She wore red chemical gloves when we made love. The ones she stole from the nuclear power plant where she worked.
I often imagined that they had come into contact with radioactive material and that as she caressed me, I would grow to mutant size. She would just smile when I said it out loud. I didn't satisfy her the way I always wanted to, but she didn't seem to mind.
Our relationship, well, it was a missed connection, a series of straight rocket slices of pain to the backs of your eyelids. An honest struggle with death, and the rain came down. Didn’t hurt much, not anymore. She said the longer I kept going with it the more comfortable I would start to feel with the metaphor and how its seemingly irrelevant questions about low voltage and darkness and the brisk drizzle of spring rain against the plywood universe might change my mind about how I juiced myself up.
"Me," I pointed to the scar in the middle of my chest when I said it, "You know I prefer a light tap in the vein." The kind that leaves your teeth dry. Snap. Pop. Redline express all the way to heaven and back, baby. "Betcha miss me when I'm gone."
She said she didn’t, but I've touched it, you see -- the God particle -- refracted the distance between the layers of my skin. She said I couldn't do it. Said I was too retro and that I should rent a time-share, stay for less.
I hated it when she called herself cheap.
published 24 February 2012
You never ask about the gloves. Maybe you think it’s my kink, and I let you because the truth is worse---I can’t stop wearing them, these five-fingered soulcondoms, since the day I started at the nuclear plant. The personnel director, Danvers, showed everyone the gloves during the orientation spiel. There are a dozen ways to die here, he said. Your safety is your primary responsibility. You are your priority one.
The flight was a fiesta of turbulence and the tequila’d taxi driver ripped you off but you didn’t care because you still had enough cash to score a bag from the kid behind the tamale stand right after we got to the hotel and now you want me to lay on the stained comforter with you and ride along and feel what you feel when you cheat on me with your needles, just us three, you say, unbolting the framework of universe, peeking up god’s skirt, and I won’t go because you danced off one cliff already and I am not deathwished and I won’t be a methbitch.
Yesterday the surf was up and so were the jellyfish, swarming all along the shallows, so we walked into town instead, to the marketplace. A browned avocado of a woman was selling cheap piñatas to gringos like us. You were still high and you wanted the one shaped like a bloated donkey and I said save your money---I wear that same shade of yellow and my skin already hangs off in papery sunburnt strips and I’m mostly hollow and tomorrow I am leaving because if I stay with you I will split wide and you will find these few thoughts left rattling around inside me:
There is snow on the ground up north; standard issue January where we’re from.
I go back to work on Monday morning, pushing the buttons of support.
I don’t like Acapulco in winter---escapists draped in pale flesh and denial.
Fate whips your back like a jockey in the home stretch.
I can’t love the you who can’t love you. If you set your value at zero, then me plus you equals me. Me and my gloves.
I am priority one.
published 24 February 2012