The vet said, “Felines are induced ovulators which means that when Nickel goes into heat, she’ll act really crazy…she’ll be kind of nuts until she has an orgasm.” I looked at Nickel and said, “Join the club.”
i’d like to remember that i once sat on the ground next to his legs, while he was working on the car, the upper half of his body hidden under an orange pickup. that we’d intermittently talk between listening to music on his tape deck. in the afternoons, i’d go to the library, dragging my copy of a spy in the house of love to some aisle i was sure no one would venture; i’d lay down on the cool tile, my head resting on my bag, and read until the sun wasn’t as fierce and the humidity didn’t suffocate. you could practically smell the air conditioning. that summer we drove up to st. louis to see the chili peppers play on the edge of the river, and it was the hottest summer on record since some time before we were alive. slick bodies dancing under the moon, and clashing our hips and elbows like some drunken tragedy when we got too close. at night, sinking my legs into cool baths until they looked mint green and dripping like quiet corpses. i saw a. today, and he came in all with intimate purple in the corner of his eyes, around his mouth, and on the undersides of his arms, the hollows behind his knees. across the room, he seems too close, and i’m afraid of what might happen every minute. there’s too much history of lapping milk tongues and banana soft biting on flesh. we are two strangers now, but it sits heavily between us, and we try to walk wide around it like a chained angry dog…
i’d like to remember that in the spring, before the neighbors came, i would tramp outside at around 6:20 every morning in my bra and a skirt to feed the dog. the few mice sitting in the bitch’s dish eating the remaining crumbs, would eye me coming until the last minute, and then go scampering up the garage walls, tails quivering, curling like question marks. i’d walk barefoot across the wet grass, until little bits of seed and pollen stuck all over my ankles, and get to the creek and climb down onto the lower rocks. the creek was fuller then, and you had to lower naked winter white legs slowly over the edge in hopes of not disturbing a snake slumbering beneath the rocky overhang that you couldn’t see under. i’d make the sign of the cross before sliding an innocent bared ankle to the possibility of vampirish fangs. water moccasin, cotton mouth, copperhead; the names of the wise old snakes who were bitter from blame, but were destined to crawl on their bellies like the preachers on t.v. said, their black eyes as deep as a hundred sins. once i’d got my balance on the rock, i’d stay real still and wait for the crawdads to dart out from under their murky rock home, the waterbugs, my grandpa called “skaters”, to dance lightly across the water. “down yonder” as my grandmother would say, gesturing to some unknown place just a bit farther than the eye could see, we’d swim in the deeper icy creek. it was so cold in the dead of summer, but we would challenge each other to go under water first, and inevitably someone would finally dare. they’d fly up, and then the trick of trying to look calm, assuring everyone else, “it gets better…you just have to get used to it.” we all went under anyway, and after you were half frozen it would get better. you’d climb through brush, under the barb wire fence and up to the big rock, and you’d announce your jump: toothpick, cannonball, forward somersault, and off you’d go, run, run, jump and drop through the air like clumsy junebugs. after tiring out, we’d sit on the rock with the water dripping off us and the spiders climbing and the mosquitoes just starting to come out, and we’d slap and wave and try to dry out before getting eaten alive. sometimes we’d pass around a pint someone had stole from their daddy’s liquor cabinet and sometimes we’d share a pack of cigarettes, blue smoke curling like lazy tears. by the time you got home, the lightning bugs were in the fields and the deer came prancing out like little secrets from the wet shadows around the pines. shower off the smell of creek water, eat dinner in restaurants that smelled smoky and dangerous, but served up the warmest mealy hushpuppies you’d ever had.
the anniversary of my grandfather’s death is coming up. my grandmother has been getting drunk on wine and traveling since he died. she and the priest sit outside, under the porch, under the dusty rotting wood and ferns, and get sloppy drunk and reminisce about their recent trips. father, the sweet indian man, who smells so different and warm when he comes in like secrets and tears; his accent like rolling hills. he presses his hand, strong and quiet, on my back, and it feels like a map, like all the answers. i understand the instantaneous love of stray dogs; i understand why they follow certain people, begging for a home. everyone wants some sort of direction. at night, father stands watching his reflection in the window. he is framed in the pane with his big shoulders, and i can hardly breathe when it’s all so beautiful like this. he is as perfect as funnel cakes, dusted with powdered sugar.
we sit around in the mornings, eating pound cake with black coffee. i don’t like my nail polish that i put on last night, and you looked more interesting yesterday at midnight. i didn’t have morning breath and knotted hair. mimicry is the highest form of flattery. i mimic the way she turns her lips during conversation, the way she makes a little sound in the middle of a story, and the way he waves through the glass window at me.
i can tell when b. arrives because of her knock, and the way her shoes speak with their dependable monotone. troop, swish, troop, reliably down the walk in front of my house. i can imagine just what she looks like, having peered at her from the edge of the windows so many times. her mouth, cherubically drooping, and her eyes downcast, contemplating only where she is in any given moment, never looking to the past nor the future. she has a durable disposition about her that is always steadfast in the face of my dipping and furling nature. she never knocks on the door, choosing instead to open it and come right in, leaving an eternal feeling that she’s just stepped out of room for a minute to pour a drink, and conversations are always picked up as if they were only on hold and the ideas are still ruminating. when she comes in today, my head is resting on the seat of the couch, and my legs are pouring over its’ lumpy arms, fat and gloating, like a pompous bird of paradise. today i have taken the mood of an overindulged child, and i don’t answer when asked questions that bore me. i don’t care what happened at work, and i don’t care what your family did on saturday night, but oh, tell me about the moon at 2 a.m. or the way you cut your finger peeling potatoes and had to hold a rag around it and it bled all night; how you supposed you needed stitches. i answer those tales with inquiries and observances, although, if forced, by “are you just thinking, or what,” i will probably answer your tedious stories too.
You never really broke-up with your high school girlfriend, the hot nationalist— her legs smooth as the flag, her neck like the inside of a coconut. Freshman year, you pressed sorostitutes against the stained wallpaper of the frat, & they all lugged beneath their skirts the same grief vending-machine. It was Pittsburgh, a kingdom where sunlight is taxed, & you were still a Poli-Sci major. You wore T-shirts with portraits of patriots on the front & told girls how Ché Guevara, baby, was buried beneath the Fountain of Youth, how the golden bullets planted in his beard were buds waiting for Spring! Spring! Spring! The Puerto Rican girl wanted to marry you. The black girl wanted to kill the Puerto Rican girl. The white punk girl stomped on your heart like a wah-wah pedal. You were always drunk, stumbling up some stairwell into anybody’s room. The Puerto Rican girl said, You’re so militant the black girl said, You’re so white the white girl said, You’re so white & there was no arguing in Pittsburgh: the last two letters of the city’s name slumped down your throat like an anchor. What were you doing there,
getting stoned under the brazen street signs, pretending not to understand the Stops & Yields? Is there a name for the kind of heat you lacked inside, your smoke digging its phantom oar into the night? When Ché Guevara’s body was found in the mountains of Bolivia, you became an English major— strutting into classrooms with Lorca’s Romancero in your pocket, studying the different types of darkness that lay under the different types of comforters, your mind weaving its way out of the hot nationalist’s plaid skirt’s maze. Years later, all the English girls you loved are calling & e-mailing because they’re going out of town with their new boyfriends & need you to feed their cats. Remember me? said the literary theorist who called orgasms little deaths, as if you could forget the way she yelled You’re killing me! You’re killing me! & campus police banging on the door & questioning you when you answered wrapped in her sheets. Then, there was the girl from poetry workshop whose room was full of stuffed animals named after contemporary poets: a lion named Komunyakaa, a shark named Jorie Graham; the leopard, Denise Duhamel, cuddling with the panda, Nick Carbó. There was the visiting poet— how you lay together like syllables in an iamb, how she was the stressed one, & how when the girl from workshop found out, you had to return the stuffed owl named Harold Bloom she gave you for your birthday. Of course, there was the wannabe-novelist who left you for the almost-doctor because poets have small & selfish penises, especially you. There was the Lit Crit chick who said your poems were too self-conscious, who argued that stubbornism was a word, & so you left her, though she claims she left you first. Feed Blossom half a can of wet food, her e-mail said, & enough dry food to last through the night. The key is in a ziplock beneath the hyacinths. You replied that you were gone, not that it mattered because you have no idea what hyacinths are. After you dropped the visiting poet off at the airport, she called from the plane & requested you write a poem entitled “Use Bottom Cushion for Flotation,” & you wrote, There is a small man drowning inside me— the supple syllable of water so eternal I’m afraid of mistaking it for silence. And you meant it too. Because they did not love you; because you’re still licking your fingers that have long lost the taste of their skin. After all those little deaths, how much life still remains? There are eight different types of darkness beneath any given comforter. When you come home, the machine winks with a message: O Cultural Strumpet! they all say at the same time. Feed my cat!”—Cultural Strumpet, Kevin A. González (via milkdrop) (via bosinney) (via bookselves)
“She remained as she had always been, amused and curious,
but strangely distant, as if her own life were a book
she was reading, one she might put down at any moment
in order to gaze out the window at the sky.”— The Secrets of a Fire King (via thechocolatebrigade)
e. and i used to walk around downtown jonesboro, and i’d touch the sides of the buildings i liked, palm nicely pressed against the sunwarmed bricks. i told her i liked that one because it reminded me of the Bailey Bros. Building and Loan Association building from It’s a Wonderful Life, this one because i could imagine secretaries of old, pecking away on clanky typewriters until their gentlemen came to escort them home, and the that one because it was perfectly golden and squatting every evening when we were stopped by the red light. we’d peer through the dirty windows of the buildings that had yet to be restored and daydeam that we could afford one (not to mention the restoration!). i always liked the ceilings best, and e. liked to roll her fingertips across the doorplates, mumbling their numbers under her breath. sometimes we would find ourselves wandering through the thrift store where, our lady of the nights, the drag queen “marina diamond” worked. she wasn’t “marina diamond” during the workday through, and i always was startled when a depressed looking man would “ahem” behind me. i’d stand there staring at this pathetic man, and then i’d catch the curve of his fingers around the hangers he was holding, and i’d realize who it was. we didn’t talk much; i always liked marina better anyway. she had a better habit of snapping her clip-on earrings open and shut during particularly good gossip she told, and truthfully i didn’t even remember his name. later on, e. and i would go to the drag parties at her house. i’d sit around with the few hetrosexuals with only daytime names, and we’d smoke joints and change the cassettes in the tape deck to correspond with whose number it was, who was coming out. then the ladies would come, swishing through the doors in sequins and fake lashes. they sautered and rolled and whirled, and sometimes, someone would have to shake my knee when it was my hit because i’d become so enthralled with eva’s carmen miranda oufit. after the show, they would get drunk in the kitchen and the resident hairdresser would do cheap cuts and coloring. we would sit with our hair wrapped in foil with blow dryers carefully trained. then hunched over the sink with sweaty margarita glasses, orbiting like planets, and get washed out. after the cut, we were released into the living room where a chorus of “OH, GIRRRRL,” would ring out. we were made to turn our heads, primp and preen, but we did it clumsily and apolgetically, blushing like little girls around a room full of “women”.
Because there is nothing more unattractive than being jaded by love or the thought of romance for romance’s sake at such a young age. Nothing cool about being jaded. Though there is something undeniably cool for a fervor for life, for being excited about anything, something perpetually sexy about being hopeful and carefree and fuck-it. Fuck-it like this: Fuck it, let’s make the best of it.
People with the ‘Hallmark made this dumb holiday to make dumb money’ defense: Let me direct you to my scrotum, conveniently located in-between my huge dick and my newly renovated perineum, with ample parking for your mouth.