Bars and Beyond: Ten for Today


Noisy bars bring them out, words, flyby’s, glances, guffaws and shouts,

The teeming television barrage: run, skate, tackle, hit, fly, and fall.

It’s all that motion that sickens me, I think, causes me to open the wrong door, 

Trying to get out, the populous din of greasy chomps and cheer, too much.

And my left eye, the throbbing reminded me that nights like these…

 

Well, running into your past hurts, like the face plant into the wall it is.

The years, the years, the years swimming in your clogged ears,

Suck out the details, the exact dates, times, names and numbers.

Never any good at any of them, I just kept doing what needed doing–as I do.

And tonight’s no different with all that begged to be said and felt, all along

 

With your voice inside my head, telling me not to go, and asking who’s there

With that menace, that hint of cabined, caged control ripping at your will

Your mind round with edges like that pool, your legs wrapped around me

By the waist, by the mouth, by the threads unraveling between our fingers,

That darned holes in our visions, sepia snapshots on silk screen partitions.  

At the Diner (Hour 23)


At the diner at 4 a.m.,
cheesecake and coffee
the brew so dusty sweet
and the cake real ricotta.
At the diner, we’d talk
after the bars close
and the beer wore off,
and eat French fries
or eggs and put dimes
in the table top juke box,
hear our favorite songs
like Free bird and
Sympathy for the Devil.
And we’d splay our
legs on long, red, vinyl
seats sometimes cracked,
our backs against booth
walls of plastic sheen.
At the diner, we’d hum
the songs we heard at the
bar we just left, our favorite
local bands playing, while
we drank Heineken and
smoked Camel cigarettes,
out back for a J or two.
But under the bright lights
of the diner til quarter to 7 or
later, we’d laugh sometimes
spitting our coffee or Pepsi
at some stupid shit one of us
said, and everything’s funny
when you haven’t slept all night.
At the diner, off the expressway,
the waitresses know us, and
bring us our eggs and toast
the way we like them, sunny
side up and easy tan and grape
jelly in the little plastic peel off
boxes, three or four of them.
And every Friday and Saturday
it was the same for us three,
Deb, Jackie and me, at the diner.

At the Wine Bar


We decided our favorite coffee is wine on this sweaty hot summer late afternoon. The temps rose to about 88 degrees even here at the beach. So we met at a wine bar by the water instead of our usual siesta hour coffee place. I enjoyed a Patson Hall Chardonnay, chilled, and she a Central Valley Pinot Noir, whose name I forgot. Cheers, clink, and she was off. First the job, politics, and then her current “person of interest.”

Her:  I like a guy who talks me up dirty. Just gets me going, like when D***** says, “Gonna pump sum jiz in you” right before he cums. I want to scream, “Go, go, go for it, fucker!!” And her voice does get loud.

I wince, probably visibly. I mused how I’m more of a Nike kind of girl. Don’t announce. Just do it.

Her: I must have some sort of oral fixation that I get off on sex talk like that, his mouth clenched in urgency, coughing out, “Here it cums, baby.” Makes the finale all the more spectacular. I should have been an actress, not a business major. It all seems so meta sexual, you know, like acting out sex inside the sex act. You know what I mean?

I nod. Honestly I did. Like sex in front of a mirror. The self-consciousness of the act as act. The wine buzz would not let me fall into the full possibilities of sex, mirrors, and performance. I shook it off, silently.

Her: I mean when T** and I were seeing each other, he was the quiet church mouse type. He performed all right, but I never could gauge the decibels of his pleasure like I can with D*****.  I can coordinate my own orgasm much easier with the verbal cues. 

The church mouse visual stuck in my mind, I just then remembered the guy who shushed me during sex. We had been dating for a few months; it wasn’t the first time we were going at it. But he all of the sudden unquestionably shushed me, like I was making too much noise. The only thing missing was the hand covering my mouth.

We were at a hotel. He had kids, a divorce, too soon, all of that. And what? He didn’t want to disturb other hotel guests? I wasn’t screaming, that’s for sure. He was a serviceable lover but not scream-worthy. I was stunned, totally thrown off. I didn’t even question why or how or what. But afterward, I became hyper aware of the sounds I would have made had I not stifled them before they came out. I couldn’t cum.

It wasn’t long after that we broke up. I’m not sure if it was because of that. We just didn’t have enough gelling to get over the breach. 

The server came by just then. “Yes, I’ll have another. Same.”

 
Image: the Purple Passport

In Gratitude…#Nanowrimo completed: 23 days, a novel

  
Seems befitting that on this weekend of gratitude, I conclude this huge though not impossible endeavor with the following:

While reintegrating to my life by inches, loving the smallest favors first like the grip of a long handled toothbrush or the pleasure of a private shit and shower, my own bed with more than two inches of mattress and a box spring in the quiet of my home, ragged as it was and is, snuggled inside the lefthand loop of a cul de sac; then appreciating bigger things like the love of a family that has been loving me–hard–more than I let myself feel, all this time. 

My family, blood and adopted, came through for me in a way that shocked me, even though it could not have been more predictable. They wrote, visited, and watched; they stood by and pitched in. They witnessed helplessly as I crumbled and paid enormous sums to secure my freedom, cried for me in my grief but did not pity me nor make themselves the heroes; they took care of me. 

JM stepped up for me and suffered like the brave and strong he never knew he was, taking up the mantle where I had dropped it. He came through for all of us, doing whatever he had to, and he proved to himself he was strong, something he needed to know but couldn’t since he had never needed to before. That was my job–ensuring that no one needed to be strong. I coddled them as organizer, unifier  and fixer. Now they took up the reins and showed themselves worthy of the task. And I received.