Archive | March, 2012

Drawn Out

25 Mar

Drawn Out

I know it sounds crazy but my lover Miranda has a tattoo that talks to me. And I think I’m in love with it. Okay so it did start after a night of E but that was only once. But I have been conversing with it for months now and I swear on my mother’s grave that I am stone cold sober. I feel funny saying “it” when her name is Tempest. Actually she didn’t have a name but I thought she looked a lot like Tempest Storm the burlesque star so I asked her if she minded me calling her that. She said she didn’t mind what I called her as long as it wasn’t anything ending in a y like Suzy or Mindy. And nothing hyphenated like Bobby Jo or Pammy Sue. I asked her what she thought of Pamela Jo Beth and she told me to fuck off. I like a woman who swears. My last relationship wouldn’t say cunt if her mouth was full of it.

But there is more to Tempest than profanity or a skimpy pirate outfit. She is a real hardcore existentialist. Seriously. She can quote Being and Nothingness like other people quote Beatle lyrics. And she’s hilarious. Last night she looks at me with a totally straight face and says “I ink therefore I am.” I laughed so hard I almost woke up Miranda.

To be totally honest with you the only thing that is holding Miranda and me together is Tempest. I think about her day and night. I love the fact that both the plume and the Jolly Roger on her hat are the same blood red as her lipstick. Her hair is like the sunset sky over Tortuga and as for the rest of her? What can I say? They don’t call her a pinup for nothing.

Miranda on the other hand is so one dimensional.  She loves Jane Siberry for fuck sakes. And all she reads are those blink and you’re rich books by that lesbian with the enormous white teeth and spray on tan when she isn’t completely engrossed in that other woman that has all those books that have you Standing, Jumping, Sitting, Lying or Squatting For Your Life.

Tempest polished off the Alexandria Quartet in 3 hours and then began to devour Maldoror. And can you believe it she too is insane about Pendrecki. Miranda can’t bear to even listen to the opening bars of the Polish Requiem without screaming for the Tylenol.

Oh God how I wish Miranda was a tattoo on Tempest’s body instead of the other way around. I asked her once what she thought might happen if I got her tattooed on my forearm? But even as I asked I knew it wouldn’t be the same. Tempest suggested that we talk to Miranda and let her know how we feel. Maybe once she understood how in love we were she would do everything she could to help us be together forever. But I told Tempest that she was being naïve if she thought Miranda would be anything but a total bitch about the whole thing. In fact I told her Miranda would do everything she could to make sure that Tempest and I never saw each other again as long as she lived.

There was only one solution. We would have to elope.

By the time we crossed the border into Detroit the stitches were beginning to pull. I reached into my tote bag and pulled out the cocoa butter and slathered a thick layer over Tempest’s sleeping form. She looked so good on my forearm I wanted to ask the woman beside me if she didn’t think we made a cute looking couple. But there was something about the way she was looking at my handiwork that made me feel like Frankenstein’s monster. ‘Oh well’ I thought ‘some people never like to see anyone happy’.

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Inked

19 Mar

Inked

I met her at a party. It was one of those Queen Street warehouse things where everyone is a novella unto themselves. And you can choose to skim or become embroiled. She was mostly naked except for the art which was everywhere and the jewelry which was more specific. I guessed she was a dancer. It was the way she walked with that crippled grace that is shared by birds and ballerinas. I tried to imagine her in toe shoes. It wasn’t hard. In fact it was easy to visualize her slashing her way across the stage feet like razors, blue dreds sparking like chains on tarmac.

I must have been staring because she walked right over to me and slid her card into the pocket where I keep my keys. She kept her hand there a moment while she stroked the rest of me with her eyes. “I want to do you. Call me if you’re interested.”

 

I watched her make her way across the room slipping cards into a few more pockets before she left. I took the card out of my pocket to see just what it was she wanted to do with me.

 

I didn’t have any tattoos. I could never come up with an image that I wouldn’t get tired of. And then there was that whole fade factor, sure the panther looks hot while it’s black but not so much when it turns green. But I couldn’t get her out of my head. I kept telling myself that it was way more than insane to get inked just so I could see her again. I decided that crazy was more fun anyway.

 

She inked out of her home. She had an apartment in a converted soap factory just around the corner from where the party had been. Her name was Bete and her dreds were now electric violet. She was still pretty much naked.

 

“Normally, I charge about 100.00 an hour but I have a thing about being the first.”

I had no idea what it was that I was going to look at every day for the rest of my life. It was one of the conditions. If I would let her do whatever she wanted wherever she wanted, she would ink me for free. She promised that she had no designs on my face. No pun intended.

 

The needle pierced my skin just as the rich notes of Bach’s first cello solo filled the room. The pain seemed to ebb and swell with the music. It was such an intimate pain that it could almost be defined as sexual. And yet there was a connection much deeper than that. It was as if she was the ink.

 

When she was finished she took me to an enormous mirror. She stood there with me almost as mesmerized by the piece as I. It was exquisite. It was haunting. It was vivid. It was alive. I could almost feel her snakes writhing on my ribs, her eyes turning me to granite as she whispered my name.

 

Bete traced the Medusa that she had etched into my skin with her fingertips. She kissed me deeply, knowingly as if we had just made love for hours. She bandaged me and dressed me and sent me home wanting more, wanting to be covered from head to toe.

 

I have never been a highly sexual person. Oh don’t get me wrong I totally dig it but my body has never ruled me except in a couple of occasions. So it was highly unusual for me to be making out in bars and taking strange chicks home even after I had established their lack of intellect. But that’s exactly what I was doing night after night, day after day, month after month until Medusa spoke.

 

At first I thought it was the E but the woman in my bed heard it too. Not only heard it but saw it. “Oh my god, you’re tattoo is like trying to say something. Wow her lips are even moving.”

I looked down at my ribs and saw that she was right. Medusa was speaking but so quietly that I could barely hear her above the snakes because the snakes were hissing too.

 

“I can’t hear you. You have to speak up.” I said.

The Medusa smiled. It was a cold reptilian smile than never quite managed to convince.

“You are very beautiful.” She said to the woman on top of me. “I could look at you forever.”

 

There was something in the way she said it. Something final like the enactment of a law or the signing of a death warrant that made me know even before I felt it and it happened fast. I had just enough time to roll off the bed before my companion had been turned into a solid piece of obsidian.

Medusa sighed. “Stunning isn’t she?”

I couldn’t help but agree. She was indeed. In fact she was far more beautiful than she had been in life. Unfortunately though this left me with a huge problem, well not huge really but seriously inconvenient. This was obviously the last time I would ever bring a woman home. From now on I would have to go to their place.

Phantom Pain

12 Mar

Sometimes goofing around with a friend can inspire a story. Actually in this case it inspired more than one. But this is the first. I am lucky I have a couple of people that just seem to ignite my creativity by just riffing or hanging. I’m not sure what it is but it’s very enjoyable.

 

Phantom Pain

 

Have you ever forced yourself to do something that either scared the living shit right out of you or was just so completely out of character that nobody would believe you’d done it if you didn’t have visual proof? What about something incredibly stupid, humiliating even, just to challenge yourself? If your answer is no then you are not going to get why I decided to get Simone’s lips inked onto my inner thigh. Unless of course you have ever had Simone’s lips actually on your inner thigh and then I’m pretty sure you’re feeling me.

 

I have a lot of ink but it’s concentrated mostly on my left arm and back. I don’t like the look of random ink. I believe that placement of art on your body is even more important than placement of art on your walls. But in this case I was recreating a memory. I knew it was going to hurt. I wanted it to. It was appropriate that it did. And I wanted to feel… anxious, jittery… so I went to a shop I’d never been, in an area of town that got really fucking restless as soon as the streetlights came on and then someone usually shot them out again. Like I said “incredibly stupid”.

 

The neon sign was a vivid red against the black of the glass and the reflection of the bikes parked in front. I was hoping the bikes belonged to the bars on either side but I wasn’t holding my breath. Besides not all bikers were psychotic, some of them were sociopaths. Let’s face it nobody does charming like a sociopath. But I was not looking for a relationship; I was looking for an artist.

 

It took me a minute or twelve to get used to the dim. If it wasn’t for the buzz I would have thought the place was deserted but from the sound there were at least two people inking. Once my pupils dilated to the best of their ability I could see that there were three.  But that’s about all I could swear to. I couldn’t tell if they were male/female, white, brown, old, scarred, conjoined or scaled. The shape farthest away from the door beckoned. I found myself shuffling so as not to bump into anything violently. Funny, you’d think I would have turned and run. Not me, I was so scared I could feel the blood draining from my face and yet it just made everything seem more perfect.

 

By the time I got to the station I could see that the pale beckoning hand belonged to a woman of indeterminate age and not the ghost of Christmas Past. Her hair was long, dark and hung in her face. I have no idea what her eyes looked like. I could not see them. For all I knew she had no eyes. I told her what I was looking for. Pulled the letter with Simone’s lip print on it out of my pocket and held it out to her. She motioned for me to put the letter on her table. I took off my jeans and jumped up on the bench. I knew it was my imagination but it smelled of the fear of the countless others who had lain before me in anticipation of that first jolt. No two people tattoo the same. You could get an identical image done in exactly the same place by 8 different people and they will all feel completely different ranging from almost nothing to excruciating. I know this sounds nuts but I like it to hurt just enough to make it feel like a bit of a heroic quest. Not a Beowulf quest, I don’t think I have the pain tolerance for that but at least fording a raging river or walking into a gale. This was like neither.

 

To be completely honest I really couldn’t tell you what it felt like because I can’t remember getting the tattoo at all. I just know I got it because I can see it but other than that… nada. In fact I have been wracking my brain trying to remember the name of the fucking place and where it was.

 

People who believe in ghosts believe that almost anything can be haunted. And conversely that anything dead can be a ghost like even a whale or a wolf spider. I don’t know about you but I find real spiders terrifying enough without adding a whole invisible, moving through walls and even your body, element. Fortunately I’m not a big believer in the paranormal so ectoplasmic arachnids remain the stuff of nightmares. I am however on the verge of believing in transmundane tattoo parlors because my new ink… is interactive.

 

I know, I sound nuts. Maybe I am. Not that I’m complaining. There was a reason I wanted to remember Simone’s lips on my inner thigh and now I feel them every night, many times a night. The only thing is I’m not getting a lot of sleep. Oh well I guess I can sleep when I’m dead.

Semantics

5 Mar

Semantics

 

Would you say there’s something wrong with somebody who has never been loved? I mean romantically not platonically or in a familial way. And I’m not talking about sex… Is there a significant difference between making love, having sex and fucking? I mean aside from poets can people really tell the difference between having someone make love to you and having someone love fucking you?

 

What does it feel like to look into a face knowing that you will be spending the rest of your life with it? How do you see that face after fifteen, twenty, thirty years? Is it the same as when you have a cat from the time it’s a baby and even when the cat is going on eighteen years you still see the kitten in its face? I have never been able to do that with people just cats and occasionally a friend’s dog.

 

What makes people who need people so goddamned lucky?

 

I try very hard not to need people who are not professionals. I have no problem needing my psychiatrist or my dentist or my cable repairman, the Geek Squad, my cats, the occasional hooker, my pharmacist, but I prefer to want my friends. I can love friends. I am never in love with them. I never go to bed with them. So if you are my friend we will never end up naked and if we ever did… we weren’t really friends at the time.

 

Candy was my best friend. I told her everything. When I tell somebody things, confidential, not for just anybody’s ears things, I don’t do it for advice or to burden the person, I am just sharing facts. It is very important to me that friends get me right. So it caused me great concern when Candy… got me wrong.

 

To this day I still don’t understand it. I have gone over it and over it, day after day after month after year and it was not my fault. I know unequivocally that I said and did nothing to lead Candy to believe that I was interested in anything other than her companionship. When people saw us on the street and asked if we were together I made it crystal clear that we were friends. And everybody got it. I thought.

 

Miriam, my best friend says I was stupid not to see it coming; that I was naïve to think that just because you lay it all out for someone that they will respect where you are coming from. Miriam says people listen to what you say thinking all along that they can get you to change your mind later when they’ve worked on you a while. I never change my mind about people. If you give me reason not to trust you, I will never trust you. I may hang out with you and do shit with you, I might even help you but I will never place myself in a position where your behavior matters. I will never count on you. I will always have a back-up plan. Miriam says she knew Candy was in love with me from the first time she saw me. But I don’t believe it. If you love somebody you don’t betray them.

 

I gave Candy a key to my place. I gave it to her so that if something happened to me my cats would be okay. She gave me a key to her place too because her buzzer was always broken. We had a lot of things in common. Our favorite movie was Fulltime Killer starring Andy Lau. We both loved food so spicy that the first bite would make our foreheads bead with sweat. Candy hated pop music especially female vocalists with “girl” voices and so did I. We were the only lesbians we knew that did not enjoy Heart. We wore black jeans, detested kids, loved our steak blue, knew what a Viola Da Gamba was and read everything we could get our hands on by Gore Vidal.

 

Saturday mornings I would go to her place in my pajamas and she would make French toast with brioche and we would lie on the floor watching cartoons.  Wednesdays she would come to mine, watch American Horror Story and eat my pasta.  Two days a week we hung out. Does this seem like anything other than friends to you? Seriously I don’t know where Miriam gets her ideas. We were friends.

 

Until the Wednesday she came up behind me while I was cooking my hot Italian sausage, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olive sauce with rigatoni and started kissing my neck. I could feel her breasts pushing up against my back. She was naked. Her hands were moving towards the buttons on my shirt. Her breath was coming in soft little pants in my ear. I tried to imagine what I could possibly say to her to get her to stop. To push time back so that I could not feel her fingers slide across my chest causing every centimeter of skin touched to crawl.  I did not want to turn. Did not want to see her body quivering with anticipation for a lust I could not feel. I did not want her to see the loathing in my eyes. I felt like a cat cornered by adolescent boys. And the longer I waited, the longer I did nothing, praying she would notice my complete detachment, the angrier I became when she just continued grinding her hips into my… Until finally the thought of that pending suffocating kiss drove me into such a panic that I stopped chopping the red chili peppers and drove the knife backwards into her face.

 

At first there was no change just the same rhythmic rolling of her hips and then a spasm, then another more and more violent accompanied by a gush of hot soaking my hair, my clothes until her body slapped against the ceramic tiles.  The rigatoni was boiling. I picked one out with a fork and tasted it. Perfect. I turned off the burners, sprinkled the basil over the sauce and drained the rigatoni.

 

The pasta was the best I have ever made. American Horror Story was a repeat. Not that it was any excuse but I wondered if she’d known.