It isn’t a disorder.
Everything in my bedroom had its place and would be hastily set back a fraction of a degree if it had been bumped or had fallen. When one doesn’t have a lot of things those fractions add up to a whole number of insecurities. I wanted my room to induce the innate anxiety of unloading your carnival fried lunch in the renovated washroom of your freshly vegan sponsor. Fondling my potpourri would be likened to the not so furtive splashes that leave you considering ply in terms of pipe real estate. The curated appeal of my room would, in theory, lend less of an impulse for people to think that their fingerprints were gallery worthy.
I was convinced that the richest of my friends had developed a microsuede sheath around their hands through hereditary mutation. Not even the air moves in the living rooms of the wealthy. I can’t imagine dust being the only thing to tidy. When cleaning solution commercials air on their kitchen televisions the words dirt and grime must seem like far-off terms like bungalow or “this product compares to…” Only when twice the home equates to half of the American dream does one clean. The daydreamers dusted, I cleaned. I had to clean. Being organized rooted from the money trees of my friends, a veneer I polish to this day, but my cleanliness was due to a particularly gruesome instance.
Certain things can be felt and forgotten about. A Lifesaver nestled itself into my trachea when I was six or seven years old and I refused to brush my teeth for a week because of toothpaste’s minty reminder. Eventually I discovered fruit flavored Lifesavers and scoffed at death. Certain things cannot be unfelt. My cleanliness derived from a nefarious disavowal of my personal space after years of Lifesaver digestion. My personal bubble, assuming that I had one, popped.
My cowlick dabbed the wall while I was sitting bare-assed on the shaggy rug in my room, though my ankles were tucked under a few layers and my T-shirt was covering everything north of my navel, when my mental wellbeing was forever compromised. A familiar clench ushered in my impending agony. The frenetic yoga that followed left a silver rooftop across the room with a glowing apple shaped skylight and moaning homeowners underneath. On all fours, with my dick dangling about the scene of the world’s most terrible crime against me, I groped at the threads of my rug with the zeal of a classy broad scraping at the horsehair clipped into another woman’s nappy mess. I was definitely going to be regarded as the baddest bitch in this catfight with the perpetrator. I clawed into the shag ready to pry out whatever thread this bug was clinging to and valiantly hang it by what it hoped was its lifeline. How poetic, I thought.
The moaning in the background of this search had subsided into an exasperated giggling and I knew that this blemish of God’s creations was doing the same somewhere in the cotton trenches of my room. As the sweat from my bare ass started to dry into the rug, so did my hopes of finding the culprit. I began reasoning to myself, “Well it’s July, and bugs happen.” I put my dick away, blaming it for a totally different sense of incompetence than most men. Twice this bug bested me. Turning off of my knees, I splashed back into the soapy residue of what was left of my personal bubble.
Before I had the opportunity to sulk on my back I felt the bug’s familiar pinch, this time outside of any rims below my waist. The situation needed to be approached with caution; if I had attempted to wrangle the bastard too quickly it may trespass for a second time. With my index finger I pushed down onto this insect just hard enough to pin it down for the reinforcement fingers to come and detain it. I slowly extracted the bug, so as to consider the potential methods of its execution, until it was far enough away from my pubic region to mock without my already demoralized penis confusing it as a personal attack.
I thought I had won.
It wasn’t until I held this speck up to the light that the third defeat really caught anchor into my stomach. My disappointment shifted to anger, and that anger was directed solely at Adam. Adam was a staple of my mother’s bed, like a throw pillow, the kind that you give to guests and forget to ask how they slept over the next morning’s breakfast. He was always around, but never when you asked him to be. Adam was black. I never had a reason to hold that against him, but now I had a speck of my frustration that I wanted to press into his forehead until my thumbs turned ku-klux white.
Just as I clenched my teeth in his honor, the man of the hour poked his head into my doorway. As if I wasn’t even standing there, Adam waltzed into my room and started scraping his feet all over my rug. I chased him out of my room, stepping on more of the “bugs” that he left behind. With Adam hiding under a couch somewhere in my house, I found our vacuum cleaner and with it I followed the trail he left from the kitchen to my bedroom. As the cat litter rattled around the vacuum’s chamber I cringed at the thought of it doing the same in an orifice of my own. From that point on my door would never crack for Adam, and I would clean. I have a disorder, but cleaning is not that disorder.
I pushed my hands into the Tempurpedic and while watching it reform considered the fleeting nature of our prints. It doesn’t take too long for us to conform to things, or for things to conform to us. We all have these things, these contortionist connections that we consider visceral until we are no longer considered.
My wallet always mumbles things about creature comforts. I ask about necessity but it too often hangs out with other wallets. Nauseous when full, it spews what I supposedly earned, what I supposedly am worth, back into some compound of shared debt. The only reason I bought that mattress in the first place was because my wallet peaked from chinos bunched against the foot of someone’s bed. I gathered that it thought I slept well, because a few days later I slept on a similar bed with a similar someone. It all felt more or less the same. Our body heat collected in our sunken imprints and crawled towards the edges of the bed. The guy who sold it to me said something about a comfortable transition, micro-this and anti-that, but I lost him in my dwellings about comfort. Our connection faltered when I pulled away from someone I wasn’t ready to father and fell asleep. Is that our only connection?
We bear children, and bear children, although we don’t have to. It can’t be that difficult for us to just leave. Families are forced. I can disappoint my family, but they will still fake pride and they will still hear my muted self. They will try to keep my sanity because they feel that my sanity is some relative offshoot of their own. Families branch from the same trunk but there are always holes for feral animals, there is always something underneath the bark. The other branches do not fall because of the severance of another, they may sink with what the fallen branch leaves but they do no fall. Family members act the parts that held no auditions. This earth supports families of thespian therapists but there’s nothing that they can say or do that will ever from me when I say or do nothing, or something, or everything in all, or some, or none of the wrong ways. Everyone is eventually left behind.
I don’t ask for any answers.
Like the mattress that swallows the prior night’s mistake, hugging her more than I did, keeping her longer than I would, the Bible Belt, that never kept my pants around my waist, embraces those ethereal comforts of a fourth dimension that also houses notions of love. There may be things in the atmosphere but I don’t consider smog heavenly. Do our souls venture beyond and figure out we were doing it all wrong? There can’t be any truth in the truth we consider, not with so much out passed the clouds that our road trips created.
We talk about love as if it’s not just about fucking. We talk about fucking as if it’s not just about fucking. We talk about god as if it’s about something more than comfort, something more than conformity.
I just want to keep my mind when and wherever I go, line my coffin with memory foam for the irony.
Each speck accumulated about the concrete while nerves did the same in our throats. Aerosol spouts leaked potential fines and potential land mines. These are volatile facades with hotheaded decorators wielding flame-tossing aluminum. These are the missives of the pen names, dismissive of the pork chops who should be out with their hooves tied up, rotisserie style, by criminals with so much clout in the streets that they need not mark them. But breakouts sprout up down here, too. The pubescent blemishes of the city are easier to squeeze out than the hardened scar tissue. So they finger around the concrete canvases, the fingernails of the hand that feeds attempting to pinch us out. We sprayed and sprayed and then the lights reflected against the fresh collage of our community so we ran and ran. The swine with badges caught someone as I caught the next train out. From the caboose I watched him try to refute but cue the amazing mace. Each speck accumulated above his cheeks as his ducts leaked the guilt towards his neck. I watched my exhalation mist as I coasted away from the cloud of supposed justice.
Because I can disappoint my family but
they will still fake pride and they will still hear my muted self,
they will still try to keep my sanity because they feel that
my sanity is some relative offshoot of their own. So they will
sit still on their respective branches as I fidget and fall.
They will act the part that held no auditions.
Families of thespian therapists but there’s
nothing they can say or do that will sever them from
me when I say or do nothing, or something, or everything
in all, or some, or none of the wrong ways.
It likely all sounds exactly the same.
Because I never earned my family.
Acting affluent, a fluency in shopping through sheets of glass,
Acting affluent, a fluency in catalogs but no trust fund, just fun.
Doormen open up the steel pedestals to stale podiatrists and
Oncologists and optometrists, and all kinds of cysts, that’s the gist.
Everything shone as silver as the ‘ware we slurped gelato from,
or some rich custard, the lipid deposits of the biggest withdrawals.
Funds depleted doesn’t mean the fun’s depleted,
Rich bitches whose parents conceded, whose parents relieve it.
And though I was scraping above the peasants and pigeons,
If, in any magnitude, they can be distinguished, as I felt I was,
From the balcony hanging over the bourgeois, scoffing at Jersey City
was the penthouse of the upper crust, of which I nibbled but bit no hands.
I laid my head down and thought that the pillows were just as stiff as I.
Highbrow hipsters strut the Aves with slouch bags
toting fifty-plus hours of residue
just below the eyelashes once masked.
Mostly sober minds yearn to restitute.
Sweet & Low lies kiss the bottlenecks of
low calorie beer. Low caliber lore
drips snarling and vain from deep in the throat
where starlet spent a regrettable hour.
Every glowing weekend rears behind the blinds.
Daylight lethargy flushed by swank lattes
with swirly styling’s of barista blends.
Fifty hours leave an unabashed trace.
Intrepid carousers, they face the week,
But, of good intentions they cannot speak.
“Sometimes She’s Everything”
Sometimes she’d have those stark tan lines
that were socially acceptable before today’s solar coffins.
The borders of her midriff yield the slightest curve:
A slope’s subtleties yearning to be carved
by wandering hands, whose owner wonders in silence
if this is the path less traveled.
And then there’s the bodacious curve,
out of midnight the silhouette is faintly carved,
the stars pick up her honey glow in silence.
Locked in claustro-intimacy, nestling in our coffin.
Sopping together in a bedroom sauna, any and all lines
are circumvented or broken as the spilling ebony oil travels.
Her body’s architecture, the arches, I’d deconstruct in silence,
By whose blueprint was she drafted? By who was she carved?
Those legs, twisted about silken disarray, should never see the inside of a coffin,
I’d perish if it meant preserving the way those appendages curve.
My lips drown in anticipation of what direction they would travel,
Artistry with gall, I’ve got words for each and every one of her lines.
But there are always felines and feed, and unanswered phone lines,
And with waiting I’d ponder her pending availability in silence.
In a game of fastballs, she’d tease like the elusive curve
that one would swing at with futile abandon as it carved.
Bohemian adulteress, she thralls in her one-night travels,
She would shudder at a resilient partner, monogamy likened to a coffin.
Sometimes she’d kiss red cups and I’d kiss hers, tasting the curve
that rounds out the sharp witted gall of any suitor – stuttered lines.
Her drunken jocularity infectious as the brewed courage travels,
sloshes, and capsizes butterflies that would’ve fluttered you into silence.
She’d be the weakened knee of Atlas, the voice boxes turned coffins.
A specter in the dating circle with many a man’s tombstone carved.
On some mornings she’d wake up from her slumber travels
with her face lathered in the wake of my drool, bodies carved
into the mattress, pretenses and precautions void during our silence.
In the Antemeridian, giddy, my fingers would stumble about the curve
of her hips, my stubble would linger about her jaw lines,
and this bed of mine, I would think, would be a suitable coffin.
Sometimes my body’s architecture would be built around her lines,
Sometimes, whoever she was that day, we’d plan our travels,
Sometimes, she’d say everything in silence.