France
by Jason Martin

 
This night writhing in the dark. Moons magnetic beams sucking down on my

brain. I’m thrashing around...

electric ghost rings explode from my mind into sequential night. Power to

blow off rooftops, house after house, suburb after suburb... Shingles flying everywhere...

Switch the light on, all becomes innocuous and homogenous. Eyes replace

brain. Power and imagination

usurped in favor of ../../images pleasing to the eye. Cookies and posters. I miss

already the werewolf power in

the dark where lesbians walk on my lips and time is dead as a stinking

carcass. Where wood glows and my

internal organs float around the room in shiny jars sealed with rubberbands,

crowned by brown lunch bags.

In the day I write sentences at night I paint pictures...

Day

I’m in France now, living the life of a hermit. Or maybe a school boy. Acting very innocent. Manners on display. I sit very quietly in chairs and pick up plates. To be kind. Playing with the little French boy who calls me "Mon Frere". And kisses me goodnight.

Elle bought me boots today, though I presented every possible deterrent out

of a purely social obligation. I

felt no shame though. She has money and feels good buying these things for

me. I have no money and no boots.

 

I was the one who said:

"France is not a place for tennis shoes."

Just yesterday. As if I didn’t know.

"There’s a place in France

where the iconoclasts dance,

but the visitor don’t care

because the countryside is like God."

 

 

And now, stumbling around the house, sick as a dog in dirty tennis shoes.

Stomach squawking and gurgling.

Sleeping in thirteen hour stints. Struggling to speak French with a ten year

old boy.

"Mon frere. Beaucoup frere."

Waking for meals. Pointing to a clock and rolling my eyes.

Lazy American.

 

Staring with lust and perpetual nausea at my French Maman. So effervescent

and pure that I want a piece.

Want to lead her by fingertips into taboo.

Lush fields look different. Grow in strange French patterns. Incongruous

leanings and oblique patterns of

growth. Colors never seen before in nature. From a train. From a car. Pinks,

oranges, yellows. Like nature

dressed for a big night out. Flowing lumpy texture. Van Goughs paint brush

all over the hillside. Placid lakes

cresting with triumphant mountains, crowned by snow, bordering Italy. Pastel

parachutes drop from the sky

while voyeurs clap politely. Potatoes and cauliflower and cheese sauce. Wine

and pairs of kisses on cheeks.

Like sweet treats for the foreigner. Again, butterscotch skin with raspberry

squares on prominent

 

cheekbones. Soft shorn rabbits in refined gait. On promenade. Country houses. Heavy maple wood.

Atavistic bathtubs sporting contemporary shower massage. Me flipping through

an English-French

Dictionary to turn away from unaccommodating French chatter. Looking up the

word "sex".

"What are you looking for?"

 

Asks the prettiest rabbit I know."

"Rabbit"

"Pourquoi?"

Silly laughter

"Je ne c’est pas."

Fluent when asking,

"What is that?"

or saying

"I don’t know."

Beyond is ridiculous.

When first I called, (from debilitating dissolute Barcelona) her voice... So

kind, so sweet. I bounced away

from the phone on springs.

"Of course. You are welcome as long as you wish..."

 

And when I arrived and was asked how long I would stay I answered cautiously.

"A few nights…"

Drawing a remonstrative stare.

"You will stay one month or until you grow tired of us."

And she inviting me to stay one year to study French literature. And I don’t

know how to respond because it

could happen. I could be happy here. But demurring weakly because I cant

think of a reason not to.

"You’d have to speak to your husband."

"I have..."

 

She elegantly making music on the piano. Playfully picking guitar strings

with alacrity always, and skill. A

natural enthusiast because she feels no hindrances. Blind sanguine

enthusiasm so that one wants to warm

one’s soul near her internal conflagration. And pat her petite derriere.

 

And her fifteen year old daughter lurking around the house apathetic enough

to be curious. I wonder if I made it in her diary. That might be good enough for now.

Night

Falling and sleeping. Remembering. The fourth of July in small town Willows.

Crabgrass hot night.

Squatting in refreshing grass to spring up and catch burning ash from explosions in the sky night. Smiling, reaching, burning the palm. Mom smiles.

"It will burn"

Not hearing her. To have a piece of god in your hand. Smiling, reaching.

Faces sitting, watching in the dark

grass.

 

Burning my hand.

Day

The eyes searching. Absolutely vulnerable. Pleading for safety. Longing for

trust. Scars of abuse flicker in the black pupils. Relentlessly innocent. Complete abdication.

The upper lip joined in the center to drape over the lower. Giving her face

a pleasing angular quality. The

narrow lower jaw elegantly accentuating prominent cheekbones. A Victorian

nose. If such a thing exist, it exists here..

 

She looks as though she’s been waiting for me.

Fear and trust wrestle in her eyes, through her brain and heart. I feel good

and tender and strong to her. My

skin is smooth and my kisses deep and playful. Always peering back into

those dark eyes unafraid. Because

she feels damaged I can move with delicacy. Because I’ve been damaged too. I

can squeeze and coddle and

lick her the right way.

 

* * *

Squatting on toes, rocking. Breathing deeply. Upper torso pleasantly

constricted by bulking jacket. Feeling

singularly whole. Self aware staring off of the rocky ledge at glistening

panorama. Enraptured staring.

Fighting the urge to blink. Magical sheet of water flickering. Refracting

creeping sun beams. Visible columns

 

of light emanating from visceral sun. A stones throw away here on Gods knuckles.

Amazing what hallucinations may come of sunlight and placid water. Light

spinning off of glistening pockets

of light. Dancing, morphing, thickening into beams. Blink. Then diminishing

back into splinters of white light

dancing in perpetuity. Iridescent pockets gleaming like diamond mines risen

to the surface of water.

 

In other places a light polished sheen over previously opaque bed of water.

The sun flirtatiously creeping

over the edge of implacable mountain. Peering, to throw granules of light

onto eager lake water. Water now

refracting potentiality in the form of light. Blink.

 

Lights diminish, still winking as strong mountains rest stoically. Unmoved

by the luminescent flirtations of

sun and water.

They lock, these mountains, stiff jawed. Striations zipping down their

powerful torso. Peppered by soft trees

to fall onto and bounce back up defiantly. Somersaulting through frustrated

gravity. Only to play and suck in

this view. To absorb a piece of it’s beautiful natural insouciance. A human,

as insignificant as a granule of

pepper.

 

Dragging treaded boot along cleaved rock underfoot. To jumpstep up chaotic

stones. To see her behind on

the grass. On a blanket staring at me. Looking back at the warm vision

ahead. Sun reaching and tickling at

the surface of the water. Supine at the front of implacable Promethean cliffs.

 

She writing in a small book now. Feeling reflective. While I am translucent.

You can see through me. Brain

sunk to primordial pre-natal dull functionality. Here in the womb of

mysticism. To squat and roll on creased

boots supporting soft padded feet. Minutes dribbling away. Dimly aware that

she looks to be impressed. By

the impression the tableau has made upon me.

 

She thinks I have depth. An eye for aesthetics. She’s sensing a potential

for empathy. Empathy, the great

placater. To assuage one’s isolating fears. To feel not so alone for a few

seconds. When all I want is to be

alone. To sit for hours or days or moments.

But finally that instant arrives when luster lessens just incrementally

enough to break up the magical

equilibrium and kickstart one’s brain like a yank on a cord. One last

consumptive deep breath and alight

from this cliff to where she waits. A woman twelve years older. Who I sense

really wants to be my lover.

More so now. Because I love what I love.

 

Stepping lightly with hands hidden in the big coat. To the blanket where she

awaits writing and periodically

placing pen in mouth. Writing right to left, dyslexic headed, in a small

notebook, about me. I think. About

what she’s feeling amid all of this overwhelming potential. Writing in code

to hide from husband. Writing

about what she is about to do. Peeling off her jacket and two sweaters to

feel air and sun kiss bone. lying

down comfortably close to her. Flat headed, hands and fingers interlocked.

Resting on sunken sighing belly.

Dully wondering what will happen as sun soothes eyelids. A solar

aphrodisiac. Propped up on

one elbow to look at a silent smiling woman. Smiling back. Meaning increasing.

"You like dis place?"

"Oh yes. It’s wondaful."

 

Her loving that I like dis place and me loving that she loves me for liking

dis place. To keep looking at each

other. Holding smiles too long to be trite. Aware and unaware that we are

fecundating atmosphere.

"Hungry?"

"No."

"Nezeer am I."

Answering her with shut lids. Lying down flat to fight urges to pounce.

Shake and kiss her. This married

woman. This older woman. Who. I think, wants me as much as I want to roll

onto her.

"You will be a fat businessman."

 

Opening my eyes to her impish teases. Her right front tooth just exposed,

denting her lower lip. Ready to

play. Looking at her smiling.

"No I won’t."

And closing eyes again.

* * *

(Here the Interview...) Childhood, fidelity, psychoanalysis, paternal problems.

(Here the results...) Heartbeats, quick breathing, crazy lightning, voices,

urges, rationale, Oh my god, a barrel in my throat, chaos, lust, don’t want to regret not...

One quick light angel kiss on the forehead and a second on the chin.

She rolling away. My heart still springing against the chest cavity.

Smashing my own face in the blanket.

"I’m sorry."

She rolled over opposite way. A mouthless voice crawls over her shoulder.

"I have feelings of tenderness for you."

And a soft little hand reaches back behind her. And I take it and kiss it.

"Oh my pretty shit eyes..."

Nights and Days

1)Love in the A.M.

2)Husbands call!

3)The tub, she so so soft, breathing in her skin, those cat eyes burning

through the tepid water, eyes smoldering in the dark Parisian tub like twin saints and sins...

We were doomed.