Out of all the people I know I am the least kind to myself.
I have never met another human, or dog for the matter, who would say the things to me that I do on a regular basis. I have never met anyone who could look so closely into my deepest fears and concerns and push and prod until my whole self is raw and open. And I’ve never met another soul who could so casually and fully invicerate my good qualities with a laugh and a joke.
But I’m learning to tell myself to fuck off. I’m learning to look in the mirror and shut down the voice that tells me I’m less than perfect, and I’m learning to laugh right back at him with a grin, reminding him that he knows nothing.
It is hard. And it takes time. But if I know anything about myself, I know that I’m good at this shit.
I never dealt well with her longings.
In the evenings, on the stoop of her building, when we sat smoking cigarettes and drinking red wine from plastic cups, she often grew quiet and thoughtful in a disturbing way. I could see the lines in her face change, and her whole body shifted into someone I didn’t understand.
“I don’t want to live a normal life,” she said.
“Who does?” I responded, as if that was enough.
“I mean I don’t want to live life normally. It’s not the same thing. I don’t mind going to work and getting up early on weekdays. I don’t care about the laundry or the bills. That’s not what I mean.”
“What do you mean then?” I asked, picturing the life of an artist, sleeping ‘till three with an obsessive lack of caring about the details.
“You should know,” she whispered, lighting another cigarette. “I mean, you do know, you just want to forget.”
“I remember everything.”
“Do you remember when we had sex last week in the morning? I started to cry, and you stopped and kissed my eyes and told me everything was alright?”
I nodded, because it was the only thing to do. She often cried during sex, and I moved instantly from thrusting to holding her tight. Life was fragile for us both, and tears required comfort more than lust.
“Should I have kept going?” I finally asked, hoping to break the silence that had gone on too long.
“It doesn’t matter,” she said, stealing the last of my wine. “What you did or didn’t do doesn’t matter. That moment? Those minutes of tears, sex, love, and confusion? That’s what I want. I don’t want a normal life.”
“I swear I’ll never understand you,” I said, leaning back and looking up at the darkening sky. The buildings across the street were silhouetted by the sun, and the streets were full of people longing for anything that didn’t involve tears.
“That’s okay too,” she whispered, leaning her head against my shoulder. “I don’t need your understanding.”
All I could do was kiss her hair, wondering if she would leave or stay. Wondering if it was true.
Wondering if any of it was enough.
There isn’t a word
for the feel of her lips
on my neck
there isn’t a sound for the whisper
she places in my ear
and there is no taste
like her breast
my teeth biting harder
than before as she
wakes up monsters
that have long
We didn’t sleep all night.
It was hot, but we found our bodies touching over and over again, each time lasting longer than the time before. She pulled away when I caressed her arm, and I rolled over when her knee slid too high up my thigh. Early in the morning I watched, not feeling connected to my body or actions, as I leaned in and kissed her bare shoulder. When she turned to her back, her legs parted and her hand on her stomach, I didn’t look away.
When my hand replaced hers, neither of us moved it. When my fingers traced the edge of elastic neither of us said a word. Her leg pushed against mine, her hand felt my skin with intention, and I didn’t stop. She moaned when I touched hair, and she parted her thighs wider, seemingly holding her breath as I leaned forward until my hand was hovering above her wet skin. I kissed her cheek, my fingers barely tracing her, and she opened her eyes.
“Kiss me,” I whispered.
When her lips touched mine, my hand dropped, fingers opening her even as our tongues did the same. I pulled her to me, kissing her harder as she struggled with my boxers, pushing them down until her hand was around my cock. We moaned and squirmed, losing our few items of clothing until finally our sweaty bodies were just skin against skin and it was too much.
“I want you,” I said, climbing between her legs and pinning her arms above her head. “Now.”
“Yes,” she said, lifting her hips off the bed. “Yes, yes, yes.”
It took effort to penetrate her, and I finally had to reach between our legs and guide myself inside her. But when it was done, when we were as close as it was possible to be, time held still right along with us. I stared into her eyes, she slid her hands down to my ass, and then finally we kissed once more before we started to fuck.
She came within minutes, her legs wrapped around me body, her teeth pulling on my lip, and my cock buried inside her. I breathed her orgasm, never letting go of our kiss, even as she shuddered beneath me. I slowed down only enough to feel her around me, clenching and trembling as she came, and then I was fucking her once more, needing to join her in her release more than anything I had needed before.
When I came she was laughing, her body still in convulsions as I closed my eyes and arched my back, thrusting inside her over and over again as my orgasm ripped through me. My toes tingled, my hands went numb, and it felt like every ounce of life, soul, and heart filled her at the same time. I gave over completely, letting go of the world, and for a few glorious seconds I didn’t exist.
We kissed for a long time, my body growing soft inside her. Her giggles spread to me as I pushed her hair from her face and stared at her knowing eyes. She was prettier than should be allowed, and I loved her impossibly.
“Do you feel guilty?” I finally asked.
“No,” she whispered, touching my lips. “I feel stupid.”
“Because, you silly boy. If we had done that earlier, we might have fucking slept.”
The time has come the walrus said to rethink the language of sex. Or maybe I should say the language of love, emotion, heartbreak and ciriosis, because Christ you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak. But the meaning of insert tab A into slot B is an old story, older than even that of Amaterasu, birthing the world from her fiery womb. So what does the moon say and how talks the sunset when blankets aren’t enough? And in the middle of the night, which shifts from decade to decade, how now do slippery limbs find entrance? If our oldest stories stop before the moment, because they might be too sticky to share in the light, then it’s up to us to write myths again that stop far beyond it. It’s only enough to to say ‘they lay with one another,’ if you don’t remember the three thousand-four-hundred-sixteen variations that comprise the universal book of how to fuck.
There’s a long history of language that describes a man doing something to a woman, and for maybe all of history it almost made sense. At least in the most mundane of instances, in the common and the mud, in the barns and the fields where rutting was the norm and slot B was indeed put upon over and over again, it might have made sense. But history is written by those who can write, and those who can write often avoid the squishy bits, because putting a thing down on a page is oh so different than doing it in the flesh.
And the winners are always uptight. Maybe there’s an ancient myth to tell this truth far clearer, but it’s a truth all the same. From the Pilgrims to the righteous commies throwing down the Czar, the winners are always uptight. So the story is written over and over again without the grunting and the thrusting, all which is left to the lower decks and the darkness. All of which is left to those with nothing to lose; those who can switch on nothing without blinking an eye. Between monks, priests, and politicians, the history of sex has been written by those with no experience of it, and the times it has broken through into the masses, it’s been snuck in like a horse at dusk.
But Lucretia didn’t ‘slip down between the sheets’ with her lover, and Marcus never felt the ‘rush of waves as pleasure was won and lost.’ They fucked and sucked, the overwhelming smell of human behavior lingering in their nostrils as they made a mess of everything in exactly the right way. Sampson didn’t ‘delight in the love nest’ of Delilah any more than Cuchulainn ‘spent his bliss upon the womb’ of his lover. There was come and sweat and tears, and for thousands of years we’ve drawn it, painted it, and then hidden the words in the dusty waterfront bars and brothels where no one has enough money to make up metaphors for something they do as easily as they breath.
But now the world has changed once more, and while our great literature still stops short of describing the divine with all it’s warts and blood, the light is brighter. We can write a million sounds and a million words, each one taking us closer to the truth, but we’ve lost the poets and the heartbroken. We’ve medicated our way out of romance and channeled emotion into anxiety that can be cured in so many different ways. We’ve abdicated our poetry to Bang Bros and Mandingo. We’ve let it go, as we’ve done so many times before, asking someone else to shine the light in the places we fear the most. And shine it they have, often too brightly to see a thing. They’ve shined it on piss and shit, on come and milk, and they’ve shined it on rape with a laugh and a nod. The light shows anger, fear, and guilt, and as small men watch while their wives are taken by big black fantasies, we pretend that it was never us at all. It was not what we meant at all.
But there are a million words for a million things and they change every day, allowing us to say new things that have never been said. Allowing us to say new things have that been said a million times again.
If the photographer shows us the reality of a thing in stark contrast, forcing us to see it for what it is without the comfort of a muddy imagination, than the poet talks around it, hoping that her language might be a finger pointing at the moon. This way lies bliss and exhaustion. This way lies exaltation.
This ways lies the things we do in the dark.
I met Stephanie at an event somewhere on campus in our various roles as political organizers. It was important in college to be involved in something, no matter how little influence we might have on the world. A part of us knew it was a game, but we dove in headfirst with all the energy and enthusiasm of youth, and the skill of the same. We argued with each other mostly, because yelling about language was more accessible than having real conversations with people who came from different worlds. It was easier to discuss the nuances of feminist literary theory than it was to organize the Walmart employees, who just ten years earlier had lost well paying jobs at the now abandoned factories.
She had long brown hair with hints of red that felt like autumn. Her face was round, her hands strong, and she intimidated me instantly. Everyone knew she was a lesbian, and she had a friend with a shaved head. I was toying with my sexuality, as all of us were, and I tagged along to write letters, raise money, and stare at this woman who scared me and drew me in at the same time. But she flirted with me when I wasn’t paying attention, and we slowly began to spend more and more time together.
One afternoon I told her I was getting attached to her. We were walking and laughing and it felt like a natural thing to say. It was as close as I could come to saying I think I’m falling for you. I think I might love you, or at least want you. You make my heart do strange things, and I think about you far too often.
She smiled at me and shook her head. Don’t do that she said. Don’t ever get attached to me.
This was not all my love for all my life. This was not, I long for you too. And yet, there she was, still holding my hand as we walked through the falling leaves on a chilly afternoon. She smiled and she laughed. She leaned in closely to me, and at that moment I decided I wouldn’t mention it again. I had no illusions that my feelings might change, not that I really understood them, but I was sure that talking was the problem, not doing. Not being, or acting, because all of those things were easy. She didn’t tell me to go away. We were together, not separated by slow words and the post office, and I suppressed every urge I had to work something out with words.
The first time we climbed into bed she was on the phone with an ex-boyfriend. It’s not a romantic story, and even now I’m amazed at my nerve and her response. I was lounging in her room, like I had learned quickly to do, and she had been on the phone for nearly twenty minutes. She mouthed apologizes, but made no move to hang up. I finally stood behind her and wrapped my arms around her. She smiled at me over her shoulder and let her body fall against my own. When I slid my hands beneath her shirt she did nothing, and when I undid the button on her jeans she sighed as she wiggled out of them.
Before we ever kissed I knelt on Stephanie’s floor, my mouth between her thighs as she struggled not to give anything away to the man on the other end of the receiver. When she finally mumbled her goodbyes, we crawled to the couch where we lost the rest of our clothes. I’d like to say we made love, and maybe we did, but what I remember is that we fucked. We fucked and we fucked, hours slipping by with our young bodies somehow pushing us on through orgasm and recovery, until finally we were simply done. I held her and kissed her, and she caressed my face without saying a word. I choked back all the sweet things I wanted to say, and somehow I managed to let her smile be enough. I desperately wanted her words, but somewhere within me I knew that her breath and her skin were all she had to offer, and they were a far greater gift for it.
And so suddenly I had a relationship with no words at all. We saw each other most every day, we fucked hard and often, and we took longs walks and attended lectures and concerts together. We ate together, studied together, and did all the things that couples do without ever once mentioning that fact at all. For a long time it felt precarious, like it might fall and break at any moment, but as the months went by it was simply what it was.
It was love without words. It was a relationship without boundaries, and it was in fact a fragile and tactile thing, that while nearly impossible to destroy with action, could be brought down with a few simple words that I held in my throat each time they pushed to the surface.
The bartenders at Schillers pour some of the best Manhattans around. They add a splash of Grand Marnier which gives a taste of citrus but somehow doesn’t make it overly sweet. I only drank about half of mine before my boyfriend showed up, and I quickly ordered him one as well. He had the day off from work, which meant that instead of his normal attire he was dressed in jeans, a black t-shirt and a black jacket, all of which made him look like a fucking rockstar.
A few minutes later my girlfriend and her husband arrived, and we moved to a table, ordered a few dozen oysters and another round of drinks. Our plan was to meet up early for a bite and good cocktails before heading over to the monthly Poly Happy Hour event on Delancey. We’ve been going on and off for about five or six years now, and it’s an event that brings in family members from across a wide range of scenes in New York. There are kinksters, swingers, unicorns, and radical-trans-queers who are into library science. There are bi-boys, leather daddies, non-leather daddies, and the simply curious.
We sat and laughed over our drinks, our oysters, and our sliders, as all four of us basked in the warm air blowing through the window. Spring has finally come to New York and it is perfect. A and I held hands beneath the table while her husband and J laughed and smiled, and I had one of those rare poly moments that have felt elusive for a long time. I felt loved, I felt happy, and I felt content. And maybe, most of all, I felt at ease with three dear friends who reveled in each other’s company.
Happy Hour was full of old friends, new friends, and joyful acquaintances, and we moved about easily, sliding from one to another as we talked, shared drinks, and kissed in the dark corners of the bar. When J and I held hands or kissed, A looked on with a smile, and when I wrapped my arms around her, he kissed my head and told us how pretty we were. There was more laughter than anything else, but as the evening wore on, I felt happier and happier by the minute.
Later that night, as I made my way home by myself, I paused long enough to be grateful. It isn’t always like this, and even when it is, I don’t always notice. Maybe it was spring, maybe the warm breeze, or maybe it was simply the full moon lending her bright reflection, but as I moved seamlessly between friends and lovers, I was reminded of what it feels like to experience complete and boundless joy.
It says something that I still find my own happiness to be a surprise, but through all the challenges and trials that come with an open life, it does often catch me unaware. But with their warm hands on mine, their lips against my cheek, and the smell of spring in the air, I am reminded once more that it’s possible.
And that makes everything else worthwhile.
Her pussy did not taste like Pepsi Cola.
It was more of a margarita with salt on the rim and intoxication close behind. Her pussy was a dirty martini with an olive that demanded to be savoured. It was strong coffee late at night.
Her pussy was not sweet. In fact, at the end of the day–or in this case the early morning–her pussy mostly tasted like pussy.
Which is much healthier than Pepsi anyway.