Thursday, November 8, 2018

Impulse


The cell phone rings. She holds it to her ear. She stares out the open door of the basement room. Just past the doorway is another sub-level space with a large exercise machine, some dumbbells of various weights and half a dozen storage bins stacked in the corner. She cannot see any of it from her spot on the bed.

Her eyes linger on the sheet rock just beyond the door frame. She listens
to the ringing,
the silence,
the ringing,
the silence.

A few windows at the very top of the ceiling reveal nothing but a few blades of grass along the cement walkways on each side of the house. The windows are a foot tall, a few feet wide. Just a little bit of light filters into the basement. It’s the cool pale light of fall. She feels a little cold in her flannel. 
Wood paneling lines the walls, thin faux wood linoleum covers the basement floor.  There are cracks and chips on the edges of the tiles close to the walls. A few mismatched blankets are crumpled on the bed, along with a few pillows ensconced in dingy white cases.

She was beyond excited as she was boarded the airplane just seven hours earlier.  She stood about fifteen feet from the open gate waiting for her boarding group to be called.
She looked at an older woman close to her. She had a poof of white hair piled high on her head and was dressed elegantly in black dress and pearl earrings. She wondered if the old woman could sense the delight in her heart, the nervous sparkles in her eyes.

A few hours in, as the plane made its way into the night, a tickle of doubt began to emerge.
She brushed it off once, twice, tried to focus on her book. But then it settled in…
As the grim reality of her choice became clear, she felt uneasy.  It was a plan like all her plans had been, no research, recon, or testing the waters. It was head first or nothing.  She dove in with her eyes closed, grasping at the ribbons of her fantasy.

Her optimistic smile had faded by the time she stepped off the plane.  She wondered if he would be there to pick her up. She hardly recognized him by baggage claim in a blue tie-dye shirt. He wore long shorts and flip flops.  His hair was longer now, almost to his shoulders and very blond at the tips. Where it hung around his face, the ends were fanned out, like Farah Fawcett’s style in the 70s.
She picked up her bag and they descended to the parking garage on an escalator. He was one step below her. Without looking at her he said:
“This is crazy.”
She nodded quietly, smiling sheepishly.
She noticed there was an edge in his voice, perhaps regret.

It was past eleven when they pulled up to the house. He escorted her through the living room, through the kitchen and towards the stairs that led to the converted basement.  
“My brother’s wife and kid are in Mexico right now.”
She nodded, silently carrying her bag.
There was a single light on in the kitchen, pale and flickering.  A white Formica table was close to the stove. On it were a few forgotten coffee cups and a folded magazine. The house felt lonely.

They walked down the stairs into the bedroom. She thought they would kiss and have sex, he would take her in his arms and say how much he had missed her.
But they were strangers.
Now that she was in his house, in the real world as everyone liked to call it, it seemed strange that they had ever been more than strangers.
If he had leaned over and touched her face, she would have given herself willingly anyway.
But he didn’t, and that made it all the stranger to her.
They slept in the same bed that night. His alarm was set for five. He told her he would be back around 9am.

She greeted him warmly when he arrived. For a moment she imagined that he had brought her breakfast. But there was only one to-go cup of coffee in his hand. He held out the donut bag to her with reluctant politeness. She peered in and saw only one donut.
She shook her head sadly, saying:
“There’s just one.”
He said nothing.

Her surprise turned to anger, the anger folded and re-folded, an origami lotus revealing its petals of disillusionment.
They had had a brief sex-filled affair. Sex in beds, hammocks, on a balcony beneath the night stars. He looked after her a few days when she was sick with sun stroke, helped her arrange a bus ticket back to Guadalajara. They went out to eat a few times.
Besides a few sporadic phone calls throughout the summer, that was all they had. In one of their conversations he invited her to Chicago, where he was moving in with his brother. The invitation had not been for a visit, but rather a permanent living arrangement. 
She had gone willingly into the fantasy, her parents and friends once again concerned about her reckless impulses.

A few hours before her flight to the Midwest, her mother said:
“You won’t be too proud to come back if it doesn’t end up working, will you?” 

And now here she was, a house in the suburbs, the cool winds of fall a whisper at the back of her neck. 
He invited her to sit outside with him. Fall leaves floated on the surface of the pool. They sat on the cold cement walkway surrounding the pool. 
“Is something wrong? You look sad.” She said.
“It was a mistake asking you to come here. I’m sorry I did that. In August I got some news and I have been going to the doctor a lot. During the summer I was with a lot of women- after I was with you, I was with another woman. I think she gave me something. It’s not serious, there is treatment- but that is why I was not with you last night. It’s why I don’t think you should be here.”
She was quiet.
“It was a crazy idea.”
“Ok, well, I’m going to call and get a flight. Will you take me to the airport later?”
“Yeah, sure.”

The telephone rings. She holds the cell phone to her ear. She stares out the open door of the basement room. She listens
to the ringing,
the silence,
the ringing,
the silence.
“Hello?”
“Hey Jen, it’s me. I’ll be in San Francisco at 9 tonight. Can you me meet me there?”
“What?” She says through laughter.
It’s a familiar laugh, low, guttural and rolling.
“Yep.” A smile breaks across her face. “I’ll tell you about it tonight.”



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Snake


The rope is knotted in the corner. Dust on the earthen floor. It’s been there since the beginning, since that first house was built, since the first man was made out of spit and semen.
The walls are crumbling around me now, the cracks are growing wider and deeper, dying so slowly. I’ll stay here forever before they turn to sand and memory.
My eyes play tricks on me as the candles dance back and forth.  Yellow and gold scenes emerge from the walls, heroes and monsters are born and fade on the flat surface as the wind bursts though the open windows. The night air smells of sweetness, of smoke and old knowledge.
That rope, I watch as it changes shape.  A snake moves towards me, ready to kiss or bite. I cannot tell.  It slides over my ankles, crawling slowly up my soot covered legs. I see it grow, I see it expand wider and wider, forming hips and breast, scales becoming dewy skin and fine hair.  She is silvery, iridescent like clouds below the moon. She moves. Her chest, feet, hands, all match the rhythm coming from outside.
They are chanting by the fire, around our old tree on the other side of the river.  I can hear them, I can imagine them in the shadow of the mountain as if I was there among them. But I am here, on this simple mattress, among epic battles that never end.
She moves her head towards me. She becomes something more than physical. More than the force of all men, all systems I’ve ever understood or heard of. She takes over my body. I search for descriptions, for the limit, the very edge. I follow, communicating only with my eyes. I watch her breasts rise and fall, then search her eyes for the center.
She will not let me return to the physical, not yet. Not while my body is free. I place my mind in her hands, let her wet hands dissolve my lies.  She takes me up the mountain, one single being in free eager flight.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Without Eyes or Force


my king, my god
barely recognizable in the wind
shining in the moonlight

my king, my god
its shape incomprehensible
in the swirling phenomena
of a myriad structures and forms
that surround it.

It devours all true memory
all sense of the past
is torn away
from underneath me
leaving me cold and alone
hesitant and uncertain.

Here, in this place,
I see
it is thinking that began time,
and language that gave it shape.
And now time stirs
revealing the hidden treasures
of entropy and death.

Certain questions will
forever remain
suspended in space
without answers
without conclusions
vibrant in their
refusal to fall.

Meanwhile
behind the black curtain
the night envelops me
and a body
without eyes or force
forever becomes
movement
a sound
vibrating air
somehow shining
in the moonlight.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Windows


Can I ever know
what happened to the rest of him?

I can picture the room,
the doors made of valuable Nicaraguan wood,
masterpieces on the walls.

I look for him,
and my fingers reach for the future
and everything else slides away.
I grab at the pieces of paper,
the yellow windows,
the names.

Can I find the traces of affection?
The loneliness that
sprung fully formed
in the quiet moments
of tenderness?

His eyes can't be grasped.
In them are tales of monsters
that no one else remembers.

Then I feel a pair of hands
pressing tightly on my stomach.
They take me back to the sky,
to the wooden room,
to the yellow windows.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Horizon


Suddenly part of the purple blackness,
the glorious dark begins to tremble.
An idol emerges in the sky,
its body in bondage
its soul tethered to my own.

I was on the bridge
and then a moment later
the bird at my toes began to twinkle,
and turned to pale powder.

I remember a pack of wolves
in their cages
worshiping death.
They were loud enough
that the abyss became the horizon
and the red sky
began to fall.

Broken graves glanced my way,
their texture and smell no longer hidden.
Now I know that was the beginning.
The water's shining light
would soon be pale
in the absence of moonlight.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Multitude


I was touched
when they passed.
I would never be the same.

It kept on coming
the sweet and gentle
the light ethereal touch
that I would be able to examine
so many years later
on the little pieces of paper
that would emerge from names and numbers
from the invisible that would be
given names and futures
specific locations and shapes
and all the true horrors
of fate and love and loneliness
and a past only partly remembered.

It was a multitude of eyes
that would make love to me
a choir that would tell me stories
of the sky and the gods
and their affections,
of mountain roads so rare
we would never
be able to find them.

They offered me
a complex world of perfection
and reconfigurations
at once true
and never possible.
I stood on a large rock
and I could still see them in the distance.
I let myself cry
Hoping to make myself remember.
I could feel fingers on my chest
on my belly
on my legs
on my crotch
on my forehead.
Fingers that weren’t there
fingers that could never have been
and never would be.
I could feel eyes
long gone and faded into nothing.
I could feel
the invisible circular tenderness
that rarely held on
to the thin
grasp of friends
and books and things
that were never truly present.

I stared at them
and I watched them
slide away into the
passing night
separating into parallel formations
into hands and music,
into tenderness
that became more and more distant
more and more dream-like
more and more a myth
to be forgotten
and discarded as a lie.

I was touched as they passed
I would never be the same.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Impulse



Mood is my body
manifesting itself
through subtle levels
too light to touch
too faint to hold.
The remains of my lost thoughts
fall without making a sound
without leaving a trace.
How do I speak
of harmony
of light
and the process of the rose?
I have come through
twisted from the labyrinth
emerging fully formed
from the tunnels of time.
It is all a colorful pattern
yet fearsome and dark,
a strange loop
where words are arranged
in spiraling currents
a sequence discarding logic
a structure without
a stable frame.
No need here
for a physical body
just a seed
containing the process
and the freedom
that brings it life.
I remain
an unknown mass
a life impulse
a lustful fountain
a fading thought.