Reaching an outstretched hand into the future by attempting to let go of the past, I light up a cigarette while contemplating the strangeness of living within the confines of these four dusty sun drenched walls for weeks on end. It’s as if within me I can feel the heavens spinning about in outer space without relent, without a feeling or care about the turmoil we find ourselves mired in on this tiny ink blot below. Humans are ignorant creatures, for as much as we’d like to congratulate ourselves there are countless instances where we miss the mark entirely and never so much as come close to picking up the pieces of the shattered lives we leave behind. If you pay too close attention you will exhaust yourself which is likely why I feel so tired all the time. I take a drag of my smoke and sip hot black coffee while eyeing up the jumble of tangled words on my screen. I’m a mess as is this room but what is life if not chaos, if not disaster tossed around inside little flecks of hope. The afternoon light is coming in slanted from the side of the window, landing in soft patches upon the plants, the little tables and statues, lamps and books, and I think of the way you turn me on my side in the early light of morning. Trailing your rough hands along the bare curves of my body as you sigh with audible delight. We are only light and shadow, sun and moon, circling. Shaking my head in order to return to the writing which seems to so easily elude my jagged brain riding it out upon these choppy hours, it occurs to me that anxiety burns just beneath the surface of my skin. The room is silent, save for the sound of little birds fluttering by and the single drone of an airplane as it moves lazily overhead. The wings of the little butterfly clock on the wall tick softly as I curl deeper and deeper into myself. I once knew a man who only wore black. He lined his eyes in charcoal and could write poetry that would cut you clean in two. Just the thought of him now ignites my veins, tears at the feathered cage of my ribs, grasping in my memory for an image, a line, a motion of his body that used to collapse earth into sky. What I wouldn’t give to write just once sentence in the way of the brilliance which twisted and glittered in the secret patterns of his hallway mind. He would open his mouth like opening a doorway into a land promised only to the sacred, only for those who worshiped the darkness of his razor sharp tongue. Most of us are corrupted and we spend our entire lives trying to hide it from everyone around us. But some of us. There are some, very few, who hold tight to their wicked and wield it just perfectly so, to make it shine.
You expect me to be slick and clever, witty and warmly engaging but today I am none of those things. Today I am a dark cloud hovering. Pent up. Swollen. My tears and my nerves pressing against the grain inside my skin. As the rain moves in I sink into my study but I cannot concentrate. I am distracted by the stacks of books, the words and thoughts, the poetry of others. Jumping back and forth from The New Yorker to Baudelaire, I run a hand across my forehead wondering who in the hell I am anymore. When all this is over, I won’t want to go back to the way it was before. I will want to stay at home. I will want to be away from people just like I always have. I won’t want to get dressed. There are days when you are so sure, so positively certain, that nobody cares. You sink into the lowest parts of your own human heart and you can feel the blank sadness. You can feel the grip of the lonely. Hear her sighs. Fold into them, watch the rain falling down quiet and soft against the trees, the grass, the little angel statue in the garden. I think of all the losses suffered all across the world, the sheer staggering amount of grief and pain. My whole being is crushed beneath the collective weight. I try to dream up a new vision to keep me going. I make tea. I help a young writer to remember who she is, encourage her to pay attention to each of her feelings, especially the dark ones. The shadows swallow the fear and live with it alone in corners. I don’t know why I am drawn to the them, the shadows, the corners, the hidden, the untraceable. I don’t know why but there is nothing more beautiful to me than the sun blotted out, shielded over, drowned in the wet sweetness of the rain.
Your skin is warm against my mouth as I graze my lips across your chest and breathe you in. An image flashes into my mind of an ocean roaring against a sandy beach, you standing tall and tanned and glowing against the misty blue. The sky falling into the bedroom all around us is gray and dim as I move slowly, tasting every inch of you, licking you hot down low. The end of the world will be a sweet explosion, you will beg me for it as I take you again and again with fingers and tongue. Out on the streets below there are dirty striped pigeons strutting their tiny feet across the empty filthy pavements, pecking at crumbs, darting their necks in and out of the corners of abandoned buildings. Beady eyes like vacant blacked out suns. You are writhing, glistening in the sweat of taut pleasure upon the bed, linen gasps for lilac air. I like to watch your face as your lips say my name. You always sound so desperately sincere, it tears my heart a little to work at you like this. I like to play soft music while I bathe as you sit against the tub smoking your cigarette, the curls of whiteness drifting out the open window as the fiery sun sinks into the earth. You tell me about growing up as a rowdy teenager sneaking beer in the woods behind the grade school and getting in stupid fights to impress the pretty girls. The same shit everybody got into but you didn’t know anything else existed in your small town. How to get by, how to pass the time when nothing really matters except yourself. Not much changes except now there is less time to play with and so much more to lose. It is late afternoon when the slit of the moon appears behind some thin clouds. It is early evening when you lose your mind. I pour us some drinks, crawl back into bed like a life boat lost at sea, but motionless. I trace your beautiful body in soft curved lines.
I wake up long before first light, make my coffee and fire up my laptop. There are things I share and things I keep to myself and each time I sit down to explore this unknown with you, I wonder how we will fall into the abyss together. I suppose I am the lead, I am the one offering my hand to you, inviting you in to the mood I occupy, the worlds I create. Perhaps there is a hopefulness to it. A dare. A question. A promise. An illusion. Perhaps there is a rawness here in this place that you are not used to experiencing in your day to day life. And this is where we meet. In a field of twilight stars, far enough away from everything else to be ourselves. As I sip my coffee and type, the birds are awakening, one by little one, beginning their individual songs. Last night was a flurry of terrible dreams. Dead bodies along the side of a highway, I looked out the passenger side window to try to understand how many there were but it was dark and there were too many to count, all scattered across the concrete, some in burlap type bags. I did not scream. I did not turn away. I could not tell if I felt anything except confusion. The faceless man who was in the driver’s seat, he told me not to look. It’s just the way it is around here. I ignored him as he careened the small car through the human obstacles. Too many people in my life think the answer is not to stare down the agony, not to look the cruelty right between its eyes. They don’t want us to see. They call it protection, they call it help. They will call it anything they need to call it in order to maintain control. Keep you placated. Distracted. Optimism is a game they play and sell it to you for cheap. Now I’m sifting through some new material I’ve written for a reading I want to pour my soul into fully. I think I must have been born this way, with a deep desire to give myself completely to the creative work that I do. A lot of people can understand that, but only up to a certain point. The sensual realm, the erotic expression, is a dark power for a woman to possess. And what they do not understand is that the erotic is not a separate category, that my sensuality cannot be severed from all the rest of me. Darkness is a part of the mystery of me which courses through every single thing I do or say. Darkness to some is evil, is frightening, because of its rugged unapologetic power. This is where shame is born. Where the imaginary chains of modesty, morality, and religiosity tighten around the flesh of the spirit, the mind, and the body. Darkness to others is bliss, is pleasure, is heaven, is beautiful, is life giving, is seductive, haunting, twisted, welcoming. Beckoning. What many cannot understand is that some of us want the fall. We want the shadows to penetrate us deep, we adore them. We spend our private time inviting them in. We want to possess the intimate feelings which churn within us, make them dance, make them poetry, make them come to life. How much of the song of my soul must I suffocate in order to fit in with those I do not respect. How much of my wilderness must I leave unexplored, sacrifice, death before death. It is raining now out in the street as the blue gray fingers of the dawn rise up toward the tears in the sky. I won’t get to read this one aloud and it breaks my heart a little. I love to read for you. It is one of my very favorite things. But I couldn’t not write it. The more insane the outside world becomes the more I need this one that you and I occupy together. More and more, as I live my strange life, my imagination is the only place I want to be.
If you had one hour what would you give to it? If you had only one day where would you live in it? The sky is underground today. My sighs are long and low and grieving. It is a regular day in an erratic time where we seek solace in other people we cannot touch. I touch the light as it suffuses through my window. I wear a sundress in the middle of winter. I touch my own hands with the colors fading in and out of the dreams I’m escaping to. I once knew a man who told me I tasted like poetry, pressed my long hair back behind my neck. I looked at him with hope filled eyes, told him I know I don’t belong here as the tears came flooding through like knives. If you found an hour falling like rain, would you open your mouth and drink of it. Would you like to watch me dance, would you like to know if I can still laugh after all this is over. I would like to know one thing: what are you reading. What are you doing behind that door, behind those eyes which gaze out across an empty landscape. In the story of my life I weave moments together and then pull them apart. I look myself over in the mirror. Place my necklace on the dresser. Wait for answers to invisible questions. I am afraid to move. I am afraid I will burn. I am frightened of the things I need. To say. To need. Across the globe, they climb into their beds. The stars blink anonymous overhead. I could write for you, would that change anything? I could read for you, would that make it easier to breathe? If I had an hour what would I give to it. If I could only say the words. If not poetry, what else is there to be.
Giving you the middle finger, I smile and take another sip of my drink. We’ve been messing around for hours discussing the disastrous state of the world as the fools who run it flick on the code red emergency lights right before taking off in their private jets to masturbate themselves to a comfortable death as the rest of us run the streets and spin wildly out of control. It’s a sickness that lives in all of us I suppose, something like self-preservation perverted into a blood sport, but you and I have decided to try to be on our best worst behavior in order to forget about everything just for one forgettable night. Pouring us each another, you lead me into a darkened room with a plush rug upon the floor. You trace your finger along my jaw while telling me I look like somebody famous, you just can’t figure out who. The taste of your kiss turns my insides to liquid heat. I’m so warm from the whiskey I’d be anyone you want me to be just to feel your skin on my skin, but I don’t tell you this because it sounds so goddamn cliche. There are lovers and there are players, there are nihilists and there are fatalists. Romantics and devils and jokers and right now we are all of these things and so much more. Like two drunk fugitives, we build a crude fire in the fireplace, smoke something to take the edge off the edge we always seem to be teetering on, and make mad love as our little hearts pound like heavenly thunder rolling out across the breathtaking beauty of a crimson apocalyptic sky. To the moody sounds of The Cure, I curl into your arms and wonder what it would be like to live in a world where everyone is free. Everyone is loved and no one is ever left out in the cold. Impossible, of course. But sometimes when I’m alone, when I don’t have to fake being hopeful or charitable or kind, something inside me is anyway. There are people in this world who are so much better than me and at times I wish I were one of them. They are compassionate and sweet, even when nobody’s looking. I watch as the fire weakens to a cold electric blue, turns to smoky embers and then flickers out. You have fallen asleep, the opalescent light of the moon glowing a sheer path across your peaceful face. I close my eyes and fold my hands praying for escape, but only the stars disappear. Inside I am a wide open space, a static vacancy, an empty silence where faces in dreams fade in and out, but none ever stay.