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Darkness, night time, the woods, surrounding, movement in bushes, trees, the moon’s highlight, a hum of air, thick fog, clear skies, a bite of crunched sticks, leaves, the weather surrounds, late-fall, no path, forward momentum. The edge of the forest, an empty alley, an open door, an abandoned factory, dim illumination, no flash-light, the density of generators, windows into doors, nothing visible in darkness, glass reflecting light, only the reflection of my face, more steps, the hallway is lost, the hallway comes to an end, a right turn, another hallway, brighter light, a door at the end, an open door. Inside, a pile of dirt, inside, a glass cage, a light-switch on the nearest wall, fuller illumination, pushed against a pane a body, pushed against the same pane an object, an artifact. The body a man, mid to late 30s toned muscle hairy chest strong chin heavy jawline creased forehead weathered face evidence of stubble bent but tall dark hair lips stuck in a smirk, splotches of blood. I am shocked because the body is my erotic ideal. The object sculptural, made of stone carved crudely a squat figure Byzantine perhaps Cretan Mayan indistinguishable in its current position it emanates fear. The body is idle, pale. Dead.
Dripping come, sweat, an idea of the former movement of the body in front of me, my gaze holds, I am stuck in a state of fascination with the object with the body, overcome with lust, fucking the body come dripping out of an asshole dirt on the ground come mixing with dirt primordial mud, cock hitting another cock, red skin setting friction, bruised bodies from heavy punches lost to lust, suck face, I turn around and he sticks his engorged member inside of me violently fucked so hard my head bangs against the floor and I black out when I wake up I find him sitting on top of me his ass suffocating my face but I immediately inhale the stench of stale shit and sweat and dig my tongue deeper he knows I’m awake now he backs off a little to let me get air leans over ass still above my cock now inside his mouth a contortion I buck him off my head is bleeding, … , I fuck him he moans in front of me screams and laughs belittles my cock that I know is no joke I fuck him harder pull his hips up push him against the wall pull his ass-cheeks as far apart as possible push deeper scratch at his back with my nails I want to see blood again blood other than the blood that hovers above my eyes.
In the room the man is still dead in the glass cage and not moving and dead, the object still next to him, my own hard-on pushing against my jeans, his cock flaccid and still, I dig hands into dirt, avoid the body, scarred by death, grab the object, dirt on my hands under my fingernails, pull the object out, back away from the cage, turn the lights off, head down the hallway, turn left, head down the other hallway, running, out into the alley again, out into the street again, back into the forest again.
I make it home by the light of the rising sun, my jacket torn from tree branches, my clothes smelling of sweat, the object positioned beside my bed. I sleep.[...]
I wake up and immediately see the object, the object talks to me.
OBJECT: Why did you take me from the glass cage.
ME: I don’t know I thought the guy was hot and you were terrifying me so I decided that you maybe had magical powers and I guess you do because you’re talking to me.
OBJECT: You’re still asleep I can’t actually talk I’m an object I’m not magic but I am important.
ME: Why are you important.
OBJECT: I am important because I am either a clue to the man’s death or I am actually magic and it will just take you a while to figure out how or else I was part of a burial rite.
ME: Is that guy really dead because he’s really fucking hot and I think I could probably fall in love with him or at least have really amazing sex with him or at least tell him I was in love with him and mean it in that moment and make an endless promise that nobody could keep yet alone me but I really feel this I can feel him and is he actually dead.
OBJECT: Yes he’s actually dead you saw him you almost touched him.
ME: I’m afraid of death sometimes.
OBJECT: You don’t really need to be it doesn’t really matter and sometimes it’s not even real.
ME: But you just told me that he was dead.
OBJECT: He is you’re not very good at paying attention god fuck you go back to sleep.
ME: Fine but I hope you can still talk in the morning.[...]
I wake up and immediately see the object, the object does not talk to me. I weary out of bed and shower, can’t remember what I’m supposed to do today. Police station, report dead body, they don’t really believe me and for a minute I’m not sure if I believe myself, I have the object, do not tell them about the object, tell them that I can maybe try to show them where the glass cage was, a junior officer follows me. Through the woods, trees, no path, find broken branches from the night before, sunlight through tree tops, birds even, haven’t flown south yet, eventually the street, the alley, the building, the hallway, the right turn, the room. The glass cage is still there, the body is still there, the body is still perfect, the body is still dead, the body’s smirk penetrates harder, the cop mutters a monosyllabic “shit.” Takes my information, “Why didn’t you call last night,” vague excuse I don’t know if it’s valid enough but whatever, calls a car, gives address, yellow tape, dusting for finger prints, I have dirt under my fingers, “I dug my hand in but got kind of scared and left afraid, thought I was having a bad dream, I sleep walk,” true sometimes, “you can ask my roommates,” they have no idea, “or call my parents it was worse when I was a kid almost died we lived by a highway,” also true. Don’t have a motive or know the man so they tell me they’ll be in touch, back home.[...]
Bedroom, more sleep, blankets, pillows, fan blows air, stuffy room, sunlight through blinds, wake up, sunlight, sleep, dream of man, dream of man following me in a hallway, want to stop to talk to him but he is not really there, wake up, sun setting, pull clothes on, stairway door sidewalk, street lamps, diner, order a plate of fries and a soda. There is a man sitting at the counter, away from me opposite end, it is the man from the cage, afraid to look at him, nervous it is the man from the cage, finish my fries, peripheral vision follows man leaving diner, looking up there is no one there. Another man sits next to me.
ME: Excuse me this is a weird question but was there a man sitting over there [I point to the end of the counter].
ME: Was there a man sitting at the other end of the counter mid to late 30s weathered face work coat.
MAN: I’m sorry I don’t understand what you’re asking me nobody here but us and Sue.
ME: Who’s Sue.
MAN: Waitress ask her.
The waitress brings me my bill I get a refill of my soda ask her the question now.
ME: Excuse me this is a weird question but have there been any other customers besides this man next to me since I arrived.
SUE: Honey are you feeling okay because the answer is no.[...]
Climb stairs, door handle, open window, curtains shiver in moaning breeze. Look at bed, very awake, slept all day, read a while, pick up the object, look at the object, run hands over contour of the object, stirring of lust arousal movement in my jeans. Leave apartment again walk to park glory hole in bathroom sit in stall hear a man walk in rub finger around circumference of hole slight shuffling hesitation slowly dick comes through hole. Staring at the dick I am convinced it is that of the man who is dead the man who was in the cage the man who was not at the diner but who I saw at the diner the man I realize I desperately want to fall in love with but cannot because ontologically he no longer exists. Dick is long and veined When I was seven years old I hid in a bush while my sixteen year old neighbor alone in her backyard lifted her dress over her head kept it there her arms up a patch of hair surrounding her pubis I had an impression there was a slot buried beneath she had small round breasts I was struck by their symmetry it seemed unnatural I was not aroused but I was curious as to the nature of the incident her dress kept above her head for five minutes nobody else visible curious about the effect my solitude would have on her presumed solitude I never told anybody I take the long dick into my mouth in a sweeping motion as it hits the back of my throat and I immediately masterfully suppress my gag reflex my own hand on my own dick stroking in a similar pressure to my tongue my mouth tonguing foreskin back the thickness almost overwhelming but I’ve fallen in love before so the man comes into my mouth and I swallow rapid tugs on my own member release my own come and in the heightened moment of post-pleasure I realize that it was the man I look through the hole want to see him talk to him love him but he is already gone.
I WANT TO GO HOME AND SLEEP
I WANT TO BE TIRED
I WANT THE OBJECT TO TALK TO ME AGAIN
I WANT THE MAN TO EXIST
I WANT THE MAN TO LOVE ME
I WANT TO DESTROY THE OBJECT
I WANT TO BREAK THE OBJECT INTO A THOUSAND PIECES AND THROW THE PIECES INTO THE OCEAN BUT
THE OCEAN IS FAR AWAY FROM HERE.
Today I am insatiable, inconsistent, and intolerable of my desire.[...]
My house is empty and I am slowly returning to it but don’t want to yet want to find the man no stop not going to happen right now there’s been a shift I think I’ve entered obsession need to remember to pause remember to breathe. Take a breath, walk the sidewalk, return home, empty house, empty room, empty bed. Find object, touch object, throw object on ground, watch object break. Object is made out of stone, object does not break, object stays solid, object sweats.
I want to do something other than sleep and get off today, want to do something else, want to find something, want to find the man. I am without focus without task I will get a job.[...]
I get a job. Walk to work, open doorway, sit at desk, enter data, take lunch break, smoke cigarette, toss off in bathroom, return to desk, enter data, politely answer co-worker’s insistent questions, enter data, tell boss I’m getting a hang of things, walk outside, smoke a cigarette, return to the desk, enter data, enter data, clock out, door, sidewalk, street, home. Lay in bed, stare at object, fall asleep.
Maybe if I die I could fall in love with you.
A dead body, a dead body buried in dirt, but not the man’s body, not a body that inspires lust, a woman’s body, nude, shapely, if I were heterosexual I would be more confident in calling the woman sexually appealing, a body a little over 30 years of age, a body with dark hair running around in dirt, dark hair weaving in and out of the ground, a body that’s warm, a body that is still. The body familiar, the body pulsating, the body’s sex pulsing, the body’s sex open to the ground, worms crawling in and out, the woman’s sex engorged with a stone, the stone the object, I can see the object. It is still on the floor where I left it. It is still on the floor where it didn’t break into a thousand pieces. It is still on the floor sweating like a stone should not.[...]
The warehouse, the cage, there are other rooms there, there are other bodies the police missed, I know this and I think the object is the one who told me, stare at the object.
ME: Are you telling me anything.
ME: I need to know I don’t feel like wasting time today I’ll be late for my shift.
ME: Will this get me closer to the man will this let me love him God I’m fucking obsessed the rhythm of his body.
The woods, sunlight again, divided by trees, an illuminated path, avoid the streets, avoid the town-parts of this side of town, no animals in the forest, dead leaves winter, cold but not too cold. Street, entrance, hallway, right turn, hallway, end of hallway, doorway. Room. Caution tape, dust, no one has been here for a while, abandoned, the cage dusted for finger prints, none but mine and the man’s, I match my fingers to dust, look around the room, light switch doorway no windows white walls. Dig to the bottom of the glass cage, dirt running my fingernails, the scent of death hovers as I push deeper, no more objects, my fingers land on a key.
Was this overlooked by the police or was this left for me, does the man love me back, does my lust for the dead mean _______.
Pocket the key, leave the room, wander back down the hallway, another door unlocked light switch broken, nothing in the room illuminated from hallway light, walk out of room, another room, light switch works, a bookshelf, pushed aside, another door, I try the key, of course it opens, the object is tricking me, I sleep, I dream again of the woman her body in the dirt I dream of ice I dream of the man’s body finally but in this dream the body is not dead the man is laying in bed next to me nude barely covered up by a light white sheet he is laughing at me.
ME: But you’re dead.
MAN: You were just dreaming.
ME: No I’m dreaming now I went back to where I found your body and found a key in the dirt but then there was a woman’s body and then there was your body next to mine.
MAN: I am next to you.
ME: But you’re not real you’re dead and I’m alive.
MAN: Touch me.
ME: I can’t touch the dead death frightens.
MAN: Touch me.
I touch his body and I believe in love I believe in his death’s falsehood I believe I am lying next to him. I run my hand over his chest tracing the contours, the shadows, I let my fingers run to his arms and feel back and forth, a real material body, I take my arms and lock them in his, feel my chest against his, our rapid expansions pushing against each other’s stomach, mouths connecting, pull myself as close as possible to the body, in bed we roll and I cannot escape his warmth never want to I had an art teacher when I was in high school who quietly made a comment about music, saying if she were to die while she was listening to some particular artist, she would be okay with it, the only thing I can feel right now is that I want to die as close to this body as possible jump into a void without letting go wrap me up in a body’s warmth feel air outside only I want to sink into the ocean. If I am still dreaming I’d rather die than wake up, rather be dead, rather wander the abandoned hallways of the abandoned factory as a ghost while my head floats here at the summit of existence found in a physicality other than direct lost sex. My dreams are turning me into a fucking sentimental neurotic.[...]
But I am not dead I am not with the man I am
But I am still in the factory the key did open a door there was a drop off I fell I knocked my head on a wall bleeding but okay. There is a switch on the wall beside me, lights on, another hallway, still empty, the hum of fluorescent lights, I can feel sex and smell salt, I realize I’m crying and I realize it’s because I feel deeply sad, honestly, for the first time, my fucking dream, my fucking death.
There are windows in the hallway and looking through each one I can see new rooms, and in each room I can see couples fucking, males females hermaphroditic-forms transsexuals I am ensconced in sadness and it’s so fucking ridiculous that I can’t deal with what I’ve found, I hope I’m still asleep somehow embedded in my own subconscious hope I just fell off my bed and maybe I’m bleeding to death I think that would be better I can’t fucking deal with this right now. I find an exit and leave the warehouse I wander back through the forest glad the trees hide my sadness from the streets I am
a fucking wreck.[...]
I go to a movie theater that’s playing a porno film from 1983 that I hope I hate. The film starts and there are men on the screen men sit behind me in the theater dicks out in grimy hands I can hear them breathing heavily sweat dripping from their brow I know they want me to turn around I am young they are old hawks waiting to feast, but I will ignore them, I will instead lose myself in my movie, I will pretend I don’t hate the movie that I haven’t before seen, the movie, three men in a room, a living room, couches, carpet, lamps, a coffee table, one of the men looks like him, I sit across from him, he is saying something and it’s ridiculous, I look at the other man sitting next to me, he grins back, I stand up from the couch, cross the room to the easy chair where the man I know is sitting, I pull down my gym shorts and look at him, he laughs and says something ridiculous again, this time I cannot help but laugh, we laugh together, I climb on top of the chair, position myself above his mass, slide down, slide up, slide down, slide up, the unknown man is still across the room and says he wants a turn, I distress but slide all the way off, sit next to the man I know and pull my own while the unknown takes my place, I am becoming the air in the room, fading out as a spectator, a present voyeur, but then it’s my turn again, and this time I won’t let him go.
I leave the living room, following the man, the man takes me to a car, drive on the highway, he asks me how much I made today, I tell him I don’t know, he laughs and smiles, his grin, his grin, we drive for 20 minutes on the express-way and exit towards the beach, I realize we are in L.A., I’ve never been to L.A., I tell him, he laughs again, Wow are you fucked up or something we live here, I laugh tell him I was kidding, we park the car, go inside, grab towels, he grabs a book, put on sunscreen, run out to the shore, lay down towels, I turn on a radio and Grace Jones plays, I laugh, he says he loves this song, we lay down on the laid down towels, we wear sunglasses to shade our eyes from the heat, I hear waves crashing in the background, the waves become the sound of gulls, the gulls become the white of the sun shaded a deep brown by my eye glasses.
The text above is my burnt skin.[...]
THE OBJECT: Why did you leave the factory after you discovered the hallway.
ME: I couldn’t handle it it was way too fucking much it wasn’t even real.
THE OBJECT: Yes it was.
ME: I thought you said you couldn’t talk that I was fucking dreaming what the hell is going on.
THE OBJECT: You’re awake you’re back in your bedroom you left the movie theater.
ME: Where is the man.
THE OBJECT: The man is dead you found his body you almost touched it but you were afraid the police came the body was examined the autopsy revealed nothing and now the body is in the ground.
ME: I want to dig him up. I want to touch him. I need to.
THE OBJECT: You can’t touch him his body has progressed to further stages of decay his skin is pale in spots green the insides poke through there are worms everywhere.
ME: Why should I go back to the factory I can’t handle seeing people in love.
THE OBJECT: The people in the warehouse are not in love they are just fucking.
ME: They look like they are in love when I fuck someone I don’t let myself look them in the eyes.
THE OBJECT: Heterosexuals are different than homosexuals they sometimes can’t differentiate between being in love and fucking so sometimes from the outside it looks like they’re in love when really they’re just ephemerally connected.
ME: But there were men too their gazes deep lost inside each other.
THE OBJECT: They are experimenting with the confusion of heterosexuality without confining themselves to the engendered binary.
ME: I don’t know what that means.
THE OBJECT: It means you should go back.[...]
Lay in bed, stare at ceiling, slowly rising sun, out of bed, haven’t slept, walk to hill, sit on top of hill, lay back, sun continues to rise, warmth in a jacket, dry grass, ground too cold for insects, light.
Go back through the forest, go back through the building, go back through the hallways, go back through the hole in the wall, go back into the hallway. Empty now, easier to deal with. Find doors unlocked look inside find remnants of what the object said was not love but the laugh of love: lust. In one room a bag a gram of coke open it up spill it out cut it up line it up snort it up feel quick awake not used to yay without alcohol to balance it out ready to look harder now.[...]
Back through the forest, back through the building, back through the hallways, back through the hole in the wall, back into the hallway. Bodies are asleep in each room, the lie of love meting a semblance of touch. I creep, my shadow against the doors, sourced from angled fluorescent lights. I’m not sure what I’m looking for but I know I’m here for a reason so I keep and the last door the last window I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before I look inside and there alone is the man my erotic reverie made function and I open the door and I walk into the room and I climb into a bed next to him.
ME: I am going to fall in love with you.
MAN: You already have.[...]
Back through the forest, back through the building, back through the hallways, back through the hole in the wall, back into the hallway. Doors are all locked, all empty, nothing left anywhere, but the last door, a door at the end of the hallway, my key turns, and I find myself outside. There is a garden, the garden is full of plants, the names of the plants I don’t know, that bush over there is a ______ and I sniff it and it smells good. In the middle of the labyrinth there is a grave, a large cement obelisk, flames on the four corners of the base, text chiseled into the stone, words indecipherable, the force of weather disallowing the signifying text.
I sit down on a bench facing the monolithic remainder of my desire. I can feel his body through the ground, the earth tremors a pulsating touch, my insides go out. I am now empty.
The sun sets again, the sun rises, the sun sets, the sun rises again, the sun sets, things change around me. Pennyroyal daffodil oxalis hairgrass wild oats soft chess darnel medusa head sterile wheat creeping buttercup wall bedstraw foxglove black nightshade. I drop a cigarette and the garden goes up in flames. I watch the flames they get close to me I back away back through the building running now back into the forest hope I didn’t burn the entire district down back to my home.[...]
On the way to buy cigarettes inside the gas station see a man it looks like him, follow the man a block, two blocks, three blocks, the man knows I’m following him but hasn’t turned around yet just want to know if it’s him, four blocks, five blocks, quickly approaching territory I’m not familiar with, six blocks, seven blocks, the man stops, the man turns around. It’s not him.
Confused, I return to my job, I sit down at my desk. At my desk I stare at my computer screen for a long time, unable to shake the man’s body, concentrate on getting lost in the repetition of my work, enter data for hours until I’ve reach the end of a file folder, turn off the computer.[...]
I decide to visit the police station, attempt to follow up on what I had initially reported, how many days lost since then I am unsure. The secretary looks at me with a suspicious glance when I ask, and soon the captain of the station calls me to his office. I notice his office: clean, devoid of any personal touch, not even a photograph of his wife or kids on his desk, only piles of files, a computer, sharpened pencils, pens. He asks me to sit down and shuffles papers before he looks up to begin speaking.
CAPTAIN: They told me you’ve come to follow up on a murder you reported two weeks ago.
ME: I don’t remember the exact date but yes I’m curious to see if you’ve made any headway regarding the body I found in the glass cage.
CAPTAIN: There was no murder reported two weeks ago according to our records when you lead one of our junior officers to an abandoned factory there was absolutely nothing there despite your insistence that there was a body directly in front of both you and the officer.
ME: I don’t understand.
CAPTAIN: There was no body there was no murder.
ME: There were both I saw them I almost touched him.
CAPTAIN: There was not there was no tangible evidence at the scene related to any of your claims we went over this two weeks ago there is no evidence there is no body.
ME: I don’t I don’t understand.
CAPTAIN: There was nothing. There is nothing.[...]
The day my own breath held until I make it back through the forest through the street through the doorway through the hallway to the room. Empty now, no cage no caution tape no dirt no blood. I run the opposite direction to the secret hole behind the bookshelf through another hallway. It is still there. A room at the end, I see the man. I see the man.
MAN: Why are you looking for me.
ME: I thought you were dead but the police say you weren’t are you here now.
MAN: I am dead I am here now you found me in a glass cage and rescued the object.
ME: The object.
MAN: The object is all that I am anymore.
ME: I don’t understand the object talks to me it told me it was a key to something.
MAN: It is all that I am left.
ME: But I want to love you or I could love you or I do love you.
MAN: You’ve never met me you never meet me.
ME: I am meeting you right now please let me love you it can be something incredible I promise I don’t know why or how but why did you die why won’t you let me love you.
MAN: You can’t I’m not really here.
I run to the man and push him to the ground, letting my weight fall on top of him, feeling him through every sense of touch I have on every part of my body.
STOP IT STOP IT YOU AREN’T REAL IF I CAN’T TOUCH YOU BUT I AM TOUCHING YOU AND THIS TEXT IS SWALLOWING ME WHOLE IT’S TAKING ME APART I’VE SPENT TWO WEEKS INSIDE OF IT AND I WANT MY OWN LIFE TO EXIST OUTSIDE OF THIS TEXT AGAIN YOU CAN HAVE THE BURN FROM THE SUN BACK.
MAN: If I tell you I love you will you be alright will it let you escape.
ME: I don’t know.
MAN: Should we try it.
I close my eyes, the man closes his eyes, our mouths speak through each other I am inside of him he is inside of me we are inside of the object the text sweat dripping rolling the dirty floor dirt sticking to our backs legs entwined I think about my own home my own life.
MAN: I can never exist outside of the text are you sure you want out.
ME: I want to stay inside of the text I want to stay inside of you I want you to stay inside of me forever.
MAN: Find my body again.