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.    

The other body

by Isabelle Vigier
by Isabelle Vigier

Crumpled paper. That’s how my body feels like after the waves. They no longer have an effect on me. My body got used to them. This is cause for concern among the doctors and the nurses, I overheard them talking about it the other day. They said a higher voltage might do the trick. There’s no talk about the thorns though. They’re visible enough. I wanted to remind them of my thorns but I made a vow of silence to myself. Every time I want to say something words seem to turn back inside my throat. I want to push them outside but somehow they manage to get back inside and throw themselves against my brain. My limbs have been growing limbs on the inside. I now have four hands and four legs. Two hands on the outside, and two hands on the inside. Two legs on the inside, and two legs on the outside. I will grow a brain inside my brain. My other body shall move through the density of this body, the one that you held in your arms, and it will breathe blood instead of air. The body inside my body is very different from the one that you see. It is much more beautiful. You’ve had your say into this. That body is a faceless body. I left some room for creativity as I always do. You’ll be able to fill in the blanks, put the face that you wanted me to have all along. Maybe it is the body that you always wanted me to have. I’m sure that it is the body that I always wanted me to have. The one that I almost sold my soul for. I would go outside at midnight and pray to the devil. I asked him to give me beauty in return of my soul. He never replied, naturally. I eventually gave up. My other body, growing inside my guts, is not as transparent as this one. At one point this body will fall off, the thorns will dry and they will fall off too, just like a rose dries and lets its petals fall to the ground. This body is not like the body of a rose. This body is more like that of a serpent. Its skin is made of scales. It will fall off at one point, when the time is ripe. You are the idea that occupies the mind, the idea that transforms itself into a physical state.

Bodies of fear

So he lights a cigarette. His lips curl around it, the firm grip of two yellowish fingers, and then he looks at me with a look that only a youngster can have. He’s innocent, I know, but his smile says otherwise.

Do you like me, he asks.

I am afraid of my own body, I tell him. I was taught to be afraid of my own body. My mother tied my ankles to the bed during the night, so that my hips won’t rub onto each other. I slept in sessions. Every fifteen minutes I woke up, sweating, my sides aching with that numb pain solitude brings to old people. In the morning she came. I could hear her footsteps, and then the door would open, and she came, and she untied me, and I would squirm between the sheets smelling of urine and sweat, and I would drag my knees to my chest like friends hugging each other after a long time, and I would talk to them while the pain subsided from my back. And I hoped. I cried over my knees and hoped that wings would burst out of my back, and I would be transformed into this sexless archangel. A renegade of the body, neither male, nor female, split but in one piece, so that I could see my mother’s face then, reddening with shame and my father throwing me out of the house saying I’m not his son anymore. I’d say I’d always wished to be a son but wasn’t able to, because this body is filled with shame. And you taught me that. So I hug my knees. I can’t hug those people I want to because this body won’t leave me alone. You can’t stop it mother. Tie my ankles to the bed. There’s a slippery slope to pleasure.

I do like you, I say.

Don’t tie my ankles to your bed. I want to feel good while I’m with you.

But this body you see, it won’t let me. Count my ribs, do what you want, just don’t think while doing it. A child’s game, one, two, three, going down, four, five, then stop, I’m afraid you won’t like me; you won’t like the rest of me. I’m already pushing against you as I try to count your ribs, one by one, with my mouth. One, two, three, I’m trying not to think, four, five, my ankles are taped to the bed, and my back aches, and wings burst out of your body and you fly.

Mother! Father! I need to tell you something.

I say between my teeth, sweating.

I slept with an angel last night.

And he was beautiful, and I was beautiful too.

There are no such things as monsters, they say, now go back to bed, they don’t hide under your bed; they don’t hide in the closet, go back to bed. How did he break loose? Go and tape him back to the bed. He fucked an angel all right, and the angel fucked him.

So I tape myself to the bed every night on my own, without my mother’s help, so that the angel might return.

Ode to fury

shatter, things fall apart. the hand held high in the inherited skyline. sign of fury, the eyes going out of their sockets. the bare feet running, the contracted chest as if the whole body is pushing against the heart. against the simplicity of God’s gesture like two forefingers kissing, and hissing the push came and the steps taken backwards with the back against the bottomless pit. the other hand hiding the shame of the pubis. gods are always a step ahead, they already have sheets covering the shame.

but the back of the other kid is too stiff, he can no longer reach the hand held high. it might be the blue suit he is wearing, or the tie, the uncomfortable and unfortunate costume of rules and ethics. while the other is falling from discomfort. it means that the decisions have been taken. prior the prior priorities, when the things were not yet divided. why do the two boys stand face to face, I ask. in the flow of evolution men have to be heading for the same direction.

falling apart means losing the innate sense of direction.

the other boy looks at the sky and sees the stiffness of the unfortunate costume. but the smile is much too powerful for the inherited skyline.

why not, I ask. and he says because they need to have their life. what about mine. whataboutmine. whataboutmine. and while falling I become a body of blur.