Her: Sacred Carnality
A sunset will never look as good in a photograph as it does in real life. And yet, a sunset will never stop being photographed by people --- until it stops setting. That's how I go about writing her.
(A sunset will never look as good in a photograph as it does in real life. And yet, a sunset will never stop being photographed by people — until it stops setting. That’s how I go about writing her.)
When we first met, her pressing against me was the first thousand bristles of a forever-long brush, drowning in ammonia. And the rustic roar that spewed from its guttural vibrations reminded me of what I thought love felt like. I was at the age where I didn’t realize that there was a first for everything. I could only reply with barbaric flirting.
When we first met, I’d like to think my hair and body were soaking wet.
When I was still the tenderfoot, what I noticed was her curves — something fantastical. The precious jewels and lanyards. How close I was to missing it: The symmetry of her teeth, reflected in her grin. Mythological. How she appeared like goddess Io, whether it was her glow making Galilean glowing half-moon jealous, or how desperate I was to be born again as Zeus.
The way I snuck out to see her made me think I was a rule breaker. I hoped that when I touched her, I could become a criminal — and break the fundamental laws of the universe. So, when our atoms met, they were no longer restricted by magnetic fields, and her warm skin could finally press against mine.
Never has honesty been a stronghold for the writer that masks himself into the musk of the deafened dusk. Where the skylarks drift downwards and the sea turns a shade of shame, guilt and proud. And the impossibility for perfected rhythm inside the crevasses has always been for naught — when the routine performed by the danseuse was so close, but still incorrect. Not horseshoes or hand grenades. But therein was the gaseous outcry slowly brought her away, then closer, then further, again. Migrating like the beautiful cervidae, until the rotations of her antoillier impacted mine, leaving behind the scar tissue being witnessed now.
I began breathing, again. Painting all worn-out pinks, intense crimson signature, nearly blinding myself. Failed oxidization. And she rolled hazel spheres — her eyes and smiled so widely, beautifully. I had just stepped outside, and when I did, I looked upward and saw a moon, I wanted to fly too, so desperately. Her variegation was stargazed. Marveling at the fact that I was so lucky — blindly stepping outside when the time aligned. Her vinyl record player echoed from inside: _everyone wants happiness, nobody wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain._It’s been over seven years and I can still remember the first time I saw colour.
She often would tell me “Even I don’t remember half the things I say.” Well love, I do. Even though I forgot her birthday three years in a row and burned the house down so many times I’ve lost count. I can’t help but notice her moonlit lips are scarlet Aquarius. Compelling me to this ever-growing obsession with mythology and bow to the mercy of Saturn.
Since she decided this city — invented out of romanticized western shoot-outs and elbowed water — was good enough for her to stay, the least I can do is be a gentle archiver.
Remembering her cry because I punch harder than her, but that just meant she’d have to kiss metal-imprinted knuckles more often. Every kinder-coloured bruise is a metaphor for why she should keep going, because if they haven’t pierced her yet, they sure as hell never will.
The juxtaposition of heart and mind would always end in an Elizabethan tragedy, so I told her I wanted nothing more than to be her Juliet. Remembering she told me that I’m the only boy she’s ever kissed, so I guess that means, with the multitude of other pretty girls whose lips have touched her lips, I’m the only boy she’s ever going to kiss.
She often would tell me “Even I don’t remember half the things I say.” Well love, I do. It’s just the little things.
Sometimes it’s everything, where she’ll engulf my soul like the endless acres of a broken-faced canyon. Knowing each word of past conversations by heart. All those places I hated and how I desperately wish I was back there now. Nobody tells us when we’re in are the good times.
Months fly by — a hungry Hummingbird confused where the nectar has gone. Or like an incorrectly drawn map of the starry-eyed night sky.
I’ll find some time in December, maybe, that’ll slow down & that’ll droop against my heart like a honeyed reminiscent. Reminding me of a particular fragrance. I’ll start searching again, knowing I shouldn’t, asking myself why. In those thoughts is where she’ll bring me in her hand, July or summer, or September for fall. Sometimes though, it’s nothing. Nothing at all.
Those teal-tinted tears stained the hallways. I’d skinny dip recklessly into the tattooed ocean they’d make. With caterpillar morning kisses I’d watch as she tended to everyone but herself. Tending. It’s what she did, that’s what she was made of.
Desperately I’d battle the sobs inside her heart, though less like a prince twinkling with iron mesh, and more like a robber with white knuckles clenched on his abyss-kissing mask.
Sending her hyacinths dug out from my mother’s back garden. They weren’t her favorite; it was the best that I could do. Sending her anonymous love letters I dug out from my grandfather’s coffin. Even though I knew she knew it was me, it was the best that I could do.
I don’t send flowers or written IV-lines anymore. There’s no hallway for me to look down into anymore; every inch of this world is flooded. I’ll forever stay silent and buried instead, that’s what she wanted.
With butterfly evening kisses, I’d watch her bruised & blacken herself as she was tending for everyone else. Because that’s what she did. That’s what she was made from. Tenderness.
Blackout. It appears we have longingly witnessed & waited for this year to drown. Throwing ourselves at the fires constantly, or sometimes just holding her until she calmed down. Just let me reminisce about everything good, please, I’ll try to write down whatever comes to mind. All these people that I never understood: the wolves that find themselves leading the blind.
I tenderly try to ease the page, the margins reminding me of her tense shoulders. To press the memories of laughter and rage, with these certain eyes of certain beholders. It’s been good though, destroying everything in sight. Imagining kissing her knuckles, scarlet & sore. But these times I’ve spent with her, I find that they just keep fading away, more & more.
In my spiral-ring notebook, I keep a tally of how often I think of her, or rather how often I think of meeting her: A Day, one case. A week, ten cases. A month, one thousand. A year, one million. Should the metrics even be considered, let alone counted?
Now each frozen morning wakes up with a monotone gaze, a repeat of a repeat of yesterday’s solemn routine. We cannot abide by our own rules, we cannot stray either.
When we last met, she gave me her favorite sweater, but I didn’t understand why, it was summertime. Day by day, I’m beginning to understand it more.
This city we’re in is getting colder, haven’t I noticed? Day by day, as though I’m in some sort of touristy snowglobe. How long has it been since I’ve been in her arms? Only spiral-ring ruminations, now, often getting entangled within my ever-growing hair. Unable to be cut, a lot of things can’t be cut anymore.
Losing track of the number of casks I’ve had to open, getting drunkenly in love with the feeling of being alone instead of the permanent alternative, no matter how sweet her siren song becomes. Becoming walking chunks of ice, fragile yet desperately withering away to become something else, so quickly.
Housed among dead plants, there’s this fragrance in the air. It used to smell of you, which gave me such a warmth of comfort despite everything else. When I used to be able to smell, that is.
The things taken for granted. There were so many years, which means there were so, so many days. Time spent planning dates and putting effort into things but wasn’t. Forever was a placeholder. Paper is the only place for this. It’s such a daunting task, trying to start again — after seven years. As if I’m trying to construct the pyramids alone.
I amaze myself at how much I forgot. But still, luckily, I end up acting on inclination. As if there’s some part of my subconscious that remembers. These soft memories, thick & sweet like honey, are nearly gone. Until I look at the collections I keep, stowed away & hidden in this tiny, rustic bedroom. Watercolours and love letters she’s written just for me, my name all over them along with her lavender perfume.
For years — so many years — these crafts would be gifted, instead of the usual wrapped, bought trinkets — the only thing that I really know how to give, myself.
All these paintings, all these words she’s given to me, I cannot pretend that they’ve lingered in my memory the same way the countless traumas & nightmares do. If only it were the other way around: forgetting all the stupid mistakes made, all the hurtful things achieved, all the bitter tonics that I’ve tried to force down my throat.
Instead, this is solely composed of my worst moments. I warmly bathe myself in rose petals and rosaries, trying to remind myself what my therapist told me, to not allow self-sabotage so frequently. Trying to remind myself what my pastor told me. But still, all I can do is passionately worship this self-fulling prophecy.
My heart is no better than my mind: weakened from so much medication & adrenaline, unable to sit still, focus. No gratitude. Stuck as amnesiac. To the point where I look in my rough drafts & find thirty different copies of this essay, all different wildly in tone, in meaning, but all leading to the same bitter end: I sift through the pages of the Bible, they’re blank.
It was around last summertime, when I talked to her for a final time. Wearing a bright red dress, with little dots, like a strawberry. And a lavender scent that didn’t really match.
Still counting her teeth when we talked — the open smile was a constant. Reminiscing about the one time we managed to leave this town and visit the only aquarium in the province, where those wonderful sea creatures resided. The ones she inevitably fell in love with.
It was hot, and it was humid last summertime. Bodies full of mildew and hopeful optimism. I got my first part-time job just to be able to pay for a milkshake that we could split, even though I was allergic. But not too allergic.
When it got cooler, at night, sometimes the coyotes would come into the backyards. The neighbours were so terrified, but it didn’t bother her much. Nothing really bothered her, which isn’t cute, or civil, it’s frustrating as hell.
I pretended things were still tender during our last conversation, reassuring her that I was fine — I mostly felt fine. Each night prior was dreams about still coming home to the same home we shared for years.
I’m not bitter about anything, really. Like the fields of wheat that encompass every direction outside of where we used to live: Endless. Blonde. Growing despite the drought last year. Swaying in the wind, without much care or without much control. Silently praying to God.