There is a quietude I crawl inside with my whole body. It is the taste of ivory snow falling from a black navy sky. It is the scent of perfumed blood on a sacrificial night. In the mirrored mist, the silent sensation of your stoic face, featureless and dim. There are cruel eyes which search me from behind your eyes. In this place I am motionless as you part my lips. Clutch your cold hand upon my heart, fingers groping the soft firm curve of my breast. There are shadows which clasp like scissors, hinging my pulse to the throb in your veins. Your vulgar whispers, gunmetal chains which encircle me. I catch a glimpse of you turning, turning. When it all becomes blindness. When you call for me and I acquiesce. Naked. Curl of a spine at the foot of your bed. I open a palm to receive you. You shed your cloak and I drink from you. Breathe for you. Die for you. I feel your feathered darkness flutter against the cage in my chest.
As I walk home bundled up to my eyelashes in hat, scarf, wool coat, mittens and the whole works, the snow which had been falling swift and heavy since noon begins to change to an icy rain. I can hear it as it lands in thick chunks on the pavement, the smell of spiced wood and wet winter in the air. The bare inky trees seem to turn even darker still as they stand erect and immobile, the freezing coating coming down like a gray mood which seeps into your skin and sort of sloshes around in your veins. Inside my bones there are a thousand tiny question marks swirling around like minnows, making little mosaic designs with their quivering hyper bodies, kaleidoscopes of all the things within me which remain unresolved, undecided, agitated but with nowhere to go so they morph and shape shift into images of lust and love, war and cruelty, passion, hope, despair. Back at home I’m peeling off the wetness in soaked layers. I open a bottle of buttery white wine and run a bath to warm my chattering body, hoping it will also soothe my jittery obsessive mind. Closing the bathroom door so the steam begins to fog the mirror, I stand naked while piling my damp waves of blond hair up in a mess atop my head. Even though I’m pale and my eyes are little puffs of fading blue, I like what I see so I lean a bit closer and trace a small heart in the mist on the glass with my finger. Taking a swallow right from the bottle because I’ve broken so many a glass in the tub before I’ve learned my lesson, not to stop drinking but to stop being so quaint about it, apparently, it dawns on me that the year is coming quickly to a close within a matter of days. Not only a year will have passed, but an entire decade in fact, and I try to feel something special about that but nothing much surfaces. I am not convinced we are moving forward into greatness but rather backwards into a scorching apocalyptic demise and each and everyday it seems something happens to prove my theory spot on if not also advancing at a speed neither I nor many others could have predicted. What does still surprise me is people’s ignorance, their refusal to tell the truth about what is happening right before their very eyes, but maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe I should know better by now for I’ve seen four decades through after all. Stepping into the hot water and sinking down low, my body relaxes deeper than it has in weeks and for a moment my mind is sweetly suffocated into silence by the scent of the milky lavender heat. I’ve tried to follow the call of my melancholy soul, that much I can say for certain at least. I’ve a collection of erotica I’m working on which is a more beautiful and more difficult endeavor to produce than I thought it would be. This is what keeps me going, the words. Thinking back on how I’ve spent my days and nights, the loved ones I’ve lost and the ones who are still around, I am touched with a hint of nostalgia for the years when this season meant magic, wonder, enchantment. How we have traded it all away for a game there is no way to win, and no way to stop playing until it’s all over for good. We posture and we pose and we pretend and we throw tinsel and down champagne as the stars pierce the skies with their dead light. Then we go home to burn our listlessness into the ground any way we know how. They tell you it could be easier but it’s not because you pay attention. If there is a God, it must feel our sadness, too, if it has any kind of heart.
He had a steady way of describing fleeting things which she found both fascinating and sinister. A mind so dexterous was dangerous and she knew it but the way he touched her with such command made her feel weak and alert at once. His ability to reflect without distorting, to bend without breaking, to manipulate at will. His disposition strong and calm enough to send her own skittish nerves into a quiet excitable humming which cascaded through her entire body in warm pulsating waves. She had a thing for men who went after what they wanted without apology and he possessed confidence in spades, stopping just short of arrogance. Not that spilling over into arrogance would have turned her off. She’d have licked, sucked, and swallowed that as it dripped off of him as well. Pouring a glass of rose wine as she walks slowly across the bare wooden floor in her new apartment, she leans against the window frame and watches as the fading evening light splays itself along the walls, still empty as though everything in the room, inside of the woman, were waiting. She is not sure of his whereabouts these days, he being a well traveled man not fond of leaving tracks. He was only a memory now. A shadow in dreams she longed to touch, to stroke, to please. In the darkening room, night falls in around her alone upon her bed, the aching between her thighs begins to liquefy, a sweet flowering swell. She touches herself at the precious wound, consumed with desire to penetrate the luxurious depths of its softly unfolding petals. Muscles flexing, her dewy body enraptured with the imagery of his hand upon her jaw as he pinches her breasts, holds her hips in place while taking her again and again without relent. Inside of her she hears the groaning whisper of his voice, tastes the wetness in her mouth, panting for the heat in his words. Beg for this. Beg until it’s hard for you to breathe. He made the world spin upon its tilted axis. In his eyes were the dark secrets hidden inside of the universe he fed to her as she offered herself up to him completely. How he had shown her the wonder in so very many things. A man who could somehow inflict pleasure like a knife, pain like sick heaven. A man who knew the words to use with such precision he barely had to speak at all. But the moment he did, how she fell, instantly, expectantly, hungrily, upon her elegant knees.
Never enough time to do what you want, you trade a flashy smile for a few moments to yourself in peace. Is it you or is it them or is it the encroaching of everything that has you short of patience with the mundane? You know the stares and the blankness which surrounds you so well you can see it with your eyes closed. It curls around you as you sleep. You feel it in the backdrop of the dreams you once had which you let fall away like tissue paper snowflakes disappear on the warm cheek of a woman you once knew to whom you no longer speak. All of those wishes for grandness, for a way to touch the sky and dance along the edges of a drunken starry night. The way your hands slid easily up her shirt and encircled her perfect milky breasts as she straddled you in the backseat of your beat up old hatchback, Radiohead, vodka, cigarettes. One at a time your tongue thick upon each nipple, your teeth sunk deep into her cinnamon flesh until you felt her pulse quicken as she sucks at the empty air for breath. You with your angry bloodshot eyes and she with the tight body ticking like a clock. With every thrust you make her count backwards from the end of innocence. Now there is no time like the present and there’s so little hope for a future as the world drapes a noose around itself while humming holiday classics. Sinatra, martinis, pantyhose, mobsters, excess. And for all the elegance she displays somewhere out there where you’re not allowed to be, you can still feel her trembling skin underneath your fingernails, taste the sweetness of her heavenly folds as she lay open, blossoming before you, begging for you to stop. Not to stop. The mind is a dangerous place without escape, your addictions spread inside your bones like wildfire. And as you walk along the streets the swollen winter sky turns from white to gray to black. The traffic lights blinking are signals you’re sending to your own tired heart. Walk. Don’t walk. Yes, no, maybe, try again later. Go, baby, go, and don’t you ever, ever look back.
It’s after midnight and I’m curled up in the green velvet chair I never sit in writing in an old leather notebook I never write in, skimming over the many thoughts in my mind one of which is that I’m so tired I can’t sleep, another marvels at the fact that despite my exhaustion something in me is still highly aroused. Pouring a glass of crisp Australian wine, I down two large swallows letting the cool liquid slide over my throat and seep into my bloodstream. It happens quickly as I’ve not eaten since I grabbed some noodles and tea at lunch. Rarely am I up so late but there are thoughts of you shifting around in the shadows, someone I have not yet met but feel I have known intimately for all my life. A man or a woman or an apparition or perhaps all three, I think of you, somehow, as a manifestation of something I cannot name but wish to worship at its dark forbidden altar. You drink in my words like licking honey as it drips from my fingertips and just as I melt in response to watching your divine mouth sucking on me, your tongue sliding up and down the length of my fingers, your throat pulsing and flexing as you swallow my sticky sweetness hard, you pull the black satin ribbon from my hair and use it to tie my hands firmly behind my back. I am not able to write, I am no longer in control, which causes my heart to race in my chest as I bend my neck and lower my eyes to the wooden floorboards. Tipping my chin up, you place a finger in my mouth and ask me if I enjoy writing erotica. Flooded with sensations which make it hard to breathe, I nod, unable to speak as you keep the pressure upon my tongue, eyes wide and fixed upon yours gazing down at me. I know you have posed this question because you already know the answer. You have known it for quite some time and so have I but humans are intricate creatures, full of mazes, twists and turns, corners, edges, fixations. What is erotic for some is disturbing for others, while for others still the disturbance is what gets them off. I am writing for you on this very late night because I have been a servant of the sensual all my life. Such is the lifeblood of the poetess. And as you stand before me, observing my nakedness, my eagerness, the fear swirling in my burning desire, you can see the flames dancing behind my eyes, and you do not look away. I can see the wicked in your smile. How it excites me. I can hear what your body wants, what your soul craves, I have heard it calling to me for ages. I have waited for a long time now, to speak of these thick passions, these heady secrets. And as is true for so many desires people try to restrain themselves from touching, the longer I have waited, the hungrier I have become.
We make memes and we make stories and we tell lies and we think sick thoughts we feel guilty about the morning after. Or we don’t. As she looks herself over in the mirror while clasping a thin strand of gold around her neck, she decides it’s going to be a good night because her makeup is flawless and her hair just so with that perfectly imperfect bend in it which he loves to finger when they kiss. It has been some time since he’s been close so she is surprised by the sudden memory of their lips intertwined, tongues stroking and searching. Something about seeing herself so pretty and the mental image of his body on hers starts a low simmer which runs hot from her throat down to her stomach down to the dampening slit between her slender thighs. Finishing her lipstick, she steps into heels and pulls up her skin tight jeans but does not button them. Instead she slides a hand inside, gently massaging her swelling sex. Waves of pleasure run over her from head to toe as she closes her eyes imagining her touch is his, her mouth, her body, her breath is his for the taking. Wet and mute with precious ache and unable to break her mind away from the tease of his thickness upon her soft silk tongue, she inserts two elegant fingers, gliding them slowly in and out of her exquisite tightness, circling her throbbing pearl until she is nothing but heat, panting and moaning with the rhythm of her need for him, for pleasure, for release. Subtly increasing the speed of her penetration she slides a third finger inside while pressuring her mounting sensitivity with her thumb. Too weak to stand the ecstatic torture any longer, she leans back upon her bed and parts her long smooth legs like scissors, sensual images flashing through her like electric shocks over and over as she brings herself to the edge and blindly crashes over into sheer euphoria, pulsing with hard, excruciating strength, her muscles clenching so tightly in quick quivering, her fingers are forced slowly out of her soaking core. As she lay there alone, dizzy in the shimmering afterglow, she rests her fingers upon her naked hip feeling the delicious warmth of her slickness as she gently flutters back down to earth, back into herself spread open in the silence. All dressed up with no where to go for hours, she lazily straightens herself up and crawls to sit inside the deep windowsill over looking the traffic rushing down below. Feeling like a web of diamonds and sparks are glittering their way through her sated veins, she lights up a cigarette, blowing curls of smoke into the spicy autumn air. Life is tricky and there is so much she has yet to understand. She knows she pulls away from people too quickly and if only she weren’t so skittish perhaps she’d not so often get herself into tangles she can’t get out of without scars, without fights, without shattering the things she loves, or tries to love if only anyone could really say exactly what love is. She is beauty like stars dancing through the vastness of the heavens even as she is a mess down on the ground and she knows it. But there are times when just by believing, just by trusting the dark glimmer in her own ragged hopeful heart, she runs fast enough to fly far, far away from here.
Sucking on a salted caramel that is so delicious I nearly lose consciousness, I think about the most decadent mouth I ever kissed with my mouth. I think about making love with you in a beautiful villa in some far away Tuscan hills, our tanned tight bodies biting and licking and teasing each other until we are fully abused and worn thin. The blue in your eyes like fiery ice as you take me to the edges of ecstasy over and over again in that way that only you can, only you ever could. As the rays of sunshine splash through the trees and onto my face, I am briefly brought back to reality from my day dreaming due to a stiff burning pain underneath my left breast. Deciding immediately that I have cancer and I’ll any day be a goner, my visions turn black and the park I’m sitting in is a viscous glare of screaming light. In what are sure to be my final hours what will I do? Just yesterday I came across an article about a fatal accident which said of the victim “…she was thirty when she died in a plane crash,” but for some reason I read it as “….she was thirsty when she died…” and I thought how funny and sad and obvious and stupid and tragic. And how on earth did the writer of this article know this poor almost dead girl was thirsty when it all went down? And even though it’s ridiculous I also thought about how that is how it happens. You are here in this life and then you are not. The world keeps rushing forward long after you’ve hit the inevitable proverbial wall. While we are here, though, there are those rare few among us who hunger and thirst for more than this sliver of a muted existence we have been handed. I am not one who knows much about anything and I’m the last person to give advice on living your best life but in the dimpled light of this fading afternoon while curled up on a park bench eating chocolate covered candy that is so rich and smooth my whole body dissolves into the pavement, something inside of me vibrates with possibility. Do I write myself out of reality so I don’t lose my precious mind while slogging through it? Goddamn right I do. Does that make my work fantasy or memoir? Fiction or non-fiction or both? Does one not always contain the other and vice versa? I don’t know what we are supposed to be doing while we have these wild jittery bodies of ours. I know some of the things I’ve done with mine have been dirty and some have been sweet, some have been tender and some have been sadistic. Am I sacred. Am I holy. Am I good enough. Am I using what I have in service of others or myself, I can’t always be sure but if just one person finds use for my words in their life then perhaps I have done some good and so it’s okay that at this very moment I am probably in the throes of an acutely fatal yet to be diagnosed disease. Pulling on a beat up old army green jacket, I slide in my earbuds, shove my hands in my pockets and begin the slow walk home. The burning pain in my chest has let up and the afternoon is turning down its bedroom eyes toward evening, soft pink clouds now visibly glowing behind the darkening buildings. I stop at that place we like with the mahogany bar and sip cold wine, penning these thoughts in my notebook. It is quite possible that when I die it will be with words left unsaid and stories left unwritten. I know they warn you not to let that happen but happen it will because life doesn’t stop even when you do. The stories are endless and the pain and the wonder ebb and flow as they will without relent, as they must. It is quite possible that when I die I will die thirsty. But while I’m here I want to be brought to my knees for the taste of so very many things.
Standing on a balcony which overlooks a glittering city of towering lights, I’m dressed to kill for a night of anything goes on the town with you. But for all the pretty I’ve made myself into with strappy heels, tiny dress, lipstick and the rest, we are at each other about something we can’t quite pin down because we’ve been drinking since noon and to be honest things are hazy at best. Screaming about how you don’t care and neither do I, I light a cigarette and let the smoke burn my beautiful young pink lungs. We are a disaster and we are the most incredible sex I have ever known. You are an explosion and I am the fuse, but then it could be the other way around, when shit gets heavy it’s tough to find your way back to the beginning of a burning thing. I crave you and I am infuriated by you and in moments like this one I cannot tell the difference between the two. Livid but also warmly numb, I turn to lean my bare back on the rough concrete ledge and close my eyes as the wind rushes through my long strawberry hair. To be free and left to one’s own devices, how easily one can make a mess of things even with the best of intentions. We shouldn’t have kissed and we shouldn’t have fucked and we shouldn’t have torn each other to shreds but here we are, you and I and our little pile of shards of ourselves that we want to make fit but life is complicated. People are dead inside and comfortably so, until along comes someone unexpected, someone so raw they melt the ice from the soul and slowly seep in. Opening my eyes with my face to the starry night sky, I imagine leaving but my heart’s not in it. I want you close even when I don’t and there’s no denying it now. As you step over the threshold to join me on the terrace, you are not dressed in anything but low slung jeans, and your eyes have changed from anger to some kind of amused affection, a single ice cube clinking in your glass of whiskey. Placing a firm hand on my chin, you tell me to open up and then you pour the spicy liquid over my tongue right before you kiss me hard. I let you part my lips to take in your hunger, moving your hand to grasp my neck as the city blurs into the cosmos swirling high above. Your other hand slides smoothly up my thigh and when I shudder you tell me to be still. Spreading my legs and sinking two fingers deep inside my glistening core, you sigh a growling sigh and I know there will be no more words tonight. I know the only place my little dress will go is into the darkness with the two of us and what I cannot say is No because part of it is me and part of it is you and part of it is that humanity is a dirty fucked up trick. But spiked in my sizzling blood are a thousand sharp little hooks and somewhere between my foolish recklessness and my lust for your rugged animal need, they have dug themselves firmly into you.
The thing about writing is that you don’t do it in a bubble, you do it among all the ongoing nonsense of the ordinary. You watch the stars protruding in the night, you hear the piercing cry of wild geese overhead. A rush of traffic, a bracing wind. A cigarette which burns in silence on the nightstand, your notebooks and sketches strewn about in a quiet room. Candles and incense and false gods. If you are like me, you do it in shadow, in near darkness, you dim the lights and watch the sky. You take the ordinary and paint over it in colors of your own choosing, conjure and create shape, form, fantasy. By diving in deep, you find your escape. The world around you is changing. By your own design you are immersed in the romance of what could be, if you dare to name it, if you dare touch its featureless face. In the mind of the artist, a dark sensual scene. In her mind there are countless thoughts beating as if a flurry inside a second heart, in her body there vibrates an aching need to express, to expose, to take away the terrible madness which is the having of no words to collect your hands within them and whisper, Yes, yes, yes, this, more and more still of this. I have a close friend who is a brilliant writer. His timing is perfection, his delivery is forever on point. He will unnerve you and you will not want him to stop. He will make you submit to the torture because you want so fully to participate in the pleasure he promises to conjure from the pain. He reads people, dissects them, cuts them, puts them back together and shows them to themselves close up. He notices, he sees things for what they truly are and by spearing that thing just so, he nails it with precision and marked devastation right to the wall. We pin things down and we raise them up at will. The artist commands, he inflicts, he explores. The poet erects life, holding it up for its shimmering beauty and its bluegray sadness. The artist severs, beheads, sets fire to buildings and trees. Holds hostages. Takes prisoners. Takes lovers, takes mistresses. Takes and takes and takes what he decides is his own. Permission in art is fluid. We steal. We hide. We deceive and liberate in the same motion. Soothe and crumble in the same breath. There are people who cannot bear what the poet reveals, it is too full with truth. It bites too close to bone and threatens to shatter glass illusions into a thousand tiny shards. But I don’t mind the way we break. I like the way my pieces catch the light.
It’s Sunday and I should probably give it a rest but the words don’t stop and the truth is I feel a certain obligation to them to show up. Without them I’m unsure of myself in ways that are hard to explain. When you write often and honestly, people tend to tell you things you don’t want to hear or worse they tell you things about themselves which you are incapable of responding to thoughtfully because they don’t know themselves well enough to understand why they are even telling you in the first place. Perhaps this is neither here nor there, but there you have it in any case. As I sip my coffee, I glance up at the new painting on my wall, it is a breathtakingly gorgeous, nearly life sized portrait of the back of a woman who sits fully undressed, her white garment spread around her as though it had carelessly fallen off. When I selected the painting what intrigued me at first was her thick wavy hair, much like my own, tousled and piled high atop her head, as she looks off to one side. I cannot see her face but I can feel her, I can feel myself in her. The way I once sat for you as you sketched my likeness with charcoal and pencil upon a large canvas. In your small studio with the makeshift fireplace, you threw on a few more logs so I would not be chilled as I undressed before you, drank of your wine and took my seat upon a small pedestal. How your dark eyes flashed and studied, your fingers mastered each fine line of my face, my jaw, my collarbone, my breasts, my stomach. How I crossed my bare legs as I could feel your stoic gaze humming in my sex. In the presence of one who treasures such a rarity, who rejoices within it and drinks of it eagerly, there is no feeling of vulnerability and soft power like that. To be drawn, to be painted, to be seen, penetrated from a distance. To be touched, reflected, objectified. A woman knows these feelings intimately, she carries them deep in her psyche. They arouse and break her, play with and distract her. The image in my writing room reminds me of any woman but it also reminds me of myself. What it is to be human, to be silent, to be beautiful. To be curious, to be waiting. To be. Without word. Without shame. Without motion or angst or explanation. Without fear or hesitation. The portrait has a feeling of poise and contemplation to it, underneath there is also a feeling of need, want, nakedness, isolation, freedom, sadness. There are no other objects in the image, just the roughness of texture, gray on gray on white paint washed out around the woman who is facing away. I’ve turned my back on many things in my life, too, I think as my eyes take in the gentle curve of her feminine hips. Cruel lovers. Hopeless relationships. Myself, time and time again. Those who do not understand me and never will. Life is full of strangeness and it seems I am always inviting it in but I don’t want to be like everybody else. I would rather be alone with myself than faking a smile for the masses. It is a heavy world out there. People want to tame you, silence you, dismiss you. They want to whittle you down into a nub of what grandness you truly are. And as the powder blue sky opens itself over a clouded winter’s day, here I sit writing for the ones who are kind enough to listen. Of all the things I’ve ever turned away from, I’d break my own heart before I ever turned away from them.