Story pairing to Henry in the Wall.
You are carful not to watch the children too closely. They look at you and they don’t smile. Under your clothes you are burning and their eyes are cold. The cross-eyed teens, heavy in heat, lope past. They smell of orange peels and lube.
Your ankle brushes against a woman’s skirt, a woman’s ankle, a woman’s thigh, a woman’s cunt. She doesn’t look up from her dilapidated joints, but she knows. You flick cigarette ash onto the concrete steps.
Blatant bigotry twists from puckered lips. The youth’s sneakered feet rest on sun baked stairs, and her heavy thighs sweat under too much clothing. Trying to impress the other orange-peeled-teens, she speaks, “if that Nigger were on the Square, they’d have to take me out of here in handcuffs.” She doesn’t understand how many people are listening.
Your dark haired fresco splayed before you. She is impossible with her legs spread. It’s the last time. God damnit, it’s the last time.
You let her feel your burning skin, and this time she doesn’t say anything. Her lips are smothered with what she thinks is love. The light remains on and you plunge into her, but it is not right.
Smack. Smack. Smack. The ping pong players toss everything but words to each other. The small orange ball rolls to your feet, and they watch you expectantly. You pick up the ball and swallow their disappointment. It almost gets stuck going down.
The lovers sit underneath the cherry umbrella, and she pushes her nose into his neck. They do not know that you are drawing them for later. Maybe you could be that kind of lover. Her inamorato. You peel off his skin, and wear it for a night. You drink her patiently. While you suck at her flesh she does not notice that you do not know her name. When she cums, quick and ecstatic, you cut her in the middle and she spreads open for you. It is a love that she has never known.
You walk out of the square, past the pig, cobra, and parrot. The trainer ogles your feet and their bad intentions. He seems to know about the women that cavort on your bed, because he raises only crippled fingers to you.
The wind picks up and you can smell the garbage from the street. The empty bags that once contained a week’s groceries pitch into the air. The receipts scrape and writhe with an insistence that is familiar.
Her urgency makes you want to rub dirt into your gums. You bite your teeth as she gets up to leave, and you can see that she has left stains on your sheets. Overlapping rings of stain seep into your mattress, bed-spring, floor boards. They soak into your neighbor’s cookie jar and pantry. He has a ring for breakfast, and a ring for lunch.
You stop her at the door. Her chestnut skin does not embrace the wall behind her, and conflict wrings through her hair. She no longer wants to be there, but you keep staring at her anyways. You reach a hand up and collapse your fingers around her neck.
The water in the bathroom sink gurgles up at you. Rust coats your nail-beds like ink. You know that the stain will cling for weeks. A man sits in the public bathroom stall, door open, with his trousers down. He looks at you, but his face is only an empty mask. He does not perceive the shit he has smeared on the bathroom lock. If he does not use it, no one else will. The other gleam-less bathroom goers pretend not to see. They are afraid of the smell, the rambling eyes, and the endless conversation.
On the outside the clouds have foamed into a disagreement and the homeless and the businessmen have crawled back into their burrows. Tumbling, you walk past the church. The next church, and the church after that. Soulless eyes watch from their windows, and they roll back when you smile at them. The smell of orange peel sucks out what ever else was in your lungs, so you finger the hole in your side. It’s empty, and you’re empty once again.
The peels cover your path, but the condoms aren’t far off. They line the church stairs in a holy manner. The nuns aren’t careful enough to avoid the slickness, and they slide down, one by one. They are graciously penetrated by the sign-posts, and fire hydrants. The priests stare, and god’s work is done.
You push her body up against the wall, and a heavy sentiment smothers the room. It is not her’s but what you imagine her to feel. Her soft oiled hands club at your face and wrists. She is truly fluttering now. Her purse falls from the loop of her arm and her eyes finally rest in a tortured delight. The dead weight falls into your arms. You prop her up with care familiar only to those who traverse the night in search of glassless secrets.
She falls in love with you. She falls into an ocean where you are the water and the mud that sucks, thirsty, for new shoes. She watches you from the corner of her eye that blinks back the false lashes, the mascara, the wearisome news that she is home under bridges and on her back. From where she lies she does not see a golden bridge, but a bridge of night-stands and old women with black teeth. She hums a tune to you, but it is only business. At first. You fall in love with her kneaded thighs and graceful airs. You love her because she is there. But she cannot hold you.
You take her for coffee for the first time, and she sips orange juice from a straw. She is different in the way that she looks at you. Different from the others that you never took the time to really feel. Chew over. Dogged eyes rest on her from across the cafe. The eyes paddle up her calf, and penetrate the rapids of her thigh. When he reaches the mole at the long divide in the river, she knows. She licks the pulp from her lips and he is satisfied with his temporary dive into the jaw mucking horror.
She tells you that she can see the light of god. You wonder what god would think of her malleable flesh and endless throat. Her grated constitution and shipwrecked body. Does she see god as she flings her eyes back towards the headboard? Or is it when she pleads with her father for the money clasped between the prongs of a clip in his trousers? She tells him that she is an artist. Her paintings, spread out on cotton, are not religious in nature.
You reach into your toothed pocket and scrape around for your keys. The sensory lights awaken and you are alone but for the subdued lilies and the medicated dandelions. You climb the stairs with a sigh catching in your teeth. It is thrust their with the morning’s coffee and bagel. You unlock the locks that keep out the insidious nature of the world. You were always told that one day the world’s moth would slide into your cracks. There it would be cavorting on your ceiling, eating everything that once blinked with a frightening awareness. But it is not there yet. Your corners are only marked by indolence and wafts of Somali Rose incense.
Your bodies sit together on the bed. Sheets rest in an ocean of distress, and the sharks contort for bloody flesh. The woman’s body is empty of all that it once contained. Even the smell of orange has slipped from her self-conscious pores. His hands fidget with the hem of her dress. And he is no more full than she is. He sinks within the understanding that no one will search in the gutters for her. Echoing voices will not escape their pursed lips. He removes his hand from her spine and she slouches back onto the mattress. They lie together until she begins to speak. Her death-words are wretched in their insistence. They peck at his brain, slurping at the tissues until he is forced to leave. He gathers up the parts of his brain and purges into a night that refuses to recognize him as her own.
You pay for her orange juice as she knew you would. She is a child in a moll’s body, and she will bury into the ground. Before she can slip, you grasp on to her hairs. The roll of paper keeps her all the way up the stairs, and into your apartment. You remove her coat, her strawberry dress, and cotton bra. The weight of your body holds her now. She lies with her legs crossed and you are forced to part a path that fine ships have rowed. The dam cracks and you kiss your way to her lips. You are soaked in her sadness, her exposition and her dismantled propriety. She holds you and you dive into her mindless ocean, and you are both wet in the midday sun.
You reach down to untie your shoes because your feet are anxious to rap the linoleum. As you bend down to sever the married laces your chin rests against your knee. Hasty teeth bite into flesh as a heel collides with your skull. Again he raises the steel toed boot, gaining force. You are flat on your stomach when the heel collides with bone. Again. Again. Your frontal lobe crashes towards your burning forehead. “Oh, god. Please.” The lines in the linoleum catch your words. It cradles your cries and for once you are. You stare at the wall panel and taste the blood leaking from your ear. The shoe crashes again and you break. Again. Again. Again. You hear the rupture in your ears. You see the blood on the egg plant wall, and it drips down into the floor boards. Noah looks down at you, and the boot collides once more before you join the hall of white.