my father’s shaking his head back and forth furiously. “no no no no no”
I put another piece of sashimi in my mouth. It melts a little when it hits my tongue. As it should. Good sashimi does that. Bad sashimi lies fake and chewy between your teeth and waits to be taken care of.
I don’t know what he’s talking about. I lost track and started on my own train of thought. About a dream I had where I ate the pinky toes off both my feet and fed them to you. If your parents are wealthy and expect something of you, you disobey and become unsuccessful and poor. If it is the other way around, you either fall into place or you become RICH and delicious to prove them wrong.
The pond by my mother's home is deeper than any place in the world. If you like you can swim from there to the center of the earth. It is the only place in the world where you can do that, I’ve been told all my life.
He has chunks of foie gras which he’s spread on toasted brioche squeezed between his cheeks, making room in the rest of his mouth to keep talking and then, to have another large sip of his drink. The alcohol is purple and syrupy. It cakes a little in the corners between his lips. He keeps talking. A hallway from his stomach to me is formed through his mouth for this information to pass.
Up on stage I feel as though I know a lot. Also - I am the stupidest one in the room. Before going up I order champagne from a butch lesbian bartender and she seems upset with me rather than sympathetic. I order two glasses and she says she can only serve one per person. I tell her my uncle is coming from Florida to watch me read tonight but she doesn’t believe me. She spits in the second flute as she hands it over and then sorta winks at me. I get mixed signals from everyone in the room.
It’s July and I’m visiting my mother for her birthday month. I spend a lot of time alone and sometimes that makes me feel like a queen. This afternoon I’m sitting in the pond. The pond overlooks a cow field and it smells fresh and mossy. It is filled with toads and salamanders. They sit the way I do, along the edge with their arms on the sides, all our heads falling slightly back so as to look up towards the sky through the tree branches, which sway and touch fingers a little. One toad beside me sighs gently. The salamander next to him is smoking a tiny cigarette. He mentions to no one in particular that he has to go on a business trip soon. “Japan” he continues. “Tokyo”. The salamander begins to cry quietly and tears fall on his cigarette. He mumbles that he gets so frightened, that everything is too bright and too big. That he nearly choked to death on a piece of udon last time he was there. That he doesn’t know the language, can’t read the street signs. He’s so scared. The toad sighs again and brings his toes to the surface of the pond. He wiggles them a little and makes rings in the water which reach out away from him. He thinks to himself, privately, that he is actually very resilient and good at being in places where he is not comfortable. He smiles a little for being so strong, stronger than the salamander who has stopped crying and is now looking down at his paws.
I met my parole officer at Odessa and sat her down. She had a coffee and I had a big eggy breakfast. I told her : I know you’re here to tell me all the things I can’t do but I am going to do them anyway so I just thought I should come clean now. My parole officer is in love with me and so she lets me do whatever I want.
The little girl’s in the corner watching soap operas and eating cherries. She eats them like apples because her mouth is still so small. She finishes each one in three careful bites, until she gets to the pit, sweet and bloodied. She walks over to me and spits the seed in my hands, like a gift. She smiles big and there are lines of red between her teeth. A killer! She looks too small and mischievous. Her mouth curious, moving constantly, searching for the center. I take the pit and pop it in my own mouth. Bigger and smellier. Deeper. Older. There’s a little flesh stuck to it still because she’s not careful and doesn’t regard the fruit as sacred yet, like the rest of us do. I chew the skin off and swallow the pit. It sits heavy in my stomach and makes my belly puff out a little. At night in bed alone under warm itchy light I play that I am pregnant. I lay my hands on my skin and take deep breaths and imagine milky leaking and whole fertility. The little girl gave me the gift of motherhood but I am still very alone, still resorting to playing dress up and make believe. I never begin to show, although I do remain swollen for a few years, most likely self induced.
for a little bit of time I had a lot of money. It was strange for me because I came from nothing I mean
I became very confused. I started living differently. Doors opened wide and then wider. The door even looked different. heavy and it almost sparkled. For a few years, during my time of wealth the city seemed very new to me. I navigated it with boring ease. The dirt didn’t touch me. I came home clean and then bathed anyway in an ivory claw foot tub which sat in the middle of my condo. Impractical but chic. It was always white in there - I suspect I had a cleaning lady although I do not recall hiring one, you see, at this time I was being very well taken care of. It felt sort of as though I was being carried everywhere, and fed by many small white hands, and massaged constantly. I can’t even remember how this wealth had come into my life. A vague memory tells me it was through some strange business deal which I’d unexpectedly cashed out on.
Old things become re-familiarized and it’s half comfortable half jarring. I wonder if I can ever be fully at ease or committed while I’m here. I always have a little fever which turns me slightly mad. When I look around and see a lot of wet half moldy things, sopping, I tell myself : you like this too much and that’s why you can’t live in cities like Paris you want the dirt in the gutter the muddy stuff that collects in the corners you wanna eat it I don’t know if I’m right. I like the city I’m from I like the city I’m from I been told how lucky I am all my life I feel big now when at dinner slurping oysters I say “my boyfriend is moving here and I wanna plan a sweet little trip for us when he arrives sluerpppshlurppp oh darling where do you suggest, you and Bobby are always going on the most wuuuuunderful vacations slubperdopbulp” I’m very bloated underneath my dress from all the bread I’ve been eating dipping it into leftover juices from the white wine mussels but I don’t let anybody know I am so elegant and so at ease when I get home
I slip my slim shapely body under silk sheets I’m like the embodiment of the sensation of tongue on clean pink cunt and I go right to sleep close my eyes and I’m gone.
Girls are always telling eachother their dreams as though anyone cares to listen. I started seeing someone new and I killed all her friends accidentally so now every morning when we wake up before we fuck she relays what happened to her the night before in sleepy half sentences I kiss her just to shut her up and stuff myself into her morning breath body. I think she thinks I am so enamored by her stories that I can't help myself but
can she run her mouth.
It was the coldness of the place. She looked around vision half blurred and shiny. The way it gets when she starts thinking the rain is fake, when it starts glitching and someone’s coming after her all of a sudden. All the cliches. The mental break halfway to insanity. Like some sick leaking out of her ear and pooling pink around her feet. No one else seemed to be paying attention. She sat in a lot of wetness like a dog. A dog wouldn’t mind. A dog is nice when there’s some dew on it, looking out across the green so satisfied. Limp tongue hanging out of wet mouth. White teeth and strong lungs. Some dogs, she thinks - like german hunting dogs - are soooo healthy. They remind her of red meat and of sheep. They remind her of purpose and satisfaction. She’s more along the lines of ‘decrepit’ or some other word which hints at deterioration and illness. She smells like backed up plumbing. She’s picking the hairs out of her eyebrows and even eating them, sometimes. She doesn’t look good. She’s got little holes in her face which fill up with black sludge and then harden and then get pushed out of her skin and then get filled again and the holes get bigger and the sludge gets a little more grey and green maybe. Mmmmm. It’s strange how she’s so public about her death. She walks right out onto the field under flood lights and stands kind of twitching in the middle looking out across the green. She’s kissing her mother goodbye kindly and saying thank you for all your help you really didn’t do anything wrong you know, and she’s jacking off her lover one last time because she can’t help but keep giving until every last circuit gives out. Finally they do and she grunts and her knees give, they buckle. Her face hits the wet grass and slips to the right, mud stain on her cheek, some dirt sneaking itself into her ear. A voice comes on over the loudspeaker ;
“alright folks shows over” and it crackles out and the few people in the audience drag themselves home unsatisfied and sleepy and go to bed and sigh, good riddance.
there was a recurring theme for her -
- here’s the problem -
- here’s how I’m feelin’ -
A plane overhead bursts gently into flames and there is a sudden warmth which makes the city feel quiet and easy for a moment. She thanks the sky and ash begins to fall around her. Sweet. She looks ahead towards her lover and offers a weak smile. Once she had tried tickling him and it had been so hard to get a natural laugh out that she had stopped abruptly and found a place to throw up instead. He slipped his hands beneath her blouse and felt along her skin for a specific mole. Upon finding it he fingered it momentarily and then withdrew himself. His touch was clinical. Didn’t come back for seconds. The city didn’t give much either. It was hard and gray. All cement. It was sulfuric. And salty. On occasion something broke and let a warmer thing in but this was rare and never lasted. She had to leave often to make it tolerable. When this wasn’t possible she had to build a cave and stay put, turn the heating up high and manufacture a fake and sticky fever. She took long bathes and let herself get soft and malleable. Her pores opening up wide enough to stick a finger into. All the windows steamy and the air like milk.
“It’s a shame”
“that all of my teeth are rotting out of my head so early on in life.” I wonder why that is and if anyone else can taste it.
“if I am not talented now”
“then I am a lost cause”
talent does not come later in life. it is innate. I am like a rock. I am so bland and embarrassed by my smell. I wonder how many people I can make fall in love with me before I am passed my prime. I wonder why I am so selfish and so greedy.
“At least” she thought
“I’ve stopped finally with that intense and secret gluttony. At least I can move on from such unrestrained consumption which at times had felt so wild.”
she unwrapped the chocolate cake she’d picked up on her way home. Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Icing. She slid the black mass onto a white plate and peeled back the plastic sheet with which the baker had wrapped the cake for safer travel. It was wet from trapped moisture. She threw a silver fork onto her bed and placed the plate beside it. She pulled her pants down from around her hips and sat on top of her duvet. She brought a forkful of cake to her mouth.
It was easy to imagine him falling in love with someone else and in the moments when I no longer wanted him to be mine I relished in the possibility of it. It brought up a sad kind of longing for something which I still had and that tickled me. A sweet kind of torture. Jane snorted a line in the bathroom and came back burning and even prettier than before. He wanted boiled pierogies and then he wanted to hold my boney hips and fuck me in the ass. My father, in his older age has become very afraid of this ugly encroaching ‘intellect’ and of breaking. I try to think of what to say and something sad comes out. My tongue dribbles. Something squelches. In a quiet room in which no one lives a candle burns and the base spills over letting hot wax drip down the window pane. “what’s happening” he asks, finally. “it’s not working” - she says - “it’s the end, probably”
Jane lies still on the ground in some residential area in London, posh. I cut up three fat lines of coke and they look pretty. Her mouth is a dusty red, a slit. A gash or something equally violent. Everyone around me is desperate for a brainless kind of wealth. A sticky overripe peachy kind of desire. Everyone is side eyeing each other. Everyone is sizing each other up and disguising their weirdness as a compliment or as a gross lust. No one wanted to fuck me when I went home I was like a gaping hole that everyone looked away from.
I suck my lips into my head and my teeth stand out white, then I relax and I am beautiful again.
Paris’s gray sits on my shoulder and purrs. Hums to me. Becomes sexier and slithers down the divide in my back. Slips between my toes - then withdraws. This city invokes a lazy beauty which lounges by the Seine, maybe rolling in accidentally. Unaffected ease. Sleazy motherfucker. Slow yawn. The babylike rise and fall of a puffy belly. You’re a beautiful sleeper, like a drunk or something.
Buy a horse. Buy a better horse. Buy a donkey cause it’s a funny juxtaposition for the garden. Be greedy because you can be, because you’re making so much money now. All the leftover things which come out of certain smaller crevices, where some genuine earwax can be squeezed out still - are stolen and mass produced. I’m sick. I’m lying in a big beautiful hotel room and I have all these starchy brand new things around me in bed. Kissing me and making me full. A bubble bath is running and I’m going to be so clean and then I’m going to go back to bed because I can. Buy a horse. Then buy a better one.
Ankle kisser. Gobsmacked little bitch. I think out of all the girls Maria likes me the best, because I dress alright and because we use the same coconut creme conditioner. There’s a comfortability in smelling yourself on someone else, it can be something sweet. It can be porous, can remind you of conception or consummation or some other “c” word that’s not coming to mind. Ooh Maria. I wanna consume you. Cuddle you. Corrupt. Control you. MMMmmmm. Kidnap you. I wanna kiss your ankles. Kiss your knees. Hey, I love you. Maria!
What I noticed first was that my once ravishing mother was now old. I rang the doorbell. I hadn’t been home in 16 years. The fact that the house still stood, albeit slightly more lived in then I remembered but no less confident, was astonishing. It was a sort of beaten-in teal. Next door my late aunt had lived. And next to her, another aunt. Across the street, some in law or another. All the backyards were connected by doors built into wooden picket fences. A hereditary lack of privacy. I didn’t have a taste for this. It felt creepy on my skin. What did the house smell like? It smelled like toast, I like it in big homes when there are so many people that there’s never not someone eating. That feels good. That feels full, like a small safe version of infinity. My mom is 68 years old now. I think she’s pretty tired. When she opens the door she’s wearing a light pink dress that she wore a lot when I was a kid. The fabric is thin enough so I can see her body underneath. Women age strangely, a lot of skin gets thin and loose, almost translucent. I used to worry that I’d rip you somehow. When I met my mother she was 33, not a young mom. Pretty average. A good amount of life lived before me, and still a good amount ahead of her. She spoke 3 languages fluently and had a soft round voice because of it. Germanic, primarily. A little stuck in the throat maybe. Deep. My old mother invites me inside. I imagine I look pretty bad myself. I’ve been living in cities and on the highways between cities for the past decade and a half. My
mother’s nearly seventy years old. I let that idea kick me in the face as I walk into the living room. Not a thing has been moved since I’ve gone. In these beautifully consistent cul-de-sacs things don’t just change. Husbands get bonuses and then they re-do the bathrooms or something. Add a kitchen island for your teenage daughter to get fucked on when you’re out of town, if she’s that kind of girl. Or just get a new toilet, a bathtub, a faux marble sink. Whatever’s in. My momma brings me a beer although I didn’t ask for one. She looks cool all of a sudden. I wonder sometimes if there’s an age between young and old where you don’t feel the direct signs of death but you understand it’s approach, and so you just sink in and enjoy it. I look forward to that. Quiet and self assured. On the other hand I’ve been reading a lot about people who know they’re dying. All that confidence goes out the window, you’re an infant again. Throwing a temper tantrum cause you don’t have the capacity to ask for what you want. Or the capacity to know. I take a sip of my beer and sit on the couch.
You’d look good with a hole in your head. A thumb up your ass. You weird fool. You say yes to a lot of things, don’t you - no questions asked. There’s this guy in the corner who’s desperate to say something but he doesn’t know how to get it out. On the edges of the room are all these hungry vultures and they scare him into submission. “keep your fucking mouth shut you dumb shit” they got hot blood bubbling out of their mouths, bits of old meals between their teeth. All of a sudden there’s a lot of chaos, the guy said something loud and stupid and for a moment the whole room stopped breathing. A few men and women threw up right there in the middle of it all, sometimes it doesn't matter where you get sick as long as it’s out of your body. People’s teeth started falling right out of their heads and into their palms - they came out clean, expatriated with such force and necessity that no bits of gum held to the ivory. Clean socket. Pink and juicy. Some people cried but this was a lame and unsatisfying bodily function in comparison to the more brutal ones happening around them. Organs ruptured internally. Things ripped and became infected and oozed pus and began already to heal, the process sped up by fear. This kinda chaos is pretty thick, it’s edible. It tastes nutty. A precursor to the apocalyptic frenzy. It’s coming! He’s coming! I, personally, hope we burn to death. It’s more romantic than freezing. It’ll look good on film, makes a more convincing and demonic headline too. What DID turn Mr. Normal into a mass murderer? The hair-like tendrils of flames in all these hellish paintings lick the bottoms of the worn in feet of sinners. Like you! You put my big toe in your mouth and growl. We could still fuck in heaven bby, the devil can watch ;)
It was undeniable that her beauty depended entirely on her lips. Of all the disgusting things I do, which is the worst? I find my lying especially deplorable. I am the biggest girl in the room and I look for every way to make myself even bigger. Stupid kid. Everyone’s avoiding you because you’re dirty, now only the little kids will play with you cause they’re small and grubby anyway and love that you’ll really get down on the ground with them. You’re good at that. There will come a bitter age when they too will turn against you but don’t think to hard on it now. Mom called the other day to remind you that happiness really does lie in the now, so, forget the rest or whatever. I fell in love with my last guy on the beach, that’s when I knew it had happened. He never complained about nothing, everything was “beautiful” and after a while I think that’s what drove me crazy. In the end he left me for my mother, so I drilled an inch deep hole into the small of my back which, whenever I want to be reminded of him, I stick my finger into. I have never had my heart broken, towards the end I always become very hard and mean on the outside and
this prevents me from feeling anything at all. That wet and desperate hiccupy cry makes its way out of the other guy’s throat and again, I’ve won.
I’m busy, I need you not to touch me like that. My gut is backed up so that when I speak you can see some of my lunch coming up at the end of my throat. You know, you can probably smell it. Ah! You’re so horrible to me that in the end, like a good woman, I fall in love with you. Like a monster, slack jawed and stinking I order my filet mignon rare while you eat a delicately arranged salad and sip wine. I’m playing footsie under the table but not with you, with someone else. I’m crazy now for real. I’m quiet though and so it’s a secret and so everyone thinks I’m fine. The role I’m supposed to fill is simple - when I stay still I look very beautiful and it is easy to fool people into thinking that there’s a lot going on behind these glassy eyes.
My mom takes a seat across from me in the ‘lounge’, her pink dress settling slightly around her thin body as she does. She looks out of place. This is my perfect suburban house and everything is pastel. Marzipan white chocolate pinks and greens and blues fill the space. Perpetual baby room stink. Pill popped softness. My American dream is crock potted in the back round, pre- packaged, shrink wrapped, delivered. She says “Baby, tell me, where’ve you been all these years” My pants are leaking but the sofa is wrapped in a thick sheet of plastic so the dirt just slips off the sides and onto the floor. They hit white and reanimate, dirt balls crawling off into corners and shivering a little when they get there. Not used to this kind of linoleum. I look up and we catch eyes, sudden and awkward. How much responsibility do you feel for your family? I say none, and it’s true. Now, look how pretty you are when the answer you get is not what you expected! A guttural kind of snagging in your throat. A juicy hiccup at the end of your laugh. It’s a genuine response though and so I love you all the more for it.
Daisy’s knocked up.
She looks so good in her summer dresses all big with these wonderful swollen ankles. Man,
I’ve never seen anything like it.
Her self awareness is stupid and does not allow me enough space for manipulating insults and revealing disgusting bits of truth to her about herself, the ones I find when I’m dick deep slobbering licking salt out her pits and all that.
I’m looking at Mama. I’ve nearly finished my beer and it’s warm at the bottom in a gross, salivating way. Back washed. She tells me my father will be home in 20 minutes and that I should best be getting along, that he wouldn't want to see me here, like this. That it would affect his health badly. My father's been dead for 6 years. As a form of punishment I take the last sip. There are little pieces of soggy bread at the bottom which catch in my throat and stick in the ridges.
I’m back at a bridge I went to a lot as a kid. It’s not a bridge really, it reaches out a mile into the ocean and then meets nothing, just stops out there in open water. I guess some people jump, or just walk to the end and sit for a bit - then walk back.