Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dry, but...

Sweet Memory by Osnat Tzadok

You graced my life for one year
but dazzled my imagination for Ever
and do you know why
because you asked me if I liked flowers
(though you already knew the answer)
and then looked at me as if to read my eyes
but your eyes were not there to read
only to make promises they could not keep
promises that would dry out and be defeated.

But does it matter?

And you bought me a rose
from the lady bent over herself
wearing a red scarf wrapped loosely
around her thinning hair
a single red rose gowned in clear cellophane
and you smiled quixotically and said
This rose is more special than a dozen
and I smiled thinly and thought
Maybe there is plenty in scarcity, oh well.

But does it matter?

And I will not ask if you remember our train trip
from Grasse to Menton
our heads resting one against the other
while we slept for minutes that seemed hours
and dreamed of that city of people living by the sea
but when the train stopped
we grasped at pieces of our dream
(and this, I knew you wouldn’t forget)
our hands trying to hold the scenes that
escaped like dust particles in air
and you said Give me your hand
as we stepped off the train into a nameless town
two stops earlier than our intended destination
a town that would readily forget us
though we had vowed to remember it forever.

But does it matter?

You might recall that we made it to Menton
(and this, too, I knew you wouldn’t forget)
and the salt-sprayed wind ruffled our hair
but the clouds tangled the kite we wanted to fly
and the sea licked our footprints from the sand.

But does it matter?

And would it have mattered
if we had stayed and not gone?

And if you had stayed…

in a crowded room
you would have looked at me
I would have looked at you
our eyes like muddled pearls
and your eyes would have said
You are beautiful
and my eyes would have said
You make me feel beautiful.

We would have learned
one another’s intimacies in foreign places
in rooms with numbers on their doors
on unfamiliar beds where others before us
had unraveled their bodies
in the honeyed circles of momentary lust.

We would have departed and arrived
only to depart again
while leaving the eyes of others
rimmed by the redness of our absences.

We would have been carried along
by exotic breezes
sometimes with a smile
sometimes with our heads bowed
for the force of our emotion
or for the red lights of our own secret Amsterdam.

We would have completed one another’s sentences
and stopped one another in mid-blunder.
We would have wanted what we could not have
and had what we did not want.
We would have used given availabilities
and invented those we lacked.

But does it matter?

I still have
my red rose
and it is
but undefeated
and beautiful

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Heat from Sunlit Windows

Women in the Sun by Padamvir Singh

We walked and tripped over the shadows of trees
and sunlight beams crossed our path as you and I
meandered our way to the convention room.

You are the one who says you feel
you have always been searching
even if only inside yourself
and you could not
for the life of you
point out a certain stance or
express a certain feeling
you felt you had.

Is this why we’re here, now,
so maybe you can find your Self,
and I can find Mine?

And now we are in this convention room
filled with the faces of women like you and me
and their desire is written upon their cheekbones
and is festering inside their mouths
and eating out their eyes
though they sometimes feel
and shame
at the acts of their hands
but that is all in their heads.

And you and I are walking
and tripping again
but this time
over varicose-veined legs
and arthritic knees
and slender calves
and shapely thighs
that sometimes unfold and curve with desire
and sometimes rock a tired child to sleep
and we hear pieces of chatter about
Tom and Paul and Mike and Al.

And the sunlight filters through the windows
and falls over the hundreds of chairs
and hundreds of faces
and we find our places
and we sit and watch
out of the corners of our eyes.

And I know you are wondering
as am I
how many of them
had touched themselves
that morning or the night before
and told themselves
I love you
and whether or not
they’d washed their hands
clean of those Selves
and whether or not
they’d teared up
with guilt
and shame
at their self-love
but refused to cry.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It is our fifth night here (actually, a new day is upon us), and the moon is hanging in the sky as if by an invisible string, but I can’t see the stars… maybe for the brightness of the moon. Still, there is enough glimmer in the sky to drape a rippling mirror over the water. And I am awake… eyes wide open… unable to sleep. Too many images inside my head. Too many beautiful people… earlier today… and earlier this evening at dinner. I think they are more beautiful than usual because they are tanned. We look more beautiful, more vibrant, more alive, when our skin has been kissed by the sun. We look… as though we have made love. No…we look as though we have had sex… lots of sex… and have been left glowing in the aftermath of our spent desire. Or do we have more sex when we are by the ocean or sea? It must be the fishy smell of the shore that implants thoughts of sex into the very front of our minds. Or maybe we feel more sexual because we are in an elemental, primitive setting… as glitzy as that setting might be.

I like that this place is quiet… adult-oriented. Not that I mind children. But sometimes, I need my peace. I just want to eat… and drink… and nap… and swim… and eat and drink and nap and swim… quietly. I do too much of everything else in life when I am not on vacation. And I live with somebody else’s kids when I am working… eight hours a day. I am entitled to do nothing at all when I’m on holidays. And so, this afternoon, I laid back in the wet sand and let the gentle water lap at my body… and the sand get stuck in my hair… while I listened to Pink Martini on my iPod… and finished reading Venus in Furs. And when I was done reading, I watched all the lovely people walking around on the beach… playing games in the water… sipping their brightly colored drinks. My husband and I also sipped our cocktails… and played in the water. And we did our “knot” plunge, where we wrap our arms and legs around one another and make a somersault in the water. We started that when we were on our honeymoon… and now… every time we go to the beach… we do it. I actually think it’s pretty cool we haven’t drowned, yet... because we've come close a couple of times... he he he. And then we came out of the water and chatted… and fell asleep… and woke up burned by the sun. But these are nice burns… every one of them welcome, as far as I am concerned. I can feel them pulsing right beneath the surface of my skin. And that’s an alive kind of feeling!

It was pure luck that brought us here. We could’ve ended up vacationing in any of a number of other places … but here it was meant to be. My husband and I scribbled some names on slips of paper… the names of places we thought we might want to visit. We didn’t know how to pick… there were so many cool places to choose from after we had each made our list. And besides, everything else we do in life is so calculated… so prepared and measured. Why not just live off the cuff, for a few days? So the slips of paper were prepared, placed into a bowl, and I got to stick my hand inside and choose one. And when I was unfolding the paper, we were both staring at each other… because now, all of a sudden… it was about to matter. “Turks and Caicos,” I announced, and we both paused for a moment before we squealed like little kids… though what in the world we were squealing about, I don’t know. It’s not as if we knew what to expect. But really? It’s been a sliver of Eden, so far.

But… so many people alone, here. And it’s especially noticeable at dinner. They are always the most interesting to watch. We are so vulnerable when we are alone… so exposed… especially if we are away from familiar surroundings. We behave with a self-conscious awkwardness. Some people say they feel perfectly comfortable being alone in a social setting. That may be true… but I am skeptical, based on what I observe.

There was the elegant young lady in a blue dress that made her skin just twinkle. She read while she dined… and licked her lips after every sip of wine. I suppose she was using the book as a way to avoid making eye contact… or maybe she was engrossed in her reading. But at dinner? And then there was the man who looked at the water all night. There were so many gorgeous women he could’ve been looking at (or gorgeous men, if that’s his vibe), but his attention was focused on the sea. He only turned his eyes away from the water to look at his plate, and as soon as the food was ready on his fork, he turned his gaze right back to the water. It seemed he was fascinated by some distant memory playing out on the silver screen of the ocean.

And then there was another man… wearing the sparkling eyes of anticipation. It looked like he had been waiting a while… for someone. And, telling from his agitation, that someone was a lady. There was something intriguing about him… he twitched uncomfortably… he shuffled his knife and fork and napkin and empty stemware… he darted his eyes all over the terrace. And I couldn’t help wondering what he would have said to the lady he was waiting for (if there was, in fact, a lady) if he had gotten the chance. Or… what would he say… if he were to write a letter… without ever having to send it? And, supposing he had a fetish? What type of fetish would it be? A fetish for… hair (too ordinary)… nails (nah)… feet (cliché)… shoes (shoes… getting there, but not quite there yet)… teeth, blood (blech!), toes, knees, chins (yawn), eyes, lips (zzzzzzz), ears, tears. Tears! Can someone have a fetish for tears? Why not?

So, here is the supposed letter:

My Beloved… My Sunshine,

I am thirsty… and I dream of being with you. I dream while the shadows lengthen at dusk. And from behind my eyes I watch your eyes smile. You know how I dislike your obliviousness to my need of you. You know how I have wanted you for some time. You know how I have wanted for your eyes to stop smiling… and you know why.

You are in my gut like a wind that is trapped in a hurricane… violent and awkward. And I am insatiable with longing for you. But I will wait as long as necessary. I will be here when you decide you want me. I will bring you tea in bed. I will dress like a gypsy… a farmer… a slave. I will dress like a woman, if that will please you… and traipse like an impoverished whore. Whatever you want, my darling.

But then, Love, you know it is my fondest desire to make you cry. Cry, while I ravish your orange-blossomed skin with kisses and bites the likes of which you have never known. My dream is that you lie down on your back… a little lower… just like that. And cry for me. You know your tears captivate me… drive me mad. If you tilt your head to the side, your tears will flow effortlessly. And if you half-close your eyes, they will flow with more patience… the better to make me burn. Half-close your eyes, my love, and pretend to sleep. Let the rain come. Lie down before me and say, I am Goddess. And I will say, I am your servant… your serf… your slave. Please, don’t make me torture you. My heart does venerate… oh, how it does! But it is myopic and fickle.

Let me get here beside you… all the closer to feast upon the salty wetness of your tears when they are delivered. I want to watch the silk of your gown slide like a caress over your tear-drenched shoulders and down the temple of your body… and fall with a whisper into the pool of tears on the ground. I want to draw ecstasy slowly from your throat… your feet… your eyes. I want to watch you go blind with your tears while you try to whisper, Can you feel inside me? as your back arches, and together we fall. I will do anything for you. And you may do with me as you please… so long as I can see those enchanted crystal rivers gush from your eyes. Make me an oath… a fragment of an oath… something to appease my pining. For, is this not love?

But it is getting late, my darling, and the darkness awakens my quiet wounds. Night has fallen, and I can no longer see the paper. I fear writing over the edges and on the table, where another’s eyes might discover my thoughts… to my mortal shame.

Until soon, then, my love. I will wait for you. And time will wait. The second hand will tick in place. The postman will deliver no mail. Come soon. And cry for me, that I may quench my thirsting spirit, that I may comfort my feverish brain! In my avaricious mind’s eye, I wrap my arms around you and press them together until we both are breathless. Perhaps you will shed a tear for me, there, from between your half-closed lips. Come to me. Look at me. And tell me this is not love.


* * * * *

I just turned that man into a tear fetishist (there’s got to be a name for that) and an obsessive mess. Supposing he’s perfectly normal? But then, supposing he isn’t? And what’s not normal about having a fetish? We all have them. But… seriously, he was miserable enough without my adding a fetish to the brew. And besides, my language was a bit… passé. I might as well have written "To die, to sleep no more." But, Venus in Furs is still haunting me. And it was all fun and games... the man will never know.

I'm sleepy... very sleepy. And a bit sad. We'll be leaving in a couple of days. How come the fun doesn't last forever?

August 8, 2010
@ 3:24 a.m.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Voyageur I by Michel Henricot

He does not say to her, The air is charged with alarms, with metallic clangs rising. I know. And I know of the fragments of sky exploding in silence.

He does not say to her, This quiet house is locked tight, but fragile at night. I know. And I know of the heart of the storm, soft-crusted in flight.

He does not say to her, My love is sacred and intimate, offered to twisted intangibles. I know. And I know I dwell behind fences while smiling at you. 

He does not say to her, I suffer. I suffer for you.

If it is a consolation, I suffer no less, she says.

He closes his eyes. Tries to evoke her face. He does not see it. He thinks he will not see it again.

In the turbulent dream, he screams with shut mouth, his soul exuding a foul odor, the stench of buried emotion in an inverse way you are purifying me
liberating the serene-eyed serpents inside me
if not for you they would have writhed forever
within the bars of my living veins
with you between my arms
the dam stalling the stream of my life crumbles
in the delicacy of your flesh
without sound
i fill my heart with your tender eyes
are there eyes more beautiful
your warmth melts this iceberg at last
and at last i taste the heat of your lips
my strange and beautiful love
i can hardly believe my hands
your face
my heart
at last i can hold you and you me
inside myself i think
what is happening is exceptional
has never happened before
can never happen again
a call rising within me
your name stirring the waves
in this motionless river
making my body run
is this sadness
this plummeting
loss of the sense of time
i am responding to you
can you see it in my face
my eyes the climax my eyes the climax
you know i can’t fake it
like you sometimes do

Her eyes. They widen. Her crisis is about to come crashing down. He feels he has her completely. Now.


Her eyes. They see him. He has her as much as a man can have a woman. Her eyes are as wide as eyes can go.

Her crisis crests. Her eyes close.

Close him out.

Discard him.

The air reeks of her last word lesslesslesslessless. The specter of it curls like an ancient cipher – solid inside, brittle edges – that cuts into his delirious elation.

He closes his eyes, tries to evoke her face. He does not see it. He knows he will not see it again.

He does not say to her, There is power in darkness concealed, in secrets kept close. I know. And I know of the freedom of butterflies emerging from repose.

She does not say to him, I devour your flesh when you are here, and when you are gone I choke on your ghost.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Revisiting Eden

Beach Sunrise by Gail Johnson

In summer
In shades of blue
In myriad visions
In a quiet moment at your side
I drift…
… and only you can bring me back.

To sleep…
… and awaken with you
In the liquid glow of rising day,
To imagine…
… and realize together
The incandescent light of morn,
To understand…
The flesh of you
While the heavens unfold,
To recognize…
… only this moment
Its core transmuting us to gold.

To know…
… that when you lie down beside me
Upon a bed of newly compacted sand
Formed of ancient, primitive sediment
While your blood purls along my veins
And I stumble between your legs,
To know…
… that when your face is close to mine
And you catch my breath in yours,
My vacillating hands finally know
How they must curve…
… and what they must hold.

Shall we conceal our desire with fig leaves?
But why should we?
It is only when we are naked
That we are immortal.

Our sky is inlaid with the gems of
Our hours
Our minutes
Our moments
And we are burnished and consumed
But finally complete.

And when the day begins to blush our names
And the stars to rise from the sea
To dream…
… for years
Inside the alchemy of the blossoming dusk,
And on a new day that remembers who we are…
… to not awaken with barren arms
But with fertile fistfuls of delight
And with hearts of molten gold.

* * * I have been dreaming of the sea, lately. Oh, how I’ve been dreaming! But there is no need to dream, anymore. The sea has called me… with promises of being both warm and cool… and the sun has sworn not to hide… and the sand has invited me to play…. And so I go…. My bags are packed… I have one foot out the door… and the other following closely behind…. I will be gone for a few… but I will be back… with fistfuls of dreams to share… and a heart of molten gold. Take care, dear friends.