THE PAINTING MODEL

“Hey, would you model for me?” he stammered. She was walking through the hallway as he spoke, on her way out the door.

“What?” She said to him, turning on her tall, black heels sharply. His cheeks reddened, and he felt his ears grow hot.

“I-I said, would y-you model for me?” Her eyebrows raised behind her oversized Chanel sunglasses, and she cocked her head to the left. “I was thinking about how er…what you said earlier, about how people had called you Amber Rose, and how…um…how you didn’t like that people said that because they never had anything to show for it.”

“And…?” There was a light impatience in her voice.

“And well, um, I was thinking that maybe I could, like, paint you or something?” He exhaled deeply, and the vibrant red that had filled his cheeks washed away. He looked down at the ground, ashamed, as the room filled with silence.

One…

Two…

Three…

The words floated through his mind like wooden planks down the Nile. Then, she clucked her tongue once and tapped her heel.

“I’ll think about it,” and she turned to walk out the door with half a smile. He listened in stunned silence as she walked down the hall, each clack of her heels fell with the same heaviness as the beat of his heart.

 

*          *          *

 

He scrabbled with the lock on the door; his arms were filled with bags and his myriad of keys were all jumbled together. When he finally got it open, he hoisted the bags up higher so he didn’t accidentally let one slip.

“Hi there,” he heard from around the corner. He walked in, set the bags down on the counter, and began unpacking

“Hello again, I picked up a few jugs of—” his eyes drifted up and his voice caught in his throat. She was standing in the room, fully exposed save for an exceptionally tiny bikini. He looked back to the contents of the bags, “I-I picked up a few containers of milk this weeks since everyone went through it so fast.” She laughed at him.

“Thank you,” she said, “I decided you can paint me—”

“I didn’t quite mean—”

“You didn’t mean today? Good. I wanted to spend this afternoon tanning.”

“Well I was thinking I could paint you, perhaps, in a little different setting?” He had turned to face her, and could feel the heat in his body rising.

“Oh?” She said. After a quick pause, her eyes lit up, and she reached behind her back to undo her top, “nude? I’m game to do nude.” His cheeks burned inside him and he turned his head away.

“No I was thinking something that didn’t…objectify you so much? Maybe something like sleepwear?” There was a silence. He felt the air grow cold around them. Then, roughly, she grabbed his chin with her thumb and forefinger and turned him to look at her.

“You want to paint me right?” She asked firmly.

“Yes,” He tried to look away.

“And why do you want to do that, hmm?” she pulled him closer to her, so that they were within a few inches of each other.

“Well I—”

“What, do you want to fuck me?” He tried to pull away but her grip was tight, “you want to fuck me? Turn me over, lay me out? You think coddling me with kind words and romantic pictures will seduce me?” Her thumb pressed harder into his chin. “Let’s get this straight. You won’t fuck me because you’re nice to me. You won’t fuck me because you’re mean to me. If you fuck me, it’ll be because I want you to.” She glanced down meaningfully. “And you’ll paint me how I want to be painted. Not how you want. Not how some man wants. Me. Ok?”

“Ok.” He said. She released his chin and smiled.

“Good,” she snaked up and kissed him softly on the cheek, then turned to walk away, twirling her top in her hand, “tomorrow it is then!” she called back, and put a hand up to wave goodbye.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #45 – LOUNGING

Picture that night,

Lounging with Bob Dylan

Neil Young, and Louie.

Quite a night to be alone

Together.

 

The dark, hazy room,

Filled with a slight tinge

Of cool-blue smoke,

Where time passed

At a walk, not a run.

 

That’s the place I want to go back to,

A night before the fights,

Before the jealousy;

Before we were consumed

By the need to be adults,

And we could just be people.

 

Laying on the L-couch,

With our heads cradled together,

Our glazed eyes watched

While the ceiling spun ‘round,

 

Can you remember it, dear?

The distance in your eyes

Was an adventure then,

Not a plague.

You were so beautiful,

So alive, so calm.

 

Can you remember it?

I can.

 

I can still smell

The midnight air

Drifting through the window.

I can still hear

The chorus chanting,

“Keep me searching

and I’m growin’ old.”

 

I can still see you,

Lying there like a rose,

Red-lipped and thorny.

I can even taste the wine

That lingered on your lips.

What a night that was.

Can you remember?

 

If only you could.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #44 – DUSTED CONSTELLATIONS

Look out the window,

I made that for you.

That low-hung half-moon,

Golden brown and smiling.

You remind me of it…

Or rather, it reminds me of you.

That beacon in the darkness,

Between the starlight,

Swaying with the sounds

Of smooth jazz in the night.

I can see you in her

On lonely nights.

On the broken porch steps,

The chill autumn breeze

Swirls along our fingertips,

Edging us closer.

I want to dance.

Take my hand,

Let me guide you

Across the sky tonight.

The two of us,

Dusted,

With wine on our lips,

Make for a lovely constellation.

Exhaustion.

Star gaze with me,

My little star girl.

So full of life;

So full of light.

Lie with me a minute,

And let eternity pass us by.

There’s no arms I’d rather call home.

——
 
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LOVE POEM #39 – APHRODITE

I wish you could see yourself

How I see you. It seems your eyes

Dim the reflection in your mirror,

And somehow

That luscious, golden smile, and

That blazing fire in your soul,

Becomes an extinguished charcoal

That’s full of imperfections.

And yet to me, you are anything

But imperfect.

 

There is no star as shiny;

No flower so sweet;

No winter could stymie

Your summer-like heat.

Your smile could make oceans

Weep rain to the skies;

Your heart’s like a potion

That makes brittle men spry.

Your lips are like a drug—

An addition I can’t shake,

And at night when I am snug,

Cravings for you make me wake.

 

Yet all of these are things you cannot see,

For unknown reasons, you think you can’t be

As beautiful as you appear to me,

And yet I would call you Aphrodite.

 

And were I Paris, I’d not hesitate

To set that golden apple on your plate,

Because no one is as perfect as you,

Even if you take yourself for a shrew.

——

 

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THE CHERRY TREE

We used to spend our evenings back in the country popping cherries. The sticky, sweet juice ran down the sides of our greedy lips, leaving us like a vampire after finishing his meal. Nights like those were beautiful. The dusty horizon faded from yellow, to orange, to pink, to purple, and finally into the deep blue-blackness that marked bedtime for most people. But for us, it was a secret thing; a special thing.

A cherry tree at the end of the day is a beautiful thing to see. After hours in the field, one certainly works up an appetite. The dirt and grime of the day seeps into the innermost pores of the skin, filling the cracks in our broken skin with a thin layer of powder. To hold the soft, dainty skin of a ripe cherry, taught and firm, between our thick, meaty fingers, was like holding the essence of purity between the fingers of corruption.

The best cherries always sat at the tops of the tree. Perhaps this was because it was late in the seasons, and all the low hanging fruit had been picked by the passersby. But we would spend hours a day there, watching the time shift around us. We would climb up the branches, until there were but little spindles of tree for us to stand on. We would reach out as far as we could, fingers straining to catch a cherry or two, while the rest of our body was stiff; carefully balanced like a tightrope walker. Until finally, in a moment of release, we would have the cherry, pop it in our mouths, and enjoy our prize.

But those days are long gone. The cherry tree was cut down, replaced by a care facility for the elderly. And while I am happy that my father will get the care he deserves (at least, that’s what the facility has promised, once he come to need it), I am still saddened that our liberties as maturing young adults were torn away from our hands. We no longer spend those late nights together, feasting on the pleasures of youth. We simply sit, and watch, and wait for the end of time to bear us a different fruit.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #36 – THE TRUTH

I would compare you to a summer’s day,

If the Cali sun could match to your heat.

But the truth of it, love, I cannot say

For all comparisons would feel cheap.

 

Your eyes are like marbles; your lips like wine;

Your tongue like honey, and your hips divine.

Your hair like a river; your teeth a light;

Your smile like silver; your legs a sight.

 

Your mind’s like a dagger stuck in my side;

Your kiss makes me stagger and swell with pride.

Your stare makes me shiver, and turn to stone,

But for you I’d wither away to bones.

 

Because, love, I’ve found that the truth of you

Is that nothing on Earth can match your hue.

——

 

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INTERSECTING PERSPECTIVES

Hello everyone,

 

I have been thinking about perspective quite a bit over the last couple days, mostly after listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” and then the follow up criticism a few of my friends have shared over Facebook. Because there was some division between my interpretation, and the interpretation given in the criticism, I’ve spent all morning pondering which perspective is closer to the mark.

So here’s the divisive lines:

 

I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop

Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor

Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks

Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks, ayy

 

Make sure you watch at least this part of the video, so that you have some context for what the imagery displayed was (it’s at 1:43 minutes). What was your perspective on these lyrics? Are they sexist? I mean, an argument against Photoshop, in favor of a natural look isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, it is still telling women how to dress and looks, assuming this addresses women in the first place.

Now that you’ve gathered your thoughts on this set of lines, let me tell you the interpretations I have been struggling with. First of all, there’s the perspective that applies these lines to all women—as in, this is Lamar’s expectation for women, and even if he’s arguing against the mainstream media’s presentation of women, it is still narrow minded and does not actually make a difference. Women should be empowered for whatever decision they make—whether it is being all natural, getting plastic surgery, or whatever—rather than be judged as simply objects by men (and society). This isn’t an unfair assertion. I mean, look at the last line. It directly addresses the “you,” which can pretty safely be assumed to be women, speaking that Lamar is pretty clearly heterosexually inclined.

The other interpretation goes simultaneously less far and further. It stops at “he’s arguing against the mainstream media.” The allusion to Richard Pryor, an old, anti-establishment comedian, as well as the statement about Photoshop, indicates that his first three lines of this segment are perhaps not addressing women, but instead addressing those who portray women. Instead, he asserts that what people care about is the real look of a woman, over the superfluous tendencies the media puts upon them. It isn’t entirely a progressive view, since it does still objectify women to an extent, but it is less “anti-woman” through this perspective than through the previous one.

The video adds a significant amount of depth to the lyrics as well, showing the two faces of a woman—one apparently done up and whitened, in the way the media often prefers, the other lacking make-up, and so on. I’ve chosen to withhold which perspective is mine, and which is from Facebook, because I don’t want my personal perspective swaying you, the reader, one way or another. The irony is that sometimes even the most parallel perspectives will cross lines in the details. That’s what, in many ways, occurs here. But that’s why it is a discussion. Let me know your perspective in the comments!

——

 

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LOVE POEM #29 – WHAT TO DO?

What to do? What to do? What to do?

I really don’t know what to do with you.

 

You can be such a great guy

With a merry look in your eye,

But if the King finds out then

We’re screwed.

 

What to do? What to do? What to do?

Why did I go on that date with you?

 

I guess your head was in Rome

And your brain was your own

But I didn’t want more trouble

‘Fore noon.

 

What to do? What to do? What to do?

Well at least I‘ve got this lovely view.

 

Ah why not! What the heck!

Screw my dad! No respect!

At least now all my troubles

Are through.

 

He’ll come ‘round and demand

Who has taken my hand

And I’ll say…

 

I’ve got you! I’ve got you! I’ve got you!

——

 

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BAD GUY

I turned on the lights of the cell room. I like to think my cells are more humane than a prison’s, where in the place of bars and that dull gray there are windows and colorful walls. There are books, toys, various forms of entertainment—televisions, gaming systems, and so on…except in the unstable rooms, but that is for their own safety. This particular room was a favorite guest of mine. She’s a rough, robust girl with a fetish for pain, but she’s also classically beautiful. Take a Cinderella and add in a little Suicide Girl, and voila, c’est elle. Though her tattoos are only in places the public won’t see. It is quite fun, but also quite frustrating.

I am all for sexual expression, and having kinks, and what not. That’s all fine. But I do have a line. I do not much like when I walk in on a woman and she’s covered in blood and violent red marks because it “get’s her off.” Elle—you’ll forgive me, I must use a pseudonym for her own safety, relapse is so common, and easily caused by the lustful—but Elle is one of those people, who I stumbled upon completely by accident. Elle was a prostitute I had hired—I’d say escort but let’s not flirt around like I had other plans for her—whom I had asked to please engage in whatever would make her truly aroused, and while she did that I wanted a shower. You can imagine my surprise when, after my warm, relaxing shower, the first bed was covered in blood. She had opened her wrists with a pocketknife—she must have been carrying it. Logical. There are certainly some freaks (like myself, though in a different way) in the business, even for someone as expensive as she was. There was a thick ruler thrown to the side as well, no doubt the cause of her welts. Not a good time.

As you can imagine, dear reader, I was quite put out. I bandaged her up and we talked for a few hours. I convinced her to stay in my room until she was…treated. She is an interesting character. She is polite, well mannered, genuinely kind…but also extremely passionate. Her sex drive is off the charts (literally, I’ve spent years researching the sexuality of even the most driven people, and they pale), which is unfortunate, because it makes the process more difficult for me. I am only human. But enough backstory. Today was a me day…or rather night. I had woken her with the light. She had worn the silk nightgown I had provided her to bed. A good sign. She was standing up—one hand rubbing the sleep from her eyes, the other slumped off to her side. I entered the room, and dimmed the lights. I crossed the room meaningfully.

“Shh, why are you out of bed” I whispered in her ear. As she opened her mouth to speak, I cupped it. Her eyes appeared glazed over, but I could feel her smile behind my hand. She sank back onto the bed, and I knelt with her. I kissed her, once on the lips, then down in the space between her cheek and her chin, then more and more forcefully until I reached her neck. I bit it lightly, carefully running the skin between my teeth, but with enough force to cause her a little pain. She still liked that. I could feel her heart race. Her hands pulled at my shirt (a shame, it was an expensive material too), but just as she was getting it loose, I stood up and thrust her down onto her back. Like I said, today was a me day. I popped the belt buckle I wore, and tore the belt from around my waist. Her eyes flared open with excitement, but I discarded it. I motioned for her to turn around. She pouted. I felt a snarl creep to my nose for a moment, and in a wave of anger I gripped her wrist hard. She smiled wildly, and ragdolled as I spun her to her stomach. She put both arms forward, flat on the bed, and tucked her knees in against her stomach expectantly. I bit the bottom of my inner lip and gripped her torso, beneath the fabric, admiring her hip bones as a lion admires a recently slaughtered zebra. The rest, well, I’m sure you can imagine.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #27 – FOR YOU

I could write a thousand poems

And yet none would compare to you.

You’re a sweet drop of summer dew

After the springs reign was stolen.

 

So then, why should I even try?

I could tell them of your red hair;

Your luscious lips; your lovely stare,

But such a rhyme would seem so dry.

 

How on Earth could I compare thee

To such a simple summer’s day,

When all of night’s stars cannot say

What this beauty is before me?

 

Though perhaps I say’t not for them—

Whose gossiping ears tend to pry.

Perhaps it’s ‘cause no other guy

Has seen you sparkle like a gem.

——

 

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