Tag Archives: male
Heavenly Dances, Heavenly Intimacies, a short story
“Isn’t there any heaven where old beautiful dances, old beautiful intimacies prolong themselves?”
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
How can I be “dead” to any of the men I once loved? They are not “dead” to me. Not even H. How can I be “dead” to H.? They — even H. — are each as alive as when I was with them; as alive as the first time they touched me, whether tentatively or with confidence; whether softly or roughly; whether with passion or mere lust. It is shocking and appalling how H. lurched so radically to the right after 9/11. He began that journey to the Tea-Party-Mad-Hatter-Neocon-Bill-Buckley-Wall-Street-Apologist-Fringe-Brainless-Faux-News-Right when Ronald Reagan was shot; I was with him the very night it happened. We had a short affair, right then, because we started thinking the end of the world had arrived and we decided, like the crazy college students we were, to get married to celebrate our courage in the face of chaos! I realized very early on (but still way too late!) I was embarrassed to be seen in public with him. Did you ever start seeing, and marry someone whom you later realized you were embarrassed to be seen with? Perhaps the person in question was “dorky,” “geeky,” dressed “badly,” or had questionable “taste.” H. readily admits he was a “dork” in high school. He was on the debate team; need I say more? When you can’t bear to be seen in your lover’s/spouse’s/significant other’s/partner’s company, things usually don’t work out.
Still, I put in ten dutiful years, trying to make amends for my mistake in marrying H. The second he started making the big bucks, he dumped me. He left me for my best friend! I guess I deserved it, not taking control of my own life & filing for divorce two weeks after we married. And I guess I deserved how my ex-best-friend S. ruined me, as she subsequently did. She was in charge of the whole group we had socialized with: dictating how everyone in our “circle” should think, speak, act, or react. H. was dead wrong about most everything, but, to his credit, he was dead right about her. At the time I thought him merely woman-hating, but I see now, even though he did hate women, there was something more than simply being a “woman” he hated about her. He was covering up the fact he loved her by pretending to hate her. Now, I have no desire to see her, not ever again. She is definitely “dead” to me. Yes, I understand intellectually, a living death (call it shunning) can happen to anyone.
The upshot of all this boring history? I’ve been waiting for something a long time. I can’t blame anyone but myself for my unhappiness, not anymore. There is something dispirited inside me, something empty, drained, and beaten — something sick, something tired, something that has surrendered. I gave up, when? When my first ex-husband arbitrarily said no to children, breaking his solemn vow. When I realized I couldn’t find happiness outside myself — not with an old love, not with a new love, not with any of my subsequent husbands, my friends, my eventual children, or my family. Yes, to casual acquaintances and virtual strangers I am “happy, happier than I’ve ever been.” And it’s true! I’ve never been this happy, this contented, in my life. Yes, there are still problems. My oldest son is still half the world away, fighting an endless war on behalf of my “country.” My youngest son still has an ignorant, racist, rabidly conservative father. I am getting old. My face is melting. My neck is turning into a wattle. I am drooping.
Still, I cannot imagine any of them, the men I have loved or made love to, being dead to me the way my former best friend, S., is dead to me. Yet that is how they must feel about me, the way I feel about her. Wanting her removed from my memories. Wanting never to have met her. Not missing anything about her. She wants to see me, I heard from a mutual friend I still speak to. I don’t want to see her, or even see the mutual friend. I don’t even want to get as close as that! Because of reasons. Top secret, NSA, DOD, CIA, FBI, SEC, IRS, FDLE, GPD, ACSO reasons! No further comment!
A Lot of Men That Year, a novel fragment
I was going through a lot of men that year. All men seemed like works of art to me, like sculpture. With body hair, without ‑‑ the buttocks, the thighs, the chests. They were all quite lovely to look at. Their emotional content was something else completely. They seemed cruel, without love ‑‑ not that it mattered that much to me; I kept myself armored against hurt pretty well. It was all casual dalliance, a form of gymnastic exercise, no permanence intended. That was how I was protected.
Francisco was the handsomest man I’d ever dared let myself be attracted to. We were cast in the same play, that’s how it started. His friend, Vincent, was also quite handsome, though not my type ‑‑ blonde, blue‑eyed.
During this same time, my father and I were trying to get to know each other, 20 years too late. He wanted instant fatherhood: I was just confused by it all.
His VW van ‑‑ his hippie ways. He thought I was so conservative. When he told me he was attracted to me physically, sexually, I was only half‑shocked, because I suppose I had felt it too. I almost wished he would act on it, just to see what it felt like. It wasn’t like I really saw him as a father figure.
Meanwhile, I slept with every guy who interested me, except the ones who had love in their eyes. Lust, intellectual curiosity, and admiration for my body ‑‑ these were all OK. But love? It gave me the willies. Long‑term commitments were the last thing on my mind.
My father was living in his van ‑‑ I didn’t want to see him all that much, and that hurt his feelings. I don’t know what, exactly, was going through my mind. Attraction and repulsion, like magnetic phenomena.
Then there was the boy who punched the wall and broke his hand. The short boy, musclebound. He had sort of, kind of, almost-but-not-quite fallen in love with me. He wanted to sleep with me, but I refused him. He didn’t understand why. I was sleeping with everybody else. I sensed that a sleeping relationship with him would get too messy. He would be jealous, passionate, moody, and neurotic. I only wanted men who were vaguely indifferent?
I loved my film as literature class teacher from afar. He was balding, blonde, and wore thick glasses. I mean Coke-bottle thick. I wanted everybody to make passes at me. I was almost offended if they showed no overt interest in taking my clothes off. My only excuse? I was nineteen years old.
Monster to Monster
I did you a favor
to let you go, to push you away,
to release you. You were too conscious
to be my mate. I need someone
who doesn’t think so much,
who is impervious to my suffering.
Even with someone like that,
I feel I am too painful to be borne.
It is a bigger thing than both of us
being monsters. The words I write
are my gift to you, the only thing
I can possibly give now. I took
so much, I have to give something
back. Even if I am a monster,
do you think that means I don’t
suffer when contemplating
my monstrosity? You think because
I did not stay, I did not love.
I loved as much as any wounded
creature can. I loved as much
as a woman without a whole heart
can love. I loved you in my way,
the only way I have.