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.

As Long As I’m Here

At the end of the day… don’t you love when someone says something like this? At the end of the day, it is what it is. Nuggets of wisdom lost to the wind if only we could have learned faster or thought harder about the things we had when they were right in front of us.

It’s impossible to tell you just how very many people have come into my life all frantic with admiration and accolades only to eventually – sometimes… actually, often times – completely disappear. I mean one day here, gone the next type deal. And I used to think to myself, what did I do wrong, you know like was I offensive in some kind of way? Disappointing? Rude? Thoughtless, careless, mean?

But now I see the truth and the truth, harsh as it may sound when I say it, which I’m about to do, is that these people conjure up their entire relationship with me in their minds and it was always going to end the way it does no matter what I would have done or not done. I was some kind of movie set or stage or painted backdrop they came and acted their shit out on or in front of for whatever reason until they finally exhausted their little precious selves and fell off to the side like a dried up moth never to return. Possibly even wondering what it was they ever liked about me in the first place. But I will never know, because gone they are and gone they stay.

Isn’t this a rather disconcerting way to live? The ghosting and the hyper-charged entanglements that preceed the eventual and inevitable neglect? No wonder we don’t trust each other. No wonder we are wracked with jitters and anxiety and fear. We do it all to ourselves. We do it all to each other as if it’s normal course of the business of life. It’s as inevitable as it is ridiculous.

There are the few though, the very very few, who stick it out with you. Who actually entrench themselves into you and your world because they want to be in it. With you. You call them out on their stuff, they call you out on yours. And you wrangle through the laughter and the muck until you come out on the other side, maybe dirtier, maybe cleaner or brighter, or not, but you come through and you move on together.

I can count on very few fingers who these people are in my life. They are not perfect and neither am I and maybe we know that about each other and about ourselves and that’s why we can tolerate and celebrate the sticking around. Because we can bear to lose our footing but we can’t bear to lose that kind of convoluted, complicated, hilarious, miraculous, generous, messy, beautiful devotion.

 

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Photo by Rich Lloyd Judd

Insemination

The pagans believe springtime is the season during which their god impregnated their goddess, thus producing an earth fertile enough to birth all of the fragrant flowers and trees, as well as the little creatures who feed upon them. Such abundance is sweet to imagine, even if at the moment believing in it feels terribly fragile, perhaps even dangerous.

We want to be held and we want to be set free. We want to be so close to each other we can’t tell who is the beginning and who is the end, yet all the while we can’t extinguish the gnawing need inside that wants to run through the streets and the fields and the galaxy all alone.

Sometimes when he touches me, I recoil like one of those tiny snails curling back into her pearly shell. I don’t know why this happens, I can only tell you it happens the way when a doctor knocks one of those little hammers against a certain spot on your knee, your leg nearly kicks him in the balls reflexively. I don’t want to kick my boyfriend in the balls but I suppose a part of me that I don’t quite have a handle on wants very much not to be touched.

One afternoon not long ago, I was standing at the stove staring out across the back garden, dead as it was and covered in the last of the dirty winter-into-early-springtime snow. The steam from the tea kettle was fogging up the bottom portion of the glass windowpane, blurring my vision and my thoughts into a kind of daydream about nothing in particular. There we were on a beach as the summer sun was setting across the electric pink horizon of my mind. The warmth surrounding us so intimately, as if the heat of every molecule of the last of the day’s sunshine was sliding and vibrating beneath the tan of our skin.

I’m jolted free of this daydream by his hands on my hips from behind, and suddenly I’m back at the stove in the kitchen in my socks and sweatshirt. I jerk away. It’s not that his touch is wrong it’s that it’s an intrusion. The violation feels real even though it shouldn’t because he’s the one I have invited in. He’s the one I thought I wanted inside and around me all the time.

He senses my disturbed reaction and moves away, apologizing as I try to tell him it’s not him it’s me, even though I know it’s actually probably all of them. All of the others who moved in much too close much too soon. The ones who come into your life and damage you sort of chip away at your sense of boundaries, your sense of movement.

I never could quite figure out if I ever knew when what I wanted became less important than what they wanted. Why I should shrink and they should grow bigger and thicker and harder until they were as big and thick and hard as they felt like being and in response I forced my fear to become a thing I thought I could conquer by acting like I wasn’t afraid. Like I wanted it even. Like it was all my idea – my body, my decision. If the world they created couldn’t be escaped, I would tell myself a different kind of story to try to make inhabiting it less upsetting.

Ever since I was small, they told me stories about men who shot their semen into women and they called them gods and goddesses and made it so that the act of impregnating was all tied to the seasons, the earth, the very existence of the world depended on the woman wanting to bear the heavy awful weight of touch rather than destroy it.

Sometimes when he touches me it’s like a scream. Like the parts of me that should go soft instead grow as hard and thick as the walls I wish would crumble to the ground.

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Photo by David Todd McCarty

Trash Novel

Do you wait until you have collected all of your material before you write it down or do you just start writing and see what happens? I’ve tried it both ways and can’t really say which is better or even easier, but who wants it to come easy anyway?

Difficult doesn’t bother me, it’s boredom that makes me sick. I’d rather back myself into an impossible corner and try to puzzle my way out of it just for kicks instead of sitting around waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I like a challenge which is maybe why I like him. The trouble with that is that maybe it’s the only reason I like him and he’s barely got anything to do with it outright. He has a girl all his own from the other side of this town which offers so little and promises even less. She makes him feel either insane or blue depending on how her hormones are running on any given day of the week, but at least on the weekends he can drown her out by getting drunk on the beach among a bunch of their airbrushed airhead friends.

With the sun beaming down on her brown skin, playing upon her golden hair and bouncy full breasts, he can forget for a while that he isn’t in love and it doesn’t matter in any case. He sips his rum and soda as the water is sparkling like diamonds, gulls swooping down between the waves. All he wants is the sand and the surf all around him as often as possible. Not rings, not a wife, not kids, not responsibilities of any kind no matter how hard she tries to convince him otherwise.

There are some people who pretend so well that they convince themselves the world they are living in is not of their own making but rather it has been bestowed upon them by some other worldly being. The hand of a God, be it vengeful or benevolent, which has nothing at all to do with them. Fate is fate, right is wrong is wrong is right, and it’s all anybody’s guess until it’s all over for good, as it will be no matter who’s in charge to begin with.

Such is my obsession with intervening where I do not belong. I want the man I cannot have because I need to prove I can have him because then we will know exactly who is in charge around here and it will be me, come what may. Sometimes I wait and gather my material first. Approach him all the while knowing what buttons to push and when to hang back and let him push the buttons himself. Sometimes I just show up, buy him drinks and see what happens, which is usually my car or his truck or a hotel room on the side of the highway. Seedy? Well, sure. But I never said I was proud of anything, only that I was in control.

There’s a difference, subtle as it may be.

When we kiss in the darkness, it’s like fireworks exploding all across a midnight sky. Even in the dead of night I can feel the warmth of the beach on his smooth tight skin. What is mine and what isn’t somehow blurs between us and we are no longer a part of any of this earthly game. We twist and writhe and play high up above on the stars, spinning and spinning into the infinite beyond. There are no boundaries, no one to blame, only the sweetness of ecstatic sin. The heady thrill of a chase I secretly hope will never end.

I never ask him how he feels about what he does with me behind her back. She’s nothing to me except a part of the reason he gets me so high. But even though I don’t ask, he tells me anyway. We pull up the crisp white sheets and smoke the cigarettes the hotel forbids. Tracing his finger along the tattoo on my left shoulder, he tells me he can’t help it. He doesn’t mean to hurt anybody but the story seems to be writing itself.

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Photo by Dainis Graveris

Down This Lonely Road

There is beauty in the madness behind your eyes. I can taste it as if my body were made entirely of tongues.

I’m sorry I make you want bad things. I’m sorry I’m not good enough for you and I complicate even the messiest of messes. I’m at the center of the cyclone at the bottom of the bottle and I can’t feel a thing.

‘Hate’ is a strong word but you use it anyway just to see if anything at all will stick. Words like knives against the wall. Throats like broken glass.

I know I can’t write my way out of this but maybe if I can get you off, I can write you in. You tell me I’m not in control of you. I’m not in control of myself and it’s a problem. I’m always the problem.

And you. You’re never the solution even though I try so hard to make you a piece which will fit inside this heart of mine which sputters and skips along the empty roads so few ventured to follow me down over the years. But you will never fit. And the roads you want to wander down are yours and yours alone.

Time is a tricky thing, you understand. There’s the time pulsing in your hot little hands and then there’s the time measured in terrible mistakes and I’m afraid I’m running out of both.

If you leave me now I can take it, I just don’t know it yet. If you walk out that door I will lock it behind you and unhinge myself from what’s left of my mind.

But my body will remain. This fucking body which screams and screams your name.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle

So Good It Hurts

The sex was so good I’m pretty sure I saw actual stars glistening all around us, shooting and exploding into the darkness. I could feel the heavenly rush of chemicals coursing through my entire body, sending me into a kind of delicious euphoric shock that was waves upon waves of pure pleasure.

Not a bad start on a rainy Sunday morning, as I crawl out from under his slumbering body, pull on my sweats and head down for coffee.

I used to tell myself I could only write under circumstances of extreme, or at least sufficient, melancholy. But ever since I discovered his talent for delivering multiple orgasms, I’ve changed my perspective on the whole situation.

They wouldn’t have you believe it but a writer can write from a place of sweet, sweet pleasure. Or at least I can, which is news to me. Eventually it will all dissipate, of course. And I’ve not told him this because it’d surely collapse his spectacular hard on, but even in my most ecstatic state there is a deep feeling of loss inside of me that just will not let me go.

Ever since I can remember, I have carried an uncanny sense of everything slipping away. It is as though my soul is a thing which dwells just below the surface all the time, and it is watching me as I crumble, minute to minute. Skin cell by skin cell, the life within me is being shed.

We fall into lust and disregard the danger of forgetting that when push comes to shove, we are on our own. This kind of thinking does not make me a hit at parties. This kind of thinking is the kind you tuck inside your tight ass jeans and wrestle with in the silence of your own solitude.

The trouble is that solitude is all there is. You are the only one inside yourself all day, all night. The difference for an artist is that we dive into that abyss instead of trying to bury it by filling it with unimportant shit. We can’t help it.

We want to get to the bottom of it because we know that that abyss is who we are. We know, too, that there is no bottom. This presents a kind of problem we desire to solve and not solve. We want to know the end and we want the end to never come.

When you crave the emptiness they think they are trying to save you from, you learn to become two different people all the time. The one who pretends to understand them, and the one who swears to god you never ever will.

The coffee has kicked in and my fingers are flying across the keys as I punch down some philosophical bullshit just to get the chaos out of my head and onto the page. The writing is the only sacred space. I don’t need self help and I don’t need yoga and I don’t need church. What I need is a life centered around the one thing that doesn’t flinch.

 

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Photo by Rachel Coyne

Train Wreck Fantasy

She equates randomness with fate and fate with her lack of inhibitions when she hits the bottle and breaks free of her mind.

In the back of her heart are the lucid dreams of the little girl she once was before the world took away every fantasy and held it hostage behind smoked glass ever since.

There are some skies you can’t touch, not because you can’t fly but because your wings have been clipped together and the singular beat just isn’t enough to get you off the ground.

She can’t understand what living is for if your heart’s not racing or your soul isn’t pulsing its infinite cosmic currents like lightning across the darkened night. What is enough for other people never feels like enough for her but she can’t explain why.

Maybe she’s a glutton for punishment. Maybe she’s a freak.

When he ties her hands behind her back she feels like an angel come to rescue him from his demons, and demons there are many. They want love just like anybody else but somehow it all got twisted. Pain morphed into pleasure and pleasure blossomed into an exquisite kind of euphoric suffering.

There is a plane on which they are not opposites and not the same. A space where the two become one orgasmic experience.

She feeds on his distortions. He strokes her where the aching won’t stop until her tears fall like a fire which baptizes them both.

Did you think there was such a thing as a sinner, or a saint? Did you think you could decide which was which? Did you think you weren’t the sinner and the sin?

Her mouth is not for kissing but for absolution. When he covers her eyes her body screams and comes alive. He toys with her senses. Makes her wait.

Did you want to talk about love? Did you want to find out how much more there could be to this life beyond your wildest imagination?

When he emerges from inside the darkness she is blind to everything but the feelings which hang suspended in the air around her like puppet strings, like the taut silent strings of a most elegant instrument. An intricate web of static sensation. Everything is a high so long as it is uncertain. Unattained.

He will circle until the heat nearly buckles her knees. He will manipulate until she gasps when she tries to breathe.

There are some skies only he can help her touch.

Sometimes only imprisonment can finally set you free.

 

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Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk

Untouchable

You’re afraid you’re losing it all to them.

To the young. To the rich. To the beautiful.

It happens so fast you are shocked by the jerk of the rug being yanked out from under you. When did the crumbling begin? When did the circles ring your eyes like saucers.

Like a punch in the face of the pale precious moon who orbits your shy little life. Lets her dark eye seep all over you. Lights up against the fears you try to escape in the dark. Lights them up like a mute scream in a dream in which the ground races beneath your feet but you can’t move.

You could be nicer and quit ruining things for everybody else, you know. You could sit quietly and do as they ask of you and do as you are told to do, so they wouldn’t have to waste so much time keeping you in line. Inside the lines.

But you know something they don’t know and never can and never will. You know the fire in your bones burns from a place they don’t believe in even when you show them the scars.

You know the possibilities because you have been mapping your own desires your entire life. It scares you, the things you know about yourself. The things you hide that you wish you didn’t.

It was never about youth and it was never about beauty. It was always about pain and your endurance of it. Your craving for it. Your running from it. Your conversations with it. Inviting it in. Kicking it out. Chasing after it again.

It was always about the way you were stronger than they ever had to be.

It was always about the freedom to say the thing you need to say. To write the perverse, the meaningful, the crushing gasp of the truth they would not see.

You are losing it all at the hands of a time gone by that you can never get back. You are losing your grip on the things they told you to hold most dear. And the letting go feels just fine. And you laugh at the gods in the face of the sky as you drift higher and higher out of the body they stitched you into when you were small.

It was never about them; always about you. You as ageless, you as timeless, you as endless. You as some kind of impenetrable thing which can never be touched and never be held on to.

It was always about the way you can only be you and nobody else, and how that devastates and gratifies you all at once.

In the deep wells of your ancient soul, you know this.

Since the beginning of time, you always knew.

 

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Photo by Hugo Tasca

 

Dirty Plastic Hearts

The table is grubby white plastic much like her heart, propped up in the dead of winter and sprinkled with peppery flecks of cigarette ash as the wind blows cold around the side of the house.

She is supposed to be doing whatever it is she is supposed to be doing. Folding laundry. Vacuuming the last of the dry pine needles left behind from the remnants of a holiday spent indoors with more than a little bit of booze and sadness mixed in, too.

But instead, she is sat outside in the frigid air at the corner of the patio crunched into this rickety table which wobbles because one of its cheap legs is cracked and neither she nor he has bothered to invest in a new one.

The smoke tastes like fire and burns her lungs but it feels good to feel alive and as though if there has to be pain, at least she is in control of it. At least she’s doing it to herself.

Looking out across the fenced in yard, she exhales great plumes of white smoke and watches as the snow begins to flutter down and settle on the frozen ground.

In her mind, images of years ago when she was young and ripe and could have any boy she wanted with just the wink of her eye and the flick of her long auburn hair. It’s funny how the years go by without you noticing. How you can watch the seasons turn in the palm of your hand but you can’t see much past the end of your nose.

When the sky turns purple and the stars begin to bud high above the naked winter trees, she sips her wine and tugs her old coat around her tighter. There once was a guy whose touch made her weak. Whose voice was low and commanding. He left her for someone heavier, told her she was too thin. He liked a woman’s curves he could grab a hold of, something to squeeze.

Everyone was a body inside a body back then. She’s always been a mind, a heart, a soul as wide and expansive as the sea, but who has the time for that when there is money to be spent and suits to fit into and plans to be made.

Crushing out her cigarette into the little ceramic ashtray that she got at a road side flea market a while back, she catches a glimpse of the pretty house across the street. In each of its perfect tiny windows, a red heart decoration glistens with flashy glitter and lace.

Love. You can stab it all to hell but it always attempts a come back.

 

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Photo by Tiko Giorgadze