pillow talk

My words were wandering, voices inflected, laughter, little more than that as we lay up in the dark room.

He is my friend, one I could tell anything, I imagine. I have. I am telling him my secrets about you, the things that you and I have done together, the things we might have.

We talked about sex parties and old lovers, and rhetoric. The comfort of words, here in the dark, devoid of anything but the warmth that eases them from brain to brain, topic to topic, bouncing and gently swaying sometimes. I thought of you, there, thought of the first star, and the dreams I long pushed down, as if my wishing would make them fade fast instead of bringing them to life. I wish, still.

My face reveals nothing here in the night, I realized, and I could just turn away, quietly. He didn’t have to know, and neither do you.

I realized then what I was trying to say to you, what I told you I wanted.

Not this. Not quite.

I lie in the dark and swap stories with my friend. We could fuck.

We could fuck and still be friends, and lie here in the dark, and it would not mean so much, except that we had fucked and laughed and were still friends.

And still, none of this is what I want with you.

I want context.

I want the dark.

I want the comfort.

I want the quiet and the night, your hand softly brushing mine.

I want to lie with you here, in the dark, and plot and scheme, the words as much the adventure as what we’ll do to invent them. As much as all we did to speak now.

I want to hear what you thought, today, and tomorrow, and what you think about what I thought.

Is it to0 late, for us, for pillow talk?

Were we looking for adventure? to feel alive?

Oh, love, the novelty of the moment is charming.. but it was never the new that thrilled me, you know.

It never was the shimmer on the surface, the fleeting smile that caught my eye.

It was the memory of the shimmer, of your smile back, thousands of nights later, the footsteps we heard, the knock at the door we answered, and invited in, and kept, treasure like the first night, retold, stripped down to this touch so familiar, the breath, so precious, ours.

all i have

A photograph may last longer, that is true.

But is that what we were seeking? Or did we wish only for the ephemeral, the winged moments that no glance so searing could ever capture?

I saw it again, though, as if it were yesterday. I felt the warmth of your kiss, tender, in the fleeting grin I stole in that picture, captured in a turn of words you wrote to me, song we shared, a handkerchief. The things I had forgotten, now return to me, like the sunshine on that rare day, an everyday but not today. I wish it were.

I wish you were here, that the space between moments and miles were short. But I feel it still. I grasp your scent, your voice, close my eyes. You are close, an angel holding me tight, safe, thrill, somewhere familiar.

labyrinth

My skirt flutters in the breeze as I walk past the empty daytime houses, shoes dusty from the shortcut through backyards, through last fall’s leaves scattered once more in the days that have held tight to early spring. It all seems endless now, the wind and the cool, summer teasing so early this year, then blown away. I have lost my way, it all seems so familiar, yes, this warmth, I want, I am home again, yes, impatient, yes.

The quiet here torments me, the after laughter, scene of passion, skin still longing somehow, burning, skin that hours earlier seemed so satisfied.

I want you.

I want the sting, steam rising from the bath, my skirt slid over my hips and onto the cold tile, my sweater tossed upon the towels, your slap once more revived in the hot water,  moment recalled, the image in the mirror fogged, forgotten, the wish for the unexpected, the wandering, the bittersweet intensity of my lips wet and anticipating, the desire to retrace measures of pain and pleasure, the sublime, the careful dance.

Gnossienne number 1: the path of your fingertips.

fire escape

Remember that night when your black curls tumbled down onto your shoulders, your still-sober lips tracing the outline of my neck beneath my inch-long hair? We were quite a pair then, and you said so, as we dangled our bare feet from the third story fire escape and talked about the world between us in an essential moment alone that burned into my memory as if it were a habit. Your guests chattered in the living room, their fiddles and talk of Vallejo and the light from the apartment now theirs, not ours, the smoke from a neighbor’s barbecue, the stars, the rush of the busy world faraway. It was cooler here, high above, outside, the heat and grime of the day only lingering in the  un-air-conditioned buildings and down below on the expressway with the cars and the people walking on the other side, tomorrow’s headlines  from the dangerous park across the way. You pointed to the roses there, the pizza joint with its stained glass windows and Italian statues, the woman who held tight to her purse and lost it anyway as she fell to the sidewalk, gunshots still echoing each time that you watched my old car drive up to your building and you ran down the stairs to meet me outside in this, the only affordable neighborhood nearby.

You were young then. A week later you showed up outside my work and called up to me, then realizing that we had no balconies in these office buildings, ran up the four flights of stairs. I startled to look up and see you there, insisting you had to see me now, not in three hours. I screamed to see your head shaved, your indecency now reaching its heights as you told me of your adventures, your readings,  your rock star status across the states, your friend’s car broken down for hours on the side of a rural highway, you told me. And you told me of remembering the days you spent there once before, before you knew me, and I gazed at you, reaching for your hair that never grew back, gazing at you and your lips now distracting me from anything that may have been worthwhile in my office, the ladies laughing as I wandered back to my desk, struck down by your grand gesture, your impatience, by the thrilling thought of 5:00. They knew, you see, they knew what I did not know, and I would love you then, in spite of it all, as if fate had ordered it.

It was 2am when I drove home, Aretha singing on my AM radio, a natural woman, me, your fingers lingering beneath my lace blouse, the narrow neck of it stalling you. I had to unbutton it myself. You then removed my clothing like scarves one by one, the remaining hooks and zippers and buttons and such much simpler to decipher, to undo, to push apart the openings, your finger, tongue, words so filthy, I know, mi conchita, you said, I let you, begged you, moments like this, dark summer nights, a hot mattress, the whirr of a ceiling fan, your skin, your strange words still imprinted somewhere, retrievable on cold winter days, yes, it was real I tell myself, and then sometimes like now I wonder at times what was real, even now what is real.

don’t

A few of those Cherry Blossom cocktails in the basement of the Japanese restaurant, and Carla is ready to roll, ready to sing, on stage, in front of all of you. Yes, you. You know who you are, and you are here to listen, here maybe to sing along with her, if Bacchus inspires you properly, too.

Carla has waited all her life to do this, karaoke some sort of dream-come-true for a would-be torch singer. She has handed off the little slip of paper to the man behind the wall and walks onto the stage like Judy Garland singing covers. She waves.

“I tell myself… what’s done is done,” Carla interprets this, dramatically signing “all done” as she sings.

“I pick the pieces off the floor…”

This is terrible. She continues, stomping and slurring by the bitter fade, “Oh dear God, it must be him, it must be him, or I shall die…”

Carla’s friend convinces her that she really should not have another, loads her into the car and drives her back home. Carla starts to cry because her friend loves her so much.

It is morning, and here is Carla, cringing as the telephone rings–no it is distinctly not him, thank God. It is a new member of the fan club, it seems, laughing voices asking about the night out as Carla stalks around the apartment, walks past that little black dress turned out halfway, tossed on the back of the chair, one heel beneath it, the other undoubtedly dropped outside the palace sometime round midnight.

Don’t.

Oh weary friends, don’t pour your heart out so freely when you are aching, or you may never get it back.

Don’t sing that Patsy Cline. Don’t climb up to that microphone in some small Parisian theater and call yourself a sparrow. Just don’t.

Don’t book your flight for tonight on Expedia, hotel included. Don’t wander those lonely streets of some city you always wanted to visit, just to forget. Don’t.

Don’t bungee jump, write songs, join a dating site. Just don’t. Don’t seek adventure for the sake of forgetting, because you never will now, you know.

You will think only of him, then, every time you turn the corner, dream, want. Yes, you will remember the night they all remember, the night you belted out that Vicki Carr in a dingy karaoke bar, and staggered around your apartment laughing a little too much, singing into a dildo until you lay down for just a moment, ceiling spinning, woke later with the mock microphone beside you, the garters hanging empty, stockings at your feet, lights on, a massive headache, and work the next day.

You call in sick, and nurse yourself with hot tea, hot baths, masturbation and tears, and somehow, in laughter, it still feels as though it will never be all right, even though it really is all right. But now you’ve done it: now you will never forget.

So don’t.

tomorrow morning

Your voice changes when I turn you on. Sometimes a growl, sometimes a lovely hum, it tells me immediately when you want me.

You want me.

It has been so long now.

I want you.

I remember the smooth freckled skin covering your taut body, your strength–my weakness to resist you. I like to resist you, though, and I like it when you win. I like to let you have me for whatever you like–and then to watch you surrender yourself, you lying back and urging me to climb on top of you, urging me to tell you all the filthy things I have been thinking and doing while you fuck me harder, still harder.

I remember, maintaining abstraction now in your absence so that my sanity remains intact. I remember, and still my imagination soars, to the infinite possibilities for experimenting still more, for expanding desire.