Then Again We Could Die

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.

Anonymous

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.

Damned If You Do

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.

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.