Chapters 5, 7, and 8 from Some Vague Wife
Kathy Lou Schultz
"Both And": A Statement for Narrativity
Bob Gluck gave
me back the sentence, a line of elastic stretching across the page. I
had stood at the edge of the lyric and fallen in. I had swallowed the
lyric and choked on it. I had been lured into the lyric's boudoir and
slammed my elbows against the walls just trying to turn around. I was
out of metaphors.
My boy-girl princess all groovy this evening, sharp with elbows and shoulder blades. Desire across boundaries too sharp to cross. 24 hours of comfortable heat.
Our skins slide across. Sweet-cheeked girl peck. A baby's unformed milky bones.
A pact to reflect daily resonances. "I miss you," means "Do you miss me?"
A cupboard and a roof. Rough wooden shelves soaked with white paint. The smell of oil flares our nostrils.
Your hand encloses mine, ratifying physical laws when you dismantle me step by step. My weeping fresh and startling, you contract your awe-struck mouth. Anticipatory like the smell of rain.
The temptation to bring you inside, where the light slants across my desk, warming my pale skin. Afternoon lassitude of linguistic junk. White boats across the lake.
Returning is a grand gesture emphasizing departure. When I finally lose sight of you, the earth still suspends my body in its animation.
My freshly parted hair still damp from the morning, when you turned, wanting me, all sleepy-eyed softness.
The road ahead craggy and distant multiples our longing, my breath in hiccups, false stops until we find the wave that continues.
We proceed as if finding bread crumbs on a trail.
The containment I experience through your matter-of-fact nod proceeds outbursts designed to unloose your fibrillar emotions. Dichotomies which bore me.
What's the gift, the partial barter, which promotes our stasisyou waiting for disintegration, and I for a stable distance. I can accept your intimacy in your absence.
Words an elevated foreground, everywhere falling fictive, furious scatter shot. I slip the pellet underneath my tongue, hidden in an enclosure of human temperature.
In our shared understanding, there are few formulas to interpret this new-found wound, wound round characters you describe as real. Goals program the future requiring the abstraction of my body in front of you.
Time telescopes individual events, cheating clarity. Metaphysical photos, faces sunk in relief. For now, kiss me in the way I remember and let us look into the light of the morning.
Bait and Switch
Or simply that it's me and not other other. Even if it is.
Dodie turns up the "D" in degenerate. The irony that fucking boys not girlsmade me into a first-class pervert. I laid claim to his dick like it was my owna rightful part of myself gone missing. This one said he couldn't fuck me without getting emotionally involved. He could clasp both of my wrists in one muscled hand. Prone, I lay on top of him, my body floating on an island.
In a semi-trance state he discovers his desire to kill his mother. He says, "Many women had paid for what you have done." In fairy tales, Mom is always to blame. My left thumbnail refuses to adhere. If I were to fall in love, I'd have to bring the white trash with me. I hide my guilty desire to spend long periods of time alone.
Of course, when I wanted something, I always knew it. The very intensity of my desire keeping it out of reach (or so I believed). She kept herself from fear or disappointment by turning off her own desire completelywhile I was filled voraciously with need. Greed, while unbecoming in a woman, is prized in men.
Another claimed that my very presence increased his need to be more "manly." He opened doors for me, refused cute pet names, and fucked me righteously.
My body demanded something to show for itself. Writing is thievery, as in stealing time.
Anxiety is a sticky substance infused with fear. Dollar for dollar. Or, for instance, poverty. My own collusion in bourgeois appearances bleeding me dry. The need to be seen or recognized outweighing other emotional vaunts. Every song he laid in my ear keeping my mouth and nose above water.
But respiration takes place in lack of desire. Once your head hits the floor, the body resumes intake and expiration. The old in and out.
Anger, not sex, is what makes a girl really bad.
Her indestructible thighs. A vertical line going south. From belly button to pubic bone. Brand-new scar.
She wears high heels like in dreams. Stunned. Apostate.
I could have said he only fell for tragic women, but I was falling for tragic men. You know, their darkness, their pain. "You light up my life, you give me hope, to carry on," Debby Boone was singing to me.
I turned to my girlfriends. They had strong shoulders and clear thoughts. Wedged in the back seat, her arm brushed against my breast and rested there.
A man who saw the world through film, but experienced a lack of vision. A man I encounter through dailiness, through habit. A man with the hands of my father.
Distance spreads. Across your lips.
Your hips move me. Hand in glove.
Pink. Drawn into the skin. All summer. Or all winter. Scripted. Cut.
Rushing headlong in with the body and checking positions later. Velocity.
Or when his dreadlocks were a lot less polite looking. That it was all fair game. Down to the very last vowel. Avowal.
Two loulous wrapped rapt in bed sheets.
Baby's got Mingus Fingers. All around and through me. To thrill me.
Baby done gone and you know it know. Something to show for. Here and before now. Baby done proved it.
All in a groove now. Here and before now. Oh, baby, you knew it.
Girl to girlness reveals a surety surfeit. Our beliefs clamoring for real estate.
Churl. Countryman. Highlander.
Every possible apology or minimization. Privation. Dilation.
She dressed with her back to him, then left the motel room and walked down to the water. Bare-legged and bare-armed in her cotton jersey dress.
She had a sense that the dream had ended and she had slept on. Further and farther. Up and away.
The first time he entered me he said, "I think we've got a match baby," and I sealed this sentence in my heart and swallowed the key.
Unmatched by, "I think I'm falling in love with you, you son-of-a-bitch," and later this made me smile, laughing at myself.
What she was staving off or holding out against. A grammar of indeterminancy. A cold water walk-up.
She had watched them in supermarkets and knew the signs. All the indices of the idle lonely.
Happiness came like an unmarked box without directions. She kept trying to catch herself in it, afraid it would pass without her noticing.
Inscribing my language upon him. Brush strokes along the abdomen. Purple-black nipples. Smooth, round ass.
Endless expanse of what if. Figure brought into fruition. A thorough dressing down. Round or through me. A voice on the wire.
Or if I wrote "wife." Rife. Theocracy. Meritorious.
Mercy. For the woman's clandestine, zippered heart. Miles I have come before you. Previously unknown.
Everyone got what he came for. A schedule to rival the master's. Departures and arrivals. A vagabond. A conductor.
Miles I crossed the desert for water. Previously alone.
At the end of it all a ringing phone and she does not rise to answer it. It twitters at the edges of her sleep.
Verboten. Far gone.
She wonders if this will be one of those evenings when something unimaginable would occur. And the language used to describe it later.
What he was willing to do for her, and the sexiness of that. Eroticization of her pleasure.
He covers the receiver with his palm and turns away.
I arranged everything and at the appointed hour the three of them arrived. Before any words were spoken, I recognized him by the sound of his breathing.
She drove her new BMW up to the GoodWill and was confused by the people staring. I smiled and tried to act "natural."
I was the second man to fuck him. The first he met while he was still in school. "Don't you go to UCLA?" It was a kind of code.
At the end of the day, his body a destination. Miles on a train I have traveled postponing pleasure. Our voices hang in the air, I touch myself.
Miles I have traveled to hear his breathing. Loudly overtaking him in sleep, a comforting wheeze which lulls me.
Prone. His locks falling forward across his face. My dick gets hard just looking at his ass.
There can be no question or assumption. The girlfriend in L.A. The fits of rage or depression. The unshakable self-centeredness. All waiting to be read like a dime store novel.
My narrative spins out like a car in the rain.
Our lives a careening that could have taken us anywhere. The sheer random force of it underscoring her belief.
She weaves a web of talk. Contentment, stranger to this snare.
Used to desire, but uncomfortable with need. She covers her head with the blanket to keep from shivering.
The whiteness of my arms practically glowing in the dimmed light, up against his dark, supple skin.
When I fucked him, a high, clear-pitched sigh rang out from his mouth each time he exhaled. "Go easy, baby," he said. And I withdrew my dick, softly, gently exploring his ass until I gave it to him once again harder. He tossed his head back sharply, his locks raining off his face.
Fists of wanting. Emboldened by grief. A world apart. Of frost.
No sooner than. No later. Had she walked to the door. Bereft.
Solidity in solitude. A place in the life cycle. Searching on hands and knees. He fucked me so hard that I bled. Four fingers in my cunt, nearly a fist.
"What I feel for you now is all I will ever feel for you." And ever. A straightjacket.
Given to histrionics. Or expected.
Protected more than risked.
Stutter. Choke. Recede.
My arms a fortress.
Each flag in a field.
The harder my dick, the wetter his pussy. The deeper I fucked him, the more open he became.