Me (retrospective—in part)
179 lbs. 5’11”. That’s one small wheelbarrow of fresh seaweed, and about half a thallus of bladderwrack. Once, the sea knew me best. Then, many knew me best from the waist down. Now, a man knows me best. He knows me like the others knew me. But also, he knows me from the inside because I think we share a soul. Which explains a lot. The constant hunger, for one.
Him: Snails, butter, dill. Three game hens, oranges (zest and juice), mint, sherry, butter.
Me: Salmon, salt, fennel. Fingerlings, olive oil, peppercorns. Chocolate mousse—eggs, sugar, vanilla, cream, chocolate. Wine-soaked cherries. Whipped cream.
The Dead Terrarium
This project took Peregrine two weeks. Before he started, he put a case of bottled water in our room, plus a couple boxes of Kleenex, and a twenty-five lb sack of trail mix (chocolate, raisins, whole dates, almonds, dried habanero). There was also a wooden box I wasn’t allowed to see inside of, and after he shut the door to our room I wasn’t allowed in. He didn’t lock it because he knew I wouldn’t try to get in. After two weeks, he opened the door and waited for me to come. The first thing I saw was him, sitting in his boxers with his hair alluring and chaotic around his face and eyes bruised by sleepless nights. There was an ocean of stiff tissues, empty water bottles, and raisins all around him. Raisins because he’d picked them out. He hated raisins. His feet were pressed together at the soles and he gripped them with his hands as he looked up at me, not sheepish in the least. He tilted his head at my desk, which I hadn’t seen in 14 days. It was large and made out of a door. It had to be large, because half of it was reserved for the trinkets and other things Peregrine brought home or made me. Among the artifacts, stood a large glass jar. Inside the glass jar was a rat skeleton, bones joined by bits of grass. Inside its ribcage were the skeletons of 17 baby rats. The jar had no lid. Instead, he’d taken the rat hides, sewn them together and rubber-banded them to the mouth.
It’s beautiful out. I’d like to go to the ocean—and not gather seaweed, for once, but Peregrine’s turned the living room into a giant blanket fort and has about ten heat lamps in there and I’m worried he’s going to burn down the house if I go out. I guess dinner’ll be boiled pasta again, with a can from ‘grin’s giant stockpile of cream of mushroom soup.
Wasn’t there a time you wanted to be a poet? I ask myself, as if I failed in that regard. I am a poet. I distill humanity with my cock.
Am I okay with self-annihilation? I choose—repeatedly—to ruin myself, but I wonder: is it a choice or a cycle? For instance, this man—Peregrine—who’s just started living with me. He pays to live with me. Is he here because I’m already in love with him (because I think I’m already in love with him), because we have great sex, because he’s familiar and comfortable (because he’s familiar and makes me comfortable with his money), because he’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before—because really, how can you taste yourself?
Tonight is my first night without him since he moved in. I’m eating pizza and watching The Cosmos. To celebrate? To fill his absence? I have no idea where he is or why he left or if he’ll come back. I do know I’m afraid.
Ive been drinking tooo much lately. Like now I gotta a liter of coke alot of rum. In me. Soon just be vomit and me wishing for
She was the best friend I ever had and I don’t even know what the hell she was. She had skin the color of black antlers and sandy hair, oddly long fingers and dirt-colored nails. She always gave me ice when I got my black eyes, even though she lived in a cob-and-cacti-house five miles into the desert. Everything else, all my other memories of her, I’ve successfully drowned in oceans and lakes and occasionally, when I’m feeling especially tristful, rum-and-coke. I saw her every day that summer and never loved anything more, until…
Can you imagine what losing someone like that would do to you?
The more Peregrine clings, the more I feel alone. Why? Because the closer you are to something the harder it is to see all of it. I think we’ve lost sight of each other. I hope this trip won’t be our last. We have something, I really feel we do.
It’s impossible to know yourself, I think. You, a single speck in the everything that’s also you.
I don’t understand anything I’ve ever done.
Twice, I thought I found something different. But I wonder now if they ever were.
If you want more of Ebb and Peregrine, if you want to try to decipher these fragments, or find out their brutal end, wade over to Shimmer and read my story The Seaweed and the Wormhole. The pieces above were culled from the piece during a much-needed bout of editing; they diluted the story, but I still liked them well enough on their own to post them here.
There’s also an interview with me, if you’re into the whole process and brain-picking thing. : ) (I know I am.)