Tuesday, December 17, 2013

sleep city burst

At this hour James is always asleep. His eyes shuttered, quite turned off to the world at large. Or even this small slice right outside his precious windows: a sleepy dreary conflation of whispers and muffled screams, yes, I opened the windows, the guttural and bellicose rushing along hand in hand with the silly spillage of the drunken revelers, fully insistent in the their obstinate foolishness, one might feel compelled to name their determined plodding Faith, a stupid label but indeed handy and easy, and who really cares what labels get chosen and slapped on at this hour.

Yes, this night is lovely. A steady stream of vehicles on the interstate and little else moves. Ten thousand lights shimmer, a ghastly descriptor but that is what lights do, and these shimmering lights are everywhere, in whatever direction the head turns, so many little candles burning, maybe each a separate story or life, maybe each a disappointment burning only from habit. The revelers don't care and they very much have it right. A few gropes and a noisy stumble > idle rumination.

By the time James makes his way to this seat in the morning the page will have been turned. His stick people will be running about under the full illumination he so despises. Lately he can't even look at them, the light too bright, unless it is to perish one. But that is his business and his worry and for tomorrow or such time as he picks up his struggle again. It should be reported the only hole in this evening's spectacular picture is the two plus city blocks that James has labeled his cemetery. It can not be seen this evening, no lights shimmer nearby to illuminate, it is void, null, empty, as much imaginary as anything else, as far as can be proven it is in James's head only, his special resting place a blight to all of the loveliness that surrounds. Someone should wake him the fuck up.    

Sunday, December 15, 2013

discarded M

She claimed that I rebuked her. A deal breaker, in my book. Irrefutable evidence of a weak mind or weak spirit, one or the other. Such a very disturbing turn of events. Life's ebbs and flows remain such mystery. And what I said was not a rebuke, not nearly a rebuke. It was so not a rebuke that I will merely tell of it and not show it. In fact I will never show it and after today will not speak of it. It was, at best, or at worst, a gentle admonition. A gentle gentle admonition. What is less? More like a verbal jostle. Damn it already, it was almost a caress. At the extreme end of acceptable misinterpretation it was but the faintest reminder that on a good day - implied: containing a good audience - I can speak and wink simultaneously. What low form would deprive me this small pleasure? Who would gladly retain the fierce pleasure a wrestle with the tiger provides while simultaneously seeking redress for every scratch and bruise? 

So M is no more. And that is that. Returned to sender, adieu adieu adieu. And while I feel fully comfortable with this course of action - it was certainly correct, in the way that an early roll of 3,1 played to make your opponent's 5 point is always, irrefutably correct, for a thousand years correct and for eternity correct, at least until they change the rules of backgammon, do not ever second guess this decision, no matter the outcome, no matter the gains or losses, look elsewhere for your weakness. And I will lay claim to weakness here. Two to tango, tangle, and all that. Know that I am quite aware of this weakness and will seek to shore it up in the coming weeks and months. Have, in fact, already begun a series of repairs that ought provide serious bounty. But that is just gossip today, better to wait until it is news. And more importantly, it is disrespectful to the lady just ended to be whispering about her replacement.  

A revelation: she thought me funny. At one time she thought me so very funny. Rip roar funny. Guffaw funny. Sublime funny. So she said. More than once. Often. Quite often. To the point of discomfort, eventually. Will she laugh? Smile at least? Grin? And what would M say now? Do I remain funny or have I been re-categorized? And if M no longer considers me funny, then am I no longer funny? Who else thinks me funny? Maybe M would say wry or dry but no longer fly? And what of all the funny words I gave to her, my funny words, my very best material - have they been crumbled and tossed into the fireplace, sent into the ashen oblivion that gathers all but the very best of words? Or have they been stored in the dark dank cellar closet, next to the wash room where she keeps the baited rat trap?

Bye, sweet M.  Jokers are a dime a dozen. You'll find another one soon enough. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

growing daisies

It is dreary, dull outside of James's window this morning. Two stickmen walk in opposite directions: one approaching and one departing: a wry cosmic insistence felt like the peck of a kiss on the second cheek: it is not affection, it is custom. And neither stick fellow quakes or shivers or pauses so we will see nothing here this morning.

Of course this is not true. One need only look and something will be seen. And eyes can be closed if that is what is needed to improve the picture. The mind has so many windows in. Yes, even more than the fifty six James has on the first floor. But I am guessing here. Not about the fifty six. They have been counted.

The vacant lot is no longer vacant. And it is wrong to label it a lot - it is much larger. Two full city blocks. Plus maybe a little more. And this morning the vacant lot is no longer the scorched earth referred to in an earlier post. It is no longer an affront or an assault. The grass is full and the terrain almost rolling. It is open, without the clutter of benches and sidewalk, so children might run and play and fall and roll around and giggle and laugh. An older gentleman could walk his dog easily across the expanse, plenty for the dog to sniff and discover, a decent enough oak waiting in the southeastern corner for shade or to lean against should the gentleman need pause.

Yet the grass appears greener than is natural come December. There is some withering, some pale blotches, some concession to the cycle of cool cold warm hot. But it is not my imagination that this lot is greener than most, almost bursting with green. Such a spectacle, contrasted against the dreary dull gray backdrop, the almost foggy skyline. The pale charred buildings and lifeless pavement. The occasional tick of life nothing but a crawl, less than a crawl, like the most languid insect. It seems as if today the Great Usurer has decided He will have the settings on Low. And then He decided on lower, for good measure. His humor in these matters exquisite as always.

And so I am left to think: whatever came before this lovely green lot, whatever was knocked down and excavated - such excavation that yes, I was grieving not so long ago, railing against even - whatever was lost, was fair price. At least by my measure, at least this very morning. Tomorrow may return a differing opinion. But right this very minute I question whether I ever might feel more enthralled with such ordinary scenery.

Forgive me but I just now realize what this lovely green lot most reminds of: cemetery, sans tombstones. Of course. That would explain the unnatural greenness, which, even though now exposed, I remain fond of. Perhaps more fond now than before. Even if it is trickery, so what? Trickery does not fully define this lovely green picture any more than vacant defined it before. It remains green oasis amongst all of this unnatural death and desolation, among this forever frightful black and white cartoon, this insistent gray horizon. So the green is appreciated. And as much as I piss and moan when feeling slighted, I have to admit it is damned decent of the Old Fuck to drop my resting place right into plain view. The less than subtle reminder. Is rejoinder better? Enjoinder? Genius, Sir. Pure fucking genius. Maybe I will start referring to Him as the Great Comedian. The (hysterically) Funny One. So many choices, but for another time. Look out the window. Look. Each look more enthralling. My green. My green place. My lovely green cemetery. Oh, my.


Friday, December 6, 2013

spent sent

The Stegner application got sent out on Sunday night. December 1st, the deadline. I putzed with it all weekend. Rewriting. Revising. Lopping and chopping. Adding a bit here and there. Fretting. Reading and rereading and rereading. I was very tired come eleven o'clock Sunday evening.

What I take from the experience:

The work I sent was good, very good in spots. But likely not good enough. I'm okay with that. The Statement of Plans that I sent them blew. Absolutely blew. Surely they will sit around in a circle and read the worst ones they come across and just as surely mine will make that cut. I would bet money on it. A considerable sum of money. Every time I rewrote that thing it got worse. And I hadn't thought to save the pre-edited versions until I was on about the 15th revision. So it got exponentially worse to a degree I can't even fathom. What is so fucking hard about saying "I want to do X because of Y, and oh btw, here's a bit about me"? Will somebody please remind me of that next November?

But come Sunday, deadline day, I did go at it very hard. I pushed. And pushed on and through the noise and fatigue. Part of me was okay with just calling off the dogs, but no, I decided I wanted this, so I fought through, I competed. Yes, I competed. I have truly forgotten what that felt like. It used to be second nature, a daily occurrence. No more. It has been a long time since I have tried for something.

And I realized afterward: when did I stop competing? when did I decide it was okay for me to be just another guy? an ordinary guy. a listless go nowhere lame ass mofo. when did I decide I wasn't good enough to get anything I wanted?

And I realized afterward: I like the old me much better than this other one. I must compete again.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

a not so grim Ouroboros does feast

It was her idea to take a walk. It was late evening I was tired and would have preferred just sit. But I saw her look of expectation, exploration, and I quickly built some enthusiasm. Sure. Let's walk to by the Alamo. By where we used to feed the pigeons? We used to, she said. We.  And we + activity. And this she remembered. Fondly. And now wishing to revisit. Me lately feeling like a phantom, a shadow, those words pleased. Me lately walking unsteadily between  is   was   might be. Me lately feeling a constant drain, a siphon, and thus the inclination to rest, to sleep, because of the toll of such roads just listed. And then, Where we used to. Such a rush.

Too many memories move away from me. They lose distinction, detail. Diminished vibrancy. Imprinting new ones has become difficult. A chore. A task. I fear friends think I do not listen closely because I often can't recall a detail they gave me a month ago. A week ago. Yesterday. I appreciate the kindness when they choose to just tell me again. But there do remain those memories that bring pleasure. A great fondness. This point in time was Real and it was Good. Such memories have become inviolate. A grounding of my existence. It is possible I visit them too often to the detriment of now. The miser always stacking and arranging and admiring his coins. I am not blind to this possibility. But I must have them.

I find it jarring then when my memories of times with others have faded for them. They recall vaguely. Sure, they say. Politely not saying, What's the point? Why do you bring this up now? The vacant look that compels me to question have I even existed to them before this moment? To make me want to flee from them, or retreat from the whole world of people and forgetting. Quit this uneven game. To complete the forgetting before I start to count all of the times I must have disappointed to receive such zero in return. All things in balance. It is the only certainty.

I remember sitting with N at the coffee shop that used to be at Bitters and West Avenue. That place gone so many years now. We're sitting at a little table on the tiny patio, maybe three or four little tables total, the choice of outside a concession to my smoking habit that she despised. "I just can't wait for the other shoe to drop," she tells me. "The pain of the wait is so much worse than the result of the drop." I had never heard such a thing before. She explains that she would rather knock the shoe down herself than endure the suffering of waiting for its inevitable fall. All shoes fall had been her experience. In this particular scenario she had recently decided to end a relationship, by all accounts a good relationship, because she was just too terrified of him leaving. Or him changing, becoming a dick. This lesson of dropping shoes she taught me too well that day. Later I would be the one to knock the shoe down. N's shoe. A deep and full regret. How can I ever overlap memories with N now?

"Do you remember all the pigeons here?" She didn't say that when we made it to Alamo Plaza but I don't care because I could tell by how she looked around it was familiar to her in a way that pleased her and thus pleased me.  She remembered me and her and this place and equated it with Good. We may have been equally pleased with our reminisce. I was happy, in the moment.

The first story I wrote was called Mr. Kindresol. It was born as much as written and none since have ever come out like it. I had gotten my first writing desk maybe a week earlier, from Goodwill for twenty bucks, and it just sat there in my bedroom with its vast writing surface and its drawers that I had populated with pens and pencils and notebooks. I was still in the process of looking for a deal on a typewriter. And then one night, about 3 AM, I woke and said to myself, I must sit at that desk and write this story. I had work the next day and needed the sleep but the pull was so strong I could not in good conscience ignore it. And I knew I would be unable to fall back to sleep. So write I did. Got it all in that one sitting. Boy, was I pleased. So pleased I didn't know what to do.

D, the singer/poet/song writer had me come over and read it to him. In my excitement I butchered a couple of spots and he didn't hide his displeasure. "I certainly wouldn't pay to hear you read," he told me. His voice was exquisite - rich resonant kind firm worldly - and I would have paid to hear him read. "Write another story, right away," he told me when I finished reading. Huh? You like it, right? WTF. "Look, I know lots of guys that wrote a story once. Or a song, ten or twenty years ago. Or they wrote a poem that they can recite to you at the fucking bar when they're getting blasted on any given lonely night. Write another story. Right away. Don't get attached to that one. Don't be that asshole at the bar."

After the coffee and N teaching me about the weight of suspended shoes we went to Slick Willie's. She was awful in pool but insisted she loved it. I humored her. To me it's no fun when the objective is fun. Excellence is the only fun objective. N didn't see it that way. And after pool we sat outside on the parking lot curb, the coffee shop had closed, and she went over story number two line by line, her reading it aloud a sentence at a time, then pausing to offer praise and criticism in the most gentle manner I have ever known. I was so uncertain about the reaches I had taken in that 2nd story that I had been afraid to show it to anyone. But now, watching N read it so slowly with such care and concern, but then erupting into laughter, so full and outlandish, so genuine, me not understanding but trusting, having to trust, who could think to invent this? We sat under the street lamp on the curb for more than an hour. N devoted to my words thoughts ideas feelings. My art. How is it possible to grasp the suddenness of experience, the newness, the absolute mind fucking blowing shock? So, quite obviously, after N gave me perhaps the greatest hour plus of my life she turned into a shoe.

For a long time I thought I could write her back into my life. If I wrote something smashing enough then the writer in her would compel her other self to forgive me and then she would come back. It would be awkward at the first but then we would pick up not far from where we left off. Well, we can't know about how well that might have worked because the smashing part hasn't got done. But, in a manner, she has come back. As other memories retreat, recede, fade, she by default is pushed ever closer. More to the front now. More properly displayed now. Prominent. And I remember now her voice, the frankness (she loved to say, Fuck, not for the shock value of the word but for the sound of it; the abrupt ending pleased her almost to hysteria when she was in one of those moods). And now she reminds me that she's been here the whole while. Do you remember the coffee place over by Bitters and West, at the very end of the strip center, I ask her and before the words are even out I regret giving them voice. I don't want to know her answer. It will just kill me if she doesn't remember the night I resolved to wreck everything.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Finishing Stick Man

So the stick man stood at the intersection and demonstrated a noticeable unease. Something like an exaggerated twitching. Maybe an elongated twitching would be a better description. Either way, it was quite obviously a signal of distress. And so sudden. One moment the view outside my window is as it always is, the movements approximating serene in their predictability, the continuous uniformity in all of the daily variations. So these aberrant movements of the stick man, while admittedly small, were quite jarring. Almost unnatural. Foreign, at least. This distraction, if converted from optical to auditory might compare to the telltale clicking a poor card mechanic makes when dealing from the bottom of the deck. Listen, not watch, is the best way to catch a card cheat. In fact, it is the only way if the cheat be any good. And then you must listen with such an intensity that it will be clear to the cheat what you are about. You may as well announce your suspicions at this point. And you should also know that the cheat has been waiting to fall across one like you, one who hopes to listen well enough. He may go weeks and weeks, months and months, robbing game after game after game and finding no one, feeling nothing. Or feeling only listless, mechanical. Feeling the chilled solitude as if of a different species. And this is the truth of it. The card cheat is of a different species, and predator can not commune with prey except through feeding.

So a short burst of listening will suffice. The cheat will be delighted.  He will smile more fully now. His chatter will improve. Watch how he now sits more upright, almost fully erect, and moves his hands from his lap to upon the table. Engaged. Listen to the pitch of his voice rise. And, should you be interested, in his excitement he will reveal some of himself. Full drops of authenticity left among the practiced conversation. Your mere acknowledgement, your very small effort, will act as a trigger release, flooding him with such sweet memories, sending him awash in reminisce.

One would think that the cheat should shortly snap out of it. Perhaps he should. But he will not. His present trajectory suddenly has been reset to the beginning. His senses are heightened now. His shuffle and deal crisper, more fluent, poetically so, mathematically perfect with maybe some silly flourish added only because such exuberance demands expression. Who knows what to do with such exuberance when it finally appears? It must be put somewhere. So for this lingering time, this advanced creature will entertain in your midst, revel and reveal, while himself feeling fully connected to his origin, his source, to himself of course, himself at the beginning, himself in solitude, hour after hour, no clocks allowed or needed, shuffling and dealing, first with a quarter deck because the proper grip is hard to master, and then a half deck, pulling cards in front of a mirror on the desk so the eyes can properly scrutinize, life and death business someday with what the eyes can see, and no sounds allowed in the room but those of the cards being moved in his hands because sound is everything in this game; and that first realization that he could channel his mind through his fingers, forge a superb physical skill  only an elite athlete might understand; and that moment the resultant arrogance surfaced and declared that the money, all of  the money, on the table or in the various and countless pockets, belonged to him and no one else but him, and, of course, the spectacular absurdity of that moment, and his decision to embrace it and all it encumbered, knowing full well that such a path of excellence and insistence would be lonely. And because you have brought this reverie on with your careful listening the thief will settle upon you in the way a Lothario might settle upon his Calista. And all the while he will steal with more might and more precision from you than all of the others at the table combined, and do not be hurt by this, and do not be confused by this, because conquest can never truly be conquest unless properly labeled such.

So stick man did not stagger, as suggested two months ago. But no deception or subterfuge was intended then. Hopefully now you can understand how his unease and twitching might have felt like a stagger to one tasked with watching. And, as reported then, I did encourage him to DO IT. Mouthed those exact words. Why not? I've plenty of stick men outside my window and his twitching was distracting and annoying and aberrant. And remember, the great Player of Games had adjusted the settings outside my window. Everything was moving faster. Too fast, truth be told. Blurrrrr. If the stick man stepped into the traffic and got broken then maybe the traffic would stop. Maybe the settings would be put back to normal. And then maybe I would stop feeling the urge to open a window wide and see if I can fly.

I thought I would feel guilty after encouraging the stick man to DO IT. But I didn't feel a thing, except some increased impatience. I didn't want to wait all day on the stick man. Do it or don't do it.  Then I felt guilty that I didn't feel guilty so I got up and opened two windows, figuring if I was going to encourage stick man to step into traffic, I at least ought force myself to listen to the messiness. That felt equitable and calmed down my guilty feelings, which had started to tug at my stomach. So I opened the  two windows I could most easily get at while the stick man continued to waver and twitch. I don't know if the smell hit me first - stale, like baked pavement, and rubbery, lifeless, foul - or if the heat hit me first, but the splash of heat, easily been one hundred degrees outside, felt like it sucked the moisture right from my face and arms, almost instantly.  I was shocked by how easily the heat reached through my pores and extricated my little moisture.  It felt like an assault. And a base one at that.

Before I had recovered from the assault and before I even could sit back down the stick man made the move. One moment the stick man was still wavering and twitching, such a spectacle of perpetual torment and indecision, and the next moment this odd creature is in full motion, stepping from the center strip of the island into the innermost northbound lane. The lane of traffic that faces my window, faces towards me. Thump! Have you ever thrown down a fifty pound sack of potatoes in anger? That sound. The vehicle was a black late model SUV and it knocked the stick man a good twenty or thirty feet and into the center lane of the northbound traffic. Centrifugal force had its way, bending the shape of the stick man's body like a V. When the body landed it slightly spread out again before an older model sedan took its turn and knocked stick man forward a few feet before engulfing the carcass. The stick man managed to get stuck to the undercarriage of the sedan that then dragged the body past my window and out of sight. A few cars slowed. A few screeched tires to stop. Gawkers. Some curious  pedestrians. I set to closing the opened windows and by the time I was finished normal traffic had resumed.

Best I can tell he took his ending like a man. Not a peep from him.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photons taking shortcuts in vertical temperature gradients

If you have been to visit you know that I have lots of windows. Fifty six on the first floor alone. Big healthy windows. Some smaller but still sufficient to offer a good look at the city. West, southwest, and southern views can be had without effort. Just look. A southeast or east look requires a stretch of the head, maybe even an open window. So how is it I have come to only look out of a one of the fifty six? A fixation now on a one that provides a directly southern view. A low southern view to be more precise. I have heard it said that if you look too far south you will surely find Hell.

There is little to see. A cleared lot the size of two city blocks recently appeared, almost front and center. Like a taunt. What existed before now removed. Cleared. And there is no new construction. No one treads, nothing moves. On the periphery streams of automobiles move in diametric directions. Barely audible. A few veins of trees separate and surround the asphalt and the occasional pedestrian. Presumably for affect. Like a frame, a border. A suggestion of normalcy. It feels as cruel ruse. Insult.

One morning finds the cars move faster than is typical. As if the great Player of games has adjusted the settings. Now they move as if they are on a highway and not a city street. Constant acceleration. Blurrrr. Or perhaps I lack the discipline necessary to properly integrate the imagery. Their sudden insistence defeated by my indifference. Or vice versa and I will not argue. I don't particularly care. I did not ask for the settings to be adjusted. Just so you know I would have the street be emptied, entirely deserted, rather than populated by lifeless things that move faster than I care to watch. I can no longer scrutinize. Blurrrr. They all are as good as dead. I struggle to imagine. This inanimate world outside my window gives me nothing.

A stick figure of a man crosses closely in front of the traffic. Too closely, I think. A bit cavalier. A bit aggressive, almost assertive. He makes it halfway across before the light changes and so he stops in the center island - a thin strip of pavement in the middle of four divergent streams. He looks drab from this distance. He is drab. Too drab a fellow to scrutinize. But he wavers, almost staggers about, in the center island for a long moment, his unsteadiness jarring amongst such certain scenery, such predictable movements, and I wonder if he feels tempted by the thought of extermination by automobile. It is thrilling to consider and then I realize I must quickly consider my response - will I avert my eyes if he chooses to step in front of the onrush? No, of course not. I will watch. I do watch, intently. Stick man's gallery of one. And I urge him to DO IT. I'll hear nothing. His finish will be a silent one for this audience. I need not worry about the unpleasant squish of busted flesh, the crackle of shattered bone. It will be entirely visual and visceral.

I have been silent ten days now. And counting. The last person I spoke to looked out my southern window and smiled deeply. We all hate adverbs but I choose deeply because it seems the smile originated in a place out of reach to most, certainly I could not reach it, and her smile also contained a loveliness quotient that I do not adequately know how to describe or quantify. If I possessed more courage I might label it as blessed. The night was warm, almost hot, and as we had just returned from a long walk, so were we. This was a moonless night and so of course somewhat dark. But lots of city lights interrupted, a few headlights, the deep breathing of a double decker tour bus. She stood and looked and she liked what she saw. Deeply, as I said earlier. For an uncomfortable while I watched her watch. Eventually I touched her shoulder, turned her head away, towards mine. What, I asked. Tell me. What, I repeated. Tell me what you see.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

moody limerick

Ever stoop with a fellow named Cracon?
We'd drink whisky then fry eggs and bacon
We'd argue this and that
He'd insist thin be fat
Now he all ganja like a Jamaican

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I did not work today. And after yesterday making words to The Man. Magical words. Describing a restoration or a re-imagining. Visions painted. Only noise. Blah Blah Blah.

I sit at a coffee place in a suit and tie and type. Earlier I read. I am neither contented nor ashamed. I saw glimpses of John earlier and now I feel neglectful. A gray man sitting across from me smells of decay. He frightens me and I hate him but I'm also grateful for him sitting there.

This morning I was doing my breathing stretching exercises and there was a short moment when my mind was not wandering and I was not chasing after it. I felt a lost stillness returned. I will not call this revelatory or grand or lasting. But there was a moment, a slice, that I feel correct in labeling peace.

They were supposed to send people to wash and polish my floors today. I think I can go home now.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

silent L, dreaming M

Outside of James's southern window is snow: scattered, piled, drifts. It is imaginary snow, of course, but it's what he sees when he feels desperate or nervous. Sometimes the hot summer sky turns blizzard and he can't even make out the street below. He pulls imagery from memory, taste of a different coast, taste of cold and snow, and he blends this memory into present. Imposes it over present. But he does not think about this operation any longer: now when he feels a certain way, a certain range of ways, he looks out the window and it is snow. And sometimes he feels chilled enough to put on a sweater, or on exceptional occasions, a coat.

And so James did not stir from his sleep last night while he watched himself throw snowballs with M in the street below. She was bundled, as a novice to cold would be bundled, the scarf so tight around the throat that if she was not dream imagery she might struggle for air. But she is dream imagery and so not only did she not gasp to inhale air, her exhaled hot breath shot an exaggerated three feet or so in front of her body. And not in puffs. More continuous, as if breathing has become entirely exhale to her. Like the stream above a sewer grate. An impolite analogy, but apt.

James and M stood a half block or so apart, facing each other. Muffled words were also thrown that they both had no trouble deciphering. The occasional nod or hand wave. And then a continuous barrage of snow in both directions. James always tossing short of target, as if a force field drops his bombs at her feet. M always tossing long. Some majestic launching strikes - five stories high? Ten? And her so small from the aerial view, but a tiny little launcher from James's window, where, of course, he watches himself and M snow fight. Snow play? He thinks they look happy, that he and she look happy. But she is so tightly bundled and his snow keeps falling short and so he beats on the window, first slowly, then rapidly, first with fingers, then with fists. He can't be sure of what he witnesses and he can't make them look up. They are oblivious. Again, James is but a spectator of his own events.

What James notices last is L taking notes on the sofa, in that furiously rapid manner of hers - the little fingers blurring across the page or keypad, this time page, her lips moving at similar speed to her fingers, words come, crisp words that James so wants to hear, but he can not. Her words sail all around him like M's snowballs sail over his head below, and James knows that if he could just hear what L is saying then everything will be Okay, everything in his life will fall into order. Everything. He also knows that if he would just stop pounding on the window he could hear L, clearly. But he can not corral himself. Can not harness this overwhelming need to pound on the window, to make those below him in the snow see him, listen to what he must tell them so their snow would reach each other, so they can play this game correctly. L becomes but a distraction, an annoyance,  and then a greater urgency arrives like the flush of a nice belt of bourbon and so he pounds faster and harder, of course it seems he should have shattered the window by this point, but it is a dream and sometimes dream windows are not made of glass. Eventually L was no more upon the couch. It was if she was never there, as if she never said a word. But L was there. James woke knowing L was there. More importantly, M knows it. And that is when M unraveled her scarf and tossed it like a lasso in James's direction.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

M, M, the second M, and more M

Another time we can hear about the woman whose hands open energy channels in the body. The woman who spent two hours on James and moved him from a mental state of depression and anguish to tentatively optimistic. That was on Friday. Yesterday he exercised in the gym for an hour, the first time since the latest surgery almost six months ago. It did not hurt as he had feared. He then jumped in the pool and splashed about for half an hour. He didn't drown.

Before the gym James got two solid hours of quiet. Writing time and he felt emptied afterwards. The one workout went as well as the other. Body and mind and spirit functioning as James has come to expect. Though not recently. James afraid those days of ableness lost. James embarrassed by the gusting of change, the unanticipated speed, his own bystander at his own crash. The sudden wreckage, the turned heads, the splatter and the screams. James the only observer of his sudden gradual demise. The weight of it.

So on this day James can leave those thoughts elsewhere. From coffee to computer to gym to pool and now watch him dance (a very loose interpretation of his awkward movements - what other word to use?) to loud pirated music on his computer, or, maybe it is loud pirate music on his computer - either way, he clearly doesn't give a damn.

Then a shave and an elongated shower, no concern with how much of the expensive as hell shampoo to use, several white shirts auditioned and rejected, the unexpected wrinkle, the too tight fit, eventually the winner, and then the auditioning of ties, the jacket and slacks choice obvious, and finally enter the celebratory shoes, the ones worn only when the mood is appropriately high. James will pay The Man today, but he will arrive looking as he feels.

Work work work. Calls, a visitor, emails, decisions, coffee pot banter, a lesson for a newb, an exchange of texts, a story for Nina, a flirtation, an appointment, paperwork. Four fifteen comes and James has had enough. He has grown unaccustomed to work and the fullness of his day now has him tired. Grocery store and home. Breakfast for dinner: pork chops, eggs over easy, whole grain toast, orange juice. Baseball on the television and some internets and so very drowsy. Off to bed by ten, asleep by ten oh five.

And yes, there is now a second M. She is unrelated to the first M, probably couldn't be much more different. Maybe another time details wills be given. The second M is only mentioned now because in the midst of James' busy day it was she, not the first M, who was texting him, and, with great urgency and emotion. Drama, they call it these days. Drama seems to have engulfed poor second M. Work drama and home drama. Fortunately, unlike James, she has no health or beauty drama - she is spectacularly good looking. A tiny package of soft hair and smiles and firm curves, almost like a doll.  But a doll with dark brazen eyes and always moist lips. Come take me to lunch, James? Please come soon. Tell me you'll come soon.

And everywhere else was M.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

M joins the Game while the Whore whores

Johnny has been placed over there, off to the side, out of the game. It was foreseeable and he would admit he was in too deep. Beyond his measure. I think he feels relieved to be done with her. But then Johnny doesn't understand the game. She is done with him when she is done with him. That time hasn't come yet. Enjoy the pause, Johnny. Make use of the time off to wise up. Stop being such an idiot.

She's on a plane soon. The long weekend here. The guest room hers if she wants. For her luggage, she said. And I imagine her pleased with the speed of her answer, the precision of its thrust, the winning parry. And it's now clear to me she has no idea who she bargains with. Does she think she can so easily break down the game that I've built over years of dedication?

They sit on her sofa and drink white wine. Her left leg in his lap, one of the bra straps loose at her shoulder. She speaks crisply. Precise words chosen, like an instructor. She calls him Billy, asks for his homework. His thin crummy pale face instantly flushes. Hot cheeks. He mumbles some words. Give me your chocolate milk then, and she holds out her hand. An insistent shake. He offers his wine glass, half full. Stand up, and so he does as told and faces her. She unstraps his buckle and unzips his pants, let's them fall to the floor. Let's see what you did bring for me. 

I count eighteen emails from M yesterday. There has been an escalation. Of course I noticed it. And Yes, while it was happening. So maybe M has more game than I originally thought. So what? She could never game at my pace. I can grift in my sleep. I do grift in my sleep. Dreams made of culls and false runs and slips. Unknowable colors, unless you know. She wouldn't know unless I showed her. She would have to get inside my dreams. 

She has finished with the little man with the thin crummy face. His time spent while no one was watching. Well, she was watching. And she kept her eyes on him. Showing him how grateful she was for his thin crummy cock. And when he had enough she easily took his convulsions, letting some of his dribble slide out the side of her mouth. Holding her head tilted up, like a pose. It is a pose. A snapshot for the little man to take with him. A remembrance of how hot it was. What a good time he had. His sick twisted little thin crummy snapshot. She doesn't care about any of that. She liked the taste of his dribble, the feel of his thin little crummy cock. She liked it so much she orgasmed while sucking him, which, not surprisingly, sped up the proceedings. 

It is morning and I drink my first cup of coffee. Three messages from M already. She is wordy this morning. She tells me the story of a weak game run by a weak player, a truly pitiful player. I offer sympathy, an inappropriate amount of sympathy - M can handle her shit, but, still, it just feels so wrong and I can't help but feel bad for her. Fuck him though. Loser. And M is wise enough not to attempt to exploit this show of compassion, to not even whisper a hint of the obvious - I am not impenetrable.

It all has been noted: his hygiene, length, taste, duration, specific stimuli, reaction, pre-dialogue, post-dialogue, fetish opportunities, donation and gratuity. Her penmanship is crisp and strikingly fluid. The occasional flourish. She will shower now. Freshen for her next guest. First hang the clipboard full of notes in the kitchen on the wall next to the telephone.   

More messages. M thinks me funny. Sublime funny. Guffaw funny. I send her words that are decidedly not funny, might be considered the opposite of funny. Perhaps not funny their only true meaning. She sends pictures - M in various poses. M with clothes and without. I write in progressively uglier detail and more messages follow. Why does she not back the fuck up? Why does she not quit already? Doesn't she know quit is a big part of the game? It's an end move, often a winning feign. Doesn't she know so few games make it through to winner time? Almost none, that I've heard of.

Monday, June 24, 2013

distasteful people

Sylvia's mother says she's too busy to come to the phone but thank you for calling. Do call again. Do call again after Sylvia's married. After Sylvia is (safely) gone. It is good to hear your voice and I will tell Sylvia you inquired after her. She will be pleased. Do call again. Not too soon, but do call again. (and the operator says forty cents more for - what?) Do call again. Do.

Faster now. Acceleration. Volume up now and windows down now. Cabin turbulence. Acceleration. One hand wheel one hand sky roof open. A swirl. Acceleration. Slow moving lane hogging motherfucker. Horn and finger. More volume now. Louder. Louder still. Turbulence. Motherfuckers everywhere. Horns and fingers raised. So many motherfuckers. Acceleration then. Speed.  

She greets him at the door in bra garter stocking. Half naked. She pours two glasses of Pinot Grigio, tastes her wine first before offering the other glass. He notices. He pulls her tight to him with his free hand. Cool skin. Surprisingly so. As if she is bloodless. He wants hot. He expects hot. "Open." He pours half of his wine into her mouth in a rush. She doesn't choke or gag, but wine runs down her chin, down her throat, between her breasts, over her panties and down to the floor. Now look at what you've made me do. Lick it up. 

Just last week we saw a Sylvia look alike at the coffee shop. She made our Cafe Americanos. I called you in from the patio to point her out. You seemed more confused than anything and I understood because I so poorly explained who Sylvia was. I can't explain it now either. But would it help to mention that she aborted our child? And then a few months later got on a plane and flew hours and hours to me with the expectation that she would be loved as if nothing had happened? As if she hadn't ripped me out of her at the same time? And would you understand if I said that I had to make her cry, to feel at least a little of what I felt? 

She is fully naked now. Claims, when asked, to weigh one oh seven. Plausible. She looks good. Looks like she works at it. Nice firm titties. What he likes, although he's had plenty that were fatter. A couple of sticks too. Variety, he says, and all that. He is annoyed that her skin remains cool. The implication a failure on his part. Maybe this is why he lacks playfulness when he slaps her ass. Beat some heat into that meat. 

Your disapproval was palpable when I told you that Sylvia wanted to be a flight attendant but couldn't gain the three pounds needed to make the minimum weight requirement. I was flustered seeing the look alike. And now I feel silly synopsizing her in that way. Surely she came across as banal. I didn't explain that Sylvia just wanted to fly, to get in the air, to walk the clouds, to say, Fuck you, to the limitations of the ground, or to some first class asshole. She didn't aspire to be a waitress in a flying box. It was an interlude, a phase, a whim. It was her teasing me that she could fly away and be gone. It was a warning that a couple of pounds could change everything.

The whore has a son from when she was married to the shrink. The shrink would inspect the house every evening when he came home. Meticulously followed a typed checklist he kept on a clipboard that hung in the kitchen by the telephone. And he expected a roast for dinner and later a naked wife that weighed 100 pounds when put on the scale. When in a good mood he would allow for plus or minus two pounds. His displeasure was occasionally violent but more often he used words. Fat stupid worthless disgusting and the like. At the dinner table he ate with gusto while observing every morsel that crossed her lips. He would nod when it was time for her to stop.

And the operator said forty cents more. For the next thirty years. Forty fucking cents. And he thinks it as if he hears these words for the first time. Like an instruction now. Like a command now. Acceleration now. Ignore the motherfuckers everywhere. More volume. The whirl. The beautiful fucking whirl.  

At his instruction she turns up the volume on the stereo. Louder. Louder. There. He feels the nut getting closer and he is afraid this time tears will follow and so he wants it loud enough so that the whore doesn't hear. Shameful shit if a man cries in front of his whore. But now she's got it too loud. He needs to hear the smacking flesh. The moans and yelps. Turn it down. Down. He can hear his voice over the music giving direction. This is most important. There. I said there. 

Michelle my belle. The words I know so well. Since you left me, my Michelle. My belle.

The music was not loud enough to prevent the whore from hearing his childlike bleating. His whimpering. He knew it sounded pathetic. He knew it made him pathetic. 

His weight upon her now intolerable. She can not writhe free. His weight covers her. Like a smell, she thinks. Like a stink. It is everywhere. She struggles which causes him to grip harder. To hold on, like a beguiled memory. Like it must be. Like it should be. 

The whore stops her struggle. There are worse things than stink. She will move on. And on and on and on. No looking back. On and on and on. And she might be singing. Humming lightly, at least. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

enter: M

Her fingers stretch across miles. And this fellow I know, we will call him Johnny, quivers. He shakes and he chatters and he looks so pale to me, like he's about to lose his lunch. What ails ye so, Brother? and Yes, I said it just like that, hoping for a bit of levity, maybe hoping to break the taut stretch of her that I too could feel. She had arrived, and I now caught his case of the nerves.

Johnny had said all of the things you would expect: he is happy, excited, thrilled, turned-on. She has come for him and I believe he feels these things. But he is now two or three shades paler, the look of after the lunch has been thrown, after the dry heaves, after the exhaustion of it all and the body slumps, slackens into unnatural contortions, the blood retreated into the heart. Watching his lips move under these circumstances reminds me of the ventriloquist's dummy, how the lips are always larger and active, the head and body unnaturally proportioned, decidedly phony. And as I feed him words, provocative?  stunning? alluring? mesmerizing? his lips chatter as if those words originated in his brain not mine, whilst the rest of him remains but a puddle of expulsion.

My phone rings, louder and more urgent than its setting. It is M. She doesn't have my number but I am not surprised. I expected she would have demands of me, the next, the one over, the plus one. She wants a description of Johnny so that she might prepare. Who would know better than I? He is tall, pale, two ten or so. Write it all down, she says. Make it appealing. Make it palatable. Make it plausible. I can do that. Give me a day. Give me him. I want Johnny.

Some men feel uncomfortable looking too closely at other men, describing them in any meaningful way. I would suppose because some account of their erotic nature must be given in any honest assessment and, for me at least, I do not wish to feel in any way connected to another man's sexuality. But I have showered next to Johnny at the gym, conversed naturally with him while he towel dried his genitals. I have spread suntan lotion on his back at the beach and at the swimming pool and thought nothing about it. I have always viewed him as if he were an extension of me: I watch me towel dry my genitalia; I apply lotion to my back. We have been this way, at least from my perspective (and should Johnny ever come up from under M I will have to inquire into his perspective) for as long as I can remember. And now that I consider it, I wish for no change. And I feel intruded upon by M. What does Johnny feel?

You will notice his eyes first. I could not tell you the color but they house the evidence of the spirit, the brain (his lovely brain!), and they peer and they stare, but also they laugh. While his lips remain closed, perhaps even twisted into what would seem a scowl, watch the eyes - as I said, they laugh, they sometimes almost strain with mirth. And when you speak he will train those eyes upon you as if he would climb into your skull, or snuggle inside your chest cavity, beside your beating heart, share the breathes of your lungs. If you contain but a spark of interest he will not be satisfied until he has penetrated you. Repeatedly, if you are interesting. (Note: the retreat will also be found in the eyes, should it come to that.)

The rest of the face and head is nondescript. Full head of hair clipped and goatee trimmed - yawn. The occasional grin. The neck is interesting, but only if you take note of the scar where they slit his throat. If he tilts his head back it presents, otherwise you have to seek it out. Ugly thing, really. Of course go lower and now you'll really find ugly. A veritable battlefield. Shoulder scars from multiple tears and incisions. Chest cavity opened and closed. Abdomen scars, knife and bullet wounds. Plus the muscle atrophy and the extra layer around the midsection from lazy overeating after the most recent procedures that immobilized Johnny for several months. Suffice to say it's better for all involved if he keeps on his shirt.

I will take the time I would have used to describe his lower half to comment on his scars. He has more than those already mentioned - they are literally all over. Ankle, knee, thigh, perineum, forearm, wrist, eyebrow, chin, scalp - too many on the scalp to detail. Like railroad tracks is how Johnny describes it. He has been shot and stabbed and cut and dashed with a brick, twice. He has been opened and closed, multiple times, and yet he reaches towards you, dear M, as he has reached towards me. And I him, and do forgive me if the description I have detailed is not entirely accurate (you will know for yourself soon enough) as some of it may belong to me instead of him. I can not be entirely sure without him beside me to note and compare. But you will see for yourself soon enough. You will see then.

Monday, June 3, 2013

string thing sing

While she confirmed my theory on breasts, improved it actually, firmed it up, my mind wandered into thoughts of melons, the taste of a freshly cut cantaloupe, not too soft, but fully ripened. Always a little juice moistens the lips, sometimes down the chin. The fingers need licking. More juicy than the honeydew, which ought be juicier, by name. Honey drips. Dew is wet. At least the watermelon is aptly named. But I didn't think about watermelons. As a rule I don't think about watermelons. I strongly dislike them and never consider them. Well occasionally. But then only to be dismissive.

It is an odd friendship. We are occasional, sporadic. She is here and then she is not. And we are still learning what games to play. Today we type and think and create and occasionally talk and laugh. She reads to me something she likes. I am smiling but I'm not listening. I like her too much to listen to her voice repeat someone else's words. So I focus on just her voice, not the words. The pitch, the speed, the volume. It's a fun game, and if I can close my eyes I can build a song around it. Our secret music. Or just mine, I guess, truth be told. Unless I tell her about it, which I won't.

I like how she walks. Her steps fit her frame, her balance good. We haven't yet established comfortable walking protocols, the pace and space is still quite jagged, which implies boundary confusion. Sex has neither been ruled out nor ruled in. We haven't discussed it for obvious reasons: it makes me nervous. If she were a lesbian I believe we would walk beautifully together. We might even hold hands.

And she fits nicely into a chair. Slightly tilted back when reading. More erect when sipping her coffee or taking a bite of pastry. A lovely little wipe with the napkin. (It's worth mentioning that many women transmit sexual signals here, with the wiping; she is very careful to transmit nothing, almost to the point of being considered asexual, but I am not fooled as easily as most others.) She politely leans in when conversing, a touch more if I amuse. It encourages more amusement and I comply. I can recite amusing on cue and this allows me to wonder how much lean I can acquire. Can I bend her over fully? It becomes another game and we play it merrily.

Perhaps another time I will describe her laugh. Just let me summarize it as: worth pursuing. Eventually she will withhold her laughs, insist I give her organic material. That time is so far away as to not be worth considering. We could all be dead before then. And I have such a stuffed queue. Like a silo after harvest. (Is that analogy overly overtly phallic? and then you've got the seeds spilling and all of that


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Salon Girls

I've been thinking of Charlie Malta recently. I suppose he knew more about pain than anyone I've ever met. He was the Rambo story they didn't show: the great soldier returned home, his honor left behind, his pain of existence only assuaged by breaking someone. By inflicting his hurt. Charlie asked me once, "What do you do when the pain is too much?" And it was not rhetorical, he expected an answer. He expected a good answer.

The woman with man strong hands leans into my legs, pushing my feet towards my head, straining the hamstrings and also my lower back. Shit! Stop already. A little more, she says - think about something else. Fuck! Now my neck hurts, feels like one of the titanium rods has come loose and is pushing into my right shoulder. Christ.

I feel stuck to the mat, and with her weight on top of me I suppose I am. Stuck. I feel stuck. I try thinking of a Greek goddess as Charlie Malta suggested all those years ago. That was his answer to me and I believe he truly believed it at those moments when he could pause. I suck in some air, she pushes it out of me. Again, she says. Again. You're doing good, she says. And again. Again. She mocks, I think. Charlie Malta had crazy fierce eyes. Pain riddled. And each hand the size of two. Hard, battered. She leans in again, driving out air and an involuntary squeak. More like a squeal. Like a little bitch.  

She's thirty two and tells me about her fifty five year old. He's coming over later and she slides under my nose the whip she's going to use on him. Fresh leather smell. Soft, almost gentle. I feel the increased pressure of her hands as she stretches my left leg over her shoulder. I change the subject, segue from her boyfriend to Roger Sterling's penchant for younger women to the rubenesque Joan to my God! all they do is drink and smoke all day. She giggles like a little girl. She thinks Roger is a beautiful man. I want a cigarette now but would settle for a double bourbon, neat.

I can't roll over. My back won't let me bend at the abdomen and my right shoulder is on fire at the slightest movement. Breathe and rest, she says. Take a pause. Want some water now? You must be thirsty. How would I drink it? I can't fucking move my head. I'll pour, you swallow. Okay?

She asks about the salon girls and our Saturday night on the town. I admitted to her that Giggles was in constant contact, leaning in, pulling at me. Foxx too, although not as much. They fit so easily, so quickly. Maybe because of the hours they've already spent with their hands on you? But that's different. Not so much.  Let's get you rolled over.

She sits on my legs, just above the knees, pulls on each arm. Range of motion work. Small pain before the worst that is soon to come. Her raising both legs and driving them into my lower spine. I always think it will snap. She says break up the pair, choose one and ask her out to dinner. I'm not really listening, distracted by the pain and the feeling of constraint caused by her pinning my legs with her weight. Vulnerable. Exposed. Lacking argument or strength or mobility. Charlie Malta preferred his goddess wear white silk, flowing to the toes, with the blackest hair and only spots for eyes. I can never forget the look on his face as he leaned in close to describe what he saw in those darkest times. He chose the words so slowly, breaths short in between. And now I agree, it is a spectacular picture what he saw. She is a revelation, her lips moist and lightly pursed. A blush of pink on the cheeks. Nothing shocking or unbecoming. Otherwise pale, but not deathlike. You shouldn't draw that conclusion. But to be fair, her hands are cool and damp when I finally touch her.