Lunch again. 1:30 pm martinis. For her. My work day doesn’t end until the last word typed before my eyes close. A bit dramatic, yet still, lavender double shot espresso blended iced latte for me. Yeah, I’m needing something lavender. From decay grows the lotus.
“My fantasies were filled with faceless men. No, actually the same man, I think. He never had a face, like any man of your fantasy fill-in. He was the kind of addictive cruel, one part sadist, one part devourer–obsessive and possessive. You know?”
“Any way, I always used him to start me off…like my go-to Playboy centerfold. A pre-pubescent boy’s wrinkled up centerfold he hides under his mattress to jerk off to when the folks are gone. I embarrassed myself with such a cliche fantasy: the cruel lover who made me do things. You know?”
I didn’t want to know. Not on an iced latte. I’d have to switch to martinis. I nodded.
“A writer should be able to masturbate to something less classic, more creative than a faceless fantasy fascist.”
“In your defense, you write feature stories not erotica.”
“Yeah, well…Johnny Depp, even as jackass pirate shows a little more imagination–and taste…
But then after a few years with Vincent, it hit me. The faceless fascist disappeared. And you know what an obsessive-possessive nut job he turned out to be.”
“So, you’re saying you manifested Vincent? What’s the moral of the story here? Was he really that demanding? Or commanding? Or I should say, commandant. Did he totally control your mind and body, violently, if necessary? Maybe just a little bdsm?”
“Yes, all of it. He wasn’t violent. I wouldn’t have stayed. He just…just…I don’t know…owned me. Subtlety. In inches. He crept up on me, and before I knew it, I was not going out with friends, and cutting down my hours at my job, and worrying if someone stopped by to visit and stayed too long, when Vincent would come home and wince at the sight of anyone ‘intruding.’ Well, you know. You called it my ‘leave of absence from myself.’ And it was. But he’s gone, and so are the faceless fascist fantasies. Now I slap a face on my imaginary friends. Like that checker at the food mart. He’s adorable.”
I reflected a second in between chuckles. Some fantasies are fantasies so long as there’s little possibility that they become real. In fact, the more far-fetched, the sexier, more enticing. But when fantasy becomes reality, the thrill is gone. At least I doubt women (or men) slapped faces of Stalin, Mussolini, or Hitler on their fantasy men. But I can’t be sure.
And before I do, I want you to know that I don’t leave without trepidation.
I’m not one to walk out.
Stand and face–even when the blackest eyes pierce my throat–
That’s been my method, fearless.
No doubt I’m getting older, less reliant on speed and jaw.
Yet, my resolve stands taller, wider, less compromised
By shaky passion and toppling ardor.
I know what’s right for me and mine.
Perhaps the children have made it so, the will,
The mighty outrage and outpour of righteous indignation,
It’s no mere whim or fashion.
I have roots, here in this land, on the soil of my mother.
But they grow wherever my feet touch down,
When blossom and wither beach.
My return, though certain, may not be.
I once traveled far, jungled inside, canopied under
The emergent layer that cocooned and cut me, culled flight.
And I never returned, even as surely as my sandals scraped sand,
The water’s edge of me, the tidal flow of drifting ear deep in water,
Listening to Gods and men groan secrets unheard.
I left then, returned, leaving my image behind me, left to howlers,
Lemurs, quetzals and Monteverde capuchin, who held my breath
In their seams, and still do.
I never came back, and now it’s winter, the summer of then passed,
To retrieve the lost faces, shed skin, the chameleon dreamed,
I’ll need to travel far from you, leave your bigotry and bile.
And when my body drifts inside again, your walls, your fever,
Only vespers’ dusk and smokey dawn, crust of the ague, remains
That travel torn, release us from hate’s grip, my form and fold united.
I will be new, and you will too, when I slip once more inside your border,
Hear the errant’s disbelieving, horrified roar, the be-trodden masses.
I’ll be ready then, to stand erect, balanced, both arms ready.
I hope to say farewell to closed palms, only to be welcomed
In a week or lifetime or two, to open gates, walkways to settle-in wicker
Chairs to my rest, porch to our swings, quieted storms’ memory.
I want you, my beloved, healed and hallowed, churched Christly,
Only the love, only the forgiveness, only the compassion, only the humble,
To fight, to triumph’s return, you, my lover, once more mi patria–free.