Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A cup is in my hand.

Scent of steaming chocolate rises.

Where am I?

An empty patio, book in lap.
A cabin in Oregon, another book, same lap. Cup of hot cocoa next to me.
Morning time, cars driving by, I watch, drink, and read.
On a bench in Yosemite, carefully sipping, watching sausages fry and neighbors begin to rise out of their tents, zippers rending the morning air.
Childhood Christmas, blanket wrapped around me, presents at my feet, cats delicately stepping through the bright boxes, ducking under low-hanging ornaments.
At my desk, characters flashing at me. Keelung, Shanghai, Yantian. Go.
In a corner of a bookstore, legs leisurely tossed over the arm of a chair, boots dangling, cup precariously balanced on the juncture of my hip and stomach.

Cup is at my left, steam still curling upwards.

My lips touch the edge and, for just a second, I am here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Minute More is All I Need

He says he spoke to his therapist about me, told her about my penchant for damaged, dominant, intelligent males.

In turn, she said that he continuously found unhealthy women, like myself.

But, he told her, that while damaged, I am incredibly self-aware and, due to that, probably the healthiest out of all them.

It's funny, in a way.

The last girl he truly went for was also living in Los Angeles. She was a smouldering pile of self-involved, unaware wreckage. She doesn't want to know, doesn't want to see, who she is.

It's sad. Avoidant.

So much of my life has been a internal dive, searching for the core of myself, searching for visceris. I can't imagine any other way to be.

... ... ...

My legs are draped over his. Reclining on the futon, eyes half-closed, while he reads to me.

Sometime, this last weekend, things became intimate. It went past the point of fuck buddies, past partners, skidded past lovers, and almost into beyond that. I think it was when I would finally hold his hand without shying away.

We stand in his kitchen. The light is off, but the receding sun illuminates the high ceilings and the antique stove. The clawfoot bathtub, encircled by plastic shower curtains, the narrow spiraling stairway leading to the roof, and the tiny window overlooking the alley, bringing in the breeze of the day.

It's calm.

Music from outside drifts in the open windows, dances around before meeting the walls that enclose us. My hands are on his ribs, his chest, feeling the firmness and strength. My lips are on his neck, allowing access for my tongue to brush against the stubble of his jaw.

I'm on his bed, facing out the window, looking at the buildings stacked so closely together, like someone was assembling a difficult puzzle and realized that they could build up and overlapping, just given the right materials. The wind comes in, caresses my face, tosses my hair, runs down my shoulders, lower back, and ass, like a cool water following my curves. My tattoo looks even more distinct against his white sheets, white comforter, and the fading light. The black squares belie the softness of my body, taunt the softness of the bed. The wind comes in again and I lower my chin onto my hands.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Notes from a refugee

Trying to bring this all together, please don't mind the mess.

Last night, back porch, right side of the couch. Cats dancing around the four of us, launching themselves into space with kittenish mews. I'm in his arms. This shouldn't be happening. I'll simply hurt him again, but I can't pull myself away.

We're damaged creatures of desire, his hands, my lips. We roam together.

She uses him for sex, leaves her marks on his body. He's her secret, she's ashamed.

He's my joy. All six feet, seven inches of him. Leather jacket, army boots, cigarette dangling, constant scowl.

He said he didn't want me anymore, said he wouldn't touch me anymore, but I'm good at inciting lust, especially in him. Easily in him. His hand slid down the front of my pants, breath catching, thighs twitching, moans hidden between words. His fingers dance and glide. I pulse.

Afterwards, driving home, he tells me he feels nothing.

I nod and agree with him. I know he's lying. He's never been able to hide anything from me. His smiles and stolen kisses translate his words into truth; I don't listen to the syllables, just the meaning.

... ... ...

I'm on my back, corner of a parking lot in Venice Beach. It's Saturday night, almost Sunday morning. It's cold, but his body heat and my sleeping bag stops the wind.

He caught my eye when I was walking up the boardwalk, when I stopped to talk to the squatter kids. He was smooth. The few hours I spent with them, while the sun was going down, he alternately ignored me and wandered off, only to return later. I'd catch him looking at me, occasionally, eyes almost closed as he laid on his back in the sun.

While the dogs vied for my attention, he just watched. Their gropes, their attempts at stolen kisses, their antics involving helpless and clueless passersby. They were raucous hyenas, chaos under the influence. When it came time to leave, I asked him to walk me to my car. Double motive: Venice isn't safe at night.

We ended up walking to Washington Boulevard, ended up down the way at a Persian restaurant. He left his dog outside, leash tied to a table leg. We talked. He told me of his travels, of his lifestyle. I told him of my mental project, of recent events. He introduced me to people as we walked, he seemed to know the entire transient population.

Unsurprising, given that he's one of them as well.

He showed me his squat, such an unglamourous word for an unglamourous lifestyle. A tunnel in the canal system. He bent the metal bars of the gate with a towel and broomstick, lets people who need it share it with him. Lately, he says, it's been a girl named Dingo. Beautiful sixteen year old black chick, won't talk about why she's on the street. We both know what that means, though.

He's almost twenty-six. We're so close in age.

He takes care of the people around him, takes care of himself.

We get to my car, in which I drove over his tunnel earlier that day. There's a pause, one of those moments you see in movies where neither person is sure what the other one is thinking. My reasons are different than most, though.

And then we're there. My back is pressed against my trunk, lips and tongue playing with the bit of metal through his lip. He lifts me up, legs wrapping around his waist, hands running through his hair, over his neck, down his shoulders.

It's almost ten.

It was intimate. Pausing in between kisses to talk, to laugh, to exchange thoughts, with his dog resting at our feet. I mention I like things rough, and suddenly I'm spun around, face and stomach pressed against my cold car, bent over my trunk, and he's grinding into me. I can feel him so close, so warm. We're aligned.

He suggests lying down and, at first, I decline. He changes my mind, sleeping bag is dragged out of my backseat and tossed down. Then his weight is on me, pressing me into the asphalt, bruises will line my lower back in the morning.

I'm flipped over, pants slid down, his fingers pumping into me. I arch into him, then his fly is down, head of his penis rubbing over my clit. I've already told him no penetration- his choice of lifestyle is too risky for that- and he respects it. Doesn't even ask, doesn't even hint, but even this contact is more dangerous than I would like.

We wind down, lie down. Curling up close, sharing heat. His dog slides in beside us, I am sandwiched: Man-Woman-Dog. Talking, breathing together. He understands. Of all the people I have met, he understands. He knows that difference, between affection and love. I don't need to make my disclaimer to him. We can cuddle, tickle, roll, giggle, exchange light kisses... and he knows it means nothing other than the physical comfort and companionship the action provides. And he knows how to play the game, knows how to monitor people and subtly control. He knows how to direct desire, knows how to get attention. We compare notes, lying under a streetlight.

I'm comfortable with him. I'm able to let go enough so that I don't even notice I'm not monitoring what is going on around us until afterwards.

I leave.

... ... ...

Party Saturday night. I show up Sunday morning, almost 3AM.

Walking in the door, the few remaining people there shout my name. I smile, apologize for being late. They said they assumed I was getting laid, and actually had talked about it at some length.

It amazes me. In general, I'm astonished when people talk about me. I don't find myself too out of the ordinary. I do what I do, I keep dramatics to a minimum. I don't gossip, rarely lose my cool, and try to be supportive of my friends.

I don't think of how people view me on a long-term basis. Short-term, I know my actions may have impact on people. Long-term... I just don't look ahead that far. I probably should.

I am, I know, a source of entertainment for my friends. They live vicariously through my sex life, through my exploring and odd occurances. This has been told to me by so many people throughout my life. It's one of the reasons I continue to put my thoughts and adventures online. I know some of them wish they could do what I do, live like I do, think like I do. I know some of them just like it for the "reality tv" factor, since I rarely screen myself.

But, really, how do people see me overall?

I mentioned to a friend, yesterday, that I had purchased a new pair of glasses. His girlfriend asked me what they looked like and I tried to describe the style, failing miserably, lamely saying to her something along the lines of, "They're very much my style, very me."


This launched into a discussion of, again, my lifestyle.

I walk a very fine line.

I am a devoted daughter and a loving sister.
I have many widespread social groups, people I have been good friends with for years.
If someone, friend or new acquaintance needs me, I am there.

But I'm tangenting.

People call me when they need help. People come to me for advice, come to me to vent, come to me when they're depressed.
My long-term lovers are dedicated friends, even the ones I no longer sleep with.
I make friends with strangers constantly, help people whenever I see a need. Even when I'm wandering the streets of Los Angeles, certainly not the most friendly city, strangers will stop and talk to me repeatedly throughout the day.

My friends know this. My friends see how I interact with people, see how I interact with my family.

And then they see me go through men like popcorn. Some get to stay, some don't. Some of my friends actually get to see me when I shift from friendly conversation with them to "I want him, I'll have him" mode. They get to see that mood change, that shift in my hips, how my voice changes so slightly, how my posture takes on a different cast, and chin tilting a little to the side.

Sometimes they call me a man-eater. Sometimes a predator. Sometimes a shark.

Last night, two of them got to see me do a five hour long dance, turning someone I had lost a few months prior, who said he would never speak to me again, to someone who could not stop touching me.

How do they reconcile the two images?

... ... ...

When they talk about me in clubs, I know they watch me dance... I take joy in their words. So much hateful bile has been spewed about me in the last few months, simply because I refused to sleep with someone and he took offense, that I have become almost a pariah. I have now become, through no direct actions of my own, a slut of epic proportions.

Unfortunately for that group, my actions only scream "slut" to the uneducated and, since I try not to socialize at clubs anyhow, my social life there has been completely unaffected. They tried so hard to damage me, but they did it so it would hurt a normal girl. That must be so frustrating for them, seeing how it has done nothing for all the work they have put into it.

I love when they watch me dance, though. I love how they want me, love how they loathe me, love that they will never look as good as I do on the dance floor and they know it, god they know it. Even with everything they have said, I know I could crook one finger at them and they would come running. They would brag about how they "conquered" me to their friends.


... ... ...

Sunset and Vine, northwest corner is Borders, one street east is Amoeba Records. I go there, some weekends, to stock up on music and books. This weekend was music for the road, and some spoken word sets. I'll listen to them as I drive up to San Francisco.

Started off the day getting my eyes checked. My right is degrading so much due to my constant reading, my prescription is miles off. I found a pair of stainless steel glasses, black, elegant, and a bit severe. Just that edge I like so much in everything I wear.

Afterwards, I drove over to Little Tokyo. There is a mostly abandoned shopping center on Fourth and Alameda, on the third floor is a u-don house, Issen Joki. It's almost always empty. The classical Japanese music soothes me. I've been going there for about ten years. It's a secret spot, a cooling down spot, a place where I center myself. I can run through memories there, of people I have brought, of dates, of adventures, of late nights clubbing.

I curled up with Nabokov's Despair, and a pot of tea. The same old woman, never changing, has worked there as long as I have been going. I can disappear for two years, come back, and it is still as though nothing has changed. It's a place for breathing.

Then Amoeba, then Borders, then I'm on the corner of a roof of a parking lot, seven stories up, a cup of hot chocolate in my right hand, looking over all of Los Angeles and Hollywood. If the day had been clearer, the ocean would have been visable.

It was beautiful, though. You can see the entire city, and the wind is wonderful, whipping my hair up and around as I leaned against the cement wall. Hot chocolate soothes me, the wind soothes me, and being alone... happy as a clam. It was all I could have wanted. Moments of perfect peace.

... ... ...

Time ravaged.

Sitting on a counter, I suddenly remember.

I remember why I did what I did. I remember why I pushed myself until I was a pile of wreckage.

I remember driving myself into the ground, driving my friends and family away, injuring anyone who came close. I remember abusing relationships, abusing the good natures of others, of causing damage, of causing chaos.

Slowly it seeps back into mind, water under a doorway.

I remember the whys.

I needed to cross that boundary. I needed to be beyond redemption. I needed to be not worth life, not worth living, that I was causing so much pain by being that if I was gone, it would be a relief, not a sorrow. I needed to nose-dive past the point of caring, nose-dive past the place where anyone could love me.

Burning into the ground.

I was trying to detach from this life so I could leave it. So I could slice my wrists, bleed out, and no one would miss me. Standby for launch.

We're coming up on nine years since I started the course of events that led me to the now.

I will untangle this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You've got your daddy's smile...

"Jesus, you're jaded."

This comes to me from the mouth of a would-have-been boyfriend.

He's known me for seven years. I shot him down last month.

This comes to me from a man who was raised in an abusive household, who had a girlfriend attempt to trap him into marriage via pregnancy, who has had at least one drug addiction I know of, who chain smokes, drinks like a fish, has been betrayed by most of his friends, who usually has his relationships end when the girl cheats on him, who has been tossed out by his family without thought, and is likely one of the most damaged and fucked over, yet still functioning, people I know.

And yet, when it came down to it, I startled him with my jaded outlook.

I had always protected him from that part of myself. Always let him see me as someone upbeat and, while not naive, always assuming things would turn out right. Not because of any game, but because he needed that sort of pick up. He didn't have anyone else to turn to for it.

So when he shoved me away, an expected result of my own actions, I let him go.

And when he came back, hurt and angry, lashing out, I let my mask slip. Not a lot, but enough to show him that whatever missiles he had to fling my way were going to do very little, and that I would welcome any damage he could do.

I still have some pieces of my worldview that are not covered with scar tissue, you see. I need to work on that.

It disturbed him. It would disturb anyone, really. I don't blame him for his shock.

It was just unexpected.

One of those moments, where you look at yourself, and ask... What exactly have I done to myself?

See how deep the bullet lies.

We circled each other like spitting cats, attempting to redefine boundaries.

He's still scarred from my claws, I let him set the terms of combat.

He lashes out, I acknowledge the damage. I show my belly.

As the words continue to fly, I rise up. Give me everything you have, I tell him, hurt me badly.

It'll refine my edges.

His attacks stop.

He retreats.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


She tells me when she denies him sex, he cries.

He will go out of their bedroom, lay on the floor in their daughter's room, and cry.

She tells me sometimes she'll give him a pity fuck, but she always feels disgusting afterwards. And then he wants to cuddle.

She does not know at what point her life became this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Every so often I catch myself thinking, "I shouldn't be like this. Not at this age."

And then I remind myself that, apparently, I should.


He says to me, "I love when you show your nurturing side. You'll raise a wonderfully-adjusted school of barracuda one day."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ah, weekends. I don't know how I cram so much stuff into you, but I do.

Once again, life proved to be interesting.

Friday night, I had a coffee date with some entertainment guy. Note my interest in occupation. Moving along. On the topic of sex, he tells me he likes puzzles, he likes figuring out a person's sexuality. With me, he says, there's absolutely no point (other than physical gratification) because I know myself too well. There's no mystery, no seeking, no untangling of repressed desires. I find this amusing and complimentary, even though he does not mean it as such. It was not meant to be an insult, either.

Makes me wonder if he just likes puzzles, or if he has a need to feel superior to his partners. I do know it is not an altruistic act for him.

I also had a sort of milestone on Friday.

I did not have a book on me when I ate dinner. I actually sat in a restaurant, by myself, and ate dinner while not reading.

It was very disorienting. I found that I did not know what to do. I know a lot of solo-diners either stare into the space in front of them, or down at their plate. And then they just sit and eat. Really? Well, I tried it. It was highly uncomfortable, though it did give me time to run through the years of my life, trying to remember the last time I ate a solitary meal without a book.

I could not remember one.

Hell, my parents had to break me of the habit of bringing books to the dinner table. Took them years. I still bring a few with me to family functions. There's a comfortable armchair by the one of the fireplaces at my cousins' house that I do take advantage of after the family chitter has been accomplished.

It's funny, though. I spend so much time by myself, I'm so comfortable in being alone with my thoughts for hours, yet I don't know how to eat a solitary meal in public while not reading.

I went to a club after dinner. It was a good night for dancing. I was unable to keep to myself as much as I would normally, as a friend was feeling down about her guy troubles and I felt the need to be supportive and a good listener, since I know the guys involved.

She's very open. She's very emotional. She loves easily. The last man she was with did not want to get into a committed relationship with her because he was jonesing after one of his female friends, some model, and did not want to be locked into a relationship if that girl happened to possibly glance his way.

Unfortunately, he was unable or unwilling to express this to my friend. Fortunately, I speak horny male. I speak it fluently.

So we talked. Guys would come over, flirt, I'd hear a good song and saunter over to the dancefloor, leaving her to be desired on her own. It's good for you, once you've been rejected, to feel wanted. A few subtle tweaks, some quiet observations, and I was prodding her towards an interested male, one that I ended up having to scrape off me a little.

Sorry, boys, I've got a specific type. Prancing club-goer is not it.

It was a good night, though. Finally was able to entirely let go on the dancefloor. I've been trying for that for years now. Really, years of attempting to hit that plateau where it is all dance and no thought. Sans alcohol, of course. I think it is a good sign for me. Maybe I'll finally be able to let go in bed some day. Good golly.

Saturday, I drove down to San Diego to visit an ex-lover and go out dancing again.

Last time I visited him, I thought we had established that I was no longer interested in a sexual relationship with him. I thought I had been very clear on my position of not wanting to backtrack, and while he had been an excellent lover, he's no longer my type. Yes, I slept with him whenever I was single for over three years. But that ended four years ago and I've changed enough so he's no longer desirable.

He tried again, anyhow. Even though I found him a new lover, he still tried again.

I suppose if I was younger, I would not have noticed his hints and "tricks". I suppose I would've fallen for them.

It's funny, what the years bring.

Lying in his bed, face-up, getting some bodywork done (he's an amazing masseuse), feeling the weight shift as he leans forward, feeling his breath on my lips. And I know, the instant I feel that, that he wants to kiss me. And I know if I open my eyes and not move, he'll take that as an okay, even though I've told him no. I don't want the massage to end yet- I slept at an awkward angle on Thursday night (another black leather couch) and my neck is incredibly sore. So I lie there, still, eyes closed. I know he won't take advantage of his dominant position if I have faith in him, if I trust him not to kiss me.

We're in a room only illuminated by the fading light of the sun, his only window facing east, so it's quite dark. His hands roam from my neck, to my shoulders, to my chest, to my breasts. It's a slow transition, extending over an hour. I let him play. When he makes a suggestive comment about what he's doing, I act languid and tell him it feels so relaxing, I'm falling asleep. It's like he's trying to drive a VW Bug into a thick steel wall. Everything he tries, every quiet hint he makes, when his nose bumps mine, it's all deflected. I make a point to open my eyes and stare him down when he gets a little too close with his lips. He's much larger than me, he's much stronger than me, and he's in a position to physically control me, but I am the dominant one in this situation.

Kissing means nothing to me, but to him it would be a signal of willingness. That's annoying.

Eventually we have to leave. The damage I've done to my muscles in my neck, shoulder, and right arm in the last few months has been, at least temporarily, taken care of. I can type without pain again.

We get dinner, get coffee, get ready to go.

His sister, back in town from her most recent job assignment, has decided to come with us to the club. I do her make-up. She's gorgeous, the shape of her eyes is fantastic, but she doesn't know how to do the style required for the evening. I okay her outfit... she was relieved. I did not realize she would put so much stock in my opinion, but I have been doing this club circuit for seven years now, have been touted as the source of all needed information for newcomers amongst my friends.

We go to the club. I'm flying on adrenaline. I've only been here once before. Small venue, but nice. Flat panel monitors line the walls, the dancefloors have lit stairs and stripper poles. It's cute. My favorite part of the entire club is the A/C vents, which blast you like a cold shower. You just have to follow the air currents to find them.

I dance.

People love it, love the style. In Los Angeles, everyone is much more reserved with their compliments. In San Diego, women and men were approaching me. I worry a little, each time I go down there, that I'll stand out in a horrible way. They have their own dance style, just as San Francisco, Boston, Germany, Atlanta, and Los Angeles does. Yes, there are other cities with other styles, but those are the main ones, origin points.

I sit down. A boy comes up to me, tells me he was watching me dance, asks me what my name is. We get about two sentences in when one of his friends come over. They're going to go smoke some pot outside, want to know if I'll join them. I turn them down, tell them I don't smoke. The surprise people always have when I tell them that amuses me. They wander off.

A few songs later, another man approaches. I was talking with some friends at one of the bars, but that did not seem to faze him. He tells me he likes my look. Conservative, he says. I'm dark and elegant, I'm not "flashing my goods" around. He tells me I really pull it off. I thank him. He tries to continue, I beg off, saying there's a song playing I wish to dance to, and escape.

While the A/C is powerful, the venue is completely lacking in ventilation. After a few songs, my clothes are plastered to my body. I haven't sweated this much dancing in years. It's wonderful, but the floor is overcrowded and I don't like the song.

I step outside. See another friend, talking to a tall blond man.

The blond is cocky. I listen to him talk and grin because he's so very full of himself. I don't bother getting an introduction because I'm just fascinated with his arrogance.

Eventually another girl sails in, interrupts their conversation. In this, I slide in.

Cocky men like him are great, easy to handle. They're loud, they're fast talkers. They have a few friends that will rib them, and those few friends will have girlfriends that have the same priviledge, but they never expect to get handed shit from a perfect stranger, especially when that stranger is female.

So I play the game. Teasing, talking, mildly insulting, dry humor, punctuated with a bit of sexuality that isn't directed at any one person. You can't have him feeling special, like he could be the focus of your attention. He expects that. If you want to get the most out of your cocky bastard, he has to know you don't really want him, but if you're in the mood you just might take him anyhow.

And then... he's hooked.

So I excuse myself and go back inside to dance.

Between songs, I get water at the bar. I glance over and see a familiar face. No one I know, just a common expression/outfit/facial structure combo. We hold eye contact for a few seconds, then he looks away. I consider going and talking to him, but decide against it. I'll check him out later, see what he's doing and who he's with.

More dancing, another outside break, cooling off under the night sky, and then back in. Neither room is playing anything remotely interesting, so I meander over to the bar.

Oh, look, there's blondie again. Wonderful.

He's standing, half bent over a table, talking to someone. I run my hand from the base of his spine up to his shoulders, slow, letting my fingers lead a slightly wavy pattern.

He stands immediately with a pleasantly shocked movement, turns and smiles when he sees me. Tells me that he likes the way I touch.

"Of course you do."

He offers to buy me a drink. I tell him I don't drink and, again, the shock I receive amuses me. I do tell him he can get me water, if he wishes.

He does.

While he's at the bar, I take advantage of the limited space and slide in next to him, my torso pressed against his side. We continue to talk and I get my water. Another girl comes up, whippet thin and beautiful. She starts to dominate the conversation and realizes I'm having none of it. I'm controlling my own corner and I'm not catching flak from the blond even though I'm keeping him on his toes. She decides to steal me away, she wants to dance with me, wants to hear about the Los Angeles club scene. She drops pieces of her life to me, her distress and dissatisfaction. I amuse her with stories about the clubs in LA, we poke fun at a few people. I try to keep it light, but she has this burning need to feel like she's more. I fill that need by being the dancing girl down from the bright and sparkly city of Los Angeles. She's like a piranha, I know she'd shine in LA. Unfortunately, it's not a shine I would ever take to. But I invite her up with me next time I go out anyhow.

The club starts winding down, and I find myself back by the bar, summoned by different sources. The blond guy is still there, talking. He lifts his arm for me to slide under, my hand goes to his back, fingers trailing and exploring.

My ex-lover comes by. He's having a hard time with his new lover. She's a damaged girl, quite confused. But he likes her, he likes her a lot. Enough to put up with her indecision between chosing him or chosing the other man she's sleeping with. She's his dirty little secret, she loves being used.


Friday, March 13, 2009


The man who invited me to Las Vegas contacted me again today. Asked if he cancelled the other girls he invited, if I would go.

Of course, I tell him.

He knows my general misogyny.

I did not expect him to cancel his other lovers and generic female friends just so I would attend.

I suppose something must be said for being completely willing to be dominated, for allowing one's limits to be pushed, and being so very open and okay with it.

It's almost funny. I did not engineer this. I did not even think to try to get him to cancel the other girls. Chances are, he won't be able to cancel them all. Chances are, some of them will be offended by his attempts to do so, and it will be easier for him if he just lets things slide. We'll always connect at another time.

But I have to admit he's added a bit to my ego.

I love it when notorious playboys act out of character because they don't know how to handle me.

I need to come up with a nickname for this guy so I can label my posts accurately. Will think on it some.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Wednesday means Artesia Boulevard.

I drive down it at night, knowing my destination is another couch. A black leather three-seater. If I sleep on my side, legs curled up, I fit... but if I sleep on my stomach, my feet roll up over the armrest.

Purple curtains, metal rods, the scraping noise when I close them.
The hum of the computers, the light from their cases illuminating the back wall.
Their two cats leap around me at night, sliding on the wood floors. Their noses search me out from under my blankets.

Wednesday means her husband.

It means a dance of words, trying to be friendly, trying to deflect his 'subtle' innuendenos. It means making sure that he knows I'm not available, but in a way that does not insult his ego. It means ignoring his desperate attempts for my attention, for female attention, with his antics, and dodging his body when he comes too close.

It means listening to their low voices as they fight in their bedroom.

Over breakfast, I keep to a corner. Banana in hand, orange juice on the counter against which I lean. It means sliding just a little to one side when he comes to get dishes out of the cupboard near me, while maintaining a conversation with his wife, my friend. It means laughing with their child, diffusing their fights in front of her as best I can, turning tension into giggles, watching her blonde hair bounce up and down as she laughs and dances in the kitchen while mommy and daddy's anger shifts into amusement.

I change quickly in the master bedroom; the bathroom is occupied. He teasingly threatens to walk in on me, I pretend to misunderstand him. Jeans are tugged on at rapid speed.

He stays up later than she does to talk to me, to flirt with me. Their bedroom is, at most, twenty feet away, door is open. I keep things light, as light as I can. Sexual hints are turned into misheard sentences. I play with words, I play dumb.

It's easy to pretend stupidity around people who think they're smarter than everyone else.

I know one of her friends slept with him once, after a holiday party, on the very couch I sleep on. His wife is aware of this as well, but she has not told him she knows. Her friend also does not know that it's common knowledge that he offered to leave his marriage to be with her.

I am not that friend.

Just because it's known that I'm sexually free does not mean I sleep with my friends' partners.

I don't know how long I can keep this dance up before the tension leaks in and I can no longer diffuse his lust with confused laughter and faked stupidity. I do not know how long I can keep him off me, how long his wife will tolerate his too-obvious attentions before something breaks, either in her or their marriage.

Their daughter escapes this tension, but the resulting stress in their relationship affects her in other ways.

This isn't like other situations I'm used to. I can't stand in front of either of them to take their pain, to deflect the anger and stress. I just get to watch and hope that what I do to negate the tension balances out what my presence adds to it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You were so strong.

I remember. I remember your large hands, the warmth that radiated off you. I remember how perfectly your muscles laid, how comfortable you were in your own skin. Master of your body.

Every step you took was powerful. Each thrust into me was perfect.

You used me.

Just like I asked you to.

You made other lovers pale in comparison.

Your complete lack of care, lack of concern, for my well-being was easily understood. I knew how you viewed me: a set of warm, willing, and enthusiastic holes.

It's amusing how most men can't get past their sexual-social upbringing.

But I did not ask you for friendship or respect. I never went to you for validation.

You showed me how I could be. Without even knowing, you showed me how to take care of my body. Watching you care for yourself was like watching a master sculptor at work. You showed me strength, showed me confidence and the utmost authority that could be had in movement.

And even though I'm just a footnote in your mind, I continue to silently thank you.

You gave me something to strive for. You showed me how I could start down the path of another strength, how good I could be. You, unknowingly, gave me a goal.

So thank you. You will never read this, but thank you. Thank you for caring so little. Thank you for showing me a strength I could follow.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Las Vegas

I was invited to a week-long, most-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas recently.

It's not really my scene, but I considered it. I do love wandering the casinos, looking at the interior decoration, do love the night photography possibilities there.

I asked the man who invited me how many people he had attending. He listed off a few of his friends, bringing the total body count to around six to eight people.

I declined, citing my anti-social tendencies to not be around that many people for that length of time. The idea of doing so was, frankly, discomfiting.

But as I turned his offer down, I realized it was not my anti-social nature that made me reject his offer, but the knowledge that, during this trip, I would have to engage with people, attempt to be social, attempt to act normal, to fight my habits of initiating intense conversations of introspective ideas and social analysis.

I did not want to drive out to a desert to find myself, again, on the outskirts of a social group that I have next to nothing in common with. And since I don't drink, don't smoke, don't gamble, I have no "bonding" activies I can engage in with them to cover up the gaps.

One person, I can handle. One person I can work with.

A group of them... no. I don't want to take vacation time so I can go out to the desert and not relax all week.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I needed someone to write to. I hope you understand... sometimes I just need the idea that someone is reading what I'm writing, maybe even understanding it. I wouldn't say it's a dependence, just standard human behavior. We're a social species, dependant on exchange and physical contact for growth and development.

I went to Venice Beach yesterday, to sit on one of the hills overlooking the strip and study until it was too dark to see my books. I was exhausted from the schedule I've been keeping lately, but it was something that needed to be taken care of. A few people came by, strangers, to talk to me, ask for money, ask what I was doing. I listened to the jazz guitarist, the piano man, some rappers with heavy accents. It was a beautiful afternoon.

I studied through all the distractions, distractions I love for the constant static they create in the back of my brain that helps me focus. But then I decided to put my books away and walk down the strip before people started closing down for the evening.

I walked north, to the part of the beach where the people suddenly fall away. It's like an invisible barrier where the tide of people turns back in on itself- nothing of interest past this point. You probably know exactly where I'm talking about. I walked past that point, then turned back around. Still had an hour or so left of sunlight, but it was feeling like it was time to go home.

So I turned around, went back the way I came, lacing through people, smiling at dogs, watching the antics of performers and people under the influence of the drug of their choice.

Someone shouts "Hey!" at me, a kid, maybe 18 or 19, short of breath, runs up behind me and taps me on the shoulder. "Hey, my friend back there, says he knows you, wants to talk to you." I look down the aisle, several booths down, and there's a man looking back at me. I don't know him, I tell the kid this. He drags me back anyhow, I assume for a sales pitch. But, as always, I'm polite.

"Hey, she doesn't know you," the kid says to him, me looking with amusement at the two of them. A girl walks up to us, drapes herself over the kid's shoulder, smiles and introduces herself. Her eyes are hidden behind large sunglasses, but she has a wonderful, friendly smile. She tells me I'm beautiful, that her name is MJ, and gives me a hug, and says the guy who summoned me back to his booth is a sweetheart. She and the kid wander off, leaving me staring at this man.

"Hey," he smiles at me and I wait for the sales pitch, "Sorry about that. I just saw you walking by... the way you move, it's so graceful. You walk so confidently, so apart from everyone, you just glide. And you're so beautiful... I just wanted to talk to you. You free tonight? Tomorrow night? Dinner? Coffee?"

I wonder if he does this often, near the end of the day when he's closing up shop, looking for physical satisfaction, for comfort. I wonder if the people working the booths next to us see this every day, and laugh at the sucker tourist girls that fall for it for the "Venice Experience". Sleep with a resident Venice Beach artist! Two dollars will get a photo keepsake!

Fortunately, I'm not a tourist. Fortunately, I know the games, know them inside and out.

He asks me to stay and talk with him while he works. He asks my name, introduces me to the series of people that come up and talk to him. He appears to be a fixture, and more and more kids run by, shouting his name, most of them back from their winter trips. I hear stories of train-hopping, of traveling, of people and places. Everyone is filthy, but happy. Everyone is smoking but me. He offers me a clove, I smile and tell him I'm one of those boring straight-edge people. I think this is unheard of on Venice Beach.

We talk. He tells me of his travels, tells me of how he ended up in Venice, but spent four years on the road, alone. He asks me my sign, I laugh and tell him. Then I tell him that if he's into that stuff, it's more important to know that my given name means "truth". He tells me he's a Gemini, shows me his tattoos, across his forearms: "Casa" on the right, "Nova" on the left. House of the Universe, he says. I show him mine, the eight black squares running up my side, from my hip to below my underarm, the letter in each block spelling "visceris". Your core, I tell him, the flesh, the guts, the entrails, your innermost parts, your heart.

I'm not sure if he was expecting that.

He tells me he likes my look. The boots, the cut-off black combat pants, tight black shirt. He likes the black, likes the elegance. Says when I walked by, it was like a scene from a movie, where everyone is moving so fast, yet that one person is slow, focused on. He tells me it looked like I was floating instead of walking.

I dance, I said, I dance and I wind up in terrible situations where the only thing you can do is move a certain way so people leave you alone. You unsettle them just enough. I tell him of a concert I attended a few weeks ago, a crowded industrial concert at the Avalon, and how during the entire performance I had a bubble of space around me ranging from a two to four feet radius. No one would settle near me.

The sun starts to go down, the drum circle to the west picks up the beat, people are shouting and jumping into the air in this sort of frantic energy. The hill full of homeless kids behind us starts to dim as it gets colder. Their relaxation and freedom gives way to chilly uncertainty and I can't imagine living that sort of life. I ask him where they go at night, he says some go back to their homes, their families, and some just go home. Where is home? He smiles at me, tells me that not everyone's idea of home is like mine, and that to most of these kids, home is where they lay down for the evening.

It's night now. The cops start coming out, firemen too. They talk to the stragglers as they pick up their booths. The man I've been speaking to takes apart his table. Pieces of plywood, he throws them into a construction area, and the heavy bricks supporting the table follow. He picks up his bags, the ones he earlier told me were his life. Three bags and his jacket, that's all he owns, all he wishes to own.

We walk down the strip, tourists are long gone. Venice Beach is no fun at night. The metal booths that line the backs of the buildings facing Pacific Ave look more like cages for human slavery now, stripped bare of merchandise. I expect to see meathooks swinging, but instead see wire coathangers. Close enough.

Sidewalk Cafe is still open. I did not realize anything on the strip would be open after dark. I suggest we eat there and find he never has. Working on the beach for a year and some months, yet he never has been to some of these places. I forget the reality of doing what he does, of the difference in values, difference in income, difference in wants and wishes. I love the cafe because it's open and on the strip, love it because it's next to a bookstore. At night, though, the bookstore is closed and they roll down heavy sheets of plastic to separate the beach from the inside of the restaurant. But it's warm. The beach got so cold so fast. We sit under a heatlamp and talk.

He wants to know about me. Wants to know why I'm so quiet, so serene. He wants me to smile.

I tell him people tell me everything. They open up to me when they find I'm so comfortable with my own damage. They want that comfort, they feel obligated to disclose their own, they want the lack of judgement, they want to drain their wounds.

I tell him that when I'm stressed, I need pain. Physical pain centers me. Sometimes I get so out of my own skin, I need another person to bring me back in with bruises. I explain that it isn't some mental need to be punished, but falling back into something known and comfortable, and having to survive when someone physically lays into you takes all of your being, all of your concentration. No part of you can be reserved, nothing can be held back... and I always hold back.

He tells me how lonely he is. How he knows himself so well because he spent the last four years before coming to Venice on his own, and how sad that is. He says no one should be alone for that long. That he sleeps with women every so often, wakes up in the morning next to them and sighs at himself because it's just a mask. It's just a need that is not fulfilled by physical action. He says people come to him for their troubles because he always makes them smile, always makes them feel better, but no one takes his troubles, partially because he has such a hard time showing weakness.

I realize, in this conversation, something about myself, something I had never noticed before. I overwhelm people quite easily. Men find me desirable, but intimidating. And then we talk and my intensity becomes a bit too much. But they want my body, so they listen. They sit and agree, they disclose their own damages, they stay up with me until the early morning hours, discussing life and ideas, but not because they understand, not because there is a connect, but because they want. I barter my body for a false understanding. I exchange myself for the comfort that there might be a connect somewhere, that someone might understand all of what I've done to myself, what has been done to me.

I explain this to him, testing the words and idea for the first time. And it's right. It is what I do sometimes, when the feeling of being alone shifts into the feeling of being lonely and detached. I'm always outside of everything, always outside of the group, and normally it doesn't bother me too much, that I can't relate to people. Sometimes it gets to me and I take action to dull the edge of that need.

He speaks of his father, and how he was taught to show no emotion, that emotion was weakness to be avoided. I tell him of mine, of growing up in an abusive household, of the realization that my sister and my mother could not take the abuse from my father, and how I began to provoke him when his temper was high so he would reserve his rage for me and leave the two of them alone. I tell him of how once I moved out of my parents' house, removed that buffer, how my mother and sister would call me in tears, needing a place to go for the night, my little sister needing to understand why he was suddenly doing this to her. She was daddy's little girl, and now she's daddy's little verbal punching bag.

He tells me how he searches for love, for that companionship, that partner to be with him, to die with him. He says it's his dream, to have that beautiful woman to share all the times with: the good, the bad, the sad, the angry, the happy. He wants someone beside him, he wants that perfect mate. He tells me it's not about the sex, that sex is overrated. But he needs the love, needs to have a person to make love to, so the sex has meaning.

I tell him how I determined at a young age that attaching emotion to sex was a weakness, a weakness that I had to burn out of myself, and did with much driving enthusiasm. That I can't remember the names of all the people I've had sex with, that I can't even remember all the times, or the number. I tell him how I burned myself out just before I turned 18, hit a wall and realized there was no more damage I could do to myself at that point, so it was time to heal the wounds, form protective tissue. And I did. Sex means nothing to me now, rape is meaningless, save the wounds your body sustains. I don't connect physical love with emotional, don't care if someone thinks they're using me for my body. They never are successful, never quite get that emotional satisfaction of conquering that they're looking for, even if they don't know exactly what it is. I explain how it's been quite correctly pointed out to me that my entire worldview is based on strength and weakness, that I have an obsession with being strong, with surviving.

He asks me if I think I'll ever be able to love, ever be able to make love with someone. If I would be willing to try with someone, not necessarily him, in the future, or if I have completely sealed myself off.

I tell him I don't know. I don't know how deep this runs. I know my ideas of sex, of the act of sex, are different than most people's. I've been in relationships since I was a teenager, been head over heels in love, completely trusting of my partner, and never, ever made love. I explain that even during sex, I'm never fully in the moment. Part of me is always planning the next day, planning my evening, writing out an idea, exploring a philosophy, monitoring my partner, their twitches and moans. No one has ever caught me doing this, no one ever realizes I'm not completely there with them.

I think this saddens him.

I consider, and then take a leap. I tell him of past relationships, how they ended, why they ended, how I overwhelm, how my driving intensity gets to be a little too much. How my last partner assumed he could do anything to me on an emotional level because I was so strong. How the only man I've ever truly loved broke up with me because he said he felt like he was being consumed by me. I tell him I've created a shadowman in my head, a faceless man who is always with me, and because of this perfect creation, this one man I will not overwhelm, this man who is enough like me, I can find no one who will measure up.

He asks me about my shadowman. But not in a typical fashion, not asking me the whys and the hows, but he asks what emotion I find in my mental construct. I don't really talk about this much, so I ask him to let me think for a minute. I bring him into my mind and try to sort through my emotions. The answer, oddly enough, is not love, which is what I assumed it would be. No, the answer was understanding. I created a man not with the intentions of love, but with the idea that the most understanding I could get from anyone would come from something in my own mind.

I tell him this, thinking it through as I speak. When I finish, he asks me if I feel that he understands me.

Parts, I say, parts of me you understand. We're both damaged. Everyone is damaged in different ways. We're not damaged in similiar ways, but we are still able to talk, still able to exchange ideas. We heal ourselves differently. You deal in denial and hope, I wield my truth like a bludgeoning tool to my soul.

He wonders what he doesn't understand. I have a hard time shifting gears to explain this, I'm tired and things have been so mellow. I backtrack to him, about my sexual history, about my experiences... and then I explain that while I am quiet and nonaggressive now, I'm very predatory. I'm very good at the games people play when attempting to use another person. When I meet someone I want, I am insanely good at determining how to have them, and then employing those methods to my determined ends. I explain to him how I keep a small stable of lovers, and I tell him of one of my most recent acquisitions, a gorgeous man known for his ability to seduce and play women, a one-night stand king, and how I spun his head so hard he cannot figure out why he keeps calling me, but he does. I tell him how hard it is for me to respect so many men because I am so used to the games, when I see them playing them... it lowers them in my eyes. Give me a man who is smarter than me, give me a man who can keep me on my toes, one who I don't see through like glass, who I can't engineer and manipulate. It's just more distance.

It leaves me more alone and disconnected than I previously was.

But when you do things to yourself, when you hurt and wreck yourself to become stronger, when life helps you along that path, you end up being alienated anyhow. I became who I am because I wished it... and now I am left alone, left apart. Because the people who can relate to what I have become are few and far between, on their own paths of strength and growth. We find each other occasionally, nod, maybe smile, sometimes spend an afternoon together comparing ideas and experiences, and then move along.

Every one of those people that I've met has been male.

It makes me wonder about myself.

Eventually the conversation hits a point where we could shift topics slightly and continue, but I have a bit of a distance to drive and work in the morning. He walks me to my car, parked in a little service station on Pacific and Windward, and we exchange phone numbers. He's shocked by this, because I am so unavailable. I tell him that I've let him know I will not enter into a relationship, I have the romantic notions of a tea cup, and that if he decides to push me away and make himself miserable by fighting those facts, that's his own choice.

And then I drive home.