Moment Twenty-Seven (Mind Cancer)

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I craved to make you see your eyes not by reflection but by themselves, so I broke all of our mirrors and locked all the doors to keep you inside. The neighbors rushed to our door because you were screaming and they threatened us. They said they were going to call the police. Then they went away when I smiled at them and reassured them there was nothing wrong. You weren’t exactly screaming. What kept coming out of your mouth was more like an accusatory howl, and you were telling me I had taken away all of our eyes. Somehow I believed that by blinding all of our mirrors your beauty would finally go away.

I pushed you against the bathroom mirror until it broke and pieces from it flew all over the place. Water ran over the shards of glass and I told you look, darling, it’s raining sadly. I kept you in there because I wanted to see your blood. At least one drop of it: to make sure it was still crimson with passion. I wanted to suffocate you because I was feverish.

Let this fury blind the both of us until we can’t see each other again.

That’s the reason why I had been doing all of our daily chores. For the both of us. I went to work in your stead. Your boss did not notice the difference. Your colleagues did not look up from their computer screens when I went into the office. They did not react in any way when I put all of your things into a box and exited the building. Your manager did not say anything when I placed your resignation letter on his desk. When I got into his office he merely extended his arm and pointed to the stack of unopened envelopes. He did not look up from his computer screen. I needed you to stay inside the house, away from everybody else.

What can you write about when you feel as if your life is being lived by somebody else under your very nose? You write about the mind. And all I wanted was to suffocate you. Tie you to a chair and wrap you in plastic foil until you resembled Barbie’s boyfriend. I had no intention of preserving you. I wanted you to disappear. I was furious, I’m sorry. It was the only way to make your beauty go away. It was the only way to turn it into silence.

So I split open my head and did not use the plastic gloves mother used to clean the toilet. I did not wash my hands beforehand. In the splinters of the bathroom mirror I looked at my open head and dug with my fingernails deep into the layers of tissue. I took out the mind and my body felt like an empty tube that amplified the remains of the rest of the world. Against these remains I threw my mind as in a pillow fight. Or like an empty highway turned upside down, that’s how it felt.

Then it had all seemed like a waste of time because I couldn’t find you there.

I told you my mind is a terrible place because you aren’t there.

So I swept it along with the broken bathroom mirror under the linoleum floor of the kitchen.

I was furious because I had wasted all that time for nothing. I couldn’t find you there.

The evening then turned green with nausea so I took the garbage out on the balcony, and watched as the steam rose from my dying mind, shards of mirror sticking out of it like thorns on a pink and grey rose, while I smoked a cigarette, taste of chemicals blooming on my tongue. I couldn’t decide whether to have coffee or not because I couldn’t remember, for the universe’s sake, when was the last time I had one.

Sleep (Adam the Second)

 

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Night comes crawling, pulling itself along, sweat on its brow, supplication on scorched lips, begging on its knees. Our night comes not like perpetrators do but laden with guilt, and we can’t help but do the same, kneel by its side and call it a day, call it a night, adorn it with achievement. As you fumble between the sheets, I can sense the despair inching closer to your bones. I feel you moving and my body wants to move along yours. Then breathing and doing nothing else, then moving again.

All I want to do is ask you what’s wrong because I know that’s what good lovers do even though they already know the answer. For a very long while I have known what’s been bothering you.

But I wonder, if I skip the questioning and abandon fully to the knowledge of the answer will I still be the good lover?

Because I do, I know the answer already, I know what’s bothering you. It’s buried deep inside of you. I know this because I’ve felt it too, I’ve been there too, I’ve been working with those demons my entire life.

I have broken you in the process of conquering you, not following the old adage of divide and conquer, but thinking that were I to prove myself incapable of loving the whole of you, I could be capable of loving at least one part of you.

Grandfather talked about similar demons, similar but entirely different somehow, mainly because he’d not been introduced to these new ones we’ve been acquainted with ever since we came out of our mothers’ wombs.

Grandfather held his right hand on the Bible and talked about Adam and Eve and about how we’ve been carrying their sins ever since, and how could you not hate Adam and Eve? They left us with nothing but the sweat and pain of labor. The life we could have had there in Paradise. Grandfather would sigh at the end of this parable, stand up, and continue working.

Grandfather then ate and slept as if Adam and Eve never existed.

But Adam, he was a man, the man, he lost no sleep over the whole forbidden fruit conundrum, he slept, he ate, and fucked, and lived the rest of his life not only as a man but also as a reminder, until he stopped being a man and remained forever a reminder.

You stir again between the sheets and I almost speak to you except that I’m afraid I’ll startle you and my voice won’t be heard over the sound of your moving limbs.

I know what’s bothering you, trust me on this one, because as opposed to grandfather we’ve had another ancestor, one that our grandfather doesn’t know about. Unfortunately, this, our ancestor doesn’t have a name or a face for that matter. He hasn’t fought wars and though he was there, in the background, all the time, he never had the courage to come out. Our ancestors were closeted as well. We don’t need to know his name, at least for now, we only need to assure ourselves of his existence.

Who was the man that first dared to yearn for another man?

Not grandfather’s Adam, because Adam had to be Adam.

We ran back to the origins while playing hide-and-seek, literally, we hid from those who were not necessarily our enemies but rather from those we considered enemies because of the simple fact that they were looking for us. The secrecy that stems from hiding and from being searched for always verged on the illegal, and somehow we felt illegal.

But, conceptually, I thought while you were sleeping, that first man who longed for another man had to be told about that yearning, had to be taught. Somebody had to explain things to him. How could he have known otherwise?

Wake up, please wake up and explain this to me.

You would wake up and look at me, then you would close your eyes again as if mentally preparing for a long explanation. Then you would open them again, swallow in vain, stand up, lean against the railing of the bed, swallow in vain again, and then set on explaining, gesticulating, moving your lips, sometimes arching them as if in disgust. You’d start with banal matters, you’d start with the controversial discussions about the origins of their universe and then move on to our universe. You’d start with that particular distinction even though I would’ve never thought of you as a methodical person.

Yes, you would say, the origins of their universe is controversial, but ours is not. Our universe is simple, there was no Big Bang, no sudden revelation. Wait, yes, revelation might have been involved, but it wasn’t sudden for sure. Ours was gradual revelation.

Imagine Adam the Second, our Adam, Adam from our team, monstrously beautiful Adam the Second who descended from the most noble bloodline, our very own bloodline, so much cooler than their bloodline.

Imagine Adam the Second descending the stairs of Heaven down into the world. No, he wasn’t being expelled from Heaven. He had been ceremoniously asked to go into the world and discover the world by discovering himself. And he’s going down, pretty happy and excited thinking about the things he is about to discover down there, or up there, depends which point of view you adopt in this story. He’s pretty psyched about the entire experience.

He was happy because he had also been told that down there he is going to be immortal and live for thousands and thousands of years. I mean, he’s still alive today. Wait for it, you’ll get to the point eventually. So he’s immortal, still roaming the world in search for his ultimate love and the meaning of life, a difficult task if you ask me.

On his way through the world he encounters another man. In fact, he encounters many many other men, and women, too, and he discovers friendship, then, after thousands of years, he discovers affection, and so on and so forth. Basically, with every thousand years that pass he discovers new sentiments and does his best to explore them to their fullest potential only to discover that they are not what he was looking for. And with every emotion that he discovers and explores he feels as if each and every one of them is just another step toward that ultimate love he is in search of. And he goes on doing that, but he is unable to forget any of the previous experiences.

They are never lost, they hang in there forever and he can’t do anything at all to get rid of them. Whatever he does, he can’t.

Then, at one point, he discovers this thing we have, this thing the two of us have. And he registers it, he stores it, and once he does that it cannot be forgotten.

And so on, you know the rest.

You go back to sleep.

I know what’s bothering you.

Our imaginary talks feel like small betrayals.

Epidermis (VI)

Epidermis (VI) Bodies fall into categories. Like corpses they drop dead, one by one, in tombs tunneling the red dirt of our desires. In the morning, as we both wake up, we wonder if by chance, overnight, our room was invaded by armies of ants, their tiny legs carrying the smell of earth back to our unaccustomed sense of smell. Only moments later we discover our dirty feet and realize that it had been us all along, and not the ants, that we’ve been crossing the night barefoot in search of justification. How long before they find the tracks we’ve left behind in the immense fields of the night? The dirt we have stepped into, hand in hand, was a trap and now we carry clay on our feet as a reminder of our escape. In this game I will be [body number two]. You will be [body number one]. Into those two numbers we’ll fall like corpses, one by one, in tombs tunneling the red dirt of their desires. We’ll carry that deep smell for the remainder of our lives, somewhere in between our ribs and we’ll keep blaming the ants each morning. Only then [our love] shall cross, undisturbed, the night once again.

Epidermis (V)

Epidermis (V) The body is a phantom limb. It hurts when desire should hurt. The body is the orphaned child coming back to us, tied at the end of a string we name [our love]. It comes back to us at the end of every fear. The body is the child who sleeps silently at the feet of our bed on stormy nights. Once we reach the end of that string the body climbs into our bed, like a serpent, and settles, eyes half-closed, in between the sheets. We embrace it like parents embrace a newborn. Later on, as the night draws to a close, we can hear it whisper: I am the end of the string. And we desperately cling to each other knowing that the end of the string is not only the end of [our love], but also the end of other things. So we make love again to forget about other ends. And we forget about the body that hurts when desire should hurt, and think of how unfair this world is, and how the body sits, unalarmed, at the end of everything, how this defines my love for you, my longing. [Our love] goes as far as the body goes.    

Epidermis (IV)

ToyBarrelOfMonkeys The body is the prosthetic limb of our desires, an extension to our lust, the nerve endings programmed to touch and lead us into despair. The body lets you know there’s a limit to our [love]. Every touch is an ending in progress, the entropy, the heat and the cold. [Love] is a sequence of evil-minded angels descending from heaven hand in hand like barrel toy monkeys. The body unfolds, makes itself visible as the years go by. One of the angels looks back in fear knowing this is no good. But things are now settled. The leader of the pack is no animal. The leader of the pack is an idea. ‘We must love’, he says. Hand in hand the evil-minded angels descend. The one at the beginning of the stream holds all the weight. We make [love] and hold on to a cloud. The act of our creation was not blessed. It does not matter. The way we hold each other, my muscles tightening around your waist, is a blessing. Our love is fury, revenge, happening at the end of that stream of angels hand in hand like barrel toy monkeys.

Epidermis (III)

Inside-the-heart The body is a matter of conviction, a cluster of immovable organs. The organ is the idea. The eye is a matter of seeing. Your hand signifies holding hands. The lips mean kissing, oh, the heart means carnage. There is no way out of this vicious circle. Our love must be ritual. We move around each other showing signs, symptoms. My lungs moving up and down mean to tell you that you take my breath away. When they no longer move in that way I need to say it. Language is no longer referential. We need to tell each other somehow that our bodies long for each other. You need to get ready before I kiss you with the intention of carrying on. I need to make it clear by saying it and making that language referential. I want more than kissing and holding hands, I’d say it, and you’d say all right, just give me a minute. Our love must be ritual. We need to convince ourselves that it must be ritual. We envy their easiness but we make love anyway. Otherwise we would vanish. What am I to do without you?

Epidermis (II)

vertebrae_visible Our [love] is a fleeting moment, our bed is a tomb. We’re making [love] to avoid the word. In the morning I get rid of the skin that touches you during the night and make a suitcase out of it to remember the burden of that touch. During the day touch turns into whisper. We, like many others, have fallen into the cliché of thinking that our [love] must be a fleeting moment. For them, it’s always [he] and [she] for eternity. Their fables show the triumph of that closeness happening between two bodies of a different kind. Although ours are the same we never seemed more different. The fables that we utter must be written in fleeting deictics. Our [love] never stops seeking. For us it’s always [me] and [you], and no one knows who [I] am, and [you] are the atom of negligible presence. Our [love] is the sacrifice we perform in view of our end, when our happiness shall happen elsewhere, most likely in between these pages. We live exiled, reunited, and then exiled again, once more, by these very hands.