Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sweetheart Like You

“What are you doing?”

She unbuttoned her blouse and moved closer.  Her breasts…not too large as to distract from the rest of her enticing body, not too small as to disappoint the primal male libido…were sheltered in playful black lace; they were certainly still pert enough to command attention.  She’d let him touch them once…an awkwardly endearing moment on a cool, moonlit night that he both treasured and regretted…and he wanted to touch them again.

“I know what you want, baby,” she said in that voice…the one that was an absurdly intoxicating blend of coquettish girl and humid woman…that she knew worked on men all too well.  “I know what you need.”

His breathing quickened and he felt an urge to press her against the wall…to kiss her mouth ruthlessly…to press his crotch against hers pinning her helplessly…to hold her fast with one hand while allowing the other to take proprietary hold of playful black lace.

But his eyes narrowed instead.  “What the hell are you doing?”  He took a half step back even though part of him was screaming to take an irrevocable step forward.

She paused, looking both confused and slightly insulted.  “I can help you.  I know you’ve been sad.  I know you’ve been angry.  I know what you need…what you’ve always wanted.  Let me help you.” She took a half step forward putting her tiny, warm hand on his shirt.  She leaned up until her face was almost, but not quite, touching his.  “Let me help you, baby boy.”

She smelled like strawberries.  Strawberries and cream; strawberries and cream, imported beer and domestic cigarettes…and sex…she smelled like libidinous, raucous, bittersweet sex.  Many a time he’d wanted to get lost in her dark eyes…get tangled in the soft expanse of her dark hair…touch the sweet curves of her woman’s body…kiss the rosy pout of her forbidden lips.  His breathing got shallow and his unthinking penis rose to expectant attention.

But, gently, his pushed a half step back.  “I don’t want to have sex with you.”  It was half a lie but he was resolute.  His penis pouted and let some blood flow back into regular circulation.

She looked more confused, more insulted, disappointed and relieved.  “Yes you do,” she insisted.  “I’ve seen the way you look at me sometimes…I’ve heard the jealousy that creeps into your voice when I tell you about my lovers…you’ve always wanted to touch me…to kiss me…to fuck me…” 

He wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince him or herself.  It didn’t matter.  It was true, of course, he had wanted her…sometimes he still wanted her.  She was one of those women that men couldn’t help but want…when her inner light was shining she was smart and funny, beautiful and sexy, laughing and approachable, alluring and energetic, strong and vulnerable, slightly mysterious and seemingly waiting to be swept away and ravaged passionately.  He’d seen that the moment he met her.

“Yes,” he admitted, “I have wanted to.”  He took a deep breath.  “But I’m not supposed to.”

She frowned and looked up into his dark eyes.  “Why not?”

That was the question, he thought.  “It’s not who I’m supposed to be with you.” 

They’d known each other for what seemed like all their lives…known each intimately from the very first moment they met.  They’d known each other through magical, musical nights…through moments of heart-breakingly intimate vulnerabilities, feints and truths…through doomed unions with other people…through life and death, laughter and tears, sweet dreams and bitter reality.  They’d known each other in light and in the persistent darkness that colored their souls in ways most people didn’t care to try to recognize.

“Who are you ‘supposed’ to be then?”

He reached up and touched her face; she nuzzled into his touch, her eyes liquid and hopeful.  “I’m your friend, sweetheart,” he said, whispering huskily.  “I’m your friend…your brother…your confidant…your baby and your daddy.  I have been your platonic husband…filling in the emotional spaces that your real husband couldn’t…or wouldn’t…fill…”

She started to say something…to protest perhaps…but she didn’t.

“I love you, girl,” he said, “and I know you.”

“What do you know?” she said, pouting and just a bit defiant. 

“I know that you need me not to be another man looking to feed off your light while ignoring your darkness because he doesn't want to deal with it,” he said.  “I know you need me to be a man…to be the one man…who loves you but who isn’t trying to fuck you in one way or another…”

Her lip trembled and her eyes started to tear.  She buried her face against his chest and he held her close, stroking her hair and murmuring gentle endearments.  “I hate you,” she said into his chest.

He laughed softly and moved her head back from his chest.  “No you don’t,” he said bending down to kiss her forehead.

She smiled shyly.  “No I don’t,” she said pressing her head back against his chest, listening to his heartbeat while he held her close.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

150 Words: Shooting Star

So close, so very far away…streaking across the dark sky, coming and going in the same fleeting moment…angels watching over me, angels watching over all of us…reflections of the ever-changing, unfathomably eternal nature of the Universe extant…reflections of the ever-changing, heartbreakingly ephemeral reality of our brief sojourn on this fragile mortal coil…reflections of my brief, bittersweet sojourn on this mortal coil.

The dark sky spreads out, a tapestry of amazing wonder, and I feel a part of it…an incredibly tiny part of it but part of it just the same…and I smile…and I cry…and I sing my songs that no one hears…and I sing my songs that the universe understands. 

And I look up and I whisper hello…and I whisper goodbye…(Bob said it and he got it right…seen a shooting star tonight and I thought of me)…angels watching over us, watching over me…always so close, always so very far away.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Looked for My Father

I looked for my father in the cold nights when the shadows scared me and the moon was of no mind to provide any comfort.  I looked for him in the crowds of Dads scooping up their boys, giving their girls rides on their broad, powerful shoulders.  I looked for my father coming down the avenue, coming home to me and my brother and my mother because that was the only place in the world he really wanted to be.  I looked for my father.  They told me that he wasn’t lost…but I couldn’t find him.

I looked for my father in the fragile hearts of my uncles, in the hopeful eyes of my mother’s lovers and would-be lovers, in the smiles of other fathers who stood by their boys and kept safe their girls, I looked for my father in the glances of strangers and the attentions of wise men who sometimes became mentors.  I looked for my father.  They told me wasn’t really lost…but I really couldn’t find him.

I looked for my father…in the guise of being the husband he wouldn’t be, in the love of being father to children I didn’t create, in the bittersweet joy of holding the children of the children I didn’t create.  I even looked for my father in the eyes of my father…but I didn’t find him.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Exit 11

He drove his big lazy car slowly down the highway.  He was lost again, of course.  So many avenues to explore and willfully he always chose the ones that lead to dead ends. 

He made a deliberate turn into familiar territory…the winding tunnel of love…trying to go back to find an exit that would lead him to some kind of salvation.  But he kept moving backwards…back to old roads he’d ignored…back to old roads he’d crashed on…backwards as if somehow going back would lead him forward.  Luckily he still had a fair amount of gas in the big car’s tank and a pair of rose colored glasses to illuminate the journey.

The exits were all marked “wrong way, do not attempt to re-enter” and he dutifully kept driving looking for a welcoming one.  He blew rueful kisses at the yellow brick road that splintered off into four or five branches snaking into the greater Los Angeles area.  He sang plaintive tunes down the blue road that shimmered in a mist illuminated by a lone blue star.

He paused at the exit…boarded up with a single white rose taped to its sign…that led to the road that followed the train tracks up the coast to what seemed to be a verdant valley.  He looked longingly at the exits that led to the desert…led to the sea…led to the mesa where he’d fucked up and fouled out, hiding like a scared child, in the unforgiving rubble of love’s lost offerings.

And then there it was…again…his exit.  The one that was always open…the exit that he always wanted to take…always chose to take…despite all of his protestations to the contrary.  He lit a cigar.  He turned up the radio.  He steered the big car out of the tunnel of love…out onto exit 11…and sighed without rancor or even sadness.  He was going home again.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Brothers (We Can Sleep When We're Dead)

So me and Bruce are wandering through the mall under the pedestrian bridge and towards the big doors that lead into the air conditioned sprawl of goods and services.  

It’s a beautiful day…bright, blue, sunny, the breeze making music with the trees and the dancing flags on their sturdy flagpoles…but the mall parking lot is sparsely populated.

Bruce was mostly in blue…denim jacket, well worn Levi’s…I was most in black.

I’m itchin’ to get back on the road…to make music and make people smile.  Bruce was always itching to get on the road…to make music with me and the boys.

We just got off the road, Bruce…we’re tired, ready for some sleep.  I knew he wasn’t gonna hear it but I had to say it anyway.

Bruce laughed the way he does as we lingered in the gun section of the mall’s biggest store.  We hefted gleaming black pistols while the kid behind the counter…the white badge on his red vest identified him as “Jimmy”…chewed gun and looked on with genuine indifference.  We can sleep when we’re dead…we’re young and dumb and we should be out makin’ girls and makin’ rock ‘n roll!

We’re not that young anymore, Bruce.  I knew he wasn’t gonna hear that but I said it anyway.

We left Jimmy and his guns and ambled over to a rack of acoustic guitars.  Bruce picked up one…beautiful golden wood…and strummed.  Bruce smiled and sang a couple of bars of “Brothers Under the Bridge”.

You don’t need no band, Bruce.  Just you and your songs and that guitar…just like the old days.

Bruce nodded.  That time he heard me.  He tossed me the guitar and picked up another one.  You and me then…just like the old days…we’ll stay up late…we’ll crisscross the country…we’ll play hard…we’ll sleep when we’re dead.  Will you ride with me, brother?

I sighed and strummed the guitar. I smiled and shook my head.  Yeah, Bruce, of course I’ll ride with you.  I can sleep when I’m dead.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

150 Words: I Want

I want to sleep for more than five hours a night.  I want to stop wandering through the haze in my happy guy mask.  I want to be understood without having to spell things out in exhausting detail.  I want to understand much better than I obviously do.

I want to breathe easy and laugh unabashedly.  I want to cry when I need to and not have it held against me.  I want to stop disappointing the world.  I want the world to stop disappointing me.

I want to kiss somebody who thinks I’m their hero.  I want to make love in the warm heart of cool clear nights and wake up entwined, whispering, sharing silly, bawdy endearments with someone who couldn’t imagine any better place to be.

I want the life I live to at least try, just try, to mirror the life I imagine.

I want too much.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

150 Words: Old Ghosts

Old ghosts are coming out for encores…smiling out of the haze at the head of the avenue, waltzing down memory lane saying hello, saying goodbye. 

Old ghosts are dancing to old songs on streets of gold and shadow…streets of carnal longing and chaste nonsense, streets of loss and folly and ever-lingering regret…blowing plaintive kisses to the silent shade in the audience, saying things that people wouldn’t, didn’t say and disappearing back into the swirling haze at the end of the avenue. 

That’s what old ghosts do…that’s what old ghosts are for…waltzing to sad old songs while the shade in the audience remembers a past that never was…blowing tender, plaintive, farewell kisses…saying things they might or, more likely, might not have wanted to say when they weren’t ghosts.

Old ghosts are coming out for encores…old ghosts are beaming radiantly while cradling bouquets of white roses…old ghosts are waltzing down memory lane.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Gallant Lies of Gentlemen Callers

People assured her that the years continued to be kind to her.  Sometimes she even chose to believe it. 

Her heart, she told herself (and anybody who would listen), was spent…it was done with the bittersweet games of passion and desire.  This too was something she told herself that she believed…but, of course, she knew that to be a lie.

Memory conspired to keep her heart bright with hope and longing despite her cynical feints.  She remembered, with humid affection, the soft lips and rough hands that had thrilled and soothed her in days gone by. 

She remembered, with a dreamer’s abandon, terrifying and thrilling falls into the stormy seas of love, sinking and swimming hand in hand with others sinking into those same roiling, calming, mysterious and utterly familiar waters.

She remembered the smiles in heated whispers…the lightning in trembling lips…the gallant lies of gentlemen callers at the door of her hopeful heart.

The years continued to be kind to her…she hadn’t received the last Valentine of her journey…she remembered passion and expected it to return in due course…people assured her…she, more tentatively, assured herself.  Sometimes she, demurely defiant, dared to believe it.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


I feel it breathing.  I feel it…lingering just off the near edge of my perception of the world…lingering just off the near edge of the perception of my world.  I feel it…breathing…yearning…hungering…whispering…whimpering…crying…commanding…dreaming…dancing…being…being…being.

I feel it breathing.  I see it curling…black and blue and golden smoke…in the bright blue, cold gray, stark black daytime nighttime never-time sky.  I feel it breathing…I feel it calling…I feel it cajoling…I feel it singing…old blues, new country waltzes, rock and roll that makes me sweat, makes me forget…I feel it.  Breathing.

I feel it breathing…a song I pretend I know (I am a singer who can’t sing)…a movie that I feel connected to and detached from (I am an actor that can act too well)…a ballet that I know all of the sacred steps to (I am a dancer who doesn’t feel the music)…a prayer of salvation and serenity I murmur into the ether (I am a sinner who doesn’t believe in…anything…)…I feel it…black and blue and golden smoke in the every-time never-time sky.

I feel it breathing…feel it coming closer…closer…closer…please God closer…I feel it reaching for me…reaching for me, calling for me…I feel it. 

But it stops at my skin.