WRESTLE THE FUTURE TO THE FUCKING GROUND
27 FEBRUARY 2006
We shouldn’t have driven out onto the ice. Either it was too thin or our car was too heavy. We were sinking fast. Outside the windows the water was blacker than the night we’d just left. Will we be able to find the hole in the surface if we swim now? Could we hold our breath long enough given the cold? We asked the questions quickly but the answers didn’t matter. A thimble of chance that we could separate while trying to surface, and perish outside of one another’s view--or, worse, for only one of us to survive--was a thimble of chance too heavy.
We began disrobing simultaneously and then I helped her off with her boots. We climbed into the back seat, and I wasted no time taking control. It was one of the things she liked best about me.
As the wet overtook us, we locked our lips together and breathed each other’s air. I kept my eyes open, forbidding blackness to be my final view. And my love’s shivering was so intense, it looked like I was kissing twins.
06 March 2006
He stands next to the sill and views the pavement eight storeys below. He’s been here before, on the edge of consideration, though never when feeling quite this fulfilled. In the past he’d always imagined hurling himself down, his vision ending just prior to the splash. But today is different. He’s figured out how to let go of just a piece of himself: his loneliness. He steps up and releases it. It falls uncertainly, unsure of its own matter. A brick? A feather? Something in between, it trumbles and sails, first ignoring the wind and then embracing it.
By the time his elevator reaches the ground, a crowd has assembled. Soon, police and other emergency workers arrive. They outline the tragedy in chalk. He stares at the happy splatter, singles out shapes from his past: the loves lost by poor judgement; the ones who left through no error of his own; the one who passed while he slept next to the hospital bed. He wonders if they’re obvious to the onlookers, or if he is the solo keeper of the secret stretched out before their feet.
He looks at their strangers' faces, each of them turned down. He searches for recognition, sympathy, understanding. He spies a girl on the opposite edge to him, her body blooming ripe empathy. She holds a library book. He tilts his head to read the title, but can’t. She looks up. They lock eyes. She gestures down, then towards him, asking: Yours? He nods. She smiles at his good fortune.
They get a window seat in a cafe across the road. She orders pasta. He gets a salad. Occasionally, they glance over to where he’d given his loneliness away, what happened still a mystery to most of the onlookers. When the crowd splinters, it does so slowly, and almost always in pairs. While they wait for their food, he puts his elbows on the table and listens intently to the woman’s voice. He can’t contain his grin as he imagines the future, when the whole city leans in, buildings and all, to witness their first kiss.
I love him but he’s one of those men who can’t sleep at night until he’s exhausted himself with pornography. It wears on me; I wasn’t born that woman. I can’t fuck with my shoes on.
This doesn’t mean I don’t try.
He persuades my body to a new position and I wonder what affects his decision. How does he choose when to stop rotating me? Is it the way my limbs pinch my lips around his prick, or does he think this feels best to me? Perhaps it’s something simpler: the view. Can he better witness my changing expression, the flop of my hair, the swing of my breasts? (Do they ever consider the way they look to us? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man blush when he was inside me--never turn away with a sudden flash of self-consciousness. I decide to make it a goal, a resolution: make his face red with a glance, a caress, a word. But what word? What caress? What glance?) He turns me again, stopping when it’s just right.
I say his name and he comes back with mine. We’re like call and response singers with a limited vocabulary. A cappella, too: our grunts and groans horns and percussion, the silence alive between our glances like long or quaver rests, disturbed by our mutual thrusts.
For reasons beyond my grasp of logic, I remember something Susie Klorr said to me in grade school as she clutched a journal to her chest and we eyed Jason Forrest: “I can’t wait to be an adult. When we grow up, we can kiss all night.”
His face is out of sight, now. I close my eyes and picture it, flush with blood.
08 March 2006
21 MAY 2006
It bothers her, as it should, that he can’t be trusted when the lights are on.
Why does she find this in each man she loves? Is there something within her that encourages dishonesty? Is it a physical attribute or a personality trait? Can she will it away, or cut it out with surgery? She wants to give it a name because that always helps, but what name should it be?
So many questions. She’s like that with everything when the lights are on, which is why she reaches over, now, and turns the switch.
He’s immediately at her side, warmer than the room. He feels good, he smells good, he is good. What isn’t visible is harmless; what isn’t forgotten is forgiven. She likes the curve of his shoulder, the crook of his smile, the confidence of his grip. She reaches down and parts her lips for him, her slit blooming with anticipation. And as she feels his heart beating through his tongue, she quietly curses the coming day, and every ray of sunshine that announces it.
09 JUNE 2006
You’re the only woman I've loved who lives on in soundless memory. Those days together, those nights? They boil away to this: you, jelly-limbed while I hover above, all rhythm and rupture, teeth-chattering scared of a future without you.
02 AUGUST 2006
No one tasted quite like Anna.
She’d often turn a bushel of one or two fruits or vegetables into a day’s 3 meals. She never cooked anything, but insisted flavors could be manipulated with intense concentration followed by precise rips and tears. In addition to creating portions with her bare hands, she experimented with different tools: screwdrivers, cleavers, car keys, citrus reamers, corkscrews, and, once, a shiv she claimed her gypsy uncle smuggled out of the Don Jail.
We’d have a board spread across our naked laps--our backs propped up against the unpainted wall behind our mattress. She’d split and carve one- and two-bite-sized chunks that we’d feed one another till our bellies, pleasantly plump, called us to sleep. Minutes or hours later, one of us would turn sharply, the cutting board would hit the floor, and our bodies would stir to half-alert mutual physical affection when the day’s menu could be resampled through our fingers, mouths, or pores, delivered sharp or subtle in our own juices.
I loved most the taste of fresh mangosteen creeping out or over ripe areolas. I’d slurp and mmm and she’d exclaim, “Ontario-grown!”, laughing each time at the same joke.
She comes to me now with four small fennel and a razor blade, determined to make my prick into her personal Twizzler. I prop myself into position and help her into bed, her welfare body glazed in sweat and ready for a delicate but man-sized portion.
18 AUGUST 2006
We’re alone again, together, my twisted fingers where they shouldn’t be.
We have no excuse but desire--to sharpen translucent memories, ten years faded.
Clothed, she has as plain a body as I’ve ever seen--indistinguishable from the dresses she seems to wear year-round. But with the cotton-print gathered at her feet, revealing skin so beautifully dark that she appears in silhouette, I feel the blood creep to my cheeks.
“You’ve seen me naked before.”
I lean in to her, press my left blush against her chest.
She says, “We could leave them. We could never go back.” I look up, gauge her sincerity.
She brings her free hand to her lips, mouths the gold band from her finger. The gesture overcomes me; I ejaculate through her committed grip. And as this faithless reality flickers past, my love curls back her tongue and swallows.
22 December 2006
From this angle, she doesn't look human--a pool of sleep and sex. I feel deceitful watching her. I say her name.
She curls into me
Her touch stiff and different, her finger presses my skin as she starts to count my bones. ... 9, 10, 11 ...
-- I'm a double negative, she says.
-- Your love makes me pretty.
Our bed has everything we need within reach. Sometimes, we sit up, pillows hugged to our knees, and try to guess what's in the pockets of the nine-to-fivers who walk past our window.
-- I love you only, she says, though I didn't ask her to.
I put on my coat and she tells me she won't sleep 'til she sees me again. -- I promise, she adds. As long as it takes.
Tonight, I'll be inside another woman in another city and I'll think of her, living in my margins, holding all things together with a confident, precarious grip.