Even when I'm dead, I'll swim through the Earth,like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.
The Quiet WorldIn an effort to get people to lookinto each other’s eyes more,and also to appease the mutes,the government has decidedto allot each person exactly one hundred and sixty-seven words, per day.When the phone rings, I put it to my ear without saying hello. In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup.I am adjusting well to the new way.Late at night, I call my long distance lover, I only used fifty-nine today. When she doesn’t respond,I know she’s used up all her words, thirty-two and a third times.After that, we just sit on the line and listen to each other breathe.
If you heard your lover scream in the next roomand you ran in and saw his pinkie on the floor, in a small puddle of blood.You wouldn't rush to the pinkie and say, 'Darling, are you OK? 'No, you'd wrap your arms around his shoulders and worry about the pinkie later.The same holds true if you heard the scream, ran in and saw his hand or -god forbid- his whole arm.But suppose you hear your lover scream in the next room, and you run in and his head is on the floor next to his body.Which do you rush to and comfort first?
The Everlasting StaircaseJeffrey McDanielWhen the call came, saying twenty-four hours to live,my first thought was: can't she postpone her exitfrom this planet for a week? I've got places to do,people to be. Then grief hit between the ribs,said disappear or reappear more fully. so I boardeda red eyeball and shot across America,hoping the nurses had enough quarters to keepthe jukebox of Grandma's heart playing. She grew uppoor in Appalachia. And while world war IIfunctioned like Prozac for the Great Depression,she believed poverty was a double feature,that the comfort of her adult years was merelyan intermission, that hunger would hobble back,hurl its prosthetic leg through her window,so she clipped, clipped, clipped -- became the JacquesCousteau of the bargain bin, her wetsuitstuffed with coupons. And now --pupils fixed, chindangling like the boots of a hanged man --I press my ear to her lampshade-thin chestand listen to that little soldier march toward whateverplateau, or simply exhaust his arsenal of beats.I hate when people ask if she even knew I was there.The point is I knew, holding the one-sidedconversation of her hand. Once I believed the heartwas like a bar of soap -- the more you use it,the smaller it gets; care too much and it'll snap offin your grasp. But when Grandma's last breathwaltzed from that room, my heart openedwide like a parachute, and I realized she didn't die.She simply found a silence she could call her own.
When you were sleeping on the sofaI put my ear to your ear and listenedto the echo of your dreams.That is the ocean I want to dive in, merge with the bright fish, plankton and pirate ships.I walk up to people on the street that kind of look like youand ask them the questions I would ask you.Can we sit on a rooftop and watch stars dissolve into smokerising from a chimney? Can I swing like Tarzan in the jungle of your breathing? I don’t wish I was in your arms, I just wish I was peddling a bicycle toward your arms.
I used to think love was two people suckingon the same straw to see whose thirst was stronger,but then I whiffed the crushed walnuts of your nape,traced jackals in the snow-covered tombstones of your teeth.I used to think love was a non-stop saxophone soloin the lungs, till I hung with you like a pair of sneakersfrom a phone line, and you promised to always smellthe rose in my kerosene. I used to think love was terminalpelvic ballet, till you let me jog beside while you pedaledall over hell on the menstrual bicycle, your tongueripping through my prairie like a tornado of paper cuts.I used to think love was an old man smashing a mirrorover his knee, till you helped me carry the barbellof my spirit back up the stairs after my car pirouettedin the desert. You are my history book. I used to not believein fairy tales till I played the dunce in sheep’s clothingand felt how perfectly your foot fit in the glass slipperof my ass. But then duty wrapped its phone cordaround my ankle and yanked me across the continent.And now there are three thousand miles between the uand s in esophagus. And being without you is like standingat a cement-filled wall with a roll of Yugoslavian nickelsand making a wish. Some days I miss you so muchI’d jump off the roof of your office buildingjust to catch a glimpse of you on the way down. I wishwe could trade left eyeballs, so we could always seewhat the other sees. But you’re here, I’m there,and we have only words, a nightly phone call - one chanceto mix feelings into syllables and pour into the receiver,hope they don’t disassemble in that calculus of wire.And lately - with this whole war thing - the language machinesupporting it - I feel betrayed by the alphabet, like they’reinjecting strychnine into my vowels, infecting my consonants,naming attack helicopters after shattered Indian tribes:Apache, Blackhawk; and West Bank colonizers are settlers,so Sharon is Davey Crockett, and Arafat: Geronimo,and it’s the Wild West all over again. And I imagine Picassolooking in a mirror, decorating his face in war paint,washing his brushes in venom. And I think of Jeninin all that rubble, and I feel like a Cyclops with two eyes,like an anorexic with three mouths, like a scuba diverin quicksand, like a shark with plastic vampire teeth,like I’m the executioner’s fingernail trying to reasonwith the hand. And I don’t know how to speak lovewhen the heart is a busted cup filling with spit and paste,and the only sexual fantasy I have is bustinginto the Pentagon with a bazooka-sized pen and blowingopen the minds of generals. And I comfort myselfwith the thought that we’ll name our first child Jenin,and her middle name will be Terezin, and we’ll teach herhow to glow in the dark, and how to swallow firecrackers,and to never neglect the first straw; because no oneever talks about the first straw, it’s always the last strawthat gets all the attention, but by then it’s way too late.
We live in a modern society. Husbands and wives don'tgrow on trees, like in the old days. So wheredoes one find love? When you're sixteen it's easy, like being unleashed with a credit cardin a department store of kisses. There's the first kiss.The sloppy kiss. The peck.The sympathy kiss. The backseat smooch. The weshouldn't be doing this kiss. The but your lipstaste so good kiss. The bury me in an avalanche of tingles kiss.The I wish you'd quit smoking kiss.The I accept your apology, but you make me really madsometimes kiss. The I knowyour tongue like the back of my hand kiss. As you getolder, kisses become scarce. You'll be drivinghome and see a damaged kiss on the side of the road, with its purple thumb out. If youwere younger, you'd pull over, slide open the mouth'sred door just to see how it fits. Oh wheredoes one find love? If you rub two glances, you get a smile.Rub two smiles, you get a warm feeling.Rub two warm feelings and presto-you have a kiss. Now what? Don't invite the kiss overand answer the door in your underwear. It'll get suspiciousand stare at your toes. Don't water the kiss with whiskey. It'll turn bright pink and explode into a thousand luscious splinters, but in the morning it'll be ashamed and sneak out ofyour body without saying good-bye, and you'll remember that kiss forever by all the little cuts it lefton the inside of your mouth. You mustnurture the kiss. Turn out the lights. Notice how itilluminates the room. Hold it to your chestand wonder if the sand inside hourglasses comes from aspecial beach. Place it on the tongue's pillow, then look up the first recorded kiss in an encyclopedia: beneatha Babylonian olive tree in 1200 B.C.But one kiss levitates above all the others. Theintersection of function and desire. The I do kiss.The I'll love you through a brick wall kiss. Even when I'm dead, I'll swim through the Earth, like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.
Once I dated a woman I only liked 43%.So I only listened to 43% of what she said.Only told the truth 43% of the time.And only kissed with 43% of my lips.Some say you can't quantify desire, attaching a number to passion isn't right, that the human heart doesn't work like that.But for me it does-I walk down the streetand numbers appear on the foreheadsof the people I look at. In bars, it's worse.With each drink, the numbers go upuntil every woman in the joint has a blurryeighty something above her eyebrows, and the next day I can only remember 17%of what actually happened. That's the problemwith booze-it screws with your math.
Mathematicians still don’t understandthe ball our hands made, or howyour electrocuted grandparents made it possiblefor you to light my cigarettes with your eyes.It isn’t as simple as me climbing into the windowto leave six ounces of orange juiceand a doughnut by the bed, or me becomingthe sand you dug your toes in,on the beach, when you wishedto hide them from the sun and the fixed eyesof strangers, and your breath broke in wavesover my earlobe, splashing through my head, spilling outover the opposite lobe, and my first poemsunder your door in the unshaven light of dawn:Your eyes remind me of a brick wallabout to be hammered by a drunkdriver. I’m that driver. All nightI’ve swallowed you in the bar.Once I kissed the scar, stretching its sealedeyelid along your inner arm, driedraining strands of hair, full of pheromones, discoveredall your idiosyncratic passageways, so I’d knowwhere to run when the cops came.Your body is the country I’ll never return to.The man in charge of what crosses my mindwill lose fingernails, for not turning youaway at the border. But at this momentwhen sweat tingles from me, andblame is as meaningless as shooting up a cow with milk,I realise my kisses filled the halls of your bodywith smoke, and the lies camelike a season. Most drunks don’t die in accidentsthey orchestrate, and I swalloweda hand grenade that never stops exploding.
I've been ignored by prettier women than you, but none who carried the heavy pitchers of silenceso far, without spilling a drop.
Now I'm just like everybody else, and it's so funny, the way monogamy is funny, the waysomeone falling down in the street is funny.I entered a revolving door and emergedas a human being. When you think of meis my face electronically blurred?
I want to rip off your logic and make passionate sense to you. I want to ride in the swing of your hips. My fingers will dig in you like quotation marks, blazing your limbs into parts of speech.
The Quiet WorldIn an effort to get people to lookinto each other’s eyes more,and also to appease the mutes,the government has decidedto allot each person exactly one hundred and sixty-seven words, per day.When the phone rings, I put it to my ear without saying hello. In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup.I am adjusting well to the new way.Late at night, I call my long distance l
I mean, have you ever imaginedthe ocean is alive, and needs to tell us something important, and the only way it can talkis by making waves crash, and we just lounge there, drenched in cocoa butter, on towels with crappy novels and volleyballs, sipping spritzers, as the ocean uses all its strength to repeatthe same warning over and over?