Petit Soubresaut de Mon Cœur (My Little Heartbreak) (2009)


Photo: David St.-Lascaux

A lite dollop of Fiction by David St.-Lascaux

Terra © Ga. 4.570002009

Please do be 18 years of age or older.

* * *


dedicated with my very all to you, distant glimmerer
first-ever genius goddess, quantum leap for our species
unmade friend

* * *

Mica, mica, parva stella
Miror quænam sis tam bella…

– Children’s nursery rhyme

J’ai faim. You may, too, or have a friend who does. It’s a true fact that those who don’t do everything they can to get the feeling back (because delirium rings bells), and those who do are too ravenous to notice. As for me, it seems I thrive on edge – a common malady, with sustenance in sight but always out of reach.

Though that’s exaggeration. Last week, over continental breakfast, my friend Carmen read the poetry I had given Her in my amateurish, imagined seduction, the stuff about how

he offers her his hands
says they’re instruments to touch her heart
or sever them, take them
nest them in a locket with a velvet lining
keep them warm
(they have a mind of their own)

and said it works, because it’s real, genuine, passionate, about Love. Carmen says if I want an audience, I should write about the Universal Themes (You know them: Birth, the magic dreams of Youth, a little adversity, the flowering of Love, plain vanilla adversity, Family, Rude / Impertinent / Annoying Pest adversity, Friends, Real Adversity, Success, Headfirst-into-the-mud-dirt-in-your-teeth-followed-by-hair-catches-fire-back-breaks-disfigured-paraplegian Adversity, Failure, Vindictive Schadenfreudean Adversity, Loss [Roger, le Professeur, says the kids haven’t been jilted, haven’t lost a job, haven’t lost a parent – yet, and are thus unimpressed by poignancy; it’s all just so much noise to them, he says], Cloying Adversity, Old Age, Triumphant Adversity, Death [Carmen says her poem about death worked because it was about death, about which people want connective comfort: I know just how you feel. My therapist, who saved my life, says it’s all about Eρως and Θάνατος, whoever they are, but he doesn’t socialize with me, like Carmen’s does with her, even though I send him poetry. And She, the subject of this stream, who travels on the abstract plane {thus occupied by neither} proves him wrong, or, more gently, locates him on the mundane.], Fear of the Unknown Adversity and, ultimately, the Unknown), not the arcane musings of a lexical meanderer among unstimulated sulci, the ones that make Frost’s less traveled path seem like The Main Attraction. Which is ironic, since I encountered Her – no surprise – on just such an offbeaten one.

I didn’t “encounter” Her on purpose, and I certainly didn’t think I’d ever fall in love with a dancer. Dancers live in another world, another plane, do they not? (Because I’m so in love with Her, She shall remain nameless, Capitalized.) Looking for a link to a spectacular passage of classical French porn, I “met” Her on the Internet. Told Her I’m an author. Asked to meet Her for a cup of tea. If you believed in stars, you’d say I’m cursed: Naturally, She says She doesn’t speak English, really. You know She’s lying: it’s a natural act, an exercise. She can’t stop exercising; if She does, She’ll die – definitely done dancing. Which for me would be worse than Her received rejection. I need Her to outlive me, not like Nico or Anita, my adopted, departed – if Imaginary – friends.

By now you know that this is shaping up to be a True Story of Unrequited Love, to which perhaps you can relate if you’ve ever had a crush on someone, next summarily demolished. And this one has a twist or two or four (so look sharp), with a pall of heartbreak thrown in for the atmosphere.

Actually, I didn’t know it was possible to fall in love as an adult. You know: We know too much; we’ve lost our spontaneity; marriages expedient, business propositions; we’ve memorized the complications. So we discard people with ease; we turn them on and off at will; we, puissant electronic gods. In this scenario, one could only be a calculating actor. After all, there are still plenty of fish in the sea (Hera, who I recently met seaside, says, well, actually, that’s not true, but that’s another, longer story), and life’s a journey, n’est-ce pas? So when, after the first movement of the performance in which (to which I adventured on a lark) She (the Obscure Object of [My] Desire) danced (before which in the lobby, in self-bolstering bravado, I asked the artistic ticket filly where to take Her, – “the Very” – “to seduce Her” afterwards [her lips patient, pursed, hoping me “a harmless eccentric, probably”; maintaining contact with her shadowed glazzies, my focused mind multitasking down from her improbable pairlet to picture her most certain tribal tattoo and piercing nestled you-know-shaven-where]), I told the retired dancer seated near at hand (buffered by her skeptical male companion, who described the event as cacophonous – same movements, different impressions) that that was how I liked to dance, the very performance after which I gave Her the book of my very best poems (and mark it, I’m no slouch) (yes, I, like David’s loyal dog, talk to strangers, as Whitman did, his exhortation, memorialized for passersby to note – or pass by – on a plaque in the Borough of Manhattan, in the City of New York, etc. [She, exurban mother of three, won’t live there; too hurried. She needs the bluebirds’ song, Kinnell’s lakeside highbush berries, the night’s windwaffe, solitude, but not, somehow, me – or even to acknowledge my existence, and that’s a pity {I know the names of all the stars: brilliant, if you sleep with your eyes open, though probably not enough to qualify me as Her human pet}, and my nonexistential pain. I’d beg Her for a second chance, but I am honorbound {Oubliez-moi: I can’t believe I wrote that}, the Spartan youth; the fox will eat my heart out – better him than me. As you’ll recall, I didn’t offer Her my heart; it left me of its own accord. The carnivore will be not be disappointed, though: in my experience, hollowness is filling in its way, too, Cynara.]; I also tell them that if I seem to talk too much to them – strangers – there’s a switch in my back they can turn off at will, that I will take no offense) told me that children can dance. That as they get older they become increasingly inhibited. This is relevant.

It’s like the musician I tried to flirt with at a party last weekend – offered to go with her to Storm King to ride Lin’s waves (Hell, it’s in my own back yard) (Me, eager with anticipation: “We’ll have a picnic – un déjeuner sur l’herbe; I know a painter….”). No dice: she didn’t bite; but, rather than say, “Sorry, babe, I don’t publicly disrobe on first dates” (“… or do ménage à quatre,” or some such other snarky blow-off) she actually stammered that she would like to see it by herself and I realized that, married at 45, she doesn’t flirt with men at parties, and that when she was 17, a no doubt brilliant nerd, she didn’t either. I could be wrong, but I doubt it: I rarely am, except in cases of judging human nature. Mitigating my feelings of gullibility and ineptitude, the retired policeman-turned-teacher I recently friended IRL told me that humans looked him in the face and lied (he felt betrayed by this life schooling; try to imagine the shock of living in his world – a world where there is no sense, no confidence in Truth! Imagine Milton’s dismay, how much rewriting he’d have to do.). Or maybe it was me – she found me deeply unappealing – looks aren’t everything, but have mercy! Humor us! I was complimenting her feminine charm with the offer of escape! Isn’t that what every woman wants? (My buddy Emma, invoking technicality: Not always….) To be swept away! And fantasy, and mystery! And an inaccessible, forbidden and Immor(t)al Man! And to be 17, and to fall in love again – I know, because Mona, the actress (la femme éphémère), revealed the secrets of the female psyche to me that night (after so many years: better late than never, I suppose. Of course, I forgot them all by morning; every day I erase the slate to maximize surprise.), and that actors have more emotional intelligence than people, that the future has been revealed to her in televised science fiction, and I believed her at that moment because she was so sincere, had such conviction, was so persuasive, had such an honest face.

What’s the point of living if you don’t flirt at parties? Like the husband who thought I was too physically contiguous with his wife (a shame: we could’ve had such copular rapport) (I was; it was conveniently close quarters and my curiosity was piqued by her fine equine dentition, and so there I was, a practicing decadentist – she, au naturel except for an ecru organza tutu and matching piece of nether carpet, playing my Freudian flute with perfect breath technique): Basta, I say, to chatteliers. Or, as Carmen (the operatic siren, not my friend) says, invite me to your parties at your own risk. Men die. Did he think his pre-nup-faithful, cowering, VS1 G (to understate: she, not flawless, ever so slightly included, near colorless)-2-carat-fancy-cut-consumption-accumulation-addicted-and-brainwashed zombie American wife (his arrogate possession [dependent-on-his-supreme-scepter-shaft-turgidifying-lordly-benevolence], reposing in surreal, lingerie ad tupperware tableaux vivants on the grounds of his viceregal real estate McCastle) was going to drop her panties and put out on the coffee table, that I was going to get some then and there, in a roomful of people? Or that she’d give me, with my overdeveloped, undernourished Id, vacillating between nobodyhood and godhead, her number, like in a romance novel, so she and I could have a torrid tryst, a flagrant assignation, a lewd romp, on page 75 (this formula fiction demands a foreplay build-up) while he was at his Vitally Important Day Job? In their matrimonial chamber, their marriage bed itself, even? Sateen-sheet-soaked sacrebleu! I might just be a satyrist, or worse, one who hasn’t had any real sex for twenty years (although they still look good in pictures and in online video, and so young!). One must, I confess, admire his protective urge, and I was about to spirit her into a sequestered room to draw her out, ply her with a beverage (say a Sloe Comfortable Screw Against the Wall with Satin Pillows the Hard Way, with a twist), persuade her to confide in me every juicy bit of her Entire Life, given that she could safely count on never seeing me again. It wouldn’t have taken all that long, mind you, but give me a week, and she’d go feral. She had that look. Maybe I could put out a shingle: Madame Curious, Radiant Headshrinker | Credit Cards Accepted. (You should see me in an orange silk turban with an amethyst carbuncle, chartreuse lipgloss, matching nails, Côte d’Azur [or, better, drugstore] smoked sunglasses, seated at a glitter-sprinkled table. You can be my willing Rube or Ruby, imbuing every muffled murmur with pelagic meaning!) People, listen: Flirt at parties. It’s good practice, exercises your imagination, frees you from the cage of monotonous monogamy, makes better sex following, opens the forbidden doors, creates frisson, uncertainty, instability and maybe even chaos. Who knows?

And so I realized, when they were curing me (like Little Alex D., I was, definitively, cured), that the nurses in whose presence I remarked my sexual frustration never get any, except perhaps the therapeutic kind (massaging the nipples of ecstatic paraplegics – Respect – its effectiveness is documented) with patients to keep them from becoming depressed (the nurses), that they resented me, that they must think me a selfish, privileged ass from the Land of La on their bus rides home from work. Because so much more severe than sexlessness is the lovelessness that so many so tragically experience (bereft wage slaves of the Information Age, home and hearth a TV’s obscene one-sided trompe-l’esprit voyeurism). And I, always the optimist in the face of, as they say, contradictory facts. Let us now bow our heads and pray, and thank a therianthropic Egyptian deity for pets, which will be petted. Like the sly and laughing woman I flirted with who set me up, told me about her bunny, and when I, unguarded, said (innocently, I swear), “they’re soft to pet,” paused, amused, savored, coyly observing me, animate mannikin, fallen into her honeypot (men so easy to ensnare), stepping over that line, because, as her mirthful eyes well know, so’s her pussy, and she just dared me, a stranger, to try that simile in public (or even, breathy, in her ear). A fulsome moment for a poet; would you have done it for the thrill of blushing, and to see her blush? And to cop, mayhap, an audacious, confirmatory feel?

And then there’s the matter of couples’ shared e-mails (the he-she fuse-a-nyms of license plates and dry cleaning establishments). Talk about no fun and no privacy. Like the one I just wrote to an effervescent singer who shares an account with her presumably Siamese husband (I admit I’m intrigued by a couple who can merge not only their finances but also their electronic souls). What fun is that? I find that I’ve a bit of a dilemma: How can I flirt with her disembodied virtual self if her husband is auditing her communications? The KGB lives! (And how will I know the reply isn’t his? What a Turing Test!) I actually felt compelled to say, “___ (hus-e-nym), if you are reading this, please note that I’m merely trying to lure your wife, a total stranger, into professional intimacy” (it was actually a test of her sense of humor, since I’m trying to induce her through the offer of an orgasmatron implantation – the sacral one with a remote, describing it clinically as a Pavlovian investment in on-demand caterwauling, so you already get the idea as to how successful my instincts and forays into human engagement are, but I can’t help it and I don’t care: I have to be myself, and sooner or later, I’ll improbably connect [she’ll be completely mad; it’s all the same to me]. And Her g-string will snap. It’s happened before: there are plenty of fish in the sea). Jeeze, you’d think I was propositioning her. Here’s a prediction: He’ll delete it while she’s mooing in Europa, serviced by her heartthrob matador, her red dress waving in the window, somewhat stained. Bonus for me: One less incoming.

And don’t even think about flirting with men at couples’ parties (although it would be intense to try). The brain doesn’t forget age grade passage tales of circle jerks at 12 (add to list of uses for a paper cup), sitting wide-eyed in a garden park making pastel drawings of bearded iris petals in lavender and cream, we budding artists, the elect. That’s bonhomie, literally. Or Lulu’s dirty 3/5 Army training joke (later); turned out, years later, that her father [MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE] had her and her little sister, too, home early from the factory; such exemplary parenting – so generous to personally give his daughters sex education (now we know why the shades were always drawn); same with cuddly Gina, who gave me a teddy bear and had me take her from behind in revenge on him, the policeman pig, who would not forgive her older sister for not telling their mother (as if she, on hands and knees, shivering, hysterical, scrubbing nonexistent and “disgusting” “filth” off the bathroom floor, didn’t know. She’d get hers next, and not so nice: his third act of sultanic domination would require nonconsensual violence with a handy twist of broom in her menarchic Greek orifice). A man needs female friends, too: they have different stories from a different point of view.


So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

– Sonnet 18

Which brings us to the Great Blow-Off, which, in twelve words or less (Her clearly disciplined modus), went like this (and I paraphrase): “No, I won’t go with you [to see the rockstar now pursuing jazz] because I’m celebrating with My partner.” Well, that’s a nice twist (and nice try, honeybee, but any escrimeur pratiqué [practiced swordsman] has the moulinet riposte [the snapping wrist retort], ready for this; thus:), but I can assure Her that, with the right makeup (or without, to be honest), I’m a damned well better looking woman than Her dickless – get this: poet – fiancée (too-shay… the xyloxiphe, indeed). (In fact, positively evil looking – so it can’t be esthetic.) But I suppose that She, not wanting to die, like Lou Reed’s thorough sybarite in Some Kinda Love, must feel compelled to experiment to avoid missing one, because that “would seem to be groundless.” And not being pansexual would be so unhip.

Or maybe she has a truly loving relationship with a kind-hearted wonderful woman like herself who deeply cares for her, that transcends anything she’s ever experienced in her life, including her past true and heartbreakingly lost loves; that transcends the motions and emotions of our sphere, the artificial baggage of the body, the softing sound of respiration, who makes her heart beat joyfully, makes her feel released. Maybe she’s fulfilled, pacific. Maybe she is safe at last, her fears and uncertainties about her future alone in a foreign land relieved. Maybe she deserves a chance to love and to be loved – a beautiful thing. Did you ever think of that, Dave-O? And maybe she has friends enough (or too many), can only process so much at a time, and you’re too much for anyone to handle anyway, even at half throttle. Maybe you’re destined to be alone, because you, you’re not like anybody else. Go, get thee to a nunnery; the water is waiting; I’ll throw you the posies.

So how about not missing my kind, I cheerfully propose, the kind in which the brain is the ultimate sex organ. (Carmen: How trite! You think that you’re the only one?) And then I realize that that is the kind She’s always having with Herself and Her dance, having sublimated Her entire life through somatic creativity and the physical discipline of practice unique to Her profession. And anything outside is irrelevant; as the celebrity Bob Dylan said, “She’s got everything She needs.” And now She “paints my daytime black.” These guys all borrow from each other; and now, with Her embedded in my humid hothouse mind, I’m totally effed for the foreseeable, sentenced to live the rest of my life attempting to embrace empty air, without even a gesture from Her. Not that I could bear one. Thus, poetically, the equal and opposite nonreaction is succinctly summarized in three quatrains and a couplet. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s fuck? fuck fuck fuck fuck: fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck. And, fuck again, this makes Her famous forever.

OK, I did express, I admit, shall we say, ahem, an erotic love interest (an experienced playa sportsman Casanova [and probably any fool] would’ve known not to do this when cultivating Her) and sent Her my explicit “Vermeer’s mistress” (My suggestive, plucking Muse Erato, sighing in exasperation: No, no, no. Not till after you’ve bagged her.). Was it the line about romantic copulation? Nein. Human heroin? Nyet again: it was more mundane. When you gave Her the book, Her eyes glazed over, which makes perfect sense: In the realm of the avant-garde, it is logical that every single effing one of Her devoted effing fans sends Her his / her very effing best poetry, some of it, no doubt, incidentally effing worthy (listen closely: you will hear, far off in the distance, deep into the night, their keyboards aclatter), to express undying adulation and abject fandom, so that strategy would not make one stand out, now would it, fool? And you, kind reader, were hoping I might be somewhat intelligent? How utterly daft! How pitifully naïve! (I won’t be offended if you stop reading here.) All She reads is poetry, the more incomprehensible the better. She is, after all, a modern dancer.

So, as I say, when I gave Her this precious, handmade thing, She said and asked, “It’s beautiful, is it not?” (Carmen: Yes, but you still could be a stalker; they come in cunning shapes and sizes.), and my jaw dropped. Quelle insulte! Of course it’s beautiful, it’s a piece of my effing beating heart ripped from my chest, served up bloody tartare for Your mind’s ears’ and tongue’s and other senses’ (no need to list them, you get the idea) delicate delectation. And here’s a sharp knife and fork with special, pain-inflicting tines. You just know She dropped it in the trash on Houston: She hadn’t any choice: it was life’s jetsam (and you collateral casualty); smart money travels light; materia corrupt; adversity nutritious.

To appreciate the inappropriate absurdity of your weird, attempted contact, ask yourself: Did She send you Her poetry, unasked for, in hopes of approbation? Of course not; why would She? Did She say to you, “Stranger, I’ve heard that you’re worth meeting, so permit Me to rhapsodize about… your genitalia” (or my personal favorite, Number One in the seduction community’s best-selling Ten Ways to be Irresistible to Women handbook, “… your mother’s bashless bucking in the course of your conception”)? Did She considerately, submissively, inquire, in perfect English, “Will you be bringing date rape drugs, or shall I bring my own?”? In. your. dreams.

And She and Her conjugal sweetie write their very own, anyway, thank you very much, in alternating lines in twining pas de deux in uninvented glyphs, making you and all the other mere inditers simpering, maudlin, unremarkably coherent also-ran competitors. A sonnet? Please. She’s looking for asemia from unexplored dimensions, not trite colored vowels, besotted bateaux or simpletons’ summers’ days; only les accents circonflexes, cedillas and choreographic arrangement notation; no, actually, make that transmissions from other galaxies. (If She had a telly – which She doesn’t – She would quickly tire of its snow.) And you’re so tediously terrestrial. Your both feet are even on the ground (literally unlike Hers), like Nala, who, we read, made both women and men sexually excited (viz., in gilded multimedian miniatures, bonkin’ two-fist Viagral lingas; gynormous, smooth-slit camelhair-brushed labia; involuntary moaning; eloquent eight-lane fingernail redrider rutstripe welts scrawled screaming arching down your back; climax hyperventilation; and livid purple hickeys the exact size and shape as the opening of a cocksucking mouth to celebrate Her Name Day), by virtue of his charismatic masculinity. [And that’s the pale version, the mythoplasmic procreative; my intellectual setting so vastly, deeply cummier.] But unlike Damayanti, Nala’s long-eyed nubile belly-shimmying, tribhangan betrothed, and Mona’s willing and erotophilic women, She’s not looking for a mortal, so you are decidedly inferior to perfection. She’s got mirrors and fanmail, Her male-children, the aforementioned bluebirds, bushel basketsful of fanpoems to light Her winters’ fires, solitude and Her «very real» partner. As to “Show me something I haven’t already seen”: That’s not exceptional either, because that’s what She does every workday: dance the undanced, explore the nonconcrete ineffable[!] unknown. So get lost, man of clay: jinnīyah are at work aquí.

But I digress. In re the Blow-Off, we continue: To which I replied, “Jamais?” Humiliating blunder, though from Her standpoint, the shortest path to checkmate. Electronic text dehumanizes us, and makes dismissal a simple matter of textuality, at which Her anklet-belled scissors are most assuredly adroit. Inbox to Reply to the next gig. A typical modern e-lationship. She replies in the affirmative: “Mais oui, jamais, au revoir, Auf Wiedersehen, bonne nuit, The End, Finito, Fini.” The Curtain (this one not followed by applause). Snip, snip. No plié, no jeté. No reset button. Just un pas d’un pour vous and a sincere, kindhearted, artful “thank you for your beautiful poem” (the one in which you gave yourself away as a weak-minded Romantick):

… the day before,
charting the campaign for your conquest
with a close friend in the mediæval garden
among espaliered pears, bedstraw,
sparrows, columbine

– I would so cheat if I could! –
mix the magic plants and make you fall
hopelessly in love with me…

and empathic, tender “best wishes with your writing” in twelve words or less, no less. Leaving me détruit. Because how many times do you seriously try to meet someone and they actually say no? Ce n’est pas possible! My friend Jean told me I should try anyway. That people may be afraid to approach Her, and what did I have to lose? My friend Fidel said, Plenty, and he was right. Sure, you win some, lose some. Es el béisbol. Still, this has never happened to me before. And rationally: What’s the point of celebrity if you don’t dandle groupies for diversion? I’d lick the soles of Her feet, suckle Her twinkling toes’ tips, massage Her temporal lobe – whatever gets Her limbic system off. But vanish forever? That’s cruel, unusual, punitive, harsh. Has She no noblesse oblige?

How could She know that my life depended on it, Ryan’s Big Wager? Note to self: First, don’t make bets like that again: It’s like Russian Roulette with only two chambers; it’s like admitting you’re a lovelorn fan, a potential stalker (wait, isn’t that the dictionary definition of the word “man”?), another pathetic, lonely, friendless guy seeking the Perfect Unattainable Fantasy Woman of His Dreams – a modern Venus Willendorf (the prototype for fetish porn).

Except that I’m not. These are P2P presumptions. That said, not having been the object of a une campagne de cœur, or being a celebrity, I haven’t a clue, and can only speculate what transpired. Let’s take a shot: First, the Rule of Asymmetry. For celebrities, relationships are never symmetric. To repetitiously reiterate: Fans submit to Her their most sincerest poetry. Men and women send offers of marriage, Penelope’s Odyssean suitors, fantasist, serious. All send accolades, encomia, emovomitus. Ignoring clinical overanalysis, let’s consider this dis- and compassionately. It would seem to be impossible to have a symmetrical relationship if others’ groveling was the baseline of your life. How could you ever thank them all? And why should you ever adore any of them? You’re better: They, and the world tell you so. It may not be fair, but you are Pandora, and they’re not. If everyone’s a fan, what peasants! No peers. I read today that a social scientist observed that it’s hard to be loved (it makes us uncomfortable, beholden), that we don’t wish to be, especially by strangers. So imagine the situation of the celebrity, constantly told by adulants how unique, special, Lamed Vavniky She is. You can’t love anyone who says that: It’s human nature. Or what if, in your mind, you’re not so lovable inside? What if you think you’re undeserving? At what point would you switch it all off? Ten, twenty years? You’re twenty years too late! She’s ruined, jaded, lost, worn out, adult. Even if She could let you meet Her, She wouldn’t feel a thing. Time, not love, conquers all. But don’t demoralize your sons, Milady: Tell them that it’s not that men are useless nullities (although a cloud formation moving mouth [or so it seemed to me, the talkative peyote] at Storm King said She might indeed regard me as non-entity – a starring black hole role! and existential paradox [to be… oh, never mind]), it’s just that as celebrities, they’ll have to fend off women the same way You did me: clean, cold, final.

Second, the Rule of Mystery (and the Mutually Accepted Principle of Suspended Disbelief subrule: you paid, She danced [to entertain: you knew it wasn’t real, wouldn’t have it any other way]; let’s not pursue the implications of this line). This should be the first rule, being, as it is, analogous to Biblical Divinity. For just anyone to see Her offstage, feet on the ground – y a pas d’danger – too dangerous, irresponsible. She could singlehandedly bring the world to an abrupt, disastrous end if humanity (or you, for instance) lost Belief in the Illusion, the memory of the only hour worthy of the word life itself, the hour spent (ironically) unknowingly, passively entranced, under the spell of Her True and Rapturous Talent. I mean this sincerely.

Third, the Rule of Control. Even if you might be of interest, you approached Her. Like a genius grant referral, that nets you a zero, violates the rules of engagement. When She said She’d e-mail you, She meant it – that She is in charge of Her destiny. Just don’t hold your breath. (Hello? She actually did say Never – so sorry.)

You have to understand: I’m needy. My friend Alex tells me that I’m a bare bundle of nerves, intense; I need connection, a Roman orgy with the fixin’s: emetic plumes, exotic animals, live online chat, gatherings of masturbating avatars, whatever; all free of STDs, risk of real contact, loss, pain. Or maybe we all just need more lives to live – and wreck – recklessly. (This will be granted in the future, at which point you [and every other drooling, gutter-faced malefan] can sit soberly, reverently in Her holographic presence as She does Her box splits, Her arabesques, as your mind mounts and remounts Her electromaginary metered nymphic mound in every possible position, until, cross-eyed, unelastic, balls drained, you run out of time, money, life.) I can’t afford, I think, to have lost Her, at least not pre-emptively. How could She?

Here’s how: Not everyone walks on air the way I have. Never the complete shipwreck, always my imagination, as Browning hopes in his solipsist Pauline (here admiringly rewritten and restructured):

… And of my powers, one springs up
to save from utter death
a soul with such desires confined to clay –
which is the only one that marks me:
an imagination which has been an angel to me –
coming not in fitful visions, but beside me ever,
never failing me…

She’s French, 36, living by Her wits in a universe of Her own creation. A Woman with real, practical considerations, bills to pay, planes to catch. And you want to what? Play? Ludicrous. Not everyone is living an idle mindbent life in relative security, as you are, you remind yourself. She has no time for toys, or even recreation. She would be bored, and She will not be bored; Her mind is moving much too fast. You are an inconvenient distraction – a subplanar trog. Her time is precious. She is gifted. To state it crudely, in terms She thinks you’ll understand: Go get intimate with a warm, raw piece of liver; say Her Name if you must, if it makes you feel better. Put Her picture on your wall; keep a copy in your wallet. You’re the Fan. 3, 5, 3, 5, 3, 5, 3… oops, that was quick. And all because you said Her Name.

My famous, charmed friend Theodore, transmitter of cryptic valentines, once proclaimed typographically that “Nobody Promised Fair,” but I, forever the optimist, didn’t think it applied to me. How could it? I, Somebody (surely), the Self-Entertaining, un Poisson Volant. And especially now, when it matters, when I am most needy, hungry for inspiration, lit up, passionate. Vulnerable.

As you can see, I don’t get out much, am easily entertained. And you know Lin’s waves are so Rorschachianly feminine, sexual, Sapphic: Duchamp’s Standard Stoppages, the curves of the harem, the humps and rills, seeds planted in the seams, the spasms of the flopping heart of human sacrifice, the salty taste and smell of blood and semen mixed with cunt juice smeared between one’s loins. And the Philosopher King Plato prescribed, confident that none would ever actually exist: Nezahualcoyotl, the Hungry Coyote, in the flesh, a poet to boot. He was hungry: He shouted Ohuaya, ohuyaya! as if his life depended on it. His women had big flowers plaited in their hair, plein air mammalammas (can we have just one public day of this per year?), and he didn’t have to beg: they spread their legs compliantly, his two hands in the proverbial birds’ bushes. His society called poems flowersongs. What catalysis! A poem having the beauty and fragrance of a tropical flower (not the prim & proper Black-eyed Susans of New England or the timid, trod-on Heathers of the Western mountains, but frangipani big as your head or Yakshini Malini double D-cups, [if I may,] melons, bromeliads [the kind that come with the big snakes], the narcissine stink of equatorial perfume in Barnes’s tribadic jungle), the emotional seduction of song, the murky melodies bubbling in the lower brain, the bongo beat of life itself. For them, a poem or poet was no four-letter word, but rather the stuff of paradise, the very stuff of soul.

Alouette, gentille Alouette
Alouette, je te plumerai

Is life mundane? In the sense that the world is where we live, yes. What I learned about the avant-garde was this: that anything popular, say, Dylan’s Temporary Like Achilles (“Honey, why are you so hard?”), is trivial, irrelevant, on a lower plane, literally, to the experimental cohort, like a canned, formulaic science experiment. So I might be moping around with Visions of Johanna “conquer[ing] my mind” and even entertain the idea of asking Dylan himself to go to Her place to serenade Her (maybe he could land Her with a mellow, soulful Te Quiero or a smooth, mesmeric Sea of Love; it could happen) (on second thought, nah, not a chance; he’s much too famous, wouldn’t take my call. But what if he would?). I bet he’s never been hired to do that before; that nobody’s stood in Her courtyard, made Her wet like that. Because I’m humble, I’d have to owe him (G*d knows he doesn’t need more poetry). With my luck, She’d have a dog named Dylan, and Dylan would lose some trouser material if he was lucky. But I wouldn’t know where to send him: She blew me off, remember? And no, I didn’t spend the Lindens to find out Her address or number: That would be too easy, would be cheating, and frankly, it would be stalking. It would be Wrong. I have my honor, dignity. Never.

So let’s contemplate the obvious: Is falling in love with a star inherently stalking? Here’s my rationale: I’m not like everybody else. My Dear Uxoria tells me that this is merely a rock song, that my close friend Ray was being ironic, that it was of its time and is so now historical. I say, we don’t remember yesterday. When people lived, on average, to 30, when syphilis was a long, deteriorating death sentence spiral, before birth control, the ’Net. Death the default, people lived then. Romeo would need to work fast; Juliet, not dense, would understand. Living would be, as the N-man said, urgent, rakehell Rochester self-aware and Herr Schubert fully occupied. (Consider lusty Molly, on the last page – 700-something, efficient friend of Time: “… as well him as another….” And then she banged his [Time’s] effing brains out, I promise. Molly – she’s my kind of girl – ripe, practical, cupiscent.) Which is not to say that for Her, life isn’t so. Quite the contrary, it’s because Her life is urgent that She doesn’t have time for the unrehearsed superfluous. Which is entirely the point. So that when one sets aside the gratuitous, asinine throbbing decoy trope of sexual banter, the question, simply, is whether:

As we rush through our important lives, can any of us afford not to pause, to take an offered hand of friendship, to not be open to the possibilities of the beckoning unknown?

I ask this because it’s true: I have no imagination, and this is lifted from the well essentially verbatim. Anyone can do this, like Pollock’s #31, Cage’s 4′33″, Hockney’s Polaroids. You just need tin cans, paint and string, an egg timer, a camera, established fame, two legs, friends, a social life, the last two prescribed for longevity anyway. They’re not as easy to get as store-bought stuff, but they also don’t rot in your refrigerator. If you’ve ever fantasized about how you would do in solitary confinement, don’t ask me: I need every kind of stimulation or I become unhinged. I’m a petavore, high maintenance; ironically my pitch to Her that I don’t require much time or attention. Which, being only partly true, a whopping lie.

So as I say, I fell in love with a celebrity and got an education. I know what you’re thinking: he’s insane, a fantasist. You chide: Aren’t you a bit too old for this? Didn’t you do this at 11? Did you lead a sheltered life? I confess, I was late to the party. Didn’t read the great romances, κτλ, spent my adulthood intellectually destitute in the mines scraping for lucre, dust and quick, painless, unanticipated death. And then what? N.B.: Lucre does buy precious time, and provides food and shelter. Is this what Carm meant by Universal Themes? Does materialism qualify? Got some, lost some, had children, succeeded, failed. Rose from the ashes. (Carm again: You still think you’re the only one?) But it’s not enough consolation in this acute case of the Loves. Fidel says Carmen sounds like a smart woman. He told me, too late, to talk to one of my woman friends about how to proceed, given that women have some experience being wooed.

As I say, all this is true. I have no imagination; consider me Humbert’s court stenographer. Carmen also told me not to try to be 17 again, but Mona, the actress, disagreed. She said: be spontaneous, unselfconscious. We take the advice we like: my cock erect for seconds then; I hadn’t heard the word “impossible”; She, perhaps, not Taken yet. Sorry, Carm.

And because you’re analytical, you reason that maybe She enjoys rejecting sperm injectors, that it’s good for Her Ego, it performs the very function that you wanted to perform by meeting Her in the first place – mutual neurochemical inspiration. That it gives Her a powerful cocktail jolt of estrogen, progesterone, dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin. That it makes Her come and come and come and come when Her lover levitates Her, licking Her clit; in naughty nasty furtive fantasy (unable to extract Her thoughts, Her partner needn’t ever know), She smiles beatifically down on your dejected, pretty face and you, deflated, impotent, an anorchid (the pair ensconced, She gloats, in Her slippery vagina) tragic toro muerto, crushed beneath Her sole, She Kali, trampling victrice, ringed in flames (having set you free from your illusion), in wave upon wicked rippling wave of tantric orgasms as she gasps her lover’s name – oui, Oui, OMonDieu…. C’est si bon, indeed. Êtes-vous heureux maintenant? Can we please move on?

Sublimation is regarded by the social scientist as healthy, as opposed, say, to Napoleon, who marched 400,000 men across Europe murdering, raping and pillaging. This was only 200 years ago (seven generations), giving support to those who say human nature is relatively immutable, creating real impediments for would-be peacetime beaux, but probably invigorating as hell for the murdering rapists, indescribably opposite for rapees and survivors. This is something civilians don’t grasp until too late. However, to maintain order, the troops do need to be controlled, and their physical needs addressed. Comfort women, pin-ups, billets-doux from home (and coming soon: emotive, fluent Asian poonbots [“I love {read: use} your doll!” he beams; she jots her gynoid autograph; he’s none the wiser]). (Diversions unavailable, they loiter, invert, pull each other off – and more; impressive, given men’s limited imaginations.) No wonder She doesn’t trust you. She won’t give you Her number; She did read the first line of the one of the best passionable poems you’ve ever written in your life, which Google obligingly translated into Her langue maternelle (you get warm pleasure from this touch), and pretty quickly got the picture that it was of the lovestruck genre:

she opens: we don’t speak the same language
and anyway I’m expecting someone
so he sends a bluebird and a skylark
which rebel birds (
ces oiseaux rebelles), confounding him,
converse incomprehensibly
(she interprets this as bird-brained)

like Nin’s Elena, for whom no one was ever good enough because she was “always… expecting someone [better/ideal].” And you feel better, seeing that the porny Elena was a hopeless dreamer just like you, and you, too, fictional, this narrative an evanescent figment for unknown, absent readers. Nin sulked that her client complained that her erotica was too cerebral – perhaps like mine:

“She lightly flicked her playful, twisting tongue, lapping at her squirming lover’s unraveling subconscious, spread the moistened petals of her permissive penetralia to reveal her most vivid memories’ scented cavern’s throat, Tannhäuser’s clamgate, ribbed passageway to redolent oblivion; then feeling the primeval urge, flushed and swollen, luminous shy nub, fumbled expertly around its hood, graceful, sportive, kneading, teasing, while the Chorus Oral cooed in vudun rhythm from deepest regions of her soul, ‘make her make me moan.’”

Perhaps she thinks I’m looking for vulgar ’Mer’can Mudwrestling; if so, she misunderstands. Rather, my intentions are transpicuously lambent: to love and belovèd (My Shining Star and Namesake דוד, Poet Prince), inspire and be inspired, to be a friend to friends, share the spilling contents of my fervid mind, to absorb everything, to revel in the ravishment of living. To offer her my hands: to glide along, to shapely sculpt her streaming hourglass; to spin my fingers round the whirly whirling world of her pirouetting mind; to tell her how, in mudrān mime, the air becomes ionic when she moves like that; to nurse my nose bras bas, to smell her ancient axillary odor as she sweeps across the stage of her brief summer in eternity. To pet the untameable animals prowling in her head, gnawing at her human heart, and, yes, to fondle her incarnate sex: to see her in la petite mort. I need her to keep me alive, to teach me how to dance in darkness, become le ballon, to kiss me on the mouth full on, then whisper in her native tongue the secrets of her psyche. I won’t remember; it won’t matter.

And that’s the rub. I could and should have gone down the path I started on. To ask her to tea – no strings, no affect, no agenda – just cool, safe neutrality. But no, I had to come on strong, protesting my infatuation like a bumpkin swain, a china shop constellar Taurus (El Nath’s rude gleaming hornpoint goring her nocturnal river’s reverie [¡cornada!], ripping her white lactic lifted skirt; her pubic gash exposed, first furred, then fingered, then furrowed, then lush and luscious, leeringly lubricious, glistening, gaping, wanton, impudent, ataunt; possessing and possessed, she pulls me in position with her limber, lascive thighs: a subtle intromission, the sudden pelvic plunge, the arcing alternation of legato, saltando, sul tasto, martellato, tempo rubato [elapsing time – or not: it’s far too late], my copious spermatic shooting stars gushing floods of churning cum splashing in her tented sky; she swells, with lips aquiver, her nipples’ Braille stiffly raised, pink clouds glissade across her heaven’s freshly painted chest, her blotchy breasts, her heaving hips: oh, yes, oh Yes, Oh, Very Yes [and] Yes on chanterelle, sostenuto; she shimmers in euphoric radiance, my blissy dripping little star with starry eyes, serene, singing Allelu in voix céleste to me, Who Am and is Heartpounding Satisfied [Voilà – la Seconde Venue, dans le coït, pas moins, Le Tour de Force]).

So much for fantasy; so hard, so unexpectedly I fell for her – for real, and who knows why? Emma told me, really, everyone’s unique, like the chap at the party who said that the 19th Century fin de siècle was a unique time, too, that we shouldn’t congratulate ourselves on the Sixties, or Today, or Tomorrow. Dance through them though we may, he said, we’ll never own them, then they’re gone, we, transients, too; we’re wise now. Emma and he should see her dancing; she should see me. Period. I’ll fuck her brains out; and afterwards, who knows? – maybe she’ll be in the mood for something physical.


P.S.: Carmen tells me to keep writing, find an audience, maybe even admirers. Carmen says that even though I haven’t caught a woman I wish to, “Look at the material!” She’s so smart, and she’s my friend. – D S-L

* * *

souviens-toi de moi, âme de lumière

* * *

Audiography (YouTube)

Alouette. (YouTube).
Andre, Fabian; Kahn, Gus; Schwandt, Wilbur (Doris Day, performer). Dream a Little Dream of Me.
Beatles, The. I Saw Her Standing There.
Berry, Chuck. Carol.
Bizet, Georges (Angela Gheorghiu, performer). Habanera, from Carmen.
Cage, John (BBC Orchestra, performing). 4′33″.
Cooke, Sam. You Send Me.
Dixon, Willie (Howlin’ Wolf, performing). Spoonful.
Dylan, Bob. She Belongs to Me.
Dylan, Bob. Temporary Like Achilles.
Dylan, Bob. Visions of Johanna.
Ensler, Eve. The Vagina Monologues: The Moans.
Grever, Maria (Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti, performers). Te Quiero.
Herzog, Arthur, Jr., and Holiday, Billie (Billie Holiday, performer). God Bless the Child.
Hicks, Dan. Milk Shakin’ Mama.
Jones, George, Edwards, Darrell, Grier, C. (Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, performers). That’s All It Took.
Jones, George. You’re Still on My Mind.
Kinks, The. I’m not like everybody else.
Kinks, The. Lola.
Long, Frederick, and Stevenson, William. Devil With The Blue Dress.
Mercer, Johnny, and Carmichael, Hoagy (Maxine Sullivan, performer). Skylark.
Modern Lovers, The. Pablo Picasso.
Mozart, Wolfgang (Jill Crossland, performer). Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, K265.
Orbison, Roy. In Dreams.
Phillips, Phil (Shakin’ Stevens, performer). Sea of Love.
Redding, Noel (The Jimi Hendrix Experience, performing). She’s So Fine.
Rolling Stones, The. Gimme Shelter.
Rolling Stones, The. Paint It Black.
Schubert, Franz. Alfonso und Estrella, op.69, No. 1.
Seress, Rezső (Iva Bittová, performer). Gloomy Sunday.
Trenet, Charles. La Mer.
Trenet, Charles (Jacqueline François, performer). La Mer.
Trenet, Charles (Django Reinhardt, performer). La Mer.
Twitty, Conway. It’s Only Make-Believe.
Velvet Underground, The. Some Kinda Love.

* * *

Literary Bibliography

Bataille, Georges. The Story of the Eye.
Browning, Robert. “Pauline.”
Dowson, Ernest. “Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae.”
Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.”
Joyce, James. Ulysses.
Kinnell, Galway. “Last Gods.”
Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita.
Nezahualcoyotl. “The Flower Tree.”
Nin, Anaïs. Delta of Venus.
Rimbaud, Arthur. “Le Bateau ivre” (”The Drunken Boat”).
Rimbaud, Arthur. “Vowels.”
Ryan, Kay. “Nothing Ventured.”
Shakespeare, William. “Sonnet 18.”
Whitman, Walt. “To a Stranger.”
Whitman, Walt. “To You.”

* * *

Poetry by D. St.-L

Nabokov’s Interim, or Nezahualcoyotl’s flowersong

A finer thing, a garland verse
to tour the Hungry Coyote’s mind
ohuaya – bloom – six hundred years

A choir sings of material things
turquoise, shell and coral chips
bemask his artificial face
Were his lips red?
What filled his mouth?

Here’s what:
“Even jade disintegrates…
even the quetzal feather fades…
We’re not here long”
(then gone for good)

A florid theme to ruminate
in aggregate or solitaire
Ohuaya, ohuyaya!
he sang, full-throated,

* * *

songbird proposition

She opens: We don’t speak the same language
and anyway I’m expecting someone
so he sends a bluebird and a skylark
which rebel birds (ces oiseaux rebelles), confounding him,
converse incomprehensibly
(she interprets this as bird-brained)

He palavers: Don’t you agree
that every one of thirty-six (Lamed Vav Tzadikim)
should have a private poet confidant, an exotic muse musician,
a random secret liaison – an insignificant other?
(mildly alarmed at such presumptuous temerity,
she reiterates the “language border”)

He hires surrogates, who sing
and play a plaintive Spanish serenade
lit by a midsummer moon
(although she doesn’t understand a word,
she admits that the tenor, at least, has promise)

He offers her his hands
says they’re instruments to touch her heart
or sever them, take them,
nest them in a locket with a velvet lining
keep them warm
(they have a mind of their own)

or better yet, he hazards, hopefully
keep me in a cage:
I’ll trill songbird songs for you
in a foreign language
and a familiar one

* * *

Your Majesty
(Salve Regina)

You sit enthroned in burgundy,
Queen Mother to the angels.
A dog walks in.

“Yes, I can talk”
and you talk, compulsively
about God and evil, yin and yang,
motive and cynicism,
and spirituality tendered by adversity.

You are Queen:
Happy regent to the entire horizon.
Will the good dog go to hell?

Here’s an argument:
He is loyal.
In limbo, his wagging tail
will amuse wandering philosophers
indifferent to uncertainty.

You were born gracious, pure and noble
everything a queen should be.
You converse with a dog
because you are obliged
because he is a novel breed
because his nature is to please
and to need
and you, God save you,
you are Queen.

* * *

wishes and rain

sometimes the rain starts softly
sometimes hard
when you sent regrets
(polite jamais)
the rain came gently
the iris barely flinched

I knew that harder stuff would follow
the day before,
charting the campaign for your conquest
with a close friend in the mediæval garden
among espaliered pears, bedstraw,
sparrows, columbine
– I would so cheat if I could! –

mix the magic plants and make you fall
hopelessly in love with me
in tendriled tendresse intertwined

the sun came out
the big drops fell
but no rainbow
just your wishes on my head
and mine, hapless, pelted
by the sky in tears

* * *

Vermeer’s mistress

What can I conjure?
I chase you, laughing
down cobbled streets
in humid air
to lovelit lowlands
by the sea

Who will you be?
A lady wearing fur and pigment
fertile, lifting milk and pearls
you’ll drown atlantic time
with music from a clavier
you’ll read love letters
your wishes will come true

Where will we venture?
We will go back
to a plain room
in a Dutch house
built on merchandise and spice
wrapped in cannibal tapestry
from the Tropic of Capricorn

What will we do?
We’ll wet our lips
we’ll take our clothing off
we’ll lie in a bed of down and oak
we’ll make romantic love
we’ll listen to the livestock
outside the open window
we’ll daydream, indolent
of human heroin

Will you love me again?
The question is, will I concede
that you’re not who you seem to be
my fingered hopes so delicately put
on barest pliant linen, stroked,
luminescent, hanging
on the wish that we

* * *

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