Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Shameless Flowering Temples

This sense of another world being terribly close. This feeling that if I just turned a fraction, or tilted my head, I would see another country -- if I just ran my fingers over the nearest wall I would be able to feel the outline of a door. And even sometimes, in hot oppressive weather, a faint cool draft might come out of somewhere -- just a moment -- and I would think, it's a draft from there.

And then sometimes, of course, you see people from there. Just a glimpse, usually. A moment of recognition. No need to shush, to whisper "pretend not to know me!" because we're both being hustled down the main avenue of life, manhandled by events, by fear, by wanting. But our eyes meet, and we know. Maybe.

Your hands close on my wrists, and hold them very tight. You're trying to bring me somewhere. Where?

I love the faintly salt taste of your lips, the strength of your tongue, the hint of your teeth, as we kiss.

Our bodies open, as they grow older. Become less secretive. Doctors open them up, and pry here and there. The doors and windows of our souls fit more and more loosely. The vulva blossoms, a red-coral-purple flower opening. Our breasts and stomachs and buttocks spread. There's some slack. We don't need to hold the fiction quite so tight, that all our parts fit together. We know they don't. We even lose some of them. Ovaries, gall-bladders, uteruses, appendixes, breasts; here and there a tooth and a toenail. Various tubes get tied and cut. Hair comes out. Scars expand. Veins reveal themselves at the surface. We get used to workarounds for the joints that don't quite work as they're supposed to, and the eyes that don't quite see what they used to.

It's just a body, she said. And that becomes clearer, all the time. It's not a mystery, not a tightly-wrapped bud. It's a blowsy, smelly, gone-to-seed creature, a lumbering mammal, kin to bears and orangatans.

When she was young, Martha says, she wondered how middle-aged people had sex. They couldn't possibly be attracted to each other. So how did they go about it?

Apparently we manage. Not in spite of the spaces opening, but because of them.

I don't really miss the tight-wrapped buds, the smooth-functioning bodies. They always pretended to be doors into other countries, and they seldom were. But these bodies, these shameless flowering temples, they really are doors.

A breath of cool air. Come on.


The seed of this post was in Brenda's meditation on the middle-aged erotic body

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