Arrows in the Sky

Aiming his impressive bow skyward, he shoots arrow after golden arrow at the moon and while some of them stick, most of them explode like fireworks at night and then trail off and burn out like so many ancient stars. I once set a house on fire that way, not with the arrows, with the fireworks, but it was a very long time ago and no one got hurt because the neighbor found the hose in time and also because he never stops mowing his lawn and keeping an eye on things, which can be creepy but in that particular case was very much the reason we all lived to tell the tale. The handsome boy with the arrows, he is young and full of the kind of energy which breathes life through his tan skin, pumps and pulses with verve just beneath the surface where beats the heart of a lion or a dragon or maybe even both. His lips are perfectly flush, his chest and shoulders as wide and broad as the sun.

Meanwhile, I sip wine in the shadows and watch him in secret. I am trying to figure out how to remove myself from a conversation with a man who seems to have me cornered, backed up against the prison cell of my own social anxiety issues and insidious fear of hurting anyone else’s feelings, let alone someone who is already hurting mine. The wine slides down cool and softens my mood just enough that I laugh at things which are not funny and say things I think are but no one else does. It isn’t so much that I am not entertaining, though, it’s that they can’t hear me. It appears I can form the words with my mind and my mouth but I cannot make them fall forward to reach someone else. I am stuck in a dream where they can all talk to me, tell me things I may or may not want to hear, and I cannot respond.

I lean my arm against the bar. I lean my bare back against the cold wall. I am wearing a lovely dress with the back entirely cut out. In the mirror on the wall behind all the pretty multicolored liquor bottles, I can see my back is covered only by a gigantic tattoo of a wolf howling at the moon. It is a beautiful tattoo, the artistry so intricate and precise that as I stare at the image of the majestic creature, I can feel the heat in its primal eyes, taste the sharp cut of its teeth. When I was a child, my mother read me a nursery rhyme about a girl who runs through the woods at night. The girl was good but made a bad choice and the wolf ate her right up because the wolf was neither bad nor good just hungry. Just an animal. Alone. Clever. Strong. On top of the world, on top of a mountain of bones and blood and might. I didn’t know what the story was supposed to teach me or where on earth little girls run through forests alone at night. All I knew was, I wanted to be the wolf.

Chemical Baby

We get so high that I keep inviting someone into the conversation who isn’t there. He’s laughing because it’s just a wrought iron chair and I’m laughing because I don’t like to leave anyone out, and somehow my sudden grave concern is that this empty chair feels rejected. My heart is as big as an ocean and my mind is as free as the little birds which flutter about from tree top to tree top in the sweet evening air.

As I lay back and watch the colors of the sky change, he tells me it’s all in my head and I tell him to shush because when he talks I can’t hear the electric peaches and lavenders as they spread out like gigantic fuzzy fingers across the wide open expanse. I take a drink of his tequila while he’s off to get a beer and somehow the start of a new season doesn’t feel so bad at all.

Somewhere very far away, but not far enough, disease grips the young and old people alike and snuffs them out one at a time or in droves all together. Death is always around the bend but we cocoon ourselves in a secluded garden and play like kids who haven’t a care or an inkling that whatever this is which surrounds us in natural beauty and majesty is nothing more than a breath away from near catastrophe if not complete and total annihilation.

Feeling the effects of everything I’ve done to escape the world around me, I think of a man I once knew who was so hell bent on looking on the bright side that he fell right into the trap they set for you from the beginning. If you peer too long into the abyss it will swallow you whole, along with your entire sense of reality and what’s left of your magic. I don’t want to stay and I don’t want to go and I want both at the same time. I want the warm smooth grass under my feet all day and the stars above to come kiss me on my soft pink mouth one by silvery one each night until my entire body explodes into celestial galaxies which expand and expand forever. For each light, there is a light gone out. For each new beginning, an ending of impossible wonder and exquisite pain. And so it goes on and on like rings of fire blazing out into an endless night which you cradle in the very palms of your hands.

Edibles

Be horny like an impressionist painting on the wall of an orthodontist’s office. Expect your lover to know what turns you on without telling them or even hinting at your actual needs in the slightest. Actual advice dished out in a modern culture magazine by some young thing who probably also advises against washing your face too ‘aggressively’ or eating anything with real sugar in it. Horny is trendy but only if you do it right. How gruesome. How hilariously stupidly entertaining, and yet even so, I can remember gobbling up advice like this from wherever I could get my hands on it in my younger days.

Such is one’s eagerness to get her desires met but only if she doesn’t have to fall on her face in the process. We learn our tricks. We learn the trade and all the while our lusty, blushy, pulsing youth is fading into oblivion as our nerves rattle us near into bits over nothing but mass marketed bullshit.

Sitting down on a park bench which overlooks a little man-made pond, I slip my phone back in my bag and sip my cappuccino as I take in the brightness of the early spring afternoon. It feels good to have nowhere to be but as is too often the case, when there is nowhere you belong, you can’t help but wonder if there is someplace you should and then you start missing it. A little rattled by the assault of so much light, I put on my dark glasses and allow my mind to take my senses back to the memory of the beautiful darkness of the night before.

He wanted to kiss but it wasn’t in the cards. I don’t kiss because it feels too much like suffocating and he knows this about me even though I know we both think it’s insane and possibly more than a bit tragic. Not discouraged by my neuroses, however, he persisted in asking me to dance for him and so I swiveled my hips and threw back my hair and I did it all with grace and rhythm and you would have thought I was some exotic gypsy queen or other worldly creature entirely, in spite of the butterflies clattering in my stomach.

It’s funny what you will do to feel alive. To feel desired in a world which makes you feel degraded and commodified at every turn. As I watch the little kiddos place their tiny homemade sailboats into the water, I see them cheer with delight as the breeze moves their carved wooden vessels smoothly across the top of the pond. One kid with messy red hair and a tee shirt which fits like he’s growing right out of it before my eyes, finds a jumping green frog in the grass and follows its zig zaggy movements off into the rocks, forgetting all about his painted yellow boat which is now tipping almost all the way over sideways against a gust of wind.

In the middle of the day, the sky is as wide as eternity and the trees are frothing with gorgeous pink blossoms, their musky scent a delicious kind of melancholy warmed by the high sun. As the poets all across the world dream their dreams, I wish I could live the life of every single one, just for some hours, just for a haunted night to crawl inside their minds and watch what dirty secrets make them twitch. And suddenly the muscles between my thighs begin to flex with a tender kind of ache, wetness sweats succulent across my soft tongue, and I know for certain that never once was I ever turned on by anything at all in the orthodontist’s office.

God the Body

Smearing my chest with cool thick mud, he makes the sign of the cross all the way down to my navel and across my breasts before using me the way he likes to do when we both need a way out. The strangeness of the crooked stars high above and his crushing body pounding over mine makes me wet but I am used to my body betraying my mind by now. Still, it makes me struggle and gasp which only serves to hustle the whole scene along until we both find our animalistic release.

It isn’t pretty but it’s honest. This is what I tell myself as I straighten up and light a smoke from his torn up pack which falls out of his coat pocket along with a gold wedding ring. He thinks I don’t know but only because he doesn’t think much and because he’s afraid that if I did I would care but I don’t. I’m eighteen and he’s forty six or something close to that but none of it matters to me because I’m on my way to much better things and he’s got a wife he can’t stand and a career that’s killing him, a slow kind of seedy death one stale-ringed Styrofoam coffee cup at a time.

Pulling my knees to my chest, I suck in the smell of summer grass and gaze out across the deep black lake which is sunk low at the center of the park where we trespass in the darkest hour. Watching as the moonlight pools and dips on top of the rippling water, I think about how tight my body is, how satisfying. I spread my legs and admire my pale limbs as they soften into the fresh blades of sweet green weeds speckled with dandelion and periwinkle. A girl gives up her body to keep hold of her mind. It is a sordid trade but nonetheless expected. A shit bargain which must be made in order to play the game, which has fuzzy rules that only make it more intriguing. Smart girls like puzzles. Good girls like pleasing.

I pick up a stone and carve my name into the dirt. I lick at the tiny cuts on my knees and talk to myself like I know what I’m doing but something inside is seething and feels like if I turn toward it for even just a split minute, it will morph into a giant ocean wave and swallow me whole. I am strong, though. I keep it in. I push it down. I am the ruler of the tides.

Little fireflies are dimpling the silence of the night air. I can see them glowing gently as they multiply and surround me like sweet honey droplets, amber coordinates of a heavenly guidance system. The more I look, the more I see.

I finish my cigarette alone with my winged companions and wrap his flannel around my small shoulders. He just sleeps it off.

Let Go of Your Heart

Far away from here, there is a beautiful sprawling countryside and a wide open field of wildflowers, flickered with tiny butterflies as they tumble and flit from one stray bloom to another. In a soft patch of new spring grass, she makes heavenly love to me with her wet succulent hunger before she disappears, right before my eyes, becoming a kind of magnificent bird of prey with pristine ivory wings, which vanishes into the slowly sloping sun.

Dazed by the smooth heat of passion and the sweet afternoon air on my skin, I assemble my hair into a towering mess atop my head and wander barefoot toward a stream. It is cool underneath the dappled sunlight falling through tall trees. In the back of my mind there are images of terrible scenes. The horrors of war and the suffering of every person, animal, helpless creature, all collected in my veins. They run with me even when I am not running. They are swift and deft, they endure and they deflect and they outwit, outsmart, outlast the evil screeching at their backs.

In my womb, unrelenting circles, cycles, tides, planets, and orbiting moons. In the center of my palms, the middle of my throat, there are voices which have persisted throughout all of time and eternity. I have made of myself a home, a sanctuary, a temple of sorts, for them. Have you ever known a haunting you couldn’t bear to let go of? Have you ever felt the pulse of an unexplained, inexplicable thing coursing through you at such a breakneck pace that it quickens your breathing even as you sit trying to keep still?

I realize this could be a manic dream, but couldn’t all of it be, all the time? If everything they ever told you, fed you on, bathed you in, was a lie meant to rip the spine right out from under your skin, then what would you choose to believe if you could and why? What if within you, deep deep down, grows something so soft it is untouchable, so wild it is unstoppable, so bright it is unconscionable.

Lying on the forest floor, soft cool moss beneath my strange little head, I stare up at the fading pale peach sky far off, high above the leafy green tree tops, that endless dome which cups every monstrous beast and every last faint ripple on the waters all over the globe, every transgression, every sweet molten ache. I lift a slender finger up into the invisible evening air which surrounds me, open my mouth and say her name as I trace it into the wind which promises only to blow all of us away.

Scorch

I’m toning the body and flexing the mind and all the shit you’re supposed to do to keep on top of things while living a life you only half understand. We like our women pretty and their bodies tight and their thoughts subdued. The currency in beautified, petrified silence.

As I walk the winding windy streets alone, a shower of apple blossoms descends into my long strawberry hair and I reach to touch their smooth pink petals just as a gust of fresh spring wind rushes through and casts them away onto the hard concrete. It’s that time of year when you can wear heavy boots and a tee shirt, or a chunky knit hat and flip flops. It’s warm and it’s cool in equal measure at any given minute, all the while the sweet scent of lilac swirls on the pollen-dusted air along with hints of wood fires burning somewhere off in the distance.

And distance is all there is these days, ways to measure it, ways to deny or cheat it, in the hopes it won’t drag you down. There is sorrow in my heart and a pulsing heat in my veins. Because the seasons may change but life never does. It ends as breathtakingly mysterious as it begins, out of nowhere, out of sight, out of the mind of anyone or anything but a god we’ve been making up since the beginning of time. Was time always a thing or was it the human creature who made it up?

No star has need for it. No planet ever speaks of arriving late or dashing out early.

Doesn’t matter. All I can tell you for sure is that the light is growing in the mornings as well as the evenings and while this may be comforting for some it has a kind of menacing effect on me. The darkness I can understand, I know what it wants and I can soothe it by letting it enter me, fill me, have me. I know how to breathe for it so it will trust me.

But the light can be deceiving. Perhaps because no one expects it to be. She’s just like the springtime wind, she will lick you cold as ice and you won’t even see it coming.

The Feeding

It’s 3:47am and your eyes blink wide as saucers pooling under the moon glaring in through your dirty bare window. With only the glass and the cold and the sweat trickling down along all of the places on your body where the skin creases against itself. Everything you feel disgusts and intrigues you. You are too high. Sensations much too erect for this time of morning which bears all resemblance to the bottomless panic of the night before.

When I write, I pull from all time and space. All of the things I have ever been through or read about or watched happen or experienced through or with others, my dreams, my fantasies, each is alive as a fluttered heart beat within me all the time. We live together in our own place and answer to no one.

What I mean to say is that it is today but it is not today. It is any day, any night, any season, past or present or future. I am here but I am not here. I am with you so close you could almost reach out and caress the heat of the fragile bones in my throat, but I am not there. I do not even exist.

Some people journal. Some people write exactly how it is, when it is. That doesn’t do it for me. It doesn’t matter. Not here. Anywhere else but here. In this sanctuary where I need to be seen and not seen. Touched and remain untouched. Do you get that? This is where I can be virgin, pristine, innocent, even as the violation occurs. Even as it is happening, the devirginization, the corrupting of the purity of the emotion, of the feeling which is not words. It is never – nor can it ever be experienced as – words.

The words are mine, of course. Everything here is mine. Even as you try to take it and make it your own. Of course you do. That’s why you’re here. You read me not for me but to find reflections, glimpses, of yourself. Your own sexuality, sensuality, your own beauty, your own filthy neediness. Perhaps the filth most of all because that is where the deepest truth resides. In your hidden desires, your most luscious and forbidden wants. All those needs that are clawing at you from within but you aren’t allowed to talk about. They don’t disappear, though, that’s the catch. They just get pushed down deeper and deeper until they become an entirely different kind of trouble, kind of torment, kind of instrument.

You have been trying so hard for so long to discard them, to rid them of you. And so maybe, just maybe, if you find them here in me, they can be outside of you even just for a little while. And that is why I am here. And that is what I do because I can’t help it and I don’t want it any other way. I’m a masochist or a sadist or a nut job. But even so, maybe now you can finally sleep instead of watching the heavy blades of the fan in your bedroom as they whir and spin in the dark. And cut and slice at the empty air like the blades of a knife.

Before Anyone Can See

There is a stillness in the early evening air, a tender bite through the damp coolness as it descends in shadow across each building on my block. Brick and mortar and tiny blue rooms inside of empty people.

Hearts shriveled and shaking and alone. Funny how loneliness can feel. How a void can feel so full, how the longing fills the nothingness and takes your shape.

There is a small white dog looking out of his window across the street. I am looking out my window, too. I look at him as his little wiry head follows the bounce of a squirrel across the pavement. Wild geese cry overhead, out of sight, and I wonder how the wonder of some things, some sounds, some movements, can stay so fresh and clear for season after season.

To never get old. To never let up. To never say never even when you stopped believing long ago. There is a young girl in her upstairs bathroom studying the lines on her face. Washing small hairs down the drain. Trying to brush the tears and the stains away before he sees her. Before anyone can see.

Does life see itself in itself? Are there notions of familiarity even in creatures who have no words at all, and no dreams?

There isĀ  a way the fading indifferent light holds on to something curling inside of you which is closing, as is its time, as is its season.

And this, too, is an ending that you hold in your palm.

And this too, a beginning.

And once more the night slides over as the moon sails up into the midnight black. The piercing of the stars like ice cold twinkle lights.

Remember snow globes? How you were just a child and marveled as you shook and shook the glittered underworld scene.

Kissed a plastic girl who was not breathing. Cursed a severed sky, stone white.

Until the castle disappeared.

Until the looking glass went blind.

Sometimes the Body Stays

You braid your fingers into mine and bite my lip until I whimper just enough to get you off. You insert two fingers into the swelling place where I can’t help but come undone and you know it and I hate it but I want it just the same only worse than usual tonight because tonight I cannot bear the thought of tomorrow. I catch a glimpse of us in the mirror on the wall as you look at me without seeing anything I wish you could.

But I can’t see myself all that clearly these days so to blame you really isn’t fair although who’s to say what’s fair and what isn’t in a world so complicated, trembling, and half destroyed.

As you suck my neck like you’re thirsty for someone else’s blood and press your hands to spread my thighs I am reminded that beauty and filth are a similar kind of artistic expression if you think about it wrong. It doesn’t matter and you needn’t dwell on it, I am a thousand miles away from this disheveled cave, conspiracy theories stalking through my manic head. Take the whiskey, take a drag, take the hand which reaches to pull me high above the thunderous clouds.

I can see inside the souls of the frightened ones. The sweet apocalypse like candy fire sliding all over their forked tongues.

Everybody is afraid of the end, all convinced it’s here or will be any minute. And so vigilance. And so the skittish and the paranoid and the constant riot inside the rib cage and the screaming. It’s the waiting that disturbs them most. They cannot stand that they cannot stand not to know what they can never know for sure and so the guns and so the neon faces and the dislocation of limbs and brittle minds and fragile bodies.

And somehow you finish. And somehow I can tell. And somewhere deep inside my blood begins to rush again through my veins and my ears and my eyes are filled with mysterious tears I imagine are sacred like the stars. But the stars, of course, are empty. They’ve all but gone out a long time ago.

Sand pours through the slender neck of time. Space cradles the tiny erosions which scratch at the skin of the moon. Sometimes the body stays in place of the heart, covers for the soul. Sometimes the only thing you are desperate to hold is the thing that’s falling apart.

Some Unholy War

It won’t matter in the end, not as much as you think it will anyway. But what do I know, I’ve not yet been. All of these voices, all of these people, telling you what to do and how to be, what makes you trust them more than you trust yourself? How’d the bar get set so low for what matters and what doesn’t?

Or maybe it’s the opposite problem. Somewhere underneath the scuttled noise of your arrogance or theirs, the bar got set so impossibly, irretrievably high that even to reach it became nothing more than the failure to clear it all together. We fear the fall and we fear the fear to take the leap in any case. Maybe that’s why you trust them. At least then they can’t peg any of this on you.

When I light the cigarette I’m not myself. When I swallow the gin I am more magic than sin. When you speak at me like you think you’re gonna teach me something I don’t already know, I spit on the concrete sidewalk and twist my thick heel against the stones. You don’t take the time to think it through. You take half the time it takes to make any sense at all and I wish somehow inside I could separate my frustrations from the wild tentacles of your charm. I wish I could untangle your endless wandering words from the silence I so desperately want to drown into in my own deep dark soul.

For all the “man-made” advances we congratulate ourselves for making in technology or science or war, an erosion takes place little by little within us collectively. I feel it in the pit of my stomach and try to numb it with all the wrong things. Looking into your eyes, I see blue skies which never end and twisted feelings which somehow always do. I’m unsure if I want to pleasure you or tear you apart piece by piece. Perhaps a little bit of both because what good is one without the other.

You’ve seen it before, you’ve felt it in places you’d rather not admit to anyone. The sweet, sweet anguish of destruction in the palm of your very own trembling hands.

In a dream, she was soft as a feather as her bare breasts brushed against the open heat of my mouth. She gives me a tiny book of matches with a darkened navy washed image on the front. I cannot recall what it was exactly, a typewriter maybe or a peacock, some wild, exotic, beautiful thing. We blew clouds of smoke into the velvet drapery and plush carpeting. We slid our fragile hands all over each others’ smooth pale skin. When her eyes flashed like fire on water, mine did the same in response, I could feel it. No words only laughter, only touch. The liquid of the dream giving way to pure ocean glow like crystal in sunlight, the soft hazy burn of the salt of desire.

I could not tell you where my dreams come from and I cannot tell you where any of the folds of my mind begin or end. What they will expect of you are answers you cannot give. Don’t even try. What they will try to trick you into spilling are the secrets you were meant to keep all to yourself. How many kisses are apologies planted right square in your dying mouth? It gets complicated like that, but mostly because we set it up to be.