I don’t know why writing always has this feel for me. Like I am chasing after a huge mass rolling downhill, faster and faster. In a way it is exciting; trying to catch these words and ideas before they escape me. I look at the errors i make in my writing, and they often give me clues as to the way I think. Lots of replacements of homonyms – I am thinking more in sounds than in concepts when it comes to formulating an idea. But it is at the same time a little intimidating, I often find myself not wanting to sit down and write simply because I am made uneasy by this feeling of losing ideas that would otherwise slip into the passe all by themselves.
I feel like I am chasing these things away rather than letting them diffuse away at their own rate. The smaller, less important images first, and the larger, headier, more involved notions later by a standard principle of a random walk.
Like perfume in a crowded room.
She looks up at the concrete over our heads and sighs. she tells me that she is a free woman now, that it is over. On her birthday, she adds.
“Was he nice about it?” I ask. “Did he aim for your birthday?”
“I just feel bad because I should have done it earlier. He was expecting.”
She looks so good tonight in her solemnly festive black dress that spills so nicely over her classy fishnet stockings bound by the straps of her delicate but just-a-little-threatening high heeled-dancing shoes.
Later in the night, after everyone has left, we will remain there, dancing in her room as the sun comes up, cheek to cheek. Her, free, and me, not, but at the moment there is only this dance. I can smell her.
She tells me she is drunk… I can feel the heat of the party still radiating off of her body, and I believe her. “One more song,” she says, for the fifth time maybe, and I am glad she is insisting, or I would have already gone to bed and missed these moments.
And it all comes down to these moments, doesn’t it?
At the risk of feeling like a spectator at the aquarium that is my life, I feel this odd distance that allows me to see the larger patterns at work here.
The rocking back and forth of a van full of Lithuanians chanting a national hymn called “3 million,” and understanding the emotion in the words enough to claim to be fluent in this language.
They are my friends in a way that I can not often be with native English speakers. We hide behind the language, the cleverness therein, and forget that what it can be about is this.
The steam of alcohol on your breath and a crooked smile that accompanies a situation that would never come to pass in more lucid times.
But i can look around the room that is before me, seeing the image that unfolds, and understand that this is one of the moments that truly belongs in my life. there is a blanket of sadness, a fleeting quality.
We know that we are living in a paradise and that it will end so quickly.
This is my seventh paradise, maybe, and I am worried that I will soon run out.
Japanese laisser-faire to middle school rebel to high school dropout to MIT kung-fu Obi-Wan to circus school debasement and squalor to the high-stakes gambling and image pawning of show-production to this odd mix of international politics and romance… wabisabi.
The further I go through my life the more willing I am to stare at nothing and see something. I don’t know if I am deceiving myself, or if I am more in tune to the subtleties in shading of a white wall.
A wall of cricket-chirps and frog-cricking in a rice paddy.
A fucking rice paddy.
To be in Japan, again, finally, even, and in the end, it seems like another step, nothing mystical at all, but rather an inevitability. One drunken step after another, one friend met and departed.
I love these people, the ones dancing in front of me.
She will accuse me later of having given in to my supposedly long-abandoned habit of showing off.
“I like to live my everyday life so that a person watching me will not know that i am an acrobat,” I said, proudly. like I this makes me a fucking prince.
But these women are showing off too, and I would be callous not to appreciate it in good fun. I am jealous of the way that they can move, and the way that they are hanging from the rafters in the ceiling. There are moments of real poetry in what they are doing. A duet of sexy pole dancing that has an added element of something lost.
The stage is perhaps wasted on performers. I would so much rather paint these spaces with the people that I really love. Like the people that I am at this party with.
The Japanese boyfriend feels a little out of place, but he is here all the same, and talking, too, god bless him.
The little dramas and the comedies that are intertwining and playing out on this wine-spattered tapestry.
We are representing a whole country here.
I know every word that is passing from one mouth into the ears of the other. they are singing about me, but I do not know the specifics.
I understood a lot, here, with these people who have not forgotten how to live, as I had.
I remembered a good part of it, and I discovered things that I had never known.
I learned how to dance for myself, and how to dance for an audience. I learned how to dance with a partner.
I learned how to hold a woman closely, to press her close to me and breathe the same air as her; to strip everything away from the experience except for our emotions.
Before I would have fucked it up with a stupid comment, or tried to rationalize it away for myself, and in doing so, lost out on the deluge of colors that I am only now starting to appreciate as another side of life.
It is like seeing an abstract painting after a lifetime of hating this pretentious shit, and all of a sudden, having it come together and touch me in a way that is so real and incommunicable.
Perhaps I was hooked on my own insistance that that which is not communicable is not real, and therefore indescribable emotions are a reflection of a weakness in the communicator rather than another class of life experiences altogether. One that you need to plunge into completely in order to fully experience. No tethers, no ties, no safety lines.
The only one you are cheating is yourself, here. And you will know if you are cheating. and if you are trying to hide the fact that you are cheating from yourself. And if you are trying to hide the fact that you’re hiding the fact that you are cheating from yourself…
When you really go skinny dipping for real, without trying to hide anything, that is when you are skinny dipping. Not when you are telling yourself “it is OK, I am with friends,” or “at least this is a quiet part of the lake” or “in my g-string is basically naked.” when you are just naked and wet and don’t give a fuck, that is when you are maybe about to understand some modern art. or a haiku. or fucking Chopin, for Christ’s sake!
I am getting a private chair-dance from four beautiful Lithuanian women at once, and not thinking about anything other than how beautiful they are.
Later on, sure, I am examining the fuck out of the situation, but at the time, I was able to just be there, like eyes stuck in a brain.
Her fishnet stockings are torn.
The shoes are untied now, and thrown up against the door. Eviscerated.
Hair salon style mussed and the dress is crumpled in a corner somewhere.
The sun spills over the mountains onto the balcony where a smoldering cigar teeters on the edge of a tin ashtray.
Mist churns, rolling off the treetops into the valleys. it is just starting to boil away in the pale blue of the Japanese morning.
This is a horizontal light.