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My Daddy told me to keep clear of women.
"You look up their skirts and they got a rose fist made out of tongue parts where a pecker would be. You will need it like food and it will keep you up at night. It's the devil, son. The devil in human form. The devil is smart and knows what moves the hearts of men."
Don't he know that just makes me want it more? I ain't got Buddhist detachment in my blood, I got guilt, confessions and fever. This old coot is the one pointing me toward temptation. Damn.
"YOU'RE NOT ALONE! Just...TURN ON with me, and you're - NOT ALONE!"
I swear, Ziggy Stardust is the only thing preserving my sanity right now. Yeah, I know you're knocking on my door, bitch, I ain't hearin' it. This space ship is at max capacity. My hands shake as I reach for my Flintstones glass of Diet Coke and whiskey. I look in the mirror and pretend I'm in a movie where I look straight at the handsome leading man as I suck down my poison, smooth and cool, like a cat. Pretend I'm not me, in other words. Wink.
Damn, do you have any idea what a bag o' feral cats you kicked up in me? It's Wednesday afternoon and I'm blasting Ziggy Stardust like the world ended or an honest politician was killed.
People need a dynamic range of peaks and valleys to navigate everyday drudgery, and I'm constantly playing at maximum volume. I can't sleep. So maybe that's why I feel drunk all the time.
An electroencephalogram would show beta waves - active, busy or anxious thinking with active concentration. You're making the little sensor needle thingy paw at the graph like a wolf. Inspirations, have I none...
There's a clean white transparent sheet flapping in the breeze in lazy, undulent waves like a flag in slow motion at station identification.
A beautiful woman standing near a beach holds it up and clothespins it to a string like it's the star on God's favorite Christmas tree. The scent of jasmine fills the air and the woman pulls her lover to her in some kind of made up samba dance. They don't know the steps but they don't care as they grin and twirl and embrace as naturally as rock formations that wind and ice have determined belong together.
I was trying to picture something neutral, right? Trying to calm down? "A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork - that's the way we spell New York." I don't know if beige can happen, but maybe ripping off song lyrics? Can be a compromise?
I'm digging through my pockets and it's all thorns and petals. It's exhilarating but exhausting. Thus why I keep mentioning sitting under my desk for fallout practice while listening to the most inane Phil Collins I can imagine. "Susussudio," I'll chant, rocking back and forth, clutching my crystal as the cats look at me strangely.
Corvine cries outside can't mean anything good. If I were a character in the Bible, they would be messengers from God telling me that I failed to heed the calling to sacrifice my first son and that God is pissed and sending His minions to correct my negligence by force.
Yes, THAT will calm me down. Making up stories about a son that I don't have. I need to rise above the din in my head; think. Focus on a spot on the wall, clasp hands with a piece of calm, still my nerves, do what needs to be done.
My mind adumbrates your image in the hallway. Though I don't know that it's something my mind consciously does; it's more like your image never burned off the screen in my mind, like those old computers with the burned in alien green letters. Just being near you, you become part of me, word made flesh, "she lets the river answer that you've always been her lover."
Other people are out getting laid and I'm digging in my moody sandbox thinking of metaphors for things no one else cares about. Am I a beacon of light or a chump, believing foolishly?
'I mean...it could've been anyone. So you shouldn't take it personally."
"You just walked into the bar at the right time and had a nice smile...he just needed a friendly ear."
"Right. Got it. Nothing special about me at all."
"I just...I mean, you shouldn't think there's anything WRONG with you, y'know? Something about you that brutal men seek out because they think they can manipulate you."
My heart was ripped out and run through a printing press and distributed to boxes, bodegas and doorsteps all around town. She talks like it's heartburn from bad tacos.
"Mi caballero...mi corazon."
The dark haired woman knelt at her bed as if praying. She held a picture of a handsome, shirtless man on a horse. He looked happy, carefree, like life was nothing but a jaunt from one roller coaster ride to the next.
There's a woman behind him on the horse with her arms around his waist. She has glorious long, dark hair. Given the location of the photo and the clothes they're wearing, you'd think she couldn't afford fancy styling gel to make her hair just so. She couldn't - God, love and living did the trick.
The Catholic church around the corner is filling the air with bells chiming "Salve Regina," and I'm on the internet reading about three-ways. My hircine, bifid nature strikes again. Or does it need to strike? It's just always there, like water in a river. But lately there's global warming causing my water levels to rise. I'm about to spill out over the banks and drown everyone without rhyme or reason. Gather the animals two by two and get them the fuck out of Dodge. I'll throw some fish your way; get you started. Color in highway lines on your maps.
Sing unto me hymeneal hymnals. Your church key opens my vestal vestibule as we board the overnight to Albuquerque without going anywhere. With a heave, and a ho, just don't let me go.
In our crappy hotel room we hear the Yardbirds cover band in the bar downstairs stabbing second rate sound waves through the floor. We're old and married but feel like teenagers sneaking Boone's Farm in the corner at a mixer. This is the stuff that matters yet gets edited out of family newsletters. I reach for your hand and know I'll never have to grasp nothingness again.
My evil, dangling bat thoughts arighted themselves, took flight, and knocked your carefully prepared remoulade all over the wall. You're not amused when I say "look! It's a Rorschach test! I see a bat; what do you see?"
Our guests surround the kitchen table, hunched over with hands on their knees, yelling like soccer hooligans. The foil pan with the Buffalo chicken is the center of the excitement. The gnomes we've hired are having a log rolling contest, using chicken legs for logs. We tried to get ESPN to film it, but they thought we were drunk when we called.
I'm leaning back on a chaise lounge in the back yard, reading a book. I suck on my cigarette, exhale, watch the smoke drift off with the wind like wishes. You stick your hand in my bra, casual as if it were your pocket, reaching for the book of diner matches. You barely nod at me as I look up at you. You notice the name and number on the matchbook and smile and shake your head, as if I tried to mold mashed potatoes into a man and pretend it replaces you. It kills me that you see through me.
I feel like wet tissue wedged under a gym shoe: Sinuses full of gunk, sore, stepped on. Somebody find a butter knife in the utility drawer, scrape me off and flick me in the garbage. OK, that's a little dramatic, it's just a cold. Lack of sleep is catching up with me and making me its bitch. I even called in sick at work for the first time. And it doesn't even feel like an escape because I work from home; it feels like I'm just taking a nap in a messy office I don't have the energy to clean.
"I am in the floruit of my life," your Mom says into the phone, with all the expansiveness you'd associate with that kind of sentence. She even holds out the hand not holding the phone as if urging someone to take in the glory of the Grand Canyon. She's telling her friend about all the art classes she's taking and little weekend trips she's been going on. She's not telling her about the 38-year-old man she's been screwing. Hell, I should be happy for her, but she's so aggressive, like a cat with a steak who growls to keep you away.
Your Dad belts out sea shanties as he applies the epoxy putty on the coaming. It's a beautiful day and the light shines on the water, shifting with the rhythm of the waves like the flow of a relaxed conversation. Now your Dad is literally the captain of his own ship. It's a "what do you want to do when you grow up?" paper from first grade come true. Earlier he'd showed us how to use his azimuth compass. He is in heaven, like a kid happy to have a friend over who keeps excitedly busting out toys to share.
Terpsichorean temptation titillates twenty Torontans, 'til twelve told tales to twitterpate tigers.
Plashy pantsed Peter prayed Polly pet penis.
Sally said shove stupid sentiments sideways.
Rachel rode Range Rover really recklessly, rear-ending Roger.
Chris could catch chlamydia, coming carelessly.
Aphotic aphids ask answers and arise.
Procellous preachers proclaim proceleusmatic pulchritude pretty problematic.
Unusually undulating, uxorious uncles use umbrellas under us.
Deedee did drop dollars down ditch, delighting Derek.
Fanny fed Filiberto fifty fistfuls, freely flowing french fries.
Greg gave Gina gonorrhea.
Helen has hysterical, haunted hagiography.
Keith kept kangaroos' kinetic kicking ketchupped.
Leonard let lions leave laundry, lazily languishing landlubbers.
Cunctated cunt caresses can cause chaos.
The theriac that Theresa took, totally tremendous!
Caparisoned cantering colts could carve canyons.
Orchidaceous orchiectomy ordered; Orville's organs out!
Stentorian Steve stole Sally's speech; she shot sonofabitch.
Sedulous Sarah studied several samples; she saw suspicion smearing Sam.
Meliorismic Mary memorized many mumbled mentionings.
Really, Robert's Rabbi read raccoon's runes; reneged repenting; rested ramex.
Velutinous vestal virgins vilify vaquero; verify vagitus.
Facinorous Freddie felt fine feathered fabric; fastened Frederika forward.
Geitonogamous gardens give good gatherings.
Iggy insists Ichabod's ichthyic impression is insanely impressive.
Don't dauerschlaf, Dan; do dance divinely; drink drams; dig ditches; dream.
Galericulate guys got good gravity, give girls goosebumps.
Jejune Jenny just jealous; jostles Justine's jentacular jerky.
Vivian's viduage vociferously verbalizes va va voom.
Hector's honey heard haiku, habanera'd Harry happily.
Nancy's negligee nudged Ned's napiform need.
Scott's sottise said she should stay safely sane.
Greta's grieving grew great graphospasms; God, going got grim.
You yell "yahoo," yammering your yesterday's youth.
Ed's ecchymotic elbow earned everyone's envy.
Ellen's ebriosity edged Ernie etherward.
Nina's nascent niceties never needed nothing.
Tines tintinnabulate their trust that they tried true.
Pete picked Polly's paean; penis pet perfectly!
We warbled where wazir was watching; we winked.
Mellifluous melodies mean millions may marvel many monkeys' mannerisms.
Plastic plants placed per Polly's pleas pointed Pleiades' perimeter; pianist's plinking plunked.
Cotton could cover Cathy's cuts; coffee can cure crust-eye.
Pirates preachily professed platitudes, playing paddleball, privately prodding.
Lemurs love lemon logs, leftover lunchmeat, Lincoln Logs.
Freddie fingered Frieda's folds; found fascinating female.
Brenda brought Brian's brain blocker; bloomed beautifully.
Katherine kept kitty's kitchensink kangaroo.
Alan's angry article aroused Angela's arms akimbo.
Rebecca read Radiohead review; really resented reasoning.
Scott scared Scarlet; scooter skidded; she shattered shin.
Ian interested Ingrid in intercourse; inspissated interest isn't illogical.
Caitlin's cats can chant.
The pneumatic rifle has known my touch. Can't claim to know everything, but I know this much: You had it comin'.
You came in here all sincere, a fellow sinner needing sympathy and an ear. You told me they beat you, you told me they lied, told me so many stories 'til I about cried. At the end I gave you a check, a chaste peck. I prayed you'd come back. You blasted symphonies in my ears that shook out tears. My friends told me I was stupid, and they were right. Yet you still kept me up at night.
The ristras of garlic bang against the kitchen door as you open it with arms full of groceries. Like a cat, I watch for it as a sign of your return, the shaking bulbs becoming a clamoring crowd, proclaiming "he's here! Have you heard?"
I grab some groceries from you and start to put them away - fresh pasta, homemade sausage and fat, juicy mangoes. I keep one of the mangoes out and cut it up. I press a slice to your lips. You grab my wrist as you eat the whole thing, right out of my hand. Lord have mercy.
There's smoke in my hair, and it feels good, a soft blanket of carbon dioxide and camp fire stories. My shoes are wet from walking along the water and there are little pebbles of sand in my shoes that grind into my feet as I walk. I even take pleasure in that, as it reminds me I had a day full of sunshine and exercise, and it gives me something to focus on besides the nearness of you, which is so overwhelming my head's about to explode with stupid things I might say to ruin it. We walk in silence.
Her breasts heave in her Jolly Roger T-shirt as she dances, the cotton picture of death an intoxicating irony over the heaving mass of sex and confusion and life giving force underneath.
My breasts are actually bigger, I can't help but think to myself. But I never learned how to shake it with Daddy's Little It Girl abandon, and so you watch her and not me while I write poems in the corner and hate life. You wait patiently with your number like a customer at a deli, she serves you and throws the number in the air like confetti.
My onychophagic aunt paces the floor, waiting for your call. I hold my coffee cup like an anchor and peer into it as if it will tell me a fortune or a joke. I'm probably creeping people out as well, but there are worse ways I could kill time. Such as: Hurling this hot cup of coffee against the wall and cursing the day I ever met you. You called an hour ago to say you were headed to the hospital but haven't called back and you've got this whole household walking on eggshells when we should be watching "American Idol."
Hesternal heroes heard her hollers.
Books brought blessings by being biologically barren.
She shook shoulders; shivered.
Chicago's shoreline shone.
Cheater, cheater, chitlin chucker.
Tremulous Trevor tried tricking Trent; trod trepidatiously through.
Hungry Hungry Hippos have had hazy, humid hours.
Languorous lovers left langoustines; Larry latched lunch.
Stop stuttering, stand straight, stiffen stomach.
Pete's poems pelted Polly's pretty pons.
Ruby's radish remoulade received raves.
Chester chose Chubby Checker's chaplain; Chevy charged.
Please play plenty Plasmatics platters.
Busted-up, burnt Barb bent Bob's boredom.
Phil's physics professor pounded petulantly; Polly's pissed.
Roger's ruler really ran roughshod.
Tigers tinkled 'til they tangled tongues terribly.
Is hope a thing with feathers? It feels more like a rodent no one finds any charm in but me, something I keep in my inner coat pocket and sneak little pieces of cheese and cookies, keeping it alive in secret, hoping no one notices, hoping it doesn't shit in my pocket and stink me up. They say hope perches in the soul and sings. It feels more like something that draws me into myself and away from the world, something that gnaws my everyday life, chewing out holes like a jack-o- lantern, the thing hoped for the light within.
An amethyst remembrance of your smile is all that remains. They've thrown out all the maps to where you are; hired temps at $12 an hour to do nothing but dump them into huge shredders all day, turning your homeland into multicolored paper spaghetti.
Who knew you'd spark such fury? Such "there but for the grace of God"? Their God don't do nothin' for me; my faith in good will take my hand and guide me back to you. We'll glue back together the scraps we can find, add some new ones, find likeminded souls, start our country ground up.
Sapid supper, back and forth badinage, snifter bottoms rest in palms fat with dinners like these, amber liquid undulating, setting the sun on the evening's proceedings, the quavery line between party and afterparty. The conversation slows to code; those meant to decipher it will, the rest will go home.
But for now all are united in the haze of the dying light, laughing at jokes from the appetizer course so good they still echo in everyone's heads. You gaze at Theresa and the delicate way her fork rakes her dessert, pretend the tart is your back; the fork, her nails.
Aping apian noises, you run around the back yard, the chiffon wings of your costume flapping in the breeze in a manner as ridiculous as they are: Jerky, irregular, like a drunk trying to be debonair as he lifts his finger to signal another round.
You've got a bottle of champagne under your arm like a football and a shit eating grin on your face to rival a lottery winner's. "Buzz buzz!" cries the guy in the alien costume, running after you. "Feel my sting!" You both collapse in hysterics.
You think you've got me, but I've been studying autotomy.
That's right, now that heart you ripped out casual as a hunk of leftover Thanksgiving turkey is divorced from me, meaningless as a scribbled down fake number I gave some yahoo as a joke. I've got new cells dividing, new tissue weaving together in new ways you'll never know about.
You try to say you're sorry, but the window of opportunity is closed, the house it was in, razed. You send me a book I mentioned long ago, concert tickets. Cookies on my computer know the same things about me.
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