He writes poetry about the moon drifting toward empty space, the words are vacuous but he insists that by repeating them they become something most profound. He talks about everything he encounters as though it were a treasure special to behold and while I find him mildly charming I am also exhausted by his nauseating lack of awareness. All of these people who surround me all the time, pecking my eyes out of my skull with their excitement over things which not only do not matter but which will destroy each and every one of us in the end. I attempt a search for meaning in it all but the only thing that really stirs me at present is watching in aroused fascination as an extremely talented pole dancer slides her ripe young body up and down the metal length of sleek steel while whipping her hair from side to side in front of her smooth gratuitous nudity. It might be vulgar to some but to me it’s honest and honest is powerful all by itself. So many lies, so many lives distorted and discarded. We deny our pleasure and our animalistic nature all the while behind the moral high ground is the money and behind the money is the greed and behind the greed is the systematic degradation of the human spirit. It’s enough to make your head explode but only if you are paying any bit of attention which I’m now firmly on the fence about in any case. Stepping out into the rainy evening, I light up a cigarette and stare off into the distance as the concrete buildings slowly melt into the street like so many tears down mascara stained cheeks and the skies turn from pink to gray to bleak. I wonder how many words I have written, what they all mean and if anybody’s counting. Does the devil keep score and if so, what for? We’d like to think we’re made in the image of something more beautiful than we are. We’d like to think that someplace in our frightened battered hearts beats the whisper of the gentle breath of god. But salvation is only for some, and not others. Some are worthy and others are trash. We cry for love but just when we get close, we nail it to a tree and divide up its garments while we drink bitter wine and laugh. There are those who tell you what you want to hear because that’s how they get what they think they deserve. Their affection is a shimmering cloak of round cut diamonds, but it’s not so pretty underneath.
Not in any mood for talking or company, I slip my key in the front door and effectively fall into the arms of the words which have been eating at me all day. In two shakes, my grandmother used to say this, two shakes, sometimes adding of a lamb’s tail, which I can still picture her saying with a smile, I’m in sweatpants, hair tied up in a messy bun, uncorking a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand because when given the choice, always New Zealand. The wine is glorious as it blooms and blossoms throughout my body, soothing my jacked nerves, calming my racing mind. It’s not that I can’t think straight at the office (ok, to be fair, that is sometimes debatable) but there is a constant current running underneath my veins, pulling in the opposite direction of this world, tugging me back into myself and into myself is made of words. I read other writers who are so beautiful at what they do it makes my stomach sick, and then I read them again, raking the fingers of my mind through their words as if mining for gold. We want each other but mostly we want each other’s secrets. We want to unlock the codes of the universe so that we won’t feel so useless, so insignificant. We want to be close enough to peer into the abyss of another soul to be sure they are as messed up as we are. Beauty is for lovers and seduction is for strangers and the way we present ourselves is always slightly askew. There are times when I think I know myself so clearly, but then times when I think I don’t know myself at all. There is a deep fear I carry in the center of my chest, a black feathered crippling thing which quivers and shakes. Mostly I try to hide it but when we fuck it’s the reason being restrained feels like heaven and hell all tied into one. The sight of you is like seeing a ghost. Looking at your face, I remember things about myself that I can never change, can never repent for because the hour is too late. Something in the brute strength of your jaw reminds me of all of my sins and bad decisions. Are there people out there who have done it all right and do they feel good about it or do they stare at the ceiling wide awake in the cold hours of the morning, desperate to break free of an existence scripted only by the others? When you lie there alone in your bed and the static darkness sinks its whispered breath inside of you, do you touch yourself while thinking of me? In my mind I lay you down and feed you my poetry as you lick your tongue along the smooth tenderness of my thigh. Tell me how it makes you feel. Tell me, how does it taste with my words in your mouth?
Perhaps it is dangerous, to write with passion, desire, uninhibited. Perhaps the danger is in the telling of one’s inner stories to an outside world which only lies in wait, savage and unkind. Or is that me. The savage at her own throat. When did my passion become the gun in my mouth. When did the words sink their hooks into my blood and why do I seethe for them. I see the others and they appear so content. Each shoulder, each hip, a sun so bright I dim at the corners of darkness left crumbled and unspoken. I see the vacant smiles and the fake fringe lashes and the false dramatic starts, cool salted kisses blown into the ocean wind as another sorry heart fades into the sweet desperate tears of afternoon blue. What you adore, what you tuck under your skin is what will gut you, but this they never quite say. Do they. How fine, how melancholy your blue firm body. How seductive your blue stained mouth. Your veins a map of pain you inflict upon yourself for kicks. Tell me what to write about, tell me just exactly what to say before your sharp gaze cuts the tongue from my voice, a slice of holy hollow shell. She was an animal creature, she wore the tail and the furry ears and purred in my lap. I was every animal in the animal kingdom and every ancient sun which raged crimson, set behind an earth deserted. We suck the breast of our own destruction, feed on the milky flesh of entire continents obliterated. Give us this day the terrors we dread. Give to me the words which devour, lay me at the feet of the prophets of poetry, before there is nothing left here to cherish. Nothing in this madness can warm you for good. What does you good will do you in. And they told me not to let this happen. And they showed me the line not meant for crossing. I took it up between my lips to taste the crooked finger of temptation. Trembling. How fearful. How ecstatic. How dangerous this shadowed fire, burning on thin ice.
Afraid of becoming invisible to myself, I hide away and write some words which contain small flecks of what I have seen. Writing is what makes me who I am which is terrifying but some of us were born with words for lungs and stories for breath and there’s really not much else we can do but shut the door and bleed. Much of it is junk and thus the self loathing begins but once in a while I catch the tail of something worthwhile even as it’s trying to escape me. I hold tight. There is uncertainty as often as there is distraction, such is the way of shifty things you can’t predict. The hallways of my mind lead to dark places where my dreams come alive, where I can watch you from a distance as you flash like headlights across an empty wall. I dance for you. I shed my human skin and move like an angel to heavenly hymns until you can no longer contain your desire. Taking me as your own, the heat in your hardness leaves no more questions. When you’ve had your way with my body, my mouth, my sex, we smoke cigarettes and retreat into perfect silence. There is something mad about you. The way you know just when to speak and when there is more to be said by not saying anything. You are a mystery as shady as any of the ones I map within my bones. Holding hands, we take to the streets, heels clicking as we suck in the balmy night air. Downtown the electric city is a carnival of colored lights and music, voices and laughter sifting out from a lengthy row of outdoor bars. Nights like this are a show, time blurs, fades, disappears. I watch as a beautiful slender girl with rich soft breasts leans into her girlfriend for a kiss, waiting for drinks they tongue and tease each other shamelessly and I am transfixed. Young bodies like supple flowers, wilting and blossoming in pink neon light. Imagining a scene where you are laid down in a forest as several thirsty nymphs surround you and take you to the edge again and again, my mind swells with a buzzing desire for intimate things. I know you see through me. I know that one look in my eyes will tell you all the secrets I try to hide and you will string them out in front of me one at a time. You want my stories, naked, raw, and dripping. When I beg for mercy you don’t for one second let up. The moon is red tonight, the clouds sheer swaths of black as they cover and expose her.
The morning sky is surreal, virgin blue linen draped in dark lavender clouds of a strange heavy elegance underneath a full white moon, hovering just out over the horizon of gray stick figure trees. It is too warm for winter, the squirrels and birds chirping and running all about as if nature is unsure of herself but plays among the earthy sights and smells of the pale pink dawn in any case. There is a softness inside of me I’ve long been afraid to touch. Life has been brutal and beautiful and I’ve seen so much I wish I could forget but that is the stuff of nonsense, you have to take what comes and swallow some things down hard. I don’t say that to elicit pity but I do say it because it is true that I do not often offer myself much compassion or room to grow, I am tender with affection for dangerous things. I am blind, I am naive with no excuse to be. I tend to think or feel that I should always be a good deal further ahead than I am even though ‘ahead’ is an immeasurable illusion. And I know it. All the broken hearts, broken by me, with my own complicit, reckless hands. As I pleasure you I crawl inside and tear your heart out in tiny small bites so even the pain feels like little pangs of ecstasy. I make you tremble, I make you crawl, I make you say my name. I don’t want skin, baby, I want blood. Poets are the death of me, their succulent words in my throat like poison nectar, I lap it up sweet, lethal. My own poetry has splayed me and buried me countless times. I possess an insatiable desire to speak of beauty, to worship at her altar, though she cuts me deep. Though she breaks me I only return for more. I am sacrament and sacrifice. I wish I could tell you a story about me that were true but the truth gets in the way of what I want to say. I don’t fit into the designs of this world. I don’t see things the way the others do and I cannot believe in the things they believe. Mostly I keep that to myself. Mostly I smile and you would never know. All the bitter cold, I see it. I taste it, drink of it, I let it seep into my aching bones and pretend I am made of ice. It’s like how they say that nothing is urgent if everything is. Nothing can hurt me, maybe, if everything does.
The moon is one dead white eye, shining full in rocky light. In dreams, he strips me naked while telling me fairy tales about enchanted forests and animals who stalk and kill but just for food not for random cruelty. Only humans do that, so instead of dwelling on it we go down by a lake of swans, tease each other into a frenzy and make sweet love until the sky disappears and we become the air which vanishes after caressing the cold light of each forgotten star. All those glittering diamonds, all that generously scattered space which expands and expands and never stops for all eternity. Makes me feel both tremendous awe and completely insignificant at the same time. I respect the universe even as it shreds my nerves and causes me to panic. As I put pen to paper to document a series of disturbing dreams about my skin sewn in places too tight and a man staring at me on a train I am taking to a city whose name I can’t seem to make out on the ticket because my eyes won’t focus, the story of an alternate life begins to emerge. We run across a warehouse rooftop and tumble so close to the edge it makes my heart slam in my chest and tempts me to see if I can fly. Grabbing onto the belt loop in the back of my jeans, he pulls me in and pins me underneath him while letting my head spill backwards over the edge of the building. Observing my exposed neck as my hair whips and blows and turns all colors of the midnight wind, he places a strong hand behind me and to my surprise asks me how my writing is going. Blinking with shock and something that feels like affectionate gratitude for his benevolent attention, I tell him it’s a maddening goddamn torture but I will never stop as long as I live, which if we’re not careful could only be another minute and a half. Suddenly realizing, as one inexplicably does, that I am in a dream inside a dream and he’s about to evaporate, I quickly sketch a mental image of this man into the soft folds of my memory. He is a shadow I want to swim inside, he is a stranger I want to hold my hand. He is a messenger, perhaps, or an omen. He grips me tight without a sound and then fades to black. I wake to the darkness of morning, pull on a knit hat against the cold, pour coffee and open my laptop. The full moon is a single yellow eye sliding down behind an electric wire. We watch each other closely, until she finally slips out of sight.
Did you know if I put this pen down the sadness in my soul will wail and cry out for me all day in deep moans to pick it up again, pleading with me to spill the ink and relieve the pain. Did you know that when I look into her eyes I can see a tigress staring back at me through the spinning of countless tiny slits and pixels, the flashing of nocturnal yellow lights reflecting me back into myself a thousand times a thousand times. Her full lashes lifting and dropping as though a siren song, a heavy burden aching for release, come into me, come closer, this could take us into dangerous places, this could take all night. Did you know that my first poem was written in fruity scented pink and purple gel in a spiral notebook whose wires I had bent and unraveled so many times it began to cut my skin and catch the threads on my knit sweater when I pulled it, tattered and torn, from my rainbow backpack. Did you know my first boyfriend was as shy as I was and it made me sweat all over for reasons I had yet to understand, but I liked it when he kissed me with his young soft lips, fumbled a trembling hand through my long strawberry blonde hair. He used to watch me from the window of his school bus. He told me so and I wonder if he’d be surprised I still remember such a tiny detail. But things like that are monumental when your world and your body are so small. Did you know that I can’t stand the sun because to me it sounds like screaming. That when a thing shines too bright I am afraid of the shift in its intentions. Did you know I love the darkness, outside and in. Pull the apocalyptic heavens over me, tell me to kneel before you in the pouring drench of the evening rain, wet me. Make me repeat your name in the shadows as you touch me from behind, whisper what you’ll do to me with that fervent tongue of yours, teeth trailing bite marks down my spine. Did you know I like it when my fingers are pale and my dagger nails are blood down your back. When I take the length of you in my hands I taste the curved edge of you like a final prayer before spiraling down into my own beautiful death. Did you know I think of you as if without you there would be nothing left. There are lights but they are low and tempting. I can see their warmth, the cruel intrusion of my sharp desire, flicking in your chest.
Snow is coming I can feel it in my bones. I can hear it in the silence which deafens my mind to the madness of the cars rushing over the highway below. There is nature and there is nurture and there is everything in between which no one seems troubled by but I can’t stop obsessing over because what are we but secret love letters written in hot blood waiting to be torn apart, piece by piece sewn back together. Tear stained. Ruined. Burned. There’s the chewing of my nails when I’m nervous and my sucking on your rough thick fingers when I’m fidgeting beneath you and you want me to keep still. The world is a death star spiraling out into an ever expanding abyss but the way you soothe my nerves with a single touch is a drug like none other so I try very earnestly not to fuck things up as I am often want to do when my affection turns rabid or morbid or stormy or any of the above, possibly all at once. I think of all the women I am on any given day at any given time, all the pretty angels in me, all the hellish demons. I line my eyes in charcoal while somewhere out there across the buzzing neon chaos of the city a busty girl gives her man a topless lap dance before scrolling through his cell phone for the thousandth time. So little connection, so much anxiety. What do other people think about when the sky turns that heavenly shade of somber gray and ripples with the dark threat of a violent driving rain. The taste of the ache in your eyes when I say something I don’t mean, when you try to call me home but I’m so far gone the only thing that keeps me from the danger of myself are the words which choke me until I can be alone to tear them from my throbbing skull. All you ever wanted was to wreck me and save me and fill me good and proper. And yet it’s all I can do to keep my head from spinning long enough to get at the sick sweet fever that is poetry. To satisfy the words so I can finally spit them out of me. The snow is coming, I can feel it in my gums. I take a drink and say a prayer for it to bury me like the distant rolling graveyard hills. Cover my body in pristine white and finally wash my dirty heart clean.
Ordering a drink after a long day made to feel even longer because I’ve had to fight the rain to make it up the street, I’m watching as the guy across the bar drapes his arm around the girl he’s with and gives her a long deep kiss right on her pretty little mouth. Just seeing them making out in public is enough to turn my stomach but it’s not so much disdain I judge them with it might deep down be jealousy. How disorienting those beginners kisses are, dizzy with desire and lust, fascination, hunger, the numbing bliss of ignorance. As I swallow my whiskey I taste you on my tongue like a drug, feel you slide down my throat and torch my insides until I burn myself to the ground all for you. You who would lick me until my embers turned to ash, until I was nothing but air, breath, weightlessness, beyond. Those fingers of yours, how they teased and penetrated and bruised and penned your dark poetry all over my alabaster skin. Love and blades and ink and dreams of fields of wild flowers bending beside a turquoise sea. Love is a fog they say but it is also an electric current which cuts through right to the heart with lightning speed. Not for you and I, we were not love we were mouths, tongues, bodies, cravings. Or so we thought we could be, thought we could sever the feelings from the flesh, cut the heart out and leave it on the square patch of grass by the hotel we rented too late and left before the early morning light could reveal to us the staleness of our sinful ways. Maybe none of us are quite sure what love is. Maybe it’s just another tired place where right is wrong and wrong is right and everything turns inside out on a dime. The guy at the bar and his doe eyed girl drown in their last sips of cheap happy hour beer and stumble out the doorway, lips still locked as they giggle and trip beneath the rain blurred neon lights. I miss a time when you could smoke in bars but I suppose it’s all for the best we’re no longer permitted. A dirty habit in a filthy world. I’m more careful now. Not to confuse who’s in control with who’s in power. Not to build castles out of sand or wish upon a shooting star, spinning and falling and dying so beautifully inside a black hole sky.
I pull my hair up into a messy bun teetering atop my head, open up a bottle of white and walk out into the garden in the fading tangerine evening. The last rays of autumn sun turn to beautiful colored beads of sweat sliding down the chilled glass, tiny globes of peaches, pinks, roses, golds. I light a cigarette and watch the droplets glide, remembering the way you traced the curve of my shoulder as you undressed me for the first time, my body reacting with pulses of warm sweet nectar. We are never quite the same person we are at the beginning. People change like seasons, evolve. Some do, in some respects and not others, but their troubles are nothing to me at the moment as all I want to do is shed the remnants of another day gone by, my body and spirit offered up for someone else’s ridiculous wet dreams of power and brutality. I know I’m not the only one and it’s just the way of the world but something in me has never stopped believing there could be more. Different. More honest. Less moral and more genuine. What in this life could ever possibly be worthy of the splendor of your body, soul, mind, and spirit? Doesn’t it have to be more glorious than numbers, deadlines, time clocks. We are so reduced, so imprisoned. Too accepting of what is and how it’s always been. Acting like there is some sort of way back to what once was when what once was is a lie we’ve been telling for centuries anyway. We chase our money and we chase our tails and try to get our kicks along the way in secret. Behind a closed office door somewhere in a yellowed building across town, a woman gets on her knees to ask her boss for a raise. She hates it but it kind of turns her on to be reminded who’s in charge. She isn’t sure of much these days because the loneliness is palpable when she gets home and crawls inside the emptiness. She cries a lot. She smiles when she knows she is supposed to, though. Telling no one seems to be the only way to make sure her existence isn’t too tight a fit. As the sounds of the freeway running close to the yard pour over me like one of those white noise sound machines my therapist places outside her office supposedly to protect my privacy but I think it’s more to protect the yoga practitioners on the other side of the door from hearing my sordid tales of self destruction, I pour glass of wine and down it rather too quickly. As the chattering teeth of my ‘generalized anxiety’ finally turn to liquid heat, I look up at the trees as the little birds flutter and chase each other in circles. I recall the taste of the hot pressure of your kiss and how our bodies sunk into each other perfectly. There is no way out, of course, only in further and further until it’s all blackness or light, no one can say for sure. But until I can figure a better plan I’ll keep writing. Digging. Disrupting. Fantasizing. What else is there to do when this life is madness. Everybody’s drowning, and everybody’s thirsty.