by Ron Porter
Let me sit in the dark a while longer, like a stranger to myself. I cannot
face the woman who lays sleeping in the next room. My hand flutters over the
letter I have penned. Mari, I can't take this feeling of uncertainty. I
have lost all sense of time, place and being. I am lost to all. By leaving, I
feel to regain some sense of myself, though I long to be with you. But I can't take this waiting -- waiting for you to get off work, waiting for you to
touch me. And then to have you reject my touch. Oh, Mari, I cannot take it.
I must leave. All I think about is you. Like an uninvited guest, despair
knocks at my door.
Wait a minute, am I a man? No, I do not have the strength. Our story runs
through my head over and over. It began along the highway. I was
hitchhiking to Pamplona in Spain. I had read about the running of the bulls
from Hemingway. I was on the road, a vagabond. Rides were easy enough in
France. I had packed my scant belongings, and I was free to roam. I had no plans
other than going where my thumb pointed me.
I saw her look my way. Her sidelong look indicated that she would pick me
up. Like a romantic fool, I bent down and plucked a few roadside flowers.
I threw my pack into the car, then I caught my breath as I handed her the
flowers. Her face was white like cream and her hair was jet-black. Her gaze through
dark eyelashes penetrated my meek offering; she simply laid the
flowers on the dashboard. I sat with my hands folded in my lap. She startled
me by asking, "Are you American?"
But it was her second question that ran through my heart like a saber thrust --
"What do Americans do when they are sad?"
I can't remember what my reply was. Probably something stupid, but words
seemed only a pretext. Suddenly it became a question decided by a fork in
the road. Archchon was to the right, while Pamplona was to the left. She
answered it for me by veering to the right. I sat back, somehow reassured
that I would have my way with this girl. All I had to do was to be.
Doesn't the passion of rejection come from being moved?
We drove in silence. The highway gave way to a two-lane road that led to a
beach resort town. She stopped and asked that I wait beside an oak tree for
her to return. I sat and dreamily looked up at the sky and wondered at my
luck. Never had I encountered someone so startlingly beautiful.
Seemingly within minutes she pulled back up, but she was not alone. A
little face peered through the open window. Mari introduced us -- "my
daughter." Every other day she would drive in from Bordeaux to visit her
daughter. No, she was not married, the father of the child lived with
another woman. She changed the subject by asking, "What do you call a hill
of sand?" My answer was helped as we pulled in to park alongside giant
sand dunes. "Dunes," came my reply.
We walked at a slant. The sun-dappled water was scattered with bathers. She laid
out a towel and removed her shorts to reveal a trim bottom. Shyly, I turned
to see where the child was playing, in the upper reaches of the dunes. When I
turned back to Mari she had removed her bathing suit top. She said, "Et tui."
Reluctantly, I removed my shorts. We walked toward the water while my cock
became a sundial. Before I could get to the water, it stood at twelve o'
clock. Sunbathing was new to me. I liked the idea. You show me yours, I'll
show you mine. The water helped me relax, and I felt less the tug of my cock
trying to impose itself. It simply hung heavy. We sat upon the towels and I
gazed at her nipples. My attention was turning on a wheel between Mari's
supine body and the ocean and the dunes and the child playing not far off.
Salt turns into language as I imagine the taste between her legs, our bodies
entwined, her/me naked. Ropes of come traverse the sky. I am bound to the
moment like Oliver tied down. Every time I turn, I see some new portion of her
body. I am younger than melancholy. Her sadness becomes me. I am moved.
We are walking along the boardwalk eating ice-cream cones. Mari says she
will pay partly for a room. Would I stay the night? I ask about the child.
She will take her back, and after a while she will return to our room.
I lay in the dark, naked under cold cotton sheets. Mari is warm. We have not
spoken a word. My touch is shy, but I am hungry. My loins outline the crouch
of her upraised hips. She likes it from behind. This she tells me with
words: "It is the way he fucks me. He doesn't kiss me on the mouth. He fucks
me from behind. And I put my ass in the air. And he fucks me good."
The sound of the ocean adjoins our room. I lick my fingers and slide my
hand like a wet washcloth over her breast. Then I latch
onto a nipple, a nipple like a piece of cordwood, knotty and hard.
I am not a friend to the day. She makes me wait, to only see her. I am not
strong. To be lost is a kind of leaving. These thoughts I jot down as I sit
swooned by a bluesy guitar coming out of a residential brownstone mansion. Upon its stately curb I sit slugging red table wine. I cannot
find myself back in that room, those nights so long ago. I only know this
anguish, this dire uncertainty. I am not strong unto myself. This woman has
painted hope across my hearth. It is for love.
Back, back to that night, came the knock upon the door. Her eyes as a
promise. A smile, a modest smile. Her lips lightly pink. Eyebrows dark,
black pencil dark against stark, translucently white skin like alabaster.
Eyes that penetrate the soul. I just want to kneel and hold her hand. Shyly,
she laughs as I take her hand and I pass my lips across her lips that suck,
tug for my lips. By drawing away my lips I turn full throttle upon her neck.
She receives me like a cat. Her body taut, tawny. I stop kissing her. She
looks at me sadly, and I feel the tears of the Madonna. My heart aches to
cry. She stretches me out like the crucified Christ and sucks my nipples.
Then she starts lapping at my cock. She extorts, twists and
turns, her mouth is liquid fire.
I have to push her away. "No, not yet. I am going to fuck you." I rise up
like a stallion.
Soft light spilling through the green sheen of light seeping from the
bathroom anoints her prone body. Between her cheeks I nuzzle my
nose, sending my tongue out like a relief agent. I lean and pull her up
by the buttocks, then nudge up behind her and pull at her arm. She rises
and turns her lips to meet mine. We are two upraised figures. One arm is
behind her back. Her free hand takes my cock and places it in so sweet a
place, a place musky, warm, alive, squirming like a fish.
How far does the reader want to go?
She went to a palm reader to ask about me. She cooked for me once in a
distracted fashion. She was buggered by life. I was a man free. Having left
family and country, I was autostopping across Europe. I left a Japanese
girlfriend who read Kafka's Country Doctor and who took me to the airport
upon graduation day. Six years before my degree, I took a motorcycle trip
across the States, nine weeks on the road. I told myself that I would go to
Europe. Here I am.
There is more to our story.
The next morning she called me. "Do you still respect me?" came her throaty
whisper over the phone. I felt that the world was a hard place for her. I
wanted to make things right. We talked about parts of the earth, including
Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Malaysia, Melanesia, Micronesia and
Polynesia. I was ready to forgo family and country in one fell swoop. She
would return to Bordeaux. I could come.
I have been set loose. The cat has a life outside the time we took that one
night. She has no time for me. She keeps me like a domestic animal.
I am excited to see her, and it is decided that I will go to Pamplona. She
takes me to the highway. I ask her to marry me. She is uncertain. It seems I
love her. Her eyes tell me the same. She kisses me. I am twenty-eight. Never have I
felt left standing on the edge of the world. Nothing seems to matter. She
holds me like a locket. She looks into my soul. I hand her a hundred dollar
bill as a talisman and tell her it will be starter money. I want only to
settle down with her.
Now, as I write in the dark, I am no longer as hopeful as I was when she left
me along that highway to Pamplona. Then I possessed hope. Now I concede
defeat, I am broken and beaten down by the very blight of my condition
To continue to exist, to know myself apart from Mari, I walk. As dawn
touches off the street and into a spattering of blue sky, I enter the train
station. I see the big clock. I wait until the sun becomes fierce and I
board a train south.
You want to know what the first thing I said was when I caught that first ride,
that ride that carried me away, down to the bulls, the running, the
nightmarish streets of Pamplona, sleeping wrapped in newspaper? "I met
a girl and I asked her to marry me."
I felt I would die in Spain. Anarchy ruled for a night in Pamplona.
We huddled in circles propagating our fears. I left their smoldering fires
and I sought solace as a walker. The cold night transformed the streets to
hospitable. No longer did I harbor fears of violence bred into the
activities of the day -- the killing, the blood-splattered sand. Hooves, men
running, throwing themselves in harm's way.
Gray became dawn that found me a wreck upon a bench, looking up at a sky blue.
Shaking off the cold, I sought out a path filled with sunlight. I had further
I chased my dreams across acres of time. I thought I saw her in Portugal.
Lisboa, where I ran amuck with a band of junkies. We jumped a trolley,
caught a cab, lurked in dangerous places, drank wine, and I sat quiet as
Francisco shot up and laid his Indian head upon my shoulders. That's all
it was: a moment of quietude. We sat in the upper reaches of a park upon
benches. And I watched as each of them had their turn with the needle. Chain
Further to go.
I am back in Bordeaux. This precedes the writing of the note. The note will
be written, all will come to naught.
I call her. She tells me that eight hours later I can see her. Fuck you, my
heart howls. I can't live another moment. I can't suffer, but I do.
Degradation. I am buying wine for a free-spirit. He mixes it with cocola. I
tell him this is no cock and bull story. I love a girl, I tell him. Women pass by
and stop to kiss his beautiful free face and throw gifts at his feet -- joints, money, cigs.
He is playing a three string guitar. He doesn't care. He is living in a
jungle, living up a tree, he sings loudly and plaintive. We drink.
I turn my face to a pane of glass and I see my lips have purpled like a
plum. I have drunk with abandon, my cares to the wind. Mari won't return my
love. Drunk out of a dying sense of self-preservation.
I remove myself from sleeping with her. She lays prone, inviting, lurid as a
gypsy. She calls my hand -- "come to bed."
Do not forsake me. The hour has come. A bell tolls. I close her door and I
sit in the dark. My hand flutters over the page I have written. Alone like
Christ, I give up the ghost. I look not to what I wear, I will be provided
for. I look to the birds who look not after
raiments. And I observe how well their needs are attended to.
Surely someone as lowly as I would warrant as much as a bird.
My hair has grown long. Women present themselves to me, but Mari turns
away. What is it? She cannot decide. It is the child. It is the father of
the child. She is torn. She has placed me in the balance, and I tilt the
scales. I crowd her world. My sense of freedom scares her. She is
ambivalent. Libras cannot decide upon such grave matters of the heart. I
learned this too late.
The river flows beneath the bridge and I sit gazing at the water. It will be
many miles later, but I will meet a girl and she will deliver me from this
torment and doubt. Little did I know it would be via hell. Lured into the
Medina. Head hazy with hash among domes and minarets, by the ocean where the
Rock of Gibraltar looms, I'm in a port city. She lies naked and spent. I run
my hand along my shaven head. I step naked out onto the rooftop. Lights
flicker and the cityscape is cast in shadow and a thin moon hangs waning
upon a night sky twinkling with stars.
And I remember the Arab woman hanging out laundry. Bending at the hip with
eyes veiled. My new companion was fair of skin. We met in Italy. I was in exile,
fleeing the tyranny, the very cruel and unjust love of Mari. The new woman was a
child sent out to find her way in the world. She gave all the right answers.
I delighted in her company. Along the coast of France and down the spine of
Spain. I would pull out and shoot off in her mouth. We would lay for hours
in a field making love. All we did was fuck.
Lackaday lackey, a follower who has no will of his own. Her laconic love was
not enough to lift how insignificant I felt without Mari.
It was not a good idea that I remain under her tutelage of despair, and when
it eventually came to me like a revelation, that I had to get up and leave, I did
Her smell combined with the wet masonry ruffles the edge of my mind's eye.
I have them clinched tight. I am fucking her but thinking about Mari. I
turn her over and drag her to the side of the bed. Her open mouth and red
cheeks excite me to no end. I tell her to jack my dick.
She can't help it, she loves to suck cock.
I push her mouth away. She leans back on her arms, panting and squirming.
Her Dutch long legs are plying their trade. She is open like a bank vault.
Her pussy has a life of its own.
On the way back to the story -- we crowd around a pot of tea. Arab men are all
about. Suddenly a face will emerge from the tide of people -- "you need guide."
Before I know it, this person has appointed himself my guide. What
remains unknown is the price of this contact. "Stoppy here, this is my
cousin, he sells leather. You like; you buy. You like mint tea. Who is the
Next I know I am sitting in a darkened theater watching Conan the
Barbarian with this self-appointed Arab man intent upon putting hands on
my girl and my girl letting him. Desolation beyond desolation, I
jumped up and left. She followed. It was strange, because this girl was free and
so was I. We had not the maturity of mind to discuss such grave matters of
the heart. We lacked discernment. Touch and go.
She finally leaves. Boards a train. Promises seem sealed in blood. I am to
follow after. I set out walking to Marrakech.
Immediately upon boarding the train, a dark and handsome interloper became
her shadow. Her words of memory are tied into him taking her from behind, and
he was forceful and virile and he pressed himself and he
thrust and he came into her mouth.
From there homeward she sucked, fucked, any and all men who picked her up.
Lurid confessions sicken the soul. Trust was breached.
At this point, I am way beyond thinking about Mari. I have traveled a
continent to ask a girl to marry me. The blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan beauty already said
yes, but forgive me Father for I have sinned, these are my crimes.
Diabolical damnations. The tale I am telling exposes the weakness in my
heart. I write to free myself of the furies. Those gross inadequacies of
my very emotive youth.
I believe that it is important to let all things surface of their own accord.
That is the joy and the gift of the creative process. To enjoin memory and
time; to be unto a Godhead, abomination of a life unfulfilled. To strive
after. To reach beyond what you thought you were capable of and to swing a
hammer as a carpenter, to listen to a piece by Brahms and to be taken aback
at the grandiosity of his demonstrable outpouring of devotion to Beethoven.
We go through the stages of the cross. We learn by suffering. Unlearning
to waste a life. As adults we reach for sanctity. We listen for the
chimes of a higher calling. Some way out of the forest into a glade of
light. We sit, have rest, make peace by communing with nature. I prefer
challenging nature. Like swimming across a river strewn with rapids laced
like pearls upon a river so green, long stretches of breath, a quickening of
breath. You commandeer the shoreline some leagues downstream, and you hike
triumphantly back to re-swim across.
Where is Mari?
In France, is all I know. She is only a memory, but the outline and
contour of her face, down to a nose hair, I remember. I remember her distinctly French-style haircut, and her ink black eyes, so intense. Did I love her? Never have I been
so stirred. Life prior to Mari was sheltered.
A divide was crossed. I am doomed to walk the ends of the earth. I look not
to friends and neighbors, I am a man free.
©2001 by Ron Porter