Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Like Joan of Arc coming back for more...

I'm mentally caught between two places.

The now... and the then.

I once, years and years ago, walked in on some friends watching the director's commentary on the movie Dark City. I was only there for seconds, but it was long enough to catch the sentence:

"Are we just the sum of our experiences?"

Last night, in class, studying the Romantics, focusing on the self, on identity, on an unchanging core. That you are who you are, no matter what age, no matter what happens. The professor tossed up William Wordsworth's "The Rainbow".

My heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!

The Child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

A simple poem. A quick readthrough produces the general idea that he wishes to keep his views of the world. (Though some of my classmates took this poem to be more related to The Bible... the rainbow and all... bleech.)

As we talked, as we read and reread this poem, as the teacher lectured on the meaning of it (which I disagreed with her interpretation, but as I am petitioning this class, I'm not going to argue).

But what got me, as I looked at it, as I let my mind wander and soak in the words my classmates were tossing up, was the middle:

So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!

The Child is father of the man;

The idea of the Child being the father of the man, that who you were creates who you are, and the Romantic notion of the "I", the self-identity... it brings more to it.

The sentiment of death before change, death before straying from who he is, that anything else that he could become would not be good enough, or that an event that would change him so strongly, so completely could be so horrible and traumatic he would not wish to experience it and live.

...Or perhaps that his faith in who he is is so very strong that he is willing to invite death if he ever changes.


"This is who I am. This is who I am not."

A Romantic, in the literary sense, I am not. The idea of the unchanging core, of that sense of "I", maybe I did know myself at one time, but the shakings of my reality, the observation of those around me breaking down, the man I held higher than anything, my father, shattering in anger, people straying from how they present themselves in times of stress, or when their need to be viewed a certain way is overruled by their own self-interest in other fields... no one is constant. We are blurred creatures, exiting our own boundaries, self-made and society-made, as needed, when the fear or sense of propriety that keeps us in is knocked out by other things.

My father, a man so strong, so intelligent, so controlled and emotionless, turning into a raging beast, defying my definition of "father" and going into another category that I'd never thought possible.

Myself, a girl set on love, on romance, on soul mates and waiting for marriage, never to do drugs, never to drink or smoke, never to party... losing it, losing it all in a mess of depression, angry, anxiety, mis-medication, self-interest, self-harm, and madness.

How can I ever define myself if I know that I may change at any moment? That one incident can lead into a series of unforeseen events that will alter how I view myself and the world? And that that potential definition I so strive for could harm me in such an event?

So I stay fluid, dancing between the lines of who I was, who I am, and who I can and will be.

... ... ... ...

The Then.

My mind is on Vermont, just north of Wilshire Boulevard, in K-Town.

Novemeber, maybe December, 2008.

It's cold out. The sky is clear and dark, probably coming up on 1030PM, not too bad.

I'm listening to Garbage's "Vow" on repeat, being followed by my date for the evening in his little Suburban. City lights are orange and red, highlights of yellow, condos to my left angular and high. Those same condos' residents complain when the clubs around then play the music too loud, so the windows at the venues must be kept shut.


I love it.

Turning onto Wilshire, he follows. Drive down a little ways, wave to the valet and park myself.

We dance.

This is one in a line of men that I have brought to this particular club with me. The regulars, I know, are probably whispering. I'd listen, but that would involve caring. I'd listen, but that would involve sticking myself in a world that no longer makes sense to me.

See what you want, take what you want.
If you don't know how to get it, learn.
Be safe, be respectful, set boundaries.
Communicate with your partner, even if they're just there for the evening.
Be aware of yourself. Listen to yourself.
You can learn something new from everyone you interact with should you bother to listen.

I initiated contact, like I do, when we first walked into the club. The bouncer, a friend of mine, went to pat him down and I volunteered to do the job for him, letting my hands roam over his back, ass, and thighs, lightly gripping the muscles and near purring to myself. He had such a nice back.

We dance.

In all of the men that I have brought to the club, that I have brought to any club, this one, this one is the only one that has been able to move with me. The only one whose rhythms match mine.

For a first night, we're good.

Given time, we could be amazing. It's something I've wanted for so long. A partner to dance with, one where it isn't a battle to learn each other, but a natural awareness and synchronization. I've never found it before, have not found it since.

We dance.

And when it gets too hot, we step out onto the patio, three stories up, cold night, leaning against a wall, his hands running over me, resting on my ass.

"I'm going to buy this," he tells me, squeezing, "And build a cottage on it so I can vacation there in the summer."

It's always been my ass. When someone tells me they're an ass man, I know they're mine, just as when someone tells me they love eyes. I have a natural sway to my hips and an ability to look at a man as though he's everything at that moment.

By the time the club closes, I'm more than ready to go back to his place and see the body that I had been touching all night. I mention this to him, and he hesitates. Odd reaction, so I pull back, don't mention it again.

Back to the car, he stops and tells me he has HSV-2.

I handled it well enough, I know, but I wish I had handled it better.

After the initial pause, the disappointment that he has an STD, that this night will not be ending in sex, I tell him that does not stop us from doing other things, and if he is okay with me not sleeping with him, then I would love to return to his place and continue to fool around and talk.

So we do.

His bed is huge and custom made. I fall into it and it's a dream. Kissing and grinding, our pants stay on and zipped all night, though he did try to briefly convince me otherwise. A one-nighter isn't worth the risk, I'd have to see him a lot more and drop my other lovers in faith that he would make time for me, and that we would have a relationship... but noting the bong by his bed, a relationship is not the route this would take. Disqualified by drug-use.

The one thing I remember clearly, through all of the touching and whispering, is him saying, "Let's just see how this would feel..." and turning me onto my stomach, raising my hips.

Perfect alignment, perfect rhymthm.

When I left in the morning, tired, my face propped up in one hand, elbow resting on the window ledge in my car, I inhaled our mixed scents.

I've never smelled the like. We blended, we blended so damn well. The scent the two of us made together was its own creation, a combination of him, me, my perfume, his body soap, and sex. A universe on my skin.

I never saw him again, though we spoke briefly online.

I think my reluctance to sleep with him rendered me useless. No point in having a platonic (or mostly platonic) friend with such good chemistry. Also, the rejection on my end due to something that he considered fairly minor must have stung.

And there are other reasons I'm sure I'm not thinking of.

But I look back, and I wonder what would have happened if I had risked it. If I had dove for the moment, for experiencing what was built between us. Yes, I know, the whole herp thing would have sucked, but sex on that level... it's something you don't find every day. Something I find rarely.

I'm trapped on Vermont in my head, turning onto Wilshire, taking steps into an evening of a future I did not choose, wondering if it was right.


  1. Hm. I had never seen that quote "The child is the father of the man" in context before.

    I'm disappointed.

    I always liked the ambiguity of it. Because it COULD mean who we are as a child defines our adult selves. But taken alone, it can also be read as a reflection on fatherhood--'you don't become a man until you find yourself responsible for children of your own.'

    Oh well.

  2. Erk, didn't mean to burst your bubble, sir. Besides, interpretation is up to the reader, and other people have written things much more along the lines that you just said.