I had taken to bucktooths and thumby women, ones missing a front tooth were a find, all ladies with no one else or better options. I was living in Chula Vista, Chula, Chula, Chula--close to the desert, right against the repetitive sea.
Underweared bodies glistened in the pre-cocktail hour hours. I would see a freckled beauty with a man's hand on her stomach in some boat bar with lights, him standing behind, and me with my cheeks and swinging myself around my spine in the place, still unbelieving I had a face after all these years spent nutsing around and wacko. Men looked like their women like their boats and nautical ornaments, like the bar. The days came after night left, and the middle of days were white concrete and convertibles with the world that moved when you looked closely. I was mostly inspired by these men and all they were up to —meaning I felt myself small, even at my great height, and ungymed. I found girls who shifted in their kitchens in discount socks, scratching an unmoisturized thigh, looking at me blankly like I was blank. Skinny bruisey ones with hard knees and mean little toes and the knowledge that neither of us were satiated. I wasn't quite queer. But there was something to that effect, blocked from happening, or it was just common ugliness in the face of great love turned elsewhere.
I would probably have gone with men, into them, into me with them, etc, maybe truly, but I didn't want any of their quirks of personalities getting lodged inside me. I wanted to rid myself of myself, mostly, not add parts of others into my mess, like when I look at things and try to figure out what I am based on? How I see. But I also wanted to open my brown flower to the sunlight of others, but couldn't bare the thought of becoming soiled. And so the idea was less not more, failed faggot I was, or just forever curious to stretching my horizons in hope of finding what's out there, but out there is almost always what has destroyed me. So, it was removal not collection. I'd been reading a book concerning how pirates took early boys out as apprentices, teaching them the lonely sea and coitus. I could not imagine grabbing a boy, and pirating him, but the sea lured me by its call to be at the world's destruction—to throw everything away and watch the whole prefigured game trashed and disappear and have only the insane mind and waves left to stare toward and at other men to hate them or let them in into the heart.
What was I expecting to find in women? I asked myself; one particularly open afternoon when the sun felt mine—other than scrapping myself off inside them—that is—whittling my soul to a singular spouted thing. I once loved the smell of myself. It's been years since I did honest work. I drink. What about being a pirate and having a boy with clear eyes? Like a person who ruins dogs and lives with them. Like when you've perverted yourself out and don't know how to get back home to who you are.
Times I want to draw eyes on the face of my pecker, above its sullen mouth and have it talk for me. Spread the dark hole and twist the whole contraption to the side, pulling the hole open and closed, so much has it spoiled me.
I moved to a cabin in the hills and read other people to find out whom I was. I found out I was just a man needing a grip, and we aren't meant to be so alone, and the only place to meet girls was at the store.
There was a darkly armed girl with a fur lip and a wild smell working selling me cans at the dry store. Verona. I mean she had hairy arms. I picked her out to ring me because her eyes were unusually jammed open and she seemed lonely and always wore green. Green to spite the hairy arms! Yes, and I wished I was her with a need to work instead of living off sin which is family money, in life after so many lives that mattered and America expelled like a turd stinking in its meanness without prejudice, and which is worse?
Verona was young and snapped gum between her flat teeth. Her body reminded me of a topographic map I had seen with my brother and my father as a boy in a National Park, one of twin mountains in a long green flush of untrimmed fairway. It was a yellow afternoon then and I remember I was often wondering what life would become like for me someday, and in that I was innocent. But I bluffed too long, living in the world of commingled blood of family. Now I just have the ability to determine my looks and affects. Then I was a boy, subject to whatever look the day handed over and loud bangs or explosions didn't mean a damn to me. I was there with my brother, always. He was the golden first born, and I a shell of the man he was. I carried him in a church and now he is gone. The daylight hurts. I was just looking for some trash to take to sea and dump meaning another sexual grip. Someone to look through at the world and comment, to push the lost heart toward some new condition. Oh, Christ, how have I become this much like others? Watching the gum slip between her teeth, so much had changed. I still pray, Lord; but they're very unreachable, the stars, and that is my failure of imagination. Look, I could get some pussy. I had certain affects mastered. Not so much charm, but a wild determinacy and animatedness. A madness that would serve me from time to time. A height and a push of the spoken mouth toward the likes of the great madmen of this nation, mostly all dead or too rich and old to take off tearing to Wyoming to ride. Pussy equals visions in the dark and orgasm. There has only been one woman in my life I have loved more than myself, and she ran off when I finally stopped chasing her around shouting love me now goddamit. My mother is a hungry and cruel millionaire. She's gone as far as talking to her is concerned, the mother, but I consider ringing her line at some times and do not. In foreign countries, when we were young, I want to say men would salute us, but I don't know if that's true.
"If I get a long car," I said to the girl, "would you ride along?"
"Sure," she said, like she knew better, but who the hell cared anyhow?
I wanted to see the Atlantic. The Pacific was free and wild and I wanted to relax only, I told her, driving north along our coast, and wasn't life supposed to be less obdurate? I made long roving speeches as I drove. We took Canada. I felt it as my duty to instruct her, this young apprentice of mine, and the sermons I conducted went well often into nightfall and far into the realms of nonsense. In them my life went well told, but still unclear as ever, as I wore pants and smoked. It's a fantastic jumbled wad of bravado and lunacy, but it all smacks of big lies, though every word true. The asshole in my butt still needed to be fucked wide open. She tried with her little fingers. There was some bleeding and some meanly worded accusations. She likely began to reconsider, but we were too far north and I wasn't going to bring up notions of bad ideas having been made.
Sex was usually unencumbered and thick, even with some minor expository wins. I blew it for my brother when he'd smacked into puberty, back in an elevator long ago in the past, with the fullest tittied thirteen year old ever on the books, in a hotel, her parents out of the room, she wet from the pool, her telling Brother her parents were not up there, and her eyes, I saw, how coolly she said it, as the door was closing, and I jumped in, otherwise what an adventure, I'll never forget the thrill of desire on the long drive home and shame, knowing how my brother shared the desire I held and could have gotten up with her to the parents' hotel room bed, myself and he still virgins youth, or maybe he was not, I have no way to find out now.
Meanwhile, I kept Verona away from others.
"Your vision of youth is shaped like my testicles when you hold them together. Semiotics they call that, in those big universities, you'll never attend," I said and she grew quiet.
I remember when a date was a joint and a park to sit in, one place, both parties in wonder on the patch of green with the whole world open from top down. I once stripped my clothes off to naked in high school with a troop of girls all of us stoned in a park near where I grew up. Field hockey players, or swimmers, or who knows now, I felt like one of them with a difference that was well to hang on. Felt I'd found the new world by becoming nude and wild while the world wore clothes in nature and I had found the unencumbered rough with my cucumber out by the woods but open under the sky in the wet wonder of unclothed marijuana.
Manitoba came and she took to driving. Wheels and wheels of wheat and feeling flipped over by the wrongness of Canada's poles or history. I don't know how the Europeans ever lasted this long on the land above us with the Indian blood and tit in our dreams. Have we lost even this? The Indian tit?
I drank bourbon through a straw and shouted names I found American under a dome of Canadian sky, I mixed with bourbon and dope.
"Barlow," I shouted, up from my hole-burnt seat, ashes in my lap and face, feeling ludicrous with bum vision from peyote and lost friends. Onward, even if the show was for one. I wanted to give Verona something but was out of ideas.
"Wilhelm," I instructed loudly. Shouting American names like a dud.
"The American Wilhelm, I mean! That fake. BANG!"
I aimed these statements towards Verona's arms and she got out of the car, which I thought was still being driven. We were parked outside of a diner somewhere under a sun and I stepped out of the car and opened the door with a bell having nearly been run over. I was winding down. I found her in the booth behind a yolk-smeared menu. Her hilly chest and flat middle rose fast and small as her breathing was and fell.
I took one finger and lowered the menu from the top. She began to scream, her juicy eyes darting. First it was just high-pitched static, but then the words came: "You have ruined me: you nasty pervert!"
Local people looked considerate and women old raised eyelids. Several men tightened their arms and got their hands out and picked their thumbnails and stared at me.
"You wrecked my childlike Joie de vivre; that something I had now is now lost unto me. What I most need from you is not you! No more of you. But of course you have no money to send me back home; you drunk," she bellowed on. All lies. I hate french words. She was ruined when I got her, I guessed. Plus I'd been fake drinking. Woman is what? I thought of my mother, and the perfect saint of a mother she had from a mother who cared less for her, and it's all a crapshoot of every other generation perhaps but most of the females are insatiably unhappy and subject to victimhood and self-romancing though my mother had vacuumed and I have fond memories of not making love with her, but being close like we had been in the mornings when I was small and she was in nightgowns, which is something you'll never have again if you can read this and understand the words.
I would have never expected any of that from my careful Verona who I'd figured I'd hurt enough to be capable of remaining numb-acting. It was all what I deserved for trying, I suppose, as life is meant to be suffered, constantly, insubstantial as it is, and alone, with great flashes of brilliance coming less and less likely—meaning you look at the walls more and think of what you've done, so why not grab ass? I began a new lecture in my mind. No, the self must not be glorified with the mucky self, as I've done. Oh, sea. What a toilet of indolence to be on a shore, but out in the midst of it, as with life, there is great fun with others.
I have always felt the way Verona did then. Towards my father; towards all. Again, a topography on our day in the National Park. I guess all apprentices probably feel likewise to the great men they're indentured to. Verona kept screaming through her small teeth, but it was all fuzz again and static and loud bangs. She began looking under her coffee mug for something I knew did not ever exist. Would I ever be greater than this? I needed a swim. She'd lift the one side of the mug slightly and look. Then she would move it and look again. She fingered the handle. She moved the mug. She looked and looked. My heart went out toward Verona. My heart, my heart my heart.