and pissing yourself right out of here until you can make a better go of it some other time. Maybe never, even. But certainly not now.

Prick

He’s talking to me about the cannabis, its strains, effects, origins, flavors, cost, the whole bit, as I flick my cigarette and watch the elegant curls of smoke glide past my face and lace up into the lush spring afternoon air.

The trees are full-on canopies of thick green now, and everything that can burst into silky bloom has all but done so. I watch as a little bird falls from its nest in a bush and lands, feeble and disoriented, into the smooth stones below. The wings spread but it cannot take flight. As I wonder if I should intervene, the baby bird curls up into a ball a third of its size and sleeps, just like that, breathing super fast. Panic? Trauma? Protection? Drama. Life kissing death, feathers and beak and sunlight bobbing beneath a wide blue sky it may or may never get to see.

I sip my coffee and let be what will be. Humans are always inserting themselves where we do not belong. I don’t need their expectations and I don’t need their delusions. I am not all sugar and soft pink folds. Life is shit sometimes and I can be hard as rock when I want to be. You can ball up and sleep and they will think its sweet. You can curl up and die and they will continue to dump on you all their reasons why you had it coming but couldn’t see it in time.

Everybody always knows, don’t they.

It’s too hot for spring, which pisses me right off because I don’t want summer. Not yet. I hate the heat especially at the peak of midday, it’s obnoxious the way it heaves you around, wrings you out with sweat and all that. All I ever wear is black, maybe that doesn’t help. I trace the outline of the angel wing tattoo on my left arm with the ring finger on my right and nearly burn myself by accident. I should really quit. I should really pay attention.

There are little insects all around on the concrete, little punky ants racing around carrying crumbs from some biscuit or cookie someone left on the ground. They are so tiny that the bits of crumb look like monster size boulders on top of their minuscule beady black heads. They are so tightly marching together they look like many bodies inside of one body. I can’t tell if they are jittery because they are starving or because they are just busy.

I fight the hunger in me most days, beat it back with caffeine or nicotine or whatever else. Until the shaking gets too much and my heart flutters against my chest. Have you ever read the confessional poets? No, I mean the great ones? The ones who do not give a fuck about spitting out the real shit that needs to be said? Or screamed or shrieked or moaned or bled onto paper?

It’s tough to do that kind of thing. There is an art to it. To spilling your guts and coming off mighty instead of pathetic.

I tell him I want to try the pink moon variety. I want to be sedated as I sniff the calming scents of citrus, clove, and lavender, and feel like I’m gliding into a nothingness which makes the pricking stop.

Pricking?

Yeah, you know. The way the pins and needles of the day take stabs at you non-stop like life is daring you to give it all up but you keep shoving back against it the best way you know how. It hurts and it’s exhausting. And pushing back against the quills of the thing only makes it worse.

Executioner

Hunger is the name of the day, seems to want to become the name of the day. She has told me I write like a kind of carnage. The wreckage of the pain on the page. No. The wreckage of the joy in the wound. She wants it inside of her like a cock, like a secret, like a needle.

She wants there to be blood. No. She wants to be able to taste the blood.

What I write I do not see but feel as a connection between myself and the passing of experience. The many connections to the tortures I want to feel mourning through my own flesh, crying though my whole body. No. Crying with my whole body.

Morning is a living creature which advances with its own brutal light. It forces, it blinds, it distorts. In its clutches, I am unable to see what scorches through my veins hot with need to see, that which lies beneath the surface of the obvious.

The light comes to murder us.

It can do so easily, no one accuses the plainness of the light. It is invisible in its visibility, this poison which fills and fills its stomach with its own desires. It takes and takes and takes

everything it sees.

And so we hide. We duck under the rocks to avoid the blow of the blade.

I trace my fingers along the shadows in her face, my skin soft along the hollow of her cheek. My wrist inside her warm wet mouth. I suck against it with my own cupped breathing. Pulse to pulse, we endure the slow waves of assault. Swallow the brutal elegance of the sin.

Sensation hot with the exquisite press of needing, wanting, the breaking point between infinite desire and the sweetness of complete destruction.

We want to write, we want to create, we want to know the feeling of surrender to a kind of innocence we once knew. No. We once were.

She takes her hand from my hand and moves it down along my panting, caressing. The wreckage of the beauty of the bruising. Of the ecstasy. No. Of the kill.

I Know It’s Hard to Do

Time is running sheer all around us now, sweet thing. Look me in the eyes. I know it’s hard to do, to look into the love which you are terrified you don’t deserve. Like an abyss, like a falling which is blind, which is without end. Soft like forgiveness. Heaven and hell all around but not within reach. You are falling at a speed incalculable, which doesn’t matter of course, but it grates on you that you do not know. Cannot know.

Stick figure. Paper cut eyes. Six hundred and sixty six ways of playing God. Go ahead, taste me. Go ahead, drown yourself, end it all like a murder, like a suicide. Love and death. Like you can handle it.

Promise me this: you will carve out a space where only you make the rules and then you will kill the rules off one by one. You call the shots. You say the things which need to be said. There is a voice you carry within you which is beyond this world and its fixtures and fixations. Your voice, your world. The likes of which they have never heard. Couldn’t possibly fathom. But you know of deeply, intuitively, instinctively.

Words carved into your palm, onto your lungs. Poetry etched into the way you move your curved body, like a breathtaking storm. Like a tornado. Like destruction. Like a deep oceanic sound. Haunted. Hunted. Charted. Mapped. An invisible vibration of color, of darkness.

Please understand, no one told me any of this. Not directly and not anyone I could trust but somehow I learned it along the way, or I knew it as far back as the beginning. No, no, not of me but of time itself, of life itself. The dawning. Surely you know what I mean, even if you don’t believe in anything other than beginnings. That’s all God is. The Devil. Something penetrates, wets, agitates. Some kind of life swims in the womb full of the heavy blooded blackness. Death all around. Death as beginning. Beginning as a terrible light.

Please pay attention, my love. Note the number of times you think about time. In the coming hours how often you worry about the hours. How you split yourself, turn into yourself trying to make the calculation. You pour your coffee. You turn the key in the ignition and the day is too clear and too cold and the windows a fogged frost, thin.

Traffic as time left. Red light, green light, the turning of the eternal, tires grinding skin.

You say you do not pray but you feel the sickness in your bones while waiting at the intersection. You open the glass doors into the glass building from which you stare out at the swaying spring trees as the boss needs and the phone rings and the hollow man in the side office is talking at you in a voice you cannot understand. You type a letter you delete.

And somewhere far, far away from where your life is breaking into silent pieces blown away on the stale wind, you are standing in the dead center rush of the middle of that intersection, twenty five lane highway as the cars and trucks blast past your tiny fragment frame, like standing among the wildflowers, you are soft, supple, drugged, alone. Let the sunlight take you from here. Let the beams of little dust light all around you make like a thousand points of potential impregnation.

At the beginning is the end and so it is, too, the reverse. Look into me, sweet thing. Life as blessing, life as curse.

Body as Teeth

Lying inside of a crater on the moon, I stare up into the vast beauty of the star dusted galaxy and breathe steadier than I ever have. It’s weird without a body, you might think it would feel liberating but you still have sensation so it is difficult to trust what is happening. You still crave the feeling of being touched, of being boundaried, pressed, held against something else. I only know I am lying down because my vision is looking up. This is a dream I have often and sometimes I wish I’d never wake up.

But morning comes as it always does, dissolving itself into me as darkness sifts almost imperceptibly to light. If I do not take the hand of the early morning darkness and give myself to it before it evaporates, the daylight becomes far too much to bear.

I begin to write a poem about desire and stop. My obsessions can be choke holds and unless you are into that sort of thing you might feel like you are drowning, or dying, and hate it. Thrash against it, try to bite and hiss your way out of its clutch. Some people, though, weirdo creatures like me, we get off on that kind of suffocation. It can’t be explained just as it can’t be ignored no matter how hard you try. I know because, for years, I tried.

You think I will save you but I can’t even save myself so please don’t try to be a hero or ever, ever think that I might be. My skin-tight tights are only that and though they may look hot as hell they will only take you as far as the end of the world as you know it. Hot girls. Beautiful women. Pussy. Body parts. Sirens. Portals. Vixens. Death by ecstasy, raging to life against the friction of the meat.

We are born into bodies we learn to dissect. We learn to divide and divide and divide like cancer cells. Like disease. I like women who fixate. I like women who sink their fangs in and hold fast like feral animals to the bones they want. I see how they are crucified for becoming the very monsters they have been turned into against their own will. I see how they reach out and steal the only power they have been allowed in a game of life and death which has been rigged against them from birth, and fashion out of it weaponry. Bait.

We are chained to ourselves. We eat ourselves. We thieve from ourselves.

In dreams where I do not have a body, I still want to be touched. What is this kind of cruelty which invades the psyche so deep. What is this kind of incurable lust which we can’t admit fills and fills and fills us up.

Radiant One

He offers me water but I can’t get drunk on that so I ask for whiskey and he pours me wine. It will do and I will drink it but it isn’t what I wanted. Isn’t what I asked for, isn’t the way I hoped this would go.

Sometimes you need someone who will protect you from yourself which can be as much fun as dating a padded cell, but still. It can be good. Life-saving, even. Still…

To be a hazard just by living in your own skin is a kind of cosmic joke which takes too long to get old, if we are being honest. In all the years I have racked up I wonder how many more it will take before I understand it all. Does anyone ever understand it all? I cannot imagine so.

Still. I cannot help, it seems, but to try. I peel things from books, I pry open, I research, turn over stone over stone over stone, looking. Seeking. Sometimes I do get lucky. Sometimes I am frightened of myself. Not of my weaknesses, there are plenty and they are plenty sordid, trust me, but of the power one can sometimes summon with words.

There is power and there are benevolent ways to use it. There are cruel ways. There was that Midas guy, right, with the golden touch. It is not nice to hurt someone just because you can. It is not nice to impose. It is not nice to kill. Or to be-friend. Or to leave. Or to stay. Or to lie. Or to tell the tough truth. Be too big or too small or smart or stupid or silly or dumb or sexy or slutty or strong or clever. To take what you want or to leave it. You see what I mean? You cannot win, you can only lose. You can only ever, ultimately, fall short.

You cannot get any of this right. It is too complicated of a thing, this life and the ways you are supposed to live it. While he is messing around on his phone I pour the goddamn whiskey and light up a cigarette. I walk past the patio, lay down in the sweet grass and wait for the darkness, the purple sky, and the dead stars to show me the way, any way at all, to go home.

Body as Decoy

My obsession loves me, maybe you hadn’t noticed. Or maybe you thought I was out of my mind to allow myself to be so crowded with greed. Although I will tell you this: it is not my fault. He found me on the street and I got turned around. He noticed my sinister stare and how I had been disturbed in a way that made me curious.

Perhaps you cannot see the way he sucks at my nipples, tweaks and flicks them until the shocks turn me into a humming, like tuning forks, before ringing the body like a bell.

It’s subtle, it’s subtle, like feeling up a girl in the back of a cab at 3am. Like a voice on the phone tries to finger you by using your hands.

I am a strange sound, crackling through dead leaves. I am on fire, on display. We like to look. We let them look. We are given a role to play and we want to play it well. I am reading the scripts hidden under a bed which is engulfed in flame.

He places his fingers upon my neck until the blood flutters against the skin, soft warm pulse, slender collar bone, traces of withering, feathered breath. I follow his fingers and crawl to the ground. I follow instruction. I eat the words and quiet down. I follow the flow of the motion of his perpetual eyes.

The coffee was hot at the office today before it turned cold, it was never going to be any good either way. How was your day, it was stale and I ate it. The traffic was crushing.

My mind is a bruise; my chest is a knot at the back of my shoulders. I swell and swell with unpeeled need.

He is edging me until I can no longer form a proper response, until my throat can only moan. He is taking me out toward the drowning I asked for myself only to leave me there, treading, treading. I feel divine like a maniac. Take me out past the body, out past the mind, out past the hurt, out past the pain.

Into the bluest blue void. Into the wide open heavenly sky.

Under his attentive coaxing, I am hot ripening, fruited sweat.

Like a soft wet pill on the smooth thick tongue of his fingers, I sway like a pendulum, beat like a metronome. He commands the music; turns my body and soul into song.

Body as Razor Blade

The trouble is she says too much but she can’t seem to help it. This is why when he looks at her with a mix of twisted lust and dare, she looks down at her feet and feels her insides shudder. A little hit of desire in her veins and a little bit of fear in the pit of her mouth makes her swallow the whiskey, makes her flick her long brown hair to the other side of her fragile face, so that her hands won’t reach out to touch what she is not supposed to touch.

It’s later and then it’s later still, she’s in her bed alone bundled in blankets but the shaking won’t stop when the night wind kicks up and rattles the window pane. As the first slashes of heavy rain cut across the glass, she can see the street lights blur, glowing pale yellow orbs hovering at the corner by the baseball fields where she met a man who couldn’t give her what she wanted because she couldn’t name it even if she tried, but the look in his eyes told her he might give up everything he had just for the chance to make her his own.

People can be addicts and people can be addictions. People can turn to chemicals and fuck up the signals in your brain which send messages to the heart: stop, don’t stop, open, close, sigh, kick, swallow, kneel, beg, disappear, run. But who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t want to build it all up just to rip it all down and start over once again. Maybe nobody does and that’s what scares her most when she is alone with her darkest thoughts. Maybe she’s fractured, somehow disturbed in a way no one else could ever understand. Her insides not like a flower to penetrate, more like a hand grenade dying to explode.

In the thick dark clouds which gather high above, she sees the face of someone she used to love but who left her faded as a shadow when he died. It can be a terrible feeling to place a piece of one’s heart into the finite hands of another when no one can promise that you will both make it out alive. He used to speak about her like she was divine, like she was a whisper on a breeze skimming soft across the burning sun. Untouchable. Ethereal. Impossible.

People can be lovers and lovers can be storms. Electric, sudden, and gone faster than lightning when it strikes a dry summer field. Piercing the heart, setting it on fire, and then raining, raining, raining for ages.

People Like Us

From the night sky I pull down the last wisps of thin gray cloud and tuck them under my pillow so I can watch the stars clear and bright before drifting off to sleep. You can have all the love in the world and still feel alone and although some may read that statement as a sad one, to me it feels like it is a kind of mysterious gift. There were times, of course, when loneliness cut me so deep I couldn’t breathe. It is no small thing, that kind of weighted grieving over a thing untouchable. But to be alone is a thing which morphs. It is a shape-shifting kind of space in which you can be free of the expectations of others, even the expectations of all the ancient unwritten rules which held you down and forced your face into the dirt time and time again. You can crave it even as that kind of unbridled freedom scares you to bits.

He was a writer and a deeply introspective, intelligent one at that, if perhaps a little intense. When he would send me his stories I was always taken by their depth of connection to the physical body even as he wrote about fantasy. I always wanted to be able to reach a reader in such a way that they could feel the very feelings I felt, which seemed to me like it would be the closest I ever came to creating magic. To immerse another soul into my own, like I was a wishing well or a wide open ocean, deep with dark canyons and secret creatures of gigantic shadow and eerie though magnificent light.

In dreams I see the stories of my life play out in reverse. I see myself as a child of only six or seven, running in the grass to capture fireflies into my small little hands. Back when a moment was a moment and they all seemed to string together endlessly. Like every evening for the rest of my life would be as soft and sweet as summer, taste like strawberry chapstick, smell like honeysuckle and the coming of a night spent snuggled in blankets next to an open window above the back yard which was just a small square but to me held all the adventures my tiny heart could ever imagine.

It’s funny how we tell stories in order to entertain and yet we need them for so much more than amusement. We aren’t just bored we’re hungry and terrified and so much more intuitive than the world gives us credit for being. If you are too afraid to sit alone and let the words come, you are too afraid to know yourself as you really are. And that’s fine if you want to buy everything they try to sell you. It’s no matter if the ramblings of the pompous guy in the corner office are enough to keep you working your fingers to the bone.

But for some of us, even the faintest prospect of no story is the greatest sorrow, the deepest grief we could possibly fathom. For some of us we’d go absolutely mad if we couldn’t be alone. I don’t always know what I’m going to write until I sit down to do it. But after having done it for so long now, I know the surprises are enough to keep my faith alive. To keep believing that there is something out there in the void that keeps me reaching for the other side.