Being my own worst enemy, I dust up old troubles just to see what comes of it instead of leaving well enough alone like a properly adjusted person would do. I get bored and I get lonely and I get to wondering if I’m the only one who feels that way. The words are solace and they always seem to be there which is a good thing most of the time as long as I can get to them. If not, I get anxious. Scratch that, I’m anxious all the time, words or no words it makes no difference. Last night I dreamt I was walking down a cobblestone street somewhere in an old foreign city. Could have been Rome, though I’ve never been so your guess is as good as mine, but in any case it was absolutely dazzling. Tall buildings lit softly in afternoon light, red and white striped umbrellas, street fairs and tiny moped bikes, beautiful women, beautiful men, all brimming with life at an enjoyable pace as the deep blue of glittering sea moved lazily upon the shore in the distance. I’d like to tell you I was wearing some sort of indulgent flowy designer sundress, would have been so much more romantic, but I know I was wearing high-waisted jeans and a white midriff top punctuated by a very large pair of over sized black sunglasses. I know it was jeans because at one point I took the opportunity to slip my fair hand inside them to pleasure myself. It could have been under a sweet smelling willow tree in secret or in all honesty it could have been while walking down that cobblestone street, without shame, in front of the whole adorable scene. Judge if you will but dreams are dreams and if I had to venture an explanation I’d simply point to the pathetic way we treat acts of sexual pleasure in my culture. Girls are taught to be sexy in everything they do, made to feel they are on display at every moment, here to seduce every man, married or single, attached or not, attractive or not, while we are eating, shopping, studying, walking, sleeping, showering, dressing, undressing, drinking, speaking, teaching, learning, breathing, and the list goes on and on. And as we are out there being as pretty as we know how, we are also not supposed to be doing that because that is being immodest. Shamed if you do, shamed if you don’t, and truth be told I’m over all of it. If left to my own devices, I find myself intoxicating. Not because I’m special but because I am here, a flesh and blood and bone creature of mystery even to myself. Women fascinate me. Sex and fantasy draw me in again and again. All growing up I was never sure if that made me a good girl or a bad one so I played both sides all at once, splintering and shattering myself into a thousand tiny pieces I had to learn to put back together all by myself. Fuck what they think. They tell you lust is a game you play to try to capture someone else. But did you ever think that maybe you are the game, and you’re just playing with yourself?
Tired of making things up, I tell you something real about myself which you dismiss because my real bits can be tough to take. I light a cigarette and think about all the things I’ve wanted to say for so long but could never quite find the words so silence was key and darkness was comfort. Do you ever dream about the day you can finally come clean about the way you feel inside? Do you ever chew your fingernails while worrying that it will be too late in the end, when the wind and the rain and the sky come closing in on you and death doles out his inevitable fate? So little time and so much to say. So many mouths and so many empty promises swimming inside the churning sea of our complicated souls. I refuse labels but since you seem hell bent on putting me in a nice tight box I tell you I am a sensualist, which seems to both satisfy and frustrate you because you think I’m being coy. The truth is I don’t have the energy to be anything but honest which is likely what gets me into tricky situations I then find difficult to wiggle out of, though somehow I always do. Taking a drag, I lean back in my chair and spread my legs a little too wide. You raise an eyebrow as I breathe clouds of smoke into the dead air between us and stare at you straight. Open your mind and let me in. Open your doors and let’s fly away to a place where they can’t touch us, soar higher until they can no longer claw us down. Can’t you see I want to run away from all the things they promised would keep me safe from harm. Can’t you see the flash of hunger in my eyes when I ask you what you see when you look deep inside those secret places you keep hidden from everyone else. I want to taste every last drop of this life on my tongue. I know they don’t understand you and I know it hurts. You dance for them. You jerk them off to the self-righteous hymns of the religion they shoved down your throat and you hate yourself for it but alas here we are. You’re no better today than you were last week and I’m none the wiser but I still believe I could show you things you’ve never seen. Out the small window littered with tiny potted plants, the horizon begins to blush as the sun’s coming up. Another day, another chance to forgive and forget and throw it all behind you once and for all. But you and I both know you won’t run, and if you can’t run you can’t fly. We are alone when we are together and together when we part but somehow the agony sticks in your teeth. Behind me I feel your hand on my shoulder. I hear the indifference as you turn on your heels, and leave.
I tell you a story which begins with the sun sinking into the ocean and ends with a killing at dawn on a hill overlooking a graveyard littered with broken glass and dotted here and there with those ugly dollar store plastic flowers. The blade was sharp and she was willing and you probably saw the ending coming anyway, as I’m not the most clever story teller especially when I’ve been drinking. But I can tell you for sure that both the ocean and the blade were slashed crimson as blood. We disregard the danger to get to the thrill and with you and I it’s no different. There are bottles of whiskey smooth as hot silk and my tongue stroking yours as you gasp for air. You’re so pretty when you struggle, baby. There is the wet taste of my sex on my fingers as I insert them into your mouth and make you suck them deep down your throat. I like the sounds of you when you beg to be used. Such a handsome needy thing. I like the whimpers you make when I get you close to the edge and keep you there as I ride you like the wind. In the corner of my room there is an altar I made to remind me that I don’t believe but if I ever had a change of heart I would know exactly where to confess my undying devotion to whatever it is that has turned me into such a mess. In dreams, I carve symbols into your forearm as I kneel before you in the center of a towering cathedral. It is dark except for the bluish and purplish light streaming in through dusty stained glass high above us in the peaks of the church ceiling. As I lick your wounds I drink of your sweat and your skin, my chest aches with lust for your pain, your healing, it all belongs to me. In the presence of every god and every saint and every sinner who ever walked the earth, we fuck like sweet slutty angels upon an altar of marble and gold, much more solid, of course, than the makeshift one I’ve got at home, but still there are similarities. The ivory candles and the smell of incense, an air of reverence which gets me off as I take pleasure in our ruinous acts of desecration. You come so hard you start to cry and in my sated haze I lap like a kitten at the stream of your beautiful tears. Out across the graveyard, the one I told you about in the story earlier, the sky does not end nor do the clouds and something about the endlessness of the view from atop the hill is captivating in its eerie stillness. We are so small, so completely insignificant it both inspires and devastates. Our hearts pump the blood through our veins until they give up on us for good and all will go black, all will go silent and the pain will finally be done. I remove the blade from my pocket and carve the symbols from your forearm into the tree which stands stoic and tall in this unfeeling place. Maybe I do believe in something it’s just that it’s something no one else can understand. They hand you a rule book and tell you to pray. They tell you to keep their naughty secrets and look the other way. But the truth is, you get to decide what you worship.
My habit is you, yet instead of taking twenty one days (is it twenty one, they say, to form a habit?) I was born already squirming with you in my tiny blue river veins. Wet, exposed, raw, helpless. Screaming. Eager. Starving. You, the womb I bathed and blossomed within. I see pink peonies, their lush petaled heads dropping heavy with morning dew. I see the sun coming up in soft tangerine behind the sap running amber down the trunks of green trees. Each one the texture, the scent, the presence of you. You are every commandment written in my skin, and every command on which I feed. The mornings are dull, the mornings are mournings soaked with gray rain, weeping from my eyes which are windowpanes. The days are mirrored, all sides of lost hope and lost minds, in all of this and through it, is you. I like the way Mary Oliver describes swimming in a cold lake at dawn, quiet and naked and alert among the reeds, the swans and the animals. I like the girl with the blog that nobody’s heard of, who writes about stabbing her boyfriend as they make love, he begs and begs for release. I like the torture. I like the tease. I like that I can smell it. In sex, in nature, in wilderness, in violence, I see only you. In an airport in a foreign city over run with disease, a man carries a bag which carries a bomb which is sniffed out and caught by a detective dog. In thickest fog which looks like a mountain which looks like the sky which looks like the sea, a flying machine slams into the air and explodes, ending everything. In the wreckage, in the ghosts of the souls exiting the flesh and the steel, in the coding of the fates of the extinguished, whispers you like cruel sadness, you like the final moments of terror, pure, sheer. You are the constant and the permanent, an expressionless pair of twin bodies which continue to twin, spinning and spinning without ever stopping. When I lie beneath him and part my legs, when I feel the slamming of his heart in his chest as his ecstasy pushes him over the edge, it is you in my mouth as my teeth tear his neck. Under my fingernails at the back of my mind in the warmth in the bottle in the smoke on my breath. This divine hellish perversion in me, the twisting of pleasure into blind aching need. The darkness I see in the monsters I breed all alone in my bed. Eyes shifting like curtains drawn while the storm rages on. Kiss of life upon the hands of death, feather of each shadowed dread. You.
She tells me she warns her young son that if he masturbates his penis will fall off. Keeping my thoughts to myself, when I try to make the coffee it’s old and stale before it even starts. The sickness in my stomach makes me gag a little bit. Out the window, which is actually a floor to ceiling wall of glass towering high above the city, the bright winter sun glares obnoxiously off the windows and steel beams of the other high rise buildings across the street. What exactly do we think shame protects us from? Or do we just like the perverted humiliation, turn it into fetishes to fuel another spawning seedy industry. Doesn’t matter to me, as far as I’m concerned seedy is just another welcome escape from the real mess humanity has made. Likely imperceptible to others, something in the way the day shines while she is speaking cruel words makes me want to cringe and wretch and curl into myself until all the screaming insanity stops. People are often telling me things I don’t want to hear while other people are busy ignoring the people in their lives who matter most. Just getting through a day of regular conversation, the smiling and nodding as it all goes to hell in a plastic bag of burnt coffee grounds can drain what little life you have left sliding through your impermanent veins. The only relief is the ink and the drink. There is a poet I adore who can slay you in only a handful of words. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said that, “talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.” She is a genius in every poetic sense, she touches you in places you didn’t even know existed within you but which had been aching since your time on this burning planet began. Each syllable expertly selected, carved out of obscurity and offered up like a beautiful sacrificial kill. She is blood in your gums, she is sex melting on your tongue. Drifting off into the safe danger of my own mind, in the static blackness I imagine a heavenly host of pure white doves, the sky is gray and endless as the low clouds move in and cover a quiet earth laid bare in shadow. Upon the dead grass, a circle of enchanting young women, open, supple, elegant gowns slipping off shoulders as they stroke and admire each other. A painting by a crystal running brook, a kiss which stands still forever in a heart which is free, a sliver of desire captured in silk. Maidens enraptured beneath an impending storm. The nature of the woman, erotic, mysterious, eternal. Perhaps the gods had stirred the skies to excite them, draw their bodies close to be soothed and discovered. Innocence. Corruption. Penetration. Poetry. Sappho. “What cannot be said will be wept.” I want to run my tongue along your fair collarbone, take the taste of you into me deeply, that I may become honey, flowing rich and thick in heated streams. All day the world is too bright, angel, sharpening my edges. But in the dark folds of this velvet night, feathered and dim, I make myself again soft for you.
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.
There are people who believe it is their fate to lose, that somehow they have inherited a life of loss. That all good things will be taken away from them so they don’t get attached to anyone or anything. I never really thought about it but if I did I suppose I could understand and even relate. It’s everyone’s fate, after all. To lose everything eventually, to be left with nothing but memories and even those can be cruelly snatched away like grains of sand on the winds of time. When I look at you I can see the struggle inside of you, your smile betrays the sadness in your eyes. And that is the part I want, that is the part I recognize like looking into a mirror. I have dreams sometimes in which I am trying to catch something I never do, I try to make it somewhere my mind wants to be but my body won’t move fast enough. And the whole time, I am reaching for something I never quite come to grasp, though time and again I come so close to it I could almost tell you what it is. There is a kind of loss in which something you had is taken away. Goes away, somehow. Then there is a kind of loss which happens on repeat over an infinite amount of time. It is hollow like the sound of a ghost as it passes through you to the other side, a breath sucked out slowly across an absence of tongue. It takes up an infinite amount of space and no space at all. You can feel it like lead inside of you although it is invisible, it is always sinking though it never touches bottom. It is the loss of something you never quite had. It is a feeling of perpetual stagnation, even while moving, even while intending to move. Perhaps some fill this void, this emptiness which contains weight inexplicably, with religious beliefs or promises. Perhaps some fill it with cars or money or women or men or fetishes or art or family photos on Facebook or plastic fame on Instagram. Perhaps with jobs or careers or titles or power or greed or sadism or masochism or nursery rhymes. They fill it and fill it with anything they know how but it can never be filled, only denied. Only ignored. Only feared. But what of the ones who sit with it, holding the hand of a clock without hands. Who instead of turning away from the ache, worship at its dimmed singular altar. Who touch the weighted face of the weightlessness and caress it into their very souls. The ones who mourncherish the loss of everything before it has gone. Who taste and seek the melancholy, the anguish and seduction of her sorrow laden song. I suppose we are the poets, and we name the darkness home.
All dolled up in leather and lace, matte red lips and heels so high I’m half distracted with worry about teetering from the slow drip of my martini, I’m stood before you wondering what you think of me. I hate that I care but here we are and I’m unsure of so much that’s gone to pieces in this world but you, with you I forget everything else and focus. You exist somewhere dead center inside the line between aphrodisiac and sedative which perhaps makes no sense, this I’m willing to concede. It has been a while and by that I mean we have never been, but the way you pierce me with those eyes, electric, sharp, blue as God though I’m not a believer. As you speak I skim my hand across yours and I wonder if you know it means I would suffer for you. I would swallow the sin deeper and deeper until my veins expand and contract with the delicious agony of you, gliding smooth as silk across the melt of my tongue. You don’t say too much so I say just enough to keep you guessing. I like the way you maneuver inside the words you choose, the way you move into and out of me, tasting me, testing me. Daring me. Turning me round and round in your prismatic mind. As clever as you are, I can feel the heat rising in your blood. I see it in the way you sip your whiskey while your fingers cradle the glass. I can see your cool fingers upon my neck. I can feel your fingers unfastening the dread I carry around with me and all I can do is pray for you to continue. Please don’t stop. I crave the hellish tease of you. I suckle upon the torture which hangs suspended between knowing and not knowing the devious things you desire of me. Speak for me, coax me, breathe into me. Underneath my skin, my lungs are tender wings, my heart is a fragile race against a time when it is at last too late. Underneath the words I offer, there beats the pulse of the words I hide. Only a poet can touch me there. Only a poet could ever know the mysteries which glisten and burn within this darkness which calls me home to a place where good and bad no longer exist, only slow pleasure, only slow death, and only the holy have mastered the way to manipulate the difference. You finish your drink as you trace the curves of my body in silence. Only a mad creature of the word could ever penetrate these depths, hear the quiet beg of my aching reasons why.
I have to be away from the writing for about a week and I am dreading it. I don’t know why I am telling you this but I don’t think anyone understands except for writers, what it is like to have to put down the pen for a while. Even if it’s just a handful of days. It feels like severing part of me, the truest deepest most loving part of me, and leaving it behind. In any case. Hopefully maybe there are some rare times when, if you can bear it, the time apart makes the time back together even sweeter.
There’s a game we play with ourselves. The game is called denial and when we become quite good at the game we use it more liberally. It becomes as a salve, a soothing balm for slathering over the rough patches of our lives we don’t seem to know exactly how to handle. I don’t get too close because I don’t trust you because I know deep down you don’t even trust yourself. No way to live, but what’s the alternative? The truth hurts as does reality so better to run away inside that fantastic mind of yours and pull something shimmering from the discarded rubble. You have it in you, you just weren’t allowed to know it because nothing is more important to capitalism than distracting you, prying your attention away from the flutters in your stomach which beg you to resurrect your most magnificent parts and turning toward the outside world worrying what the others will think of you for having such petty dreams. Ah the mighty American consumer, not unlike taking a bite of the proverbial Apple iPad in the Garden of Eden, we are made to realize we are naked without all of our gadgets and things and consequentially shamed for it. Just the thought of all this nonsense plummets me to the bottom of a crisp bottle of white wine, the very liquid silk which simultaneously soothes and destroys.
Lying half dressed on the backseat of his car, she pulls her panties down as his eyes grow wide with mesmerized lust. They are young, as clueless as they are gorgeous, smooth skin a glow in the moonlight shining straight through the passenger side window and bathing their pulsing bodies in pale white light. Breathing heavy and shallow, his heart races as his fingers trail along her perfect abdomen, stroke gently over the soft slit glistening sweetly beneath his heated gaze. As she watches his movements, her body reacts in ways she had not experienced until now. As he swivels and strokes, her desire grows wet and hungry, spreads, flickers and licks through her veins like wildfire. She needs him, craves him. Everything about her that opens begs in desperation to be filled, stretched, plundered, ravished, taken. As he exposes her to such pleasures as this, forbidden treasures unlocked in the confines of this beat up old Volkswagen, this tiny trap of steel and leather, he is ragged with an ache he feels will rip him to pieces if not satisfied. In one smooth motion he removes his fingers and slides beneath her as she straddles him, biting his neck, his strong jaw, moving her strawberry tongue between his lips. Pressed together and quivering on the brink, they find the rhythm which carries them over the edge, shattering into prismatic ecstasy like a thousand shooting stars exploding one after another across the clear midnight sky.
The ones who say the youth is wasted on the young have forgotten the beauty in the wasted. As they slice and dice us and sell us back to ourselves in jagged little pieces, we continue to search for a truth we’ve known since birth but constantly deny. What good are fancy clothes when all we want is to be naked. What good is safe when what we want is to be free.