She Runs Through Your Mind

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.

Dying For It

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.

Play With Me

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.

Images of Self

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.

Teacher

Fog hangs soft upon the dark trees creating a smoky veil of quiet as far as I can see from the window of my writing room. The words seem to trip over themselves in between my mind and my fingers and as I curse myself for being so clumsy, I remember something a professor once said to me about writing what he called first thoughts. He was a live wire, handsome, bookish, intellectual, rebellious. There was something about his arrogance, his encouraging us to break the rules, that sparked in my body and within minutes I adored him. I didn’t just want to be in his presence, to hear him speak, I wanted him inside me- body, mind, and soul. First thoughts are the raw material of the mind, the things you think about but, stunned at their naked truth and terrified of letting them become visible to anyone else on the page and therefore real, you immediately censor them and only allow yourself to write clunky watered-down second, third, fourth thoughts. The basic ones, the ones that make you feel safe, like you haven’t gone too far, like you fit in, like you will not be judged, isolated, separated from the soulless, stupefied lumbering herd. Of all our fears, our deepest fear is without question ourselves. He encouraged me to break free of the rest, to enter into myself, to trust my own thinking and my own expression, my own unrestricted ideas. While the other students at university mocked poetry and philosophy, I was thirsty for the dark murky depths of it. The way it worked on and twisted the mind into beautiful knots of intellectual ecstasy. I wanted to be pushed, challenged, unnerved, made to blossom and to open. I wanted discussion, debate, stimulation. It seemed to me there was no more worthy or worthwhile endeavor than to surround oneself with literature, verse, art, creativity, sensuality. I had a body like an hourglass but I wanted a mind like a forest fire, burning, crackling, licking at the flame of knowledge and truth. Raging, wild and destructive. Breaking down barriers, inhibitions, hesitations. I wanted to know everything about what drives a human to do such things as write, compose, love, hate, worship, kill, defy, manipulate, build. I questioned everything, relentlessly, and he never stopped me, there was always more, more, more. Nothing I could say that he couldn’t handle with dexterity and care. He and I met often throughout the fall semester in libraries and cafes, book stores, coffee shops and bars. Speaking for hours about the way of the world, the way of society, culture, crime, passion, the way of desire. The way of a professor and his young student who should not be so attentive to one another. Who should not take such secret pleasure in an imbalanced relationship which only stoked the seduction that much more. Who should not trade confessional poetry, fictional short stories, fantasy, drinks. She who had written a tiny poem about a girl stood smoking alone in the courtyard, slender arms, sunlight playing upon her golden hair, which he tacked to the wall in his office as if to signify something he could not say aloud. He who lights her cigarette underneath a moonless late autumn sky, leaning against the only car left in the strip mall parking lot. She who wore perfume on her wrists, as he licks her scent there slowly, his tongue hot, circling her sensitivity as her body and mind melt easily, aching all over for his forbidden touch. First thoughts, Allison. Now you’ll go home and write them just for me. 

Affliction

Wishing he were with me but knowing we are countless miles apart both in distance and in thought, I slip out of the day clothes and into something comfortable. I’ve been told I have an active imagination and an animated face, that my wide eyes and curved mouth reveal my secrets, and my expressions though often fleeting are unmistakable. I think this is probably true as I can sometimes see it reflected back to me in the faces of those to whom I am speaking. When I raise an eyebrow, they react even if they don’t notice it. I do. It may only be subtle but I can see it on their faces, in their movements. I watch people more closely than they know. I am quiet, observant, always have been. Curious, calculated, fascinated. A little twisted. Most people are an easy mark and playing them is not much of a challenge but once in a while you come across someone special, someone different, someone who excites you with their sleight of hand. Lately I’ve been tired and by tired I mean bored but the thought of him still stirs something deep in my bones and makes them vibrate as I imagine his lips upon my neck, his rough hand pinning both of my small hands behind my back. Reading erotica and finding not one thing that gets me there, I consider writing a few pieces of my own, something raw and indecent to get the juices flowing, pull the last of the shy defenses down. We want to control and we want to submit. We want someone else to uncover that which we fear to reveal about ourselves. Forced to obey. Made to give of everything, and then give even more still, for the pleasure of another. Awakened to the darkness which claws at the veins, seeps in the mind like a mad craving which demands our fixed attention, toys with it, presses into it like nails into flesh. The way you made me beg for release. The command in your voice like thick knots secured around my gasping for breath. Even now as I pour a glass of blood red wine and lose myself at the end of an evening which cloaks itself in the shadows stalking this empty room. Even though you were elusive like the ghost of a soul not even beauty could tame or hold or keep. The power of you is still affixed to my tongue, still at work upon my body as I build sensual dreams of you in the dark.

Come Away With Me

There is nothing left to say but the poets keep trying and with the full moon hung high in the sky as it glitters through the blinds, I am drinking chilled rose wine in a hot vanilla bath unsure if it is the gravitational pull of the universe which has me agitated or it’s just a passing mood. Perhaps agitated isn’t right, it isn’t a sexual craving but at the same time it is not completely devoid of a sensual nature. Something in the way melancholy drapes itself across my mind in the evening is a cocktail of deep sadness, dark mystery and a kind of kneading arousal which I suspect emanates from an inescapable feeling of desperation. Even at a young age I fell in love with, or became addicted to, longing. That sense of a low sweet tugging seems to be always at the strings of my solemn heart, tied like a weight at the tip of my soft pink tongue, worn bare upon my sleeve. People come and go in and out of my life without so much as a passing glance but once in a while there is a person who sees beneath my smile to the hope I have inside of being understood. It is rare and I have long since stopped holding my breath in anticipation. We breathe and we cry and we swivel our hips at the bottom of a bottle which holds our head in the lap of another sifting midnight. Moving my hands beneath the silky water I watch as the bubbles form strange shapes like white soapy clouds moving out over the hills in the distance and for a moment I am warm and safe and very far away from the pain of this chaotic place. Out the window the sky turns to purple sapphire and little stars begin to pierce through as twilight blossoms along the tops of the pointy naked trees. I pull a hand above the water and run it slowly down my chin and trace the long elegant curve of my neck, feeling the hot bath water slide liquid heat along my skin. I think of you but only in a flickered wing of thought, a flash of an image of passion and lust. You knelt at my feet, your mouth at the center of my burning desire, your movements forceful and your body generous, pouring all of yourself into me. My fingers move slowly caressing my body down. The way you would have spread me like innocence, exposed me like truth. We contemplate so little in this life though we think we have it all figured out. And even though I have come close to recognizing myself in other lost ones out there, the reckless and the mad, the holy and the troubled, there is a shadow inside me which eclipses my view, a darkness I cradle and just can’t shake.

What Gets You Off

Watching as the snow blankets the street in a thick coating of white, I think about the time you licked buttercream icing off my breasts as I stood stark still absorbing every delicious stroke and nibble. That tongue like candy, soft and then stiff, and your perfect teeth working me brutally until my nipples were hard as two succulent milky seeds. It’s too early and I’m already dreading the commute as my mind turns suddenly to railing about how people only want from you whatever you can give them to sedate their anxieties. A naked body dripping with need, a bottle, a scare, attention, stimulation, entertainment, praise, stories of horror and destruction, anything to get us off the mark and out of our rabid racing gerbil minds. He was a distraction I wanted slithering in my veins without relent, washing heavy and wet upon my mind, and every time I tried to shake the memory of the way he played my body until it was taut, I’d only end up more strung out, more deeply entangled in his sticky prismatic web. I don’t blame myself. He was quicksand disguised as decadence, the moment you laid eyes on him there was never a turning back. How easily we are molded, sculpted, trained, made into the likeness of someone else entirely. How willingly we turn ourselves in and turn ourselves over to anything that makes our stomachs flip, makes our faces light up with wonder as if observing the first freshly falling snow.  Most people are maniacs and as the days go by they press their heads ever more closely into their little black phone screens telling stories about themselves which are true and not true, exaggerated and useless, and by the middle of the week I’m exhausted of all of their nonsense and mine as well. Come morning light the neighbors will be shoveling out their shiny SUVs as we all scuttle about to waste our lives away bent over at the altar of the almighty dollar. There are those who may judge my habits, my private obsessions, my dark cravings. But the truth is we are all distortions of some recklessly chosen version of ourselves grasping for a kind of perverted distraction. We are all trapped, all writhing, all talk, and not one of us sated.

Exhalation

The heavens open up and there comes a warm paper thin rain which collapses like a gentle fog against our faces as we walk an empty trail in the park along the river. Not the first time you and I have walked this crooked little path but perhaps the first time in such low hanging weather, you and I moving along like two silent clouds. There is a sweetness in the evening air as summer simmers into autumn and I can smell the seasons blending into one another, earth and water, leaves and decay. Mistakes and regrets hang suspended from the trees and I wait for you to mention any of it but the end of the day has you clipped at the tongue so I walk a little bit behind. You try to be the kind of person they want you to be but it’s hard because that allows so little room for anything else and what you really want is to feel something. Anything besides the numbness you can’t seem to shake which finds you in the darkness and slides itself around you so the days become nights become weeks where you aren’t sure what to say or who to say it to, but the words stay there in your throat all the time like a threat, like a dare to cross a great divide in mere seconds flat if you just had the nerve. Stopping in a clearing where a bench juts out farther toward the water, we take swigs from a bottle we brought along and light cigarettes while considering whether or not it’s worth an attempt to speak. Nothing much comes because when the weight of the world is everything you don’t know how to say the grayness sits between you and other people. I skip a stone across the moving surface of the water, and I remember the stone shaped like a heart someone else gave to me when we stayed in the mountains years ago, when the river and the sky and things between us were crystal clear. I’m in over my head. Drowning on dry land. And I know we can’t go back, and you know I don’t know how to move forward, so for now you look out across the shadowy landscape, watch the sun’s flames setting the woods on fire. My fingers are wrapped around my smoke, my heart is beating fast in my chest, and my thoughts are somewhere out over the horizon, soaked in warm rain falling one hundred thousand miles away.

Tell Me How You Want It

As I’m sipping my coffee while flipping through magazines, you mention my birthday and I shrug. It’s on a Sunday this year, tomorrow in fact, so we decide on shopping in the village followed by dinner someplace nice with a view of the river we hope to live along one day. Last year I turned forty and the fact that one continues to have birthdays after that seems to have taken me by surprise this year for reasons I cannot explain both because that’s ridiculous and it makes perfect sense. All of this is only to say that much time has passed, many moons have spun across many a midnight sky since I was just a kid who didn’t know better and didn’t think to care about what would become of me in adulthood. As I stand in front of the mirror and toss my hair up in a messy bun, I see it in the hollow of my cheeks. I see it in the pain throbbing behind my sleepy eyes, still smudged with yesterday’s mascara. I’m still smoking and I’m still drinking and I’m still here and in a million ways none of that should be true. There is so much I have that I don’t deserve which should make me sick but mostly makes me numb. I skim through an article about the morbid state of the world which posits that we are very angry, and what we are actually angry at is existence itself and with no where else to go, we take that rage out on each other or turn it against ourselves. To be here is to be lost, to be alone and afraid and left as such until we can find or invent something to cling to that helps us sleep at night without falling into the depths of despair which lurk around each and every corner. To exist is a cruel trick and a breathtakingly beautiful gift, and that dichotomy alone turns us into our own little traps. We want out and we want in and we want what we cannot have and when we get what we want we decide we want something else entirely and start the whole insane cycle over again but we give it sexy names like ambition, drive, success. It is years ago and you and I are drinking vodka at the bar around the corner that we frequented because it was cheap, convenient, and dark. Fuck commitment, we said, Let’s just fuck. No strings, no promises, no cares, no anyone else in the world except you and I and our sin drenched bodies ticking like lust filled time bombs. Heels and handcuffs. Lipstick and collars and secrets we keep deep down inside that make us twitch. We want to be used. We want to drown each other and raise each other from the dead. We want to be brought to our knees and told exactly who and what and how to worship to be saved from the hell of having to decide on our own. We want to be wasted and tasted and make our pretty mark upon a disgraceful world and have something to say about everything, told we are exquisite and mysterious and devastating and special. Or maybe that’s just me. But perhaps you will indulge me, just for a day. Just for a day which falls exactly forty one years after the day I was first welcomed into this hysterical madness. It’s all absurd of course but for what it’s worth, on this cold winter day beneath a wild white confetti sky, I will smile and I will sigh and I will raise a glass to that.