This Is Our Rules

For the first time in I don’t remember how long, I trace rum raisin lipstick onto my bare lips. Liner to match. I sketch in around the scar on my bottom lip which I despise but friends tell me they wouldn’t even notice if I weren’t so distracted with complaining about it. I had missed lipstick, it turns out. I marvel at its blood-like color, how the stain of crimson makes my blue eyes flicker, and toss my mask in the trash.

It was my third birthday. I was so excited for my party that before the festivities began I was jumping on my little frilly bed in my little frilly dress even after my mother told me not to about a hundred times. Up and down I joyfully bounced until suddenly my tiny little foot slid right off the edge of the mattress and I slammed my sweet little face into the bedside night stand. My teeny tiny lip hit the corner of the damn table straight on, blood everywhere. Screaming and tears and no party save for the cluster of giant Cookie Monster balloons somebody brought to the hospital.

Because I was so young and my lip still had lots of growing to do, the place where they sowed me up isn’t quite aligned correctly now that I’m grown. And there’s a thin white line where the lip came clean off and they pieced it back together. They did a fine job considering, of course, but it bugs me that there’s an imperfection.

Lipstick makes me look like I never jumped on that bed like a rowdy little cookie monster fool.

I read an article someplace the other day about how now that people have had a year of isolation in sweatpants and their boyfriend’s tee shirts some of them don’t want to go back to wearing bras or shapewear or any such constricting bullshit. Not jeans or belts or anything that digs or resists a hearty meal. More power to them, I say.

There’s another guy though, I forget who he writes for, but he can’t wait to tuck himself back into the skin-tight dresses, stacked high heels, and two-hour makeup and wig routine that is the fabulous artistry of drag. More power to him, too, I say. Do what the fuck you want.

We now know perhaps more tangibly than ever that life is frighteningly short and, to a good and terrifying extent, entirely out of our control. Wear the thing. Don’t wear the thing. Enjoy your own body while you have it.

I’m slimmer now than I have ever been since I was in my twenties. I like the way clothes fit when I’m thin. I like the way I feel like a svelte feline animal slinking around. I guess it’s just fun to me. You can’t win with people though, man, they side-eye you when you’re overweight or underweight or you lost it or gained it or lifted it or whatever. I’m over it.

I have friends who have gained a bunch of weight over quarantine and they absolutely love it. Want nothing to do with fretting over shedding pounds and everything to do with reveling in their beautiful new curves. It is so powerful to watch and hear about. Women owning and celebrating their own bodies. What a radical idea.

I would much prefer a post-quarantine life where we all choose for ourselves what makes us feel good. I’m sick to death of the judgments people make at a glance. Give it a rest. We’ve just been through absolute hell. We all have hangups and insecurities and scars. Whether you can see them or not, they’re there. Let it go.

Slit

Evening birdsong sifts inside the open window as I watch the light’s eyes turn down against the hands of an antique clock. What cuts my heart deepest is these little slivers of moment, soft sweet flickers of an invisible beauty made just barely visible. A fragment of a second’s split in the veil which drapes the eternal body of time.

A boundary not crossed but extinguished, collapsed entirely into itself: into nothing.

Light sliced along the edge of a sloping petal; consummation without intrusion. So thin a movement of air against skin. Even as you collect yourself beneath it, it has disappeared.

What else could this dead world possibly offer you faith in but melancholy. People are hysterical. People are maniacs. Cruelty abounds as does deceit. In the mind of the killer. In the mind of the rich man. In the back of the throat of the hungry and abandoned child. God and the Devil and the Son and the Blood. And you pass my whiskey and you want to get high and you want to talk about this fucking life as you know it but so do I – so do I – and it isn’t this.

It is not this. It cannot be this. Anything but this.

Everything else is layered on top of what is true and what is true is the thing that aches the most. I pull out a notebook to write a message to no one. Notes on my phone. Lipstick on the wall. Make a world out of nothing and hold it in my hands like a sacrifice. Like a pistol. Like a looking glass I attempt to gaze into. Fall into. We are only ourselves and only unto ourselves can we return.

A tangerine sun, like one strung out eye, sinks into a white glass sea.

Body as Teeth

Lying inside of a crater on the moon, I stare up into the vast beauty of the star dusted galaxy and breathe steadier than I ever have. It’s weird without a body, you might think it would feel liberating but you still have sensation so it is difficult to trust what is happening. You still crave the feeling of being touched, of being boundaried, pressed, held against something else. I only know I am lying down because my vision is looking up. This is a dream I have often and sometimes I wish I’d never wake up.

But morning comes as it always does, dissolving itself into me as darkness sifts almost imperceptibly to light. If I do not take the hand of the early morning darkness and give myself to it before it evaporates, the daylight becomes far too much to bear.

I begin to write a poem about desire and stop. My obsessions can be choke holds and unless you are into that sort of thing you might feel like you are drowning, or dying, and hate it. Thrash against it, try to bite and hiss your way out of its clutch. Some people, though, weirdo creatures like me, we get off on that kind of suffocation. It can’t be explained just as it can’t be ignored no matter how hard you try. I know because, for years, I tried.

You think I will save you but I can’t even save myself so please don’t try to be a hero or ever, ever think that I might be. My skin-tight tights are only that and though they may look hot as hell they will only take you as far as the end of the world as you know it. Hot girls. Beautiful women. Pussy. Body parts. Sirens. Portals. Vixens. Death by ecstasy, raging to life against the friction of the meat.

We are born into bodies we learn to dissect. We learn to divide and divide and divide like cancer cells. Like disease. I like women who fixate. I like women who sink their fangs in and hold fast like feral animals to the bones they want. I see how they are crucified for becoming the very monsters they have been turned into against their own will. I see how they reach out and steal the only power they have been allowed in a game of life and death which has been rigged against them from birth, and fashion out of it weaponry. Bait.

We are chained to ourselves. We eat ourselves. We thieve from ourselves.

In dreams where I do not have a body, I still want to be touched. What is this kind of cruelty which invades the psyche so deep. What is this kind of incurable lust which we can’t admit fills and fills and fills us up.

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