Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Flash

I wake up to darkness. Blank with no light at all. I feel my way towards the window to see if I can make out any light. Nothing. It is a moonless night. It is beginning to get cold, and I feel a rush of the draft upon my skin coming from the opening between the window and the sill. That window has never closed right.  Need to address that tomorrow. The condensation is moist and cold on the panes of glass. I realize my cheek is wet from resting it against the window. I close the drapes and feel them wrap around my body. The built up grime from my cigarettes on the drapes leaves an oily dusty film on my fingers. My first instinct is to wash them, but I fear not finding my way to the bathroom.  I grope my way towards the bed and sit down; the quilt is freezing cold, the slippery cotton sateen more suited to the summer heat.  Goosebumps break out on my legs, and I feel the hair stand on end on my arms. I lay down next to my cat just to be close to some warmth.  I run my fingers through his thick fur, the density of it gives me comfort. As he breathes, his fur moves and increases the sumptuousness of it.  I wish I could wrap him around my body to chase away this chill. He is too small, so I wrap myself around him instead.
I hesitate to get inside the sheets, but I still do. I must just sleep out this power outage until morning.  No sense in staying awake in the dark.  I feel something move past me.  I think? No, that was just the draft I tell myself.  Now I will worry. I am just about to fall asleep when I hear a sound out in the living room. Don’t do this to me now! I cannot go out there. I can’t. But I guess I have to. I find my robe that I had left on the chair and slowly move down the hall using my fingertips to navigate where I am. I sense the molding to the bathroom door when I see a flash in the living room beyond. I freeze.  Quietly, I continue further; my bare feet gripping the rough floor boards tensely.  I reach the living room.  The openness of the space scares me. Now where did the flash come from? It is so dark, and my eyes have not even adjusted to it. It is that bad. I wrap my arms around my body as if to give myself some protection from the unknown beyond. Still feeling my way forward with my feet, I reach the turkish carpet. It’s roughness gives me some apprehension. Without seeing the carpet, its merit decreases.  It becomes just a mat on the ground to protect the floor.
Just then, I am covered by a presence encircling me. I cannot move, but feel the breath of this person on my face. They begin to caress me: my waist, then my hips. I attempt to scream, but my efforts are met with a male “shhh” and a “don’t worry”. I am strangely comforted by these words. I am lifted up as if weightless and lie down on the sofa. I don’t wish to scream any more. I am met with warm hands on my feet, massaging them and giving me sensations that I have never felt before. I relinquish my will to this strange man. I don’t stop to think where he came from. Strangely, no. Do I wonder how he came to be in my living room? The door was locked after all. No, I don’t.  His effect on me is so strong to overcome my reasoning capacity.
He begins to remove my robe.  His fingers are rough and a little hardened.  His touch is insistent, yet soft and reassuring. He causes no pain at all, no reason to resist or even to wish him to stop. He lights his cigarette, but I am unable to see his face in the glow.  This must have been the flash. He turns away as he does it. So far, I only know him through his touch. I am able to reason through all of this, but not the fact that I am being intimate with a stranger who has entered my house through a locked door.  I do remember locking it.  I even checked it twice. I remember how it felt in my hand vividly. He touches my chapped lips with his fingertips.  He seems to want to memorize me with his hands. Now, my eyebrows.  He exhales smoke into the air above me. He picks up my own hands and places them on his face.  I begin to touch it. I start with his jawline.  It is strong and roughly stubbled.  I move to his eyelids.  He closes them to allow me to feel them.  I move my fingertips around the sockets, attempting to visualize him or at least get a sense of his bone structure.  I feel a sense of urgency come over me. I know somehow that I need to feel his hair to get a sense of who he is. It is rather short and seems to be combed back off of his forehead. It has some kind of pomade feel to it. A little creamy to the touch, and it stays on my hands. His hair is still soft though, not coarse, and I continue to comb through it, luxuriating in it, feeling more content as I do.
He climbs onto the couch with me and positions himself against the back. I am impelled to curl up against him to get warmer, but I stop myself. He wraps his own arms around my waist and rubs my back lightly. He seems to be my height or close to it. Our feet line up, and he doesn’t seem to need to bend his legs to fit. I rest my body against his without hesitation. He is not thin, or his body would not feel so right to me.  No angry bones getting in the way.  Nothing sharp to annoy me and cause me pain. Just softness and warmth. I curl my arms against my chest and nuzzle my body against his. In a few moments time, I shut my eyes and fall asleep, darkness and fear forgotten. This was the blanket I was looking for all along; his warmth that which had always been missing from me.

This is a companion piece to this story here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cellular Respiration: a new poem

Cellular Respiration

He digs his shovel in
Metal against rock reverberates
As his lower back spasms and springs back into a healthy S curve
Slivers of polystyrene sift through the pile of dirt, growing and expanding like a malignant mass
On top of an old forgotten portion of the garden
Black eyed susans forgotten then passed away into the compost pile at the back of the shed

He begins to build up various levels of ruin inside his faded citron wheelbarrow
His feet burn
Hidden inside closed cell resin coverings equipped with adequate holes for drainage
He takes a strong sip off the rubber tube resting upon his shoulder
His moist curling hair dripping the taste of salt onto his lips as he works
He needs a refill

He walks towards the garage to obtain another bottle, hopefully chilled
He rests his shovel against the doorway
And enters the cool shade, skin drying quickly, heart slowing down
The smell of fumes pervades as his half-painted lockers
Stand to dry, grey at attention
Their new home a respite compared to the sad junk yard from which they came

He bends into the tiny, 5 cubic foot fridge
And pulls out a cold one
The latest elixir that a gardener needs
Ginseng, protein, Vitamin C, B6, B12, chromium, zinc, and taurine
the perfect concoction for optimum bodily efficiency
And just what a gardener needs to sustain himself
In his hot and grueling fight to maintain
His Garden---safe, hidden, uncorrupted by man.

What is Literary?: The Case of June Miller

When thinking about the question of whether a piece of writing would be considered literary or non-literary recently, I began to wonder about our own subjective relationship to what would constitute literary and what it would mean depending on one’s own personal perspective.  
I happened upon, in the writings of Anais Nin, the characterization of June Miller, wife of the writer Henry Miller. June is an interesting case.  As Anais had written in her published and widely renowned diary written from 1931-1934, June had told her once:
“I don’t care for films, newspapers, ‘reportages’, the radio. I only want
to be involved in life while it is being lived. ‘Do you understand that Anais?” 
Anais responds: “Yes, I do”.  June goes on to say, “Henry is literary….I know Henry thinks
I’m mad because I want only fever. I don’t want objectivity. I don’t want distance.  I don’t
want to become detached.”
Anais’s reaction to June is what this particular diary entry is all about, and one thing that she realizes is that she and Henry are both so different as compared to June, and it is this idea of embracing experience and not becoming detached that creates the difference between them.  
It is interesting that as Anais writes of June, she brings to her character the necessary detachment in order to analyze who she was as a person and most of all as a woman.  When Nin herself writes of her role, she says:
“What I have to say is really distinct from the artist and of art.  It is the woman who
has to speak.  And it is not only the woman Anais who has to speak, but I who
have to speak for many women.”
Nin is attempting to create a universal commentary on womanhood with everything she writes.  June, conversely, wishes to be the sole creator and author of her own life.  As Eagleton has written:  “One of the things we mean by calling a piece of writing “literary” is that it is not tied to a specific context.”  In other words, each literary piece may emerge from certain contexts, but their inherent meaning, and what the reader interprets from them, is not tied to those specific contexts.
June wishes to be infinitely tied to those contexts and does not wish to be separated from them.  It seems she sees Henry’s and maybe even Nin’s analyzing eye as potentially intrusive on her freedom to live in the moment and experience events, people, and things grounded to context. As Terry Eagleton writes, in non-literary contexts, there is no choice over meaning, and it tends to be determined by the setting itself.  
When Nin describes the outward persona of June, she refers to it as false and is “repelled by her insincerity”.  She writes:
“By the end of the evening, I felt as Henry did, fascinated with her face and body
which promises so much, but hating her invented self which hides the true one.
This false self is composed to stir the admiration of others, inspires others to
words and acts about and around her.  I feel she does not know what to do when
confronted with these legends which are born around her face and body; she feels
to them.”
I get the feeling when reading this passage and comparing it to June’s point of view that Nin is attempting to deconstruct June and render her more “literary” and more “authentic”.  It gives me the feeling that she is not doing justice to June Miller, the woman, by recreating her into the universal woman. As the diary entry goes on, we see June opening up to Anais, becoming vulnerable.  This pleases Nin in that she finally gets past this sense of insincerity.  Could she be then attempting making June into a “literary” figure by pulling off her mask of identity? Could she be taking away her individuality in the process? This is what she writes about who she “thinks” June is behind her masks:
“June. At night I dreamed of her, not magnificent and overwhelming as she is, but
very small and frail, and I loved her.  I loved a smallness, a vulnerability which I felt
was disguised by her inordinate pride, by her volubility.  It is a hint of pride.  She
lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably.  She lives on the reflections of
herself in the eyes of others.  She does not dare to be herself.”
She is breaking June down, like one would break down and interpret a literary piece.  She is rendering June literary, a woman who wants anything but to “be” literary.
Nin wants June to merge with her as woman.  She wants them to be the same and to be exposed without a true identity:
“We have both lost ourselves, but that is when one reveals most of one’s true self
You’ve revealed your incredible sensitiveness.  I am so moved. You are like me,
wishing for such perfect moments, and frightened for fear of spoiling them.”
Is it possible that this journey towards literary is merely a journey to find ourselves, a narcissistic endeavor, if you will?  Are we only looking for our own reflections in the mirror of a literary work?
In the end, June “conquered” the inauthentic, non-literary June.  By the end of her diary entry, she has rendered her universal and literary.  To Nin, this was an act of possession:
“I discovered June’s purity.  It was June’s purity I was given to possess, what she
had given to no one else.  To me, she gave the secret of her being, the woman
whose face and body have aroused instincts around her which left her untouched
which terrified her.  As I had sensed, her destructiveness is unconscious.  She
is imprisoned in it, and detached and bewildered.  When she met me, she
revealed her innocent self.  She lives in fantasies, not in the world Henry lives in.”
It is interesting to note here that she is calling June “detached” whereas June is trying to avoid becoming “detached”.  So who is correct? Is June’s outward persona that she shows the world and uses to experience life her detached side, or is it the inner woman she holds inside, small, frail, and vulnerable, that is detached? As Eagleton writes, “No piece of writing is closer to reality than any other.”  And I would have to agree.  Neither piece of June is less “June”.  They are both valid and both engaged at all times.  So shouldn’t we then say that writing is always both literary and non-literary at once?
Lastly, Henry’s writing is different than Nin’s writing.  Miller writes about his signature genre, the autobiographical novel:
“It is not a mixture of truth and fiction, this genre of literature, but an expansion
and deepening of truth.  It is more authentic, more veridical, than the diary.  It is
not the flimsy truth of facts which authors of the autobiographical novels offer, but
the truth of emotion, reflection, and understanding, truth digested and assimilated.
The being revealing himself does so on all levels simultaneously.”  

So, perhaps, how did Henry understand his wife? He understood that there are parts of June that contradict some of her other facets, yet are still just as valid.  Just like in a literary work, there will be parts that are mere context, mere facts, mere historical moments, but there will be behind all of this an inner detachment (or attachment) to what the work is/means/is symbolic of/is interpreted as. Perhaps it all comes down to a difference in understanding the nature of the term “literary”: literary is not a simple unmasking to find the truth.  It is more of an interwovenness between facts and truth unearthed from these facts, so, if we reject one for the other, we are shortchanging of what it means to call something literature and thus “literary”.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

He Falls.

No Place

Drill down deeper
Hold on tighter
To the rope that you grip and hang from
This is here
Nowhere but here.

He watches out of the corner of his eye as the clock moved forward to 2:43.  He should have gone out.  What was he thinking? The silence is too much for him.  He gets up, goes to the fridge, grabs a beer, and turns on the tv.  Cop shows. He turns off the tv, powers up his computer, and turns on some music, takes a nice drink and leans back in his chair. It has only been a week, and he feels out of control without her.  He longs to escape the pain, but how does one do that? Alcohol, drugs, sex. Nothing seems to be right.  The silence is coming back again, even with the music on. He gets his coat on to go for a walk.  Hearing the cars going by may help. He starts walking the the stairs of his apartment building and notices that someone had left the main door open.  He goes down to investigate.  He looks outside and sees nothing strange, so continues on his way.  The air feels brisk, but it feels nice to feel something.  There are a few cars still driving by and this, along with the fresh air, comforts him. Not one person in sight anywhere though.  He decides then and there to move out of the neighborhood.  He needs people around.  This won’t do.

He turns the corner.  Still nothing.  He walks; his footsteps the only sound and they echo loudly against the walls of the surrounding buildings.  He sees a light on in one of the windows and a shadow appears behind the curtains.  The figure of a female? Maybe.  He continues on.  The rhythm of his feel propelling his body to move forward even though he is apathetic to everything. Why move, why breathe, when this is the way it will be? This is reality, isn’t it? Feeling a lack of control, being without from within. He misses her touch, her presence. It brought him out of himself, at least for a little while.  Now, all he has is his internal landscape, his barren thoughts, and guilt over doing the wrong thing.  It tears up his mind to think that he could have done something differently. But why? Could it have changed things? Could it have mattered? He turns the corner to veer back to his apartment. He opens the bottom door to the sound of music.  Could one of the neighbors have woken up since he left? He mounts the stairs.  The music is coming from upstairs, and it is loud. Sounds like trance or techno. Nobody else stirs in the hallway. Not another noise around.  Just the music.  As he reaches the top of the stairs he realizes suddenly that, yes, it is coming from his apartment.  The door is ajar. He pushes it open and sees a woman in green standing there. No, dancing there, slowly. Her eyes are closed, and she is swaying back and forth.  Her hair is a mass of waves and tendrils like chaotic waterfalls. He stands there stunned watching her.  Her outfit is all green: a silk-like material, like nothing he has ever seen before. Almost iridescent in the light of his apartment.  One light is on:  the floor lamp next to the couch, yet she glows more deeply than she should.  She continues to sway, the music changes to something more mellow and acoustic. He lies down on the couch and just sits, watching intently. His eyes close and sleep takes over him, comforting his weary synapsing neurons.  They settle down after a long battle. He goes deeper, still hearing the music. He feels hands on his face caressing him, and he falls, losing whatever grip he had left on the past, on the future. He simply falls.  

Siren's Song

I put in a call to book the weekend of June 4th at the lake house.  The receptionist relays to me that there is only one cottage remaining--Siren’s Song, the house farthest past the long dock on the left. I book it quickly, excitedly.  I gaze and glance around the room; the orange sponge strangely signalling to me that I need to clean up the kitchen before she arrives. I look at the clock.  She will be here in an hour.  The sponge moves almost on its own from that point on, channeling my energy.
While washing and drying the remaining dishes, I become lost in reverie about our last meeting at the university library.  The electrical shock between us was palpable and shocking, jolting us out of our mundane academic life. I have a “pull” at the library, so once I had felt that first jolt, I pulled her into the archive room.  Temperature and humidity controlled, white gloves waiting at the door, we swiftly peeled our clothes off like “just ripe” bananas and lay down on the floor.  Our lust matured, growing more forceful. I spotted a copy of Keat’s poetry on a shelf a mere 3 feet away from where we stood. “Could it be a first edition?” I pondered then quickly erased that strange intrusive thought from my head.  I try my best not to laugh as I position my angel, to admire her curvy white splendour, as she lay spread across the carpet like a corpse: blonde hair spilled onto avocado, with lips parted in painful, ecstatic stillness.
Her signature quiet contemplation quickly transforms into a rapturous rhythm of sound, and I fear for a moment someone will hear.  I cover her mouth with my hand, impulsively grabbing one of the spare white gloves for her to bite on.  Gasps and cries muffled, we proceed to end our moment of spiritual elevation on a high note:  no biological traces to be found, all neatly collected in a latex container.  I breathe a sigh of relief for the salvage of my beloved open access to the library and for the continuation of my masculine freedom.  I watch as she dresses-replacing her rosy pink undergarments, buttoning her jeans as I zip mine quickly.  I lay the glove carefully back in place and caress the Keats book as I pass: “No damage done”.  I drive her home and observe her as she walks to the door, hair flowing down her back, slightly dishevelled; her boots percusive on the concrete.  A car pulls up. Two people get out: an older woman and what appears to be a priest. They enter the same door as she has, priest following behind, close at her heels.  She must live with her mother, I suppose.
When the time comes and she finally arrives, I tell her about the cottage. We make plans. She is more beautiful than I remember, away from the fluorescent lights of the university.  She had mindfully thought to bring her toothbrush, and I spot it in the holder on the bathroom sink.  “Huh.” I feel a sharp jab sear through my chest. A small red object with significance miles beyond its ordinary utilitarianism.

I proceed to count the days until June 4th, slashing them with a line on my calendar anxiously, like a kid waiting for Christmas.  I am finding that I am falling in love.  I almost forget to breathe now, and my stomach feels like an empty cavern come to life with flowers.
June 4th arrives.  We unpack our things at Siren’s Song. Someone had left a green rake by the back door.  It had fallen and jammed into the screening.  I carefully remove it and place it on its side on the front porch. The bugs will come later, but let them come.  I won’t notice.
She comes up behind me, her hair tied back loosely with a scarf, bright red perfectly painted toes peeking out innocently from the from of her black leather sandals.  She grabs my hand, leads me to the lake, immodestly removes her clothes, and dives through the surface of the glassy lake.  I think to hesitate, looking around at the other cottages the surround its perimeter.  As I spy her figure drifting smoothly through the water, I say “What the hell,” remove my clothes, and enter.  The chill of the water hits me pretty hard, but it is a pleasant shock.  She swims to me, red lips beaded with water, her hair smoothed back to a fawn colored sheen.  Her skin has just begun to tan.  Around her neck rests a small plain gold cross.  I begin to caress and kiss her neck, moving down to take the cross into my mouth.  I taste the harsh metallic coldness as our bodies begin the melding process.  We create an amalgam of our own and the chemical reaction is synchronic and smooth.
The water will hide the evidence this time, but I never once consider this.  It is simply this woman and me.  It could be any day, any hour, any lake, and any two people experiencing wholeness and escape, feet off of the ground, for the first time.  And I live for that.  I know we all do.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hot off the presses: A New Short Story

Of Human Consciousness

`It is the hat that matters most,` she said, as she careened forward, nearly missing being hit by a Hermes-like bicycle delivery guy.  `If the hat is not designed historically correct, then the whole costume will be off and all the purists will notice.  That, I can guarantee you.`  She was walking with Benton down Massachusetts Avenue on a sunny late afternoon.  Sun in the city seems a rarity. And Benton.  What in the world would she do without him? He has been here for me.  That he has. Not in a way that I would expect to need him, but the way he came to me years ago and filled in as that missing puzzle piece in my life, I could have never expected.  Benton was a surprise, a gift.  The kind of gift someone gives you, and you wonder, `What could they mean?`.  Later on, you understand exactly what they meant.  They were anticipating your needs, which is quite a gift in itself.   

            They quickly made way across the street at the crosswalk, headed in the direction of the sun and the production company they have been working for. She looked him up and down as she followed behind him.  He was wearing his usual attire: J Crew khakis and a crisp white shirt, but he always managed to look so fresh. No matter the weather, his hair was perfectly cut and styled, and his shoes, polished to an opaque shine.  His body was like a metrosexual marble statue, created just to express the 21st century human ideal until the end of time.  One wonders if he sits at home when not working and preens like a peacock, cleaning his feathers for the next conquest. It is a technique that has been well-proven to produce the optimum results.

            A Chinese lady with a hot dog cart is stuck on the curb. She hurries over to help her lift it up and onto the sidewalk. Pamela notices she is wearing a pair of those soft black cloth mary janes with the rust colored soles that were one of those coveted exotic Chinese finds of the youth back in the 80`s.  Hers were old and the backs of the shoes were crumpled into accordions, her pink socks permanently grey from months or even years of splashing puddles and the tenacious grime of the road.  Benton continues to walk, oblivious to anything happening around him. Typical Benton: his legs mechanically working like the geared mechanisms in a factory assembly line. They just never stop.  She laughs.  `Would you wait a second?` She rushes forward in her high heels, still nimble and balanced at the mature age of 48.  `Ok we are not late.  In fact, we are early! Where are you rushing off too?` She is a bit perturbed, but used to it.  Benton is a man on a mission.  Any mission, he is there and will not fail. She catches her breath beside him and says, `As I was saying, we need to emphasize the fact that this film will be different.`  `I know, Pam.  I heard you the first time.  Do you doubt me?  I would think you would know by now that I have no trouble giving you what you want.` She grumbles.  `Ah, but sometimes, you are much too confident.  That is what worries me right now.  I get the feeling that you are not as serious about this project as I am.`

            The last project they worked on together was a disaster to finish.  The final product was breathtaking and wildly innovative, but the journey through completion was a horror.  So many details left undone at the last minute, so much rushing and so many complicated transactions going on. It made her head spin.  He makes her head spin. She did not want another one of those projects.  She was determined to lead this one.  Benton will just have to follow her lead.   She will make sure of it. Somehow, she wonders, will I be eating these words? Benton is one brilliant force to be reckoned with.

            Benton was similar to someone, she thinks to herself. How funny life can be.  One person leaves your life because you realize that they were no good for you and the `trying harder` part was only leaving you completely emptied, then another comes along and is so similar to the last.  One would think that you would stop for a second and say, `Wait a minute! This feels similar.`, but, we never do, do we? We merely carry on, having parallel relationships all of our lives.  Almost like we were given an imprint at birth and that is what we would follow, until we finally got it right.  Benton, she thinks, is that `got it right` person.  The one who untangled the misunderstandings, inconsistencies, and insensitivities of the past, the one who ties the strings together, makes things right, and never, ever gives up.  He can be an ass.  No doubt about that one.  But he is also her hero, too.  She would not have come nearly as far with her goals without him.

            Before Benton, there was Trudy, short for Theresa.  Yes, strange nickname, but interestingly, it matches her persona. She did always tell the truth.  Pamela could trust her, but she turned out to be someone she just could not rely upon.  A train wreck they would say.  Her life was a bomb site, the crater left after an asteroid hit, the derailed train car hovering off of the side of a lurching suspension bridge.  Every day, some thing new, but not in a good way with Trudy.  Never in a good way.  Any phone call coming from her end was sure to result in a visit to the hospital, the funeral home, or the jail in order to bring bail money and/or a change of clothes. And sometimes, these would be her only clothes.

            They arrive at 744 Lincoln Blvd., a monstrous art deco skyscraper with 6 elevators and 130 floors.  On the 128th, the offices of CCM Productions begin, with the more senior executives as you approach the top.  They pass the doorman who tips his red hat with fingers like sausages, quickly hiding his magazine as we drift swiftly by.  Pamela was always nervous as she entered these elevators. She adjusts her stockings and skirt and holds her chin higher.  Benton patiently waits, resting on his elegance, at the elevator keypad.  He glances her way, looking cool and confident, removing his sunglasses. He turns and gives her a light hug.  `You look worried, my dear. Let me handle it, and we will be fine.` She thinks to herself, `Yes, I could do that, but I won`t this time, not matter how easy it sounds. I must maintain control. Things will change from this moment forward.` She checks her reflection in one of the mirrors along the wall: red hair, thick and brushed to a sheen, rose lipstick still intact and creamy, cleavage is visible, yet not too daring,  expression is….well, doable for now. She is hoping it will change as she reaches that crucial moment.  She steels her backbone, hoping that strengthening herself physically will, in turn, strengthen her resolve.

            And they wait.  The secretary in her tight expensive sweater, mohair perhaps, icily tells them that Mr. Covington, the man himself, is held up at a meeting. Mr. Covington is an imposing man.  Mid 50`s, medium height and build, balding, but not well.  It is his demeanor that gives one the creeps.  Almost `dirty old man` in a way, but with a thick wallet, so weirdly, it gives that stereotype a positive twist.  Being a woman in this particular situation is hard, very hard. She continues to meditate on evoking power and authority, all the while, reserving her femininity as a back up tool in case she may need it.

            She somehow, in that tense waiting room scene looking down at her shoes, was brought back to the Chinese lady on the street today.  Her hot dog cart was her dream.  If she sold some hot dogs, she was content.  If she sold even more the next day, she was even happier and more satisfied. All the while, she did it all alone.  Utterly self reliant, she braved the cold of winter and the heat of summer; her own backbone, strong and resilient.  What makes her different than me?  Who is this man, Mr. Covington? He could be just another hungry guy buying hot dogs.  For some reason , this thought gave her a sudden rush of courage and determination.  Just think of him as just another hungry human being looking for his own level of contentment.  Just like the doorman and his magazine, just like Benton and his feathers.  Even poor, troubled Trudy, and her lack of clothes.  We all face these moments in our lives in our own way.  Tension, expectation, fear, apprehension come over all of us.  We are all just puzzle pieces in the big panorama of life.  We have our roles, our own engagement with others.  We are all necessary in the larger scheme of things. Her mind raced, as she sat there in the charcoal grey office chair, next to the potted orchid, the latest issue of Vanity Fair, and the picture of a seaside cottage on the wall.  This moment is not unique to her, but it is still hers.  It represents a continuum.  If she plays her role well, the continuum remains static and flowing.  She must do her best.  She must stay with the flow.

            The girl in dusty plum mohair rises up to open one of the double doors leading to her future.  Pamela and Benton rise, Benton allowing her to enter first.  The vast red space ahead, filled with curtains and bottles and woodwork and glass, collapses and expands, welcomes and prohibits, coddles and caresses, fondles and ignores, as she enters, her high heels grazing the carpet carefully.  And there he is. Head held erect, she greets the hungry man with a firm hand shake and a strong female glance. His eyes falter a bit, and she notices that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Covington is in need of a sandwich. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I am starting on a new project, and this will be quite the challenge for me.  Valentine`s Day is coming up, and I am intent on writing a love poem.  Granted, I write love poetry all the time, so not such a big deal it would seem.  Only one problem: my poetry is usually dark, deep, and sad.  I want to write a hopeful love poem.  In other words, one that is bright, joyful, possibly borderline ecstatic.  This will be for a friend, so it is important that I keep to these parameters. Anyway, wish me luck.  I really think I am going to need it (and it is a very good thing I have a deadline).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Experiment on for Size

I draped my tie loosely over the back of the chair after a long day of performing for an audience.  Only, this time, the audience does not know that they are watching me.  Are they watching intently without knowing? Are we all just watching intently without knowing?

            I see myself as creating desire with every movement I make: when those who watch, subsequently will then wish. This then leads to desire.  When I perform, I create something from nothing.

            I slip on my bra, finally after a long day of being saggy and limp; breasts pressed against my chest like a crushed loaf of processed bread.  I slip my nightgown on, let my hair out of the intricate hairstyle I have created to mimic a sort of `metro-sexual` male, the only male whom I could in fact mimic convincingly. I am tall 5 foot 9 inches, so that helps, and my hips are on the narrow side, allowing me to be admired for my apparently masculine litheness.    

            Let me begin from square one.  I am a woman, born a women, and very happy to `be` a woman.  I am trying on an experiment for size.  I wish to `be` a man.  To feel what it is like, to understand through the eyes of others how a man is perceived, a man feels among others, and how a man copes with these perceptions.  It is not only an experiment of experience; it is an experiment to prove a theory:  that we are shaped by perception, by our mirroring out in society, not so much by whom we are inside.  

            I have been an actor for 22 years, more in fact if you count the years that I dreamed of working as one, and even more if you count that fact that I am an actor and was born as one.   I live for my career and do not mind sacrificing myself in order to embrace another character.  In fact, I revel in it:  the ability to feel how others feel, to enter their psyche, to feel their pain and pleasure. 

            My experiment has just begun.  I have convinced everyone, No one has given me a sideways glance at all. They have all treated me with respect and manly acknowledgement.  It is different.  It is more of a solid treatment, therefore less soft, less warm.  Do I miss the warmth?  Sometimes.  I am now moving on to the next step.  To attempt to seduce a woman, or at the very least, connect with one as a man. To understand the difficulty in walking the line between masculine strength and power and that ever-elusive union between two people without gender.  I want to hold masculinity in the palm of my hand, feel its texture, but then drop it in an instant.

             As I hurry to leave the next morning, pulling another tie off the rack and swiftly looping and tying it carefully, I notice one thing a little off with myself today.  I am feeling weak.  I have lost that initial feeling of aggression that was so exhilarating at the start of my experiment. I feel reluctant to begin another day again, but quickly collect myself and my things to exit the haven of my apartment.

My shoes feel snug and a bit too clunky as I march down the hall to the elevator.  My limbs feel heavy because of it.  I pull my shoulders up strong and ready to face that sea of faces in the city below.   I must remember that this newfound persona of mine should not be so conscious.  If I am to live as a man, I must feel comfortable within my own skin and not think about the fact that I am only playing a role. I must rid myself of the awareness that I am feeling.  As an actor, this is the ultimate challenge: to just drink in another life.

 I plunge forward into my day, one life consumed in order to fuel me.