Tulsaslut [minutelovestory #82]

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in minutelovestories | No Comments

“It’s unreal,” she said, “the epidemic length of our many brittle bones.”

He’d told her, months ago, that she tasted like tears and she wasn’t sure if this was an idle, forgettable observation or an utterance driven by concern. It did not seem unusual to her, however. Why not taste like tears?

She’d been counting the number of syllables in his sentences for weeks now. Thirty-seven used to describe the ultimatum that he allegedly and audaciously flung at his employer in the break room. Fifty-four syllables devoted to his account of a speeding motorcyclist nearly ripping off his driver’s side mirror on Wilshire.

‘Covered in the sediment of sentiment,’ she repeated in her head.

“Rats live on no evil star.”
“Madam I’m Adam.”
“Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?”

An infant has more than 300 bones inside of its body. These fuse, producing the sanctity of the skull, sacrum, hips, building an average adult body of 206 bones. Pieces are not lost, but bound, becoming something else.

‘A case of mistaken identity, a mistaken case of identity.’

She inhaled and he continued speaking and the buttress, which is to say her entire body, was still.

Valentine [minutelovestory #8]

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It was all about Betty. The smell of her pilled bathrobe, faint tuberose, soft and embedded in the acrylic fibers, reminded Norman of her body, which helped in remembering she was once on this earth, that she didn’t turn into vapor and that she is and was more than just pictures from yearly visits to Sarasota when the New York winters overtook them. In the winter of 1998, Syracuse was blanketed by snow, encrusted with ice, and Betty and Norman flew to Greece, an unlikely dalliance in their seasonal escapes. She swam topless at Ai Giannis beach, where Shirley Valentine was filmed, and he wanted desperately for her to cover herself. She was confident and graceful in her semi-nude state.  He’d have seemed like a small-minded, myopic cad to suggest for her to feel otherwise, so he sat quietly, his hands tightly bound together, while she backstroked and floated, her voluminous breasts rising in and out of the water, exposure and chasteness vying for dominance.

Jumbo’s [minutelovestory #84]

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Christine and Dirk have couples therapy on Willoughby every Wednesday evening. Dinner follows controlled emoting and so our Mozza reservation is for 8:30 p.m. and I’m early.

I was there on the night when Christine and Dirk first met, at Jumbo’s Clown Room, when I was first dating Claude and he went everywhere with Igloo, his new Staffordshire, and on the night they met, Claude checked on the dog seven times, eventually irritating the bouncer so considerably as to have been banned entry to Jumbo’s for a year. While I waited for him, I watched a girl in pasties shimmy down the pole to “One Way or Another.”

Dirk and Christine have been together and apart many times since Claude took Igloo to Vancouver and left me with an enormous unpaid gas bill, a half-painted bedroom, and a case of herpes in my right eye. My opthamologist almost seemed embarrassed in delivering this bit of news, politely warning me of its dormancy and its degenerative nature. I remember laughing at the use of the word “degenerative” because it seemed like only a fucking degenerate would have a sexually transmitted disease in their eye. I’d just thought my vision was failing, but it was worse than that.

Luftpost [minutelovestory #45]

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I folded the paper into thirds and slid it into the envelope. Airmail’s delay was disappointing. For each day of transit, I crossed off the calendar with a black magic marker, miraculously deleting the days that I promised not to think of you. To not think of you was just to think of you in resistance. What trickery. This game felt worse than loathing you for leaving. There was ample room for analysis in my desperate drawings of clawing and scraping. de Kooning would have been embarrassed by the images I created, wrathful and sensate. But I only made them for you. I kissed them like little babes and sent them overseas, to you, their terrible parent who does not want them. My words underneath were not a caption. Wie wagst du mir das antun? Ich weiß jetzt, dass Ihre Liebe nicht stark genug gewesen zu ertragen haben. Ihr habt mir einen Gefallen tun. Du hast mich von der weiteren Herzschmerz gespeichert.

This morning, like all others, is cold. You’d laugh at the necessary layers of clothing I wear. It often takes me ten minutes to get dressed. If you were here, we could race. I would let you win.

Sunset [minutelovestories #24]

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His kids were young, not yet teenagers, not yet even what could be described as ‘tweens, and he would leave them in the house, engorging their slack, nubile bodies with Keebler’s striped shortbread cookies alongside a plastic bowl of Theatre Butter microwave popcorn, watching cable TV until Peter resurfaced. He locked himself inside of the studio. He painted versions of the Malibu sunset: orange, yellow, red, purple, hazy, lucid, hallucinogenic, bucolic. The interpretations were end over end. Some people considered him an obsessed lunatic, like an amateur attempting the most perfect plagiarism of Vermeer’s pearl earring or a tiresome take on Van Gogh’s most canonized swirling night, and he was surrounded by the carcasses of those failures that were born prematurely or malnourished somehow, meant to be aborted but allowed to exist despite. These paintings of his were not failures, Peter argued. Every setting sun differed from the one before. His wife did not adore this work, what bordered on obsession, an endless desire to “get it right”, something that couldn’t be captured. “I’m nothing but a studio widow!” she would declare to her friends. “A studio widow with too many radiant sunsets.”

Ghosts [minutelovestory #73]

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Ghost bikes occupied most of his weekends. Creating skeletons scattered throughout the city as runes to remind us. It was the only means he could find, it seemed, to assuage the guilt. Everything had gone quiet then, like a Fellini film, the gnarl of traffic and bleating horns buried in that moment, burrowing into his body through every tight orifice and captured underneath his skin, mummified and bound. The bike’s spokes slowed as the momentum ceased. Blink and the world readjusts itself.

He’s spraying his fourth bike of the day. He’s wearing a mask and gloves. Grips and brakes are in a pile by his feet and it’s late afternoon and he hasn’t eaten lunch, working through hunger with a sincere ferocity others know to respect. With the glow of the sun behind her, she is unreal, stepping off the sidewalk into the makeshift workshop. Underneath her threadbare shirt, above her heart, rests a permanent eulogy.

This is another cinematic moment, but nothing decelerates. The whirr of a band saw catapults, the sunlight unnaturally incandescent, the white spray paint turns into blinding snow, reminding him of Maine blizzards, his childhood between snowdrifts and summer dandelions, the world growing alive again.

Dyeing [minutelovestory #39]

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By the time I’d been married twice and Jim, my second husband, had left me, though he was the bankrupt one without a job, I’d decided to stop coloring my hair. It was a task that had, over years, accumulated hundreds of plastic bottles of permanent hair dye and map-like folded instructions in English, Spanish, and French, discarded in the bathroom trash bin. Stained with the mahogany dye, droplets splattered, gloves smeared, the bloodied packaging seemed to represent a murderous success. I considered it a testament to my inevitable aging, losing my menstrual cycle only to continue on living with a ritualistic and silly version of bloodletting.

Alone in my apartment, watching the pigeons gather at my downstairs neighbor’s offering of strewn birdseed in the driveway, feeling as though I’m surrounded by occupied strollers and ponytailed women and very shiny cars, I yearn for a home elsewhere with a 1/4 or a 1/2 in the address. I wished for an apartment with a name like Terrace Garden or Citrus Grove. But even in the fantasy of living there, I realize the smallness of the imaginary space, only a quarter of a structure. It’s just a percentage of a home.

Guard petals [minutelovestory #70]

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At the precise moment her father’s final exhalation resolved itself on this earth, she’d decided that the proper wardrobe of an orphan included, unquestionably, a corduroy blazer. It would serve her in the same way that a rose’s guard petals protect the precious ones beneath it, growing brown and streaked where too much stasis and leaning occurred with the other roses. The rest of the flower continues on, unharmed, with the protection of the guard petals. This would be like her future corduroy coat. She would wear it for three seasons out of four. She would be an orphan with protection. She would take on a different identity.

This was not the first occasion on which she’d taken on a new persona in the event that life had offered her the opportunity to do so. At the age of 20, she’d fallen in love and subsequently played Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” over and over and with alacrity read Kierkegaard’s “Diary of a Seducer,” glancing from its pages often, distracted by what her new lover could be thinking. She hoped his thoughts were of her, assiduously studying the cafard of intimacy with a furrowed brow and suspended breath.

Eidetic [minutelovestory #88]

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You are looking contemplative while picking seeds from your watermelon wedge. Your two children chasing one another in the close distance, on acid green grass that never leaves a trace of footfalls. For you, their endless game of chase is ordinary, but I marvel at the absence of capturing and holding the hunted. But mostly, I am wildly occupied with rearranging the features of their actual faces like fictitious flash cards, carrying one image into the next, but trading brown eyes for blue, blonde hair to black, seraphic waves becoming fine, bone-straight strands. My ability to recall images is near to eidetic, a problem only when it comes to wishing away your face and my memory of it so close to my own. The slipperiness of your wet hair. How your mouth moved when you’d say “beautiful girl” while pushing overgrown bangs from my eyes.

A single moonless night might have revealed you. Hearing a single hushed voice murmuring “I miss you” in the valiant darkness of your kitchen, protected by a blacked-out sky. You would not, now, be dropping seeds onto a paper plate in midday light, every so often endangering an afternoon idyll by glancing at my feet.

Longing / Dave’s corner booth [minutelovestory #25]

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I couldn’t even believe it, my luck. Scorin’ the only girl in this tacklebait town who didn’t have a goddamn tramp stamp and a G.E.D. to show for herself, slingin’ blowjob shots at the Cock ‘n Bull and hopin’ someone real nice come along, wanderin’ in, to take her elsewhere. No, my Helen had dreams. She was studyin’ to be a stenographer. I didn’t even know what that was. But I was bigtime impressed because it sounded real important and like a Scrabble word. Helen tells me ‘bout this woman one night, over cheeseburgers, our regular Thursday date, tells me this woman’s her “lover”. Yeah, she says “lover”, like we’re in Europe or somethin’. She’s all cryin’ and won’t touch her food, her face all wet and shiny, tells me this bitch is her “soul’s longing”. I wanted to tell her to fuck herself and her skanky soul, too, but I guess I still wanted her to want me, you know? But I was losin’ her, to this bitch in heat with a sweetness I don’t have. I mean, Helen says I don’t have it, right? But maybe I can make it.