I have sporadic hair patterns on my chest. I write multiple pages of prose regarding my experiences of oral sex. Men. Women. Animal. Whatever. In dream, there is a beetle in the alleyway next to my childhood house. It looks like one of the mechanical enemies in Sonic the Hedgehog. When it curls into a ball like a woodlouse, it resembles a misshapen bean, or a skin tag. When I say bean, I mean a lady’s sex bean. Sometimes, I’ve licked such beans. Other times, I’ve pinched them. As hard as I could, too. To be cruel. To incite. To understand what it is to be a man. The older I get, the less I recognise who or what I am. There are memories. There are sensations. They elicit tenderness. They remind me that I wasn’t always made of stone, but the more I write, the more I seal my fate. Doomed sculptures. Shaved sex. Lizards and vodka tongue as the coming snow tickles the back of my throat. If I squint, and she holds my hand, I see an old man shovelling his driveway. We’re stood upon the top of a hill overlooking a town that was once sunken but not anymore. There are ghosts. There are greasy spoons that exist on street corners I haven’t walked past in years, and although they’re now something else entirely, somewhere, out there, they beat the same as this heart of mine. Orion. Tannhäuser gate. The Antelope on a Saturday night, and then to the Hobgoblin, flirting with a girl who wishes only to be mine. Blue skies. Strike west. Chardonnay. Blood because she’s on the rag, but I bet fucking her on the rag is as sweet a thing as watching Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, drunk and in love with the idea that life doesn’t have to be as cruel as it seems.

Almond eyes. Overflowing ashtray. The creek in the yard is the same as the creek that sneaks about her toes. Painted black. Toe ring. Dipped in soil, as holy as the ghost of Mary whose descendent pushes trolleys around the local Tesco. They look identical, although one is certainly less biblical than the other. Those almond eyes are surrounded by the biggest, tiniest of hairs. Dark and evanescent. As crystal clear and chocolate brown as the holy soil. There are traces of it beneath her nails. Fingers, not toes. Pale necks. Sisyphus. Knob-rot for the soul. White teeth and a dimple chin. No sun, only the crescent moon that floats above her womb, and the nocturnal music she makes that causes all the poets in the world to weep at how beautiful a thing it is to feel sad. It’s much better to feel sad than to feel glad that you’re not. Those who don’t feel sadness, don’t feel much of anything at all, only the shallow satisfaction of never having been wounded. Or at least, the satisfaction of never being weak enough to show it to others. It’s not weak, of course, much the same way that the soil isn’t brown, but rather a dark blue. Prussian Blue. I remember the name from my painting days. Those heady days when wishing to be free wasn’t seen as a waste of time, but a necessity.

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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