The arrogance, the vanity, the sheer chutzpah of Love, passion, lust to rut!
We entered Beauty to the bone, discovered processes behind our dreams, like codes machines share — among their kind. Input. Output. Error. We lived, Crystal and I, to penetrate, absorb, possess, subsumed and saturated with ourselves, and in ourselves. For a time.
All lovers love differently, somebody Important once said. Yet all loves end in boredom. Passion is hard to maintain, much less control, especially after it is gone. Inevitably, rhetorical questions and/or accusations fly:
“You’re freaking out. What’s wrong? Something I did? Something I said?”
“Get away from me. Go ‘be yourself,’ alone…”
At this point a break, friendly or otherwise, is inevitable. But closure isn’t guaranteed. Time passes frictionless, lubricated by our frivolity and numbness.
Which was why we chose the Kleist thing. You know, when he and his girlfriend shot each other and died together on a beach or lake or something like that. Similar with Darby Crash, though the woman he tried to overdose with, his sacred suicide-partner (what partnership could be more sacred?), fucked up and survived. Bad move, I mean, really gauche. Can’t have one partner in blissful eternity while the other’s stupefied on goof-balls in a rubber room.
But guns were difficult to get, even in the Underworld, never-mind the Over-world with its background checks and filling out forms up the wazoo — digital and hard copy. So drugs it would have to be, but we splurged, bought four times what it would take to zap the ordinary addict, as the dealer calculated — rough estimate.
Of course, since neither Crystal nor I had ever shot heroin before, though we occasionally snorted, we had no idea what it would take to kill the ordinary addict. But if he or she attained the status of “genuine addict,” with certified death certificate available upon request, he or she must have built up a higher tolerance than us relative virgins to the proverbial sword-cock-syringe.
Yeah, this stuff would definitely do us, especially if it was four times the “fail-safe zone,” like the guy said, or even if he was ripping us off by only selling us “twice,” the amount, once is usually all anyone needs. Well, we needed two actually, but I don’t need or necessarily want that, it is totally a decision Crystal made, by choice. I assume no guilt or responsibility, neither of which I’ll feel anyway, once I’m dead, which is part of the reason we’re doing this.
Also, we’re Romantics. Also, we hate it that our bodies are the property of Power, who or what ever it is, so we’re gonna liberate ourselves, or our bodies at least, to render them useless and ineligible for jobs training or degree programs. Also we’re bored, cause there’s nothing left to do on earth but fuck and die, and we’re too far gone for the former, though it was great while it lasted, something to live for.
We were listening to “The End.” Corny, under the circumstances, but Crystal loved The Doors. She said I reminded her of Morrison. Perhaps once I did.
“All the children are insane,” she said. “Most of them. Mad as hatters, immunized with mercury, weaned on lies. What once was rare is epidemic, now, among the clueless, introverted young. Must be the air, the water, something, everything. The way we live. Language virus of the mind, like Burroughs said, you know? Yes. What else then? Yes, I’m certain.”
Our friends are criminals: they smoke pot; they don’t eat meat; they or their partners have had abortions, at some point in their lives, or sex with their own sex. They hate war and television, and laugh at mythologies of “heroes” and angry gods who hustle real-estate and issue mad, delirious, homicidal “sons.” They hate the government, the corporations, and anyone who dares call them consumers, not citizens; they hate – but pretend to love; they are civil, obedient, citizens.
Our former friends are cowards: they fear “minorities;” they fear government and the terror it sponsors, yet they “support our” troops for fear that ‘it’ might happen here, and would rather ‘it’ happen to someone else, preferably far, far away, or anyone else actually, if something must happen and some one must take the hit, but good consumers like themselves who drive big cars and work for corporations who – yes “who:” they’re individuals under law like you or me, but bring slicker offerings to Christ’s birthday than Santa Claus with his rinky-dink sweat-shop of miniature men (what, he can pay elves less, cause, technically, none of ‘em will ever do a “full” day’s work, according to some high-fallutin’ Upper North Pole attorney?) could ever dream.
That the people one trusts most are not particularly trust-worthy is a terrible thing to conclude, much less accept. But Crystal and I concluded and accepted these realities, and others, as part of our exercise in — I dunno, our exercise in what everyone else does, only we wanted to feel special by calling it something else? – relation of Self to Other. “A relationship,” as they say on TV. We called it our “Perpetual Yearning to be You,” which didn’t make must sense, cause ‘you’ implies the Other, but which Other, she or me? And why would she want to be me and vice-versa, except to experience some kind of improbable, perhaps kinky, sexual thrill, the whole Tiresias thing?
Behold the syringes, dramatically crossed, like swords, or the bones of a Jolly Roger, preferred “two minute warning” insignia of pirates and poison-bottles the world over!
“So. What’s next?”
“Next?” She was shaking.
“Well, we should do something. Sex? One last fuck?”
“The last fuck was. The last. No more of that. Not ever again.”
“Well, well. Okay, then. Why put off till tomorrow what — ”
“‘Perpetual.’ I’m in a state. I’m stoned, too.”
“‘Perpetual’ would be worse than fucking. Prolonged confusion, and less gratification, though it’s close.”
We had a game we played, “Perpetual Yearning to Be You,” named for what we called our “Unique Human Symbiosis,” (“UHS”).
When we were crazy passionate in love and wanted – or thought we wanted – to penetrate each other’s heads, we invented this “getting-to-know-you” type game. And it became a kind of entertainment, maybe even an art form of sorts, though we never recorded anything or wrote any of it down. Free-association. I throw out a line, she follows with a related line, or not-so-related, something evoked in her by my line. Though not always. That is, sometimes, no matter how freely we associated, or disassociated, the most ridiculous, non-sequitur, mandarin or mundane drama — conversation, dialog, whatever it was — would end up making sense. To us at any rate, or sometimes only one of us, depending on mood and chemical state – often artificially induced.
“See where it takes us. Who would know — or care? Should be real interesting in the state we’re in.”
“You’re scared shit-less. You don’t want to do this.”
“I am in a state. And stoned a bit, or a bit too much, as well. But I’m cool. Really I am. I could go either way. Except about you, I mean about you also –”
“Perpetual!” she enthused while at the same time – let’s not beat around the bush – commanded…
One last “Perpetual.” For the road. Why not? As the young lady said, no one would know — or care.
“You begin,” she said. “I’m blank. But that’s when I’m ripest. Sometimes.”
I thought for a moment, then gave up, promising myself that however things ended, that is, whether or not we woke up bored the next morning or dead, I would never think again, about anything, much less her, not for a moment, ever.
“I’ll buy you chocolate if you keep me sane,” I tossed out.
Right back at me with, “The machines arrive at three o’clock. ”
“I’ll buy you chocolate if you keep me sane,” I repeated, cause we never invented any rules to prevent repetition.
She said, “Celebrities in my head confess secrets, memories, desires only The Elect should know.”
I said, “Consequently dream-monsters became too shy to charge, creep, terrify, dig.”
She took my hand in hers and pressed it to her cheek, then to her forehead.
“One night, before the Age of Digi-Cams, before we lived in cells like bees, I saw a turkey-moose in cirrus cumulus, and a chicken-pot lighted by the moon,” she said.
I pulled her hand to my lips, “I heard sentences like bull-whips cracking, or small arms fire. Guttural barking. The charred lungs of history coughing bile.”
“An artist built a cow from scratch. Not a real cow. Paper-mache,” she said.
“Must we have meatloaf again?”
“When my mother was released to the stars –”
She wept. Then cried, all-out, dramatic.
“Ashes to ashes. Smoker’s cough,” I offered.
“I’ll miss prescriptions that help us through the day, and simple moments in the sun, all but impossible in the context of this dying brown always-dying.”
“She murdered me years ago but I forgive her,” I elicited a smile.
“She waited, insistent, for the sentences she came from,” she said.
“She, who knew sin to levels unheard of.”
“We, who endure daily rigors of mortis, arched, without articles, to help us know what is and what’s what from what wasn’t, isn’t, won’t ever be. ”
“Hey, I know that tune.”
“Stop screaming or I’ll kill you,” she said.
“Celebrities are out tonight, exchanging skins.”
“Everyone is suspect – especially suckers of bad air – of trampling the dead.”
“Incas. Aztecs. NFL,” thrust I.
“The concept of ‘inherent value’ is outrageous,” parried she.
“We are but meat sculpture,” I took the ball and ran.
“Awaiting completion, revelation, evolution,” she said.
“Ticket to higher levels before it’s too late,” triumphant.
“For all of us, ” she said.
She was somber now. Now I was bummed.
“So he cries ‘Ego,’ does he? Let him read the public record!” I crowed, trying to return to the rhythmic hilarity that works so well in Perpetual, gets the juices flowing.
Silence. She, who had been up and engaged moments before, was down. Way down.
I was dying.
“What kind of secrets?” I broke the ‘rules’ again, with interrogation: no questioning of particulars, at least not in any game of “Perpetual” we’d ever played, and we made up the damned thing.
“Hard to recall the mortal me, watching movies on TV,” she almost sobbed.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. “Stay away from synthetic processed food substitutes.”
“The fiction of the fiction such a thing as dialogue existed once,” she said.
“I wanted to tell of my betrayal, but you being dead for years, it seemed so pointless,” I confessed, I think, to something, I’m not sure what.
She said, “I’ve dreamed the same celebrity dream everyone else has. Must be contagious.”
I paused. She counted out loud, “One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand…” as per one of our initial “rules” that you could toss out another theme or concept, related or not, if the other player didn’t respond within ten seconds.
She said, “I’m on stage and singing. Everyone loves me and they scream.”
I said, “I’m on a talk show sharing my desires, angers, ambitions…”
She said, “Yes. That dream. Makes me wonder how unique –“
I said, “It’s the programming they program into TV shows, commercials, books, magazines… billboards, radio, Internet. No escape, really, unless you live in a hole, I mean if you…no matter where, you’ll be exposed…”
She said, “Oh, nobody cares any more about the makers of small things! The people who worked all their lives to get –”
I said, “Forget it, it’s just a rage now all that rage…it’s raw…the courage to perform card-tricks and say cool stuff like, ‘Honey, I forgot to duck…’”
She smiled again at last.
”Do you really need to chew so much gum?” she said.
“Just killing time.”
She took off her top. Nothing extraordinarily sexual in this. Her nipples were erect. Nerves, or chill from the air-conditioner we cranked full-blast. Something, but not irreversibly sexual.
I looked at her, beyond the surface-level beauty or attractiveness or sex-appeal or whatever you’d call it — she always had plenty of that, for me, anyway. I thought, “She was somebody’s baby, once, someone’s begin. I have no idea whose.”
Strange, the little things you don’t know, might never know, about those allegedly close to you.
“The man on the white horse was neither good nor bad,” she opened a new thread.
“He rode off in search of Chinese restaurants.”
“Sullen aficionados lost their zest for heroes.”
“The rest went on with their ‘work.’”
”Operators nude over the circuit. Direct calls, cold,” she said.
”Bodkins of reality carve deep tattoos.“
”But once the blood’s wiped clean, like a Navajo sand painting, runes, glyphs, and symbols are revealed in cryptic patterns on bare skin,” said Crystal.
”She lay in bed for days, summoning Death out of the closet with smoke signals from her menthol-lites,” said I.
”Finally the pain subsided, she was able to focus on the message, or lack thereof, set permanently between her scapulae and down her spine, stopping just short of the coccis.”
“Speaking of which, Uncle Grissom frightened us with tales of bogeymen and Titans. ‘They’ll pinch yer head, boyo, snap you like a twig and snatch away yer –’”
”Aunt Kim however, was the voice of calm: ‘Such a shame to invest in your own destruction… sit down a while and breathe…’” Crystal said.
“‘Birds shit on your sleeve get used to it,’ replied Uncle Grissom.’“
”Uncle Grissom…who, alone in his room, moodily ordered Thai food, tipped the Thai guy, masticated, swallowed, stared again into the monitor awaiting signals: When will the Aliens in government black suits release his daughter?“
”Dead writers haunt the stacks at City Library,“ I said.
”A local TV newscaster dropped dead on the treadmill in his living-room,“ said Crystal. ”He was forty-six, his daughter nineteen.“
”In the bordello we saw fine lace curtains…“
”…and a sad religioso — old, appallingly old — with skin so white it was blue and a burning hard-on for god,“ she announced.
”But noise over the Network summoned us to space.“
”And on that planet, the old woman in the basement where the super had lived – she was his widow? Lover? – she’d been there always it seemed,” Crystal said.
”Like he’d been always dead and unable to perform. The building was a shambles,” I said.
”She was unable to open bottles or handle remote controls without assistance from the whores upstairs.“
”A photograph of her, age twenty or so, a ‘flapper,’ perched on her peak, ready for thrills.“
I was getting turned-on.
”Mortal, but invincible, outside of time, but chronically fatigued; symbolic of nothing, devoted to less,“ she proclaimed.
”Money rots the root of all action.“
”Cereal box says it all leads to a balanced life.”
“She was a flower in a black spring jacket, nude beneath,” stroking her nipples with my eyes.
“She shot the moose because it looked like him,” she was still peeved.
“Go ahead, let it out, sister,” I was tired, beaten, battled to a stand-still.
“Oaf, ape, monkey, lout, inarticulate fucking baboon!”
“That’s settled then, you can be calm now, you’ve solved the problem…”
“He had the pinched face of a dog walker on a cold winter night,” she pursed her lips.
“Sustain gun blast to proboscis,” I solemnly announced. “Smoldering cheeks, no bullet holes or blood. Bounce back on ACME rubber heels.”
“Chock full of Chewy Chocolaty Goodness,” she smiled.
“Air-conditioning; a deep couch; cops with attitude on TV; remote control…”
“So many nick-knacks in your living room: how many mirrors do you need?”
“An old man burned his heirloom Victrola for warmth; memory smells like smoke.”
“He has reached the age where even cherished recollections are mere baubles and antiques. A mind full of coins, old stamps and baseball cards.”
“How long since I passed hedgerows scented with desire, basking in the simple, ample luxury of evening?” I said, or actually wondered aloud.
“Simplicity. Desire. Night,” Crystal said, longingly.
“In Bright Engine Future gleams the future of engines — bleak meltdown sputtering heat-death.”
“Sunglasses were invented to accommodate eyes such as ours, which are still young and sensitive to harsh light. Colors are devised as prostheses to supplement this absence of essentials.”
“Our ability to interpret, or even imagine, the brilliance of our own design…”
“Yes?” she goaded.
Interrogation. Interrogation as interruption. Out of bounds, but in the air, a challenge which demanded a response.
“This ability to know, or think we know, proves we are a worthy species, still alive, diminished, but not gone.”
“I fear. I am afraid,” she said, absolutely dead-pan.
“What color is your fear?”
“Don’t ask me. It’s in the mirror. I can’t bring myself to look.”
Oh for a cloth of fire to wipe away this misery of ours, of everyone’s, this contagion from outer space, from Disneyland, from the sets of mid-day talk-shows decked chintzy to resemble bourgeois dens! Most of our misery, the story goes, is home-grown, and difficult to face without squatting behind a wall of terminologies, or slithering into the new vernacular, feigning bemusement and indifference.
“I’ve spent myself,” I confessed. “Come. Go. One or the other. Hectic, our so-called “‘modern life.’”
Really, I was exhausted.
“I am afraid,” Crystal repeated, staring at my eyes.
I said, “When were you last called upon to do something important?”
She said, “It used to feel so good to walk drunk in the city, before sun-down…but now…I am afraid. Decades burn like paper.”
The Perpetual was broken, phrases were not intuited, but willed, twisted toward direct response and meaning.
I said, “I’m more afraid of always being afraid than I am actually afraid.”
I sat cross-legged on the floor, my back to the bed-side.
“Why?” she asked, and knelt beside me.
“Whatever you most fear is the thing most likely to come true. Especially if you’re courting the obvious, like playing with guns — or dope. Maybe that’s why people fear certain things, have these weird phobias, in the first place. Some better part of themselves is sounding the alarm.”
“Once, it felt so good to breathe.” she said. “Just breath.
We slept in the pink deeply, exhausted lovers alive again and naked. As if every one and every thing we’d known had vanished, poof, gone, no explanation. Fade to black.
We awoke entwined, all skin-on-skin and hair.
She said, “Promise me.”
“Promise me we’ll always love. Promise me we’ll never die. Promise me you’ll get off dope. Promise me beautiful forevers. Promise me beauty, forever. Promise me it won’t all fall apart.”
“Remember the day you danced on grave-markers, those engraved plaques some people get instead of stones? You didn’t do it to be mean, but cause you felt so good to be alive and young and happy and occasionally you looked down and read how ‘so-and-so was born and died and was mother of so-and-so, beloved wife of Fred or whomever…’”
“Everybody has some good times tucked away,” she said. “But then the haunting.”
“Word phantoms. Synesthetic spooks of what was said and died. Talk-talk. Aided and abetted by Big Media’s surround-sound panoramic 3D rape-fantasies, 24/7 and forever.”
“Naked in the spot-light sun-light. The young are out today, displaying skin,” she said lustily
“’So you can’t believe you’re forty-five’ the bank ad said.”
“Only a little while,” she smiled. “And then I’ll be okay…”
Rising, she declared, “Without fear of death, the cheer leaders suit up. Without fear of death, the smell of cut grass, leather…”
I said, “The glare of car chrome on the highway, racing to Good Life…”
We chanted from a song we knew well:
“Vroom vroom, setting sun,
“Vroom vroom, beautiful!”
I said, “In the obscure Elysium of heroes, madmen scratched pediments of Banks and Insurance Towers, and defaced the patina heels of our Immortal Statues with fat red paint.”
“Frost is not unusual this time of year,” with mock solemnity.
I said softly, “The ground is hard as drum-skin, hard as muscle, hard as ground, yet Robins manage – with thrust-parry-thrust of jackhammer bills – to unearth lunch.”
She said, “A: Eat food. B: Return package.”
We stopped to laugh, literally cracked up. Hysterical – in every sense of the term. It was all, everything, the whole situation, so fucking ridiculous. And expected.
“Hurrah for week-ends!” we cheered. “Hurray for the goody goods we have!”
Especially remote control and night.
She discharged the contents of her syringe into a pillow. I squirted mine at the wall. I loved – I love this woman, regardless of our miserable lives, the passion we had shared and lost. Or perhaps not lost, but exchanged for something different — open to narrative suggestion.
Waves of discourse eddied to more subtle expressions of pleasure. Each into the other. Flesh upon flesh. Something different. But as close to sex as I’d gotten in a long time, perhaps ever.
We networked the old-fashioned way: wireless and in the buff. Crystal hot sweat meat and lightening; my droll, erotic spider. Desire was for her. Desire was her.
What do you call a desire so powerful it overwhelms your own exhaustion and disgust with living?
Shadows on the bedroom walls in stark burlesque of our inspired skin-scenes, intricate endless wild, like fractals, arresting, evoked but were not in or of us. Not our bodies or our living, which was us, as we were: integral, yet separable, symbiotic incarnations; divisible strains of human be.
Linked, connected, out of touch.