Poetry, Summer 2001
 

Poetics
by Virgil Suarez

Eros and The Laws of Thermal Dynamics

  My first girlfriend in high school taught me how
two bodies can rub and ignite any car’s backseat
  on fire. One night we were making out—

Wait! This story begins earlier—not as early
  as when man taught himself that two sticks
rubbed together long enough will spark

  a handful of dried grass or twigs—when we studied
at the San Antonio Public Library in Los Angeles,
  after school, and one day a lunatic walked in, dropped

on his hands and knees and crawled under the desk
  of a couple of St. Mathias girls with skirts on, there
he rubbed his hands together as though about to have

  a meal, he licked his lips, and plunged his face
between their legs. The girls screamed for help.
  The librarian called the police. My girlfriend and I

witnessed the man, in a torn, greasy T-shirt, being
  handcuffed and yanked away into the elevators
by two Hulk-sized policemen. “I’ll come back,”

  the crazy man kept screaming; his gruff voice echoed
in the elevator shaft, “you can’t keep me from pussy.
  I like my pussy, and I like it hot. Young and hot, ah—”

The cops must have clubbed him in the stomach.
  We never saw the man again until the night we parked
by the stadium tour secret make-out spot) and there,

  naked and sweaty, my girlfriend thrust my face
between her breasts. She had huge white breasts,
  talcum-powder smooth, nipples like thumbs ...

  And it’s hot, really hot inside my father’s 1965
Dodge, the windows drip with condensation.
  Our bodies slick against the vinyl of the back seat.

My girlfriend’s breath hot in my neck, I can feel
  her heart beating against my chest. I think fire,
I think snow. I can feel both hot and cold.

  It’s a hot California summer night, made hotter
by our friction, and when I reach over to crack
  the window open, I see a face, hands cupped

like a child looking into a candy store, of the man—
  a familiar face, eyes as black as onyx, a scarred
cheek, a hooked nose—and I remembered him.

  I sprung off my girlfriend, an immediate reflex,
to reach for the locks and push them down.
  “What!” My girlfriend asks. “What is it!”

And I don’t want to say, but I’m reaching over
  the driver’s seat for my pants, my belt buckle
pinches a finger. My tongue’s stuck. I know him,

  I think, but don’t tell my girlfriend. He’s still
looking, stuck to the window, a bat with suction
  cups for claws. Then he raps his knuckles

on the glass, licks it with his tongue, “Fuck her,”
  he says and shakes the car, “fuck her hard, you
coward.” My girlfriend screams. The man rocks

  the car as though he wants to turn it over—
I jump over and start my father’s car. The engine
  turns once. The man runs around the front.

We can see him now. His hands on the hood.
  He’s trying to lift the car, but can’t. His face
and neck muscles knotted in the strain. “Shit,”

  I say. “Come on.” If I had had to I would have run
him over. My girlfriend is in a frenzy putting
  on her clothes. She’s got her blouse on without

her brassiere. I can seen the orb of her breasts
  pushing. I’m excited and scared all at the same time.
My father’s car won’t start. I push the pedal. I kick

  it, turn it, kick it, turn it, kick it turn it, and ...
the engine roars. I can see the spark in the engine
  block igniting the system. A house on fire. A wasp

sting to the eye. The man comes around to my side.
  He tries my door. He elbows the glass, but it won’t
break. My girlfriend is now sitting next to me, her

  hand clawed to my thigh. I feel her nails digging
into my flesh. Slow motion is perfect for thoughts
  of fire, all that which easily burns, and I roar

out of the spot where we had parked and seconds
  earlier, with our clothes off, we had rubbed heat
into ghostly pleasures, and I stepped on the gas pedal,

  all along the man hanging on to the handle, running
beside the car, trying to keep up with my speed,
  until he finally lets go and we can hear him screaming:

“You fuckers,” he is saying, “you sinner fucker!”
  I kept checking the rear view mirror. The man fading
into the California night, the hairs on the back

  of my neck and arms like prickles. My girlfriend
is holding on to her bra like a flag of defeat. Then I feel
  it, the warmth between my legs cooling off in the breeze

coming up through the cracks on the floorboards,
  the urine seeping through my underwear, into the seat
my girlfriend’s hand clawed to my thigh. Heat, moisture,

  our hearts in our throats, a man left in the dust-dark,
a boogey man to haunt us for the rest of our wild nights,
  how memory, in the pure-hot of abandon, still catches fire.

Psychopathia Sexualis, 
or America’s Lovemap of Eros Caliente—OOH!


Think rubber, an inflatable suit, a man in it blown up in his office,
  a teacher perhaps, say a university professor, squishy sounds
coming from his sloth-slow movements—a student
  walks in and steps on the air tube ... well, out go the lights.

A “looner” is someone who likes to fondle balloons, feel
  anything inflatable, elastic. A water bottle blown up into a huge
ball. The electric fuzz of hair clinging, the zap-tingle bliss
  of trapped air. All of this messy fun with food, Ducky Doo-

Little’s Clown Fetish. Miss Knockers the Klown and her X’d
  nipples, like bongoed cartoon eyes. Mr. Ed Lundt, King
of Growth Fantasies, Queen Adrena (former pro wrester), trample
  with her, the squish of baby dolls underfoot. There goes G.I. Joe,

yeah, and pony clubs where women wear saddles, bits, Lady Velvet
  and her silk suit, Equus Eroticus, rubber frisky ponies. Slasher
fiction about plush toys, robots, latex masks. The “Dung”
  Ranger. Fat admiration clubs, the lure of rotund men sitting

on spilled Van de Kamp’s bacon and beans. I warn you, if you
  want me tender and juicy do me in an aluminum roaster
! The woman
who every morning took her husband, Ponyboy Silver Spurs
  out on a drive in the English country side, leather bridles, jock-

straps, chains, and the branch-thin whip. “He likes it,” she says,
  “and sometimes too he likes to be a human piggy, furry fur-suited.”
Butt-plugged where the real horse hair can be inserted. Hoof gloves
  and boots, bits and crops optional. The woman who signed

a two year contract to become a “cowgirl,” force-fed to make her
  gain weight, given hormones so that she lactates and could be milked
like a cow-or Mr. Blowup, a Canadian rubberist, who enjoys
  inflatable latex clothing, smiley-masks. He says: “We don’t like

children, or children with balloons—that’s not what this is about.”
  Amazon women, giantess attacks, here comes the big crunch—
Macrogynophiles and Gulliverians, biggies, sci-fi and photo collages
  serve as jerk-off materials. Others have people walk on them or sit

on them while pretending to be giants and giantesses (acromegaly).
  Related fetishes: foot, trample, and crush. The German artist Heinrich
Kley, who drew pictures of gigantic women breast-feeding elephants,
  suffered from macrophilia. “Jawohl, Herr Kommandant!” Roaches 

impaled by stiletto heels, crushed worms, brings new meaning to playing
  “footsie.” Sploshers and wammers, babies. Yummers too, spaghetti
sprawlers, chocolate syrup squirters, mud people mudlarking. Gas-
  masks, rubber and mud—a perfect combination. Industrial greasers

who take days to remove the goop using dirt and sand. So dangerous
  it isn’t recommended here or at home. A boy who grew up to be known
as Pie Man, who doubled as Downo, The World’s Most Depressing
  Clown. Dr. Ducky’s amazing collection of objects removed from human

rectums: rubbers, Lee Press-on Nails, hair brushes, bottles, a cattle horn,
  a frozen pig’s tail (it was inserted while frozen and got stuck when it
thawed) light bulbs, and, of course, gerbils. Who remembers Katy
  Sonntag a.k.a. Helen Melons at the Coney Island Sideshow! Who can

tell who these people are in the workplace, as they pass in the hallways,
  smile, then stop at the water fountain to sip a drink of cold water!
Something to pass the time, they might say. The way nights come upon
  them like they’re being trapped in Mommy’s black velvet shoe closet!

Glendale by Night

This took place while the Hillside Stranglers
  roamed the freeways of California, abducting
     women, killing them, wrapping them in plastic
  trash bags, and hiding them in the bushes,
where eventually freeway maintenance

crews would find the decomposing bodies,
  and I met a girl at the Candilejas dance club
     on Sunset Boulevard, a Cuban girl, whose father
  lost a leg during the Bay of Pigs Invasion
and the first thing he said to me when I met him

was if I’d mind coming by the house every so
  often because he and his wife would be leaving
     for a vacation in Miami, and he needed the peace
  of mind in knowing that his daughter would be
accompanied, and I thanked him for his trust,

and then thought of my staying in this strange
  house filled with early 1970’s plastic-covered
      furniture, the plastic runner of the carpets,
  the beads hung over the kitchen door, and having
said yes, I felt better, because I wasn’t working

and because I liked his daughter—how much closer
  I’d be, and when they finally left, I moved in,
     at first sleeping on the couch, then later,
  when I no longer needed approval for how I kept
my distance from her, I moved into their bed,

and one night she came to me, slipped next
  to me under the covers and I felt the warmth
     of her nakedness and while the ambulance sirens
  screamed in the distance, brush fires ravaged
the hillsides of Glendale, California, we made

love, woke up in each other’s sweaty arms the next
  morning, a sealed pact of longing on our sleepy
      faces, and I thought she would be it, no more
  searching through the night for compassion,
for, in short, love, and every day I returned

from having checked in on my own parents
  who looked at me as though I were already
     a stranger to them, picked up clean clothes,
  and left to return to M. (I cannot say her name).
A few days later, after dinner, we learned

on the evening news that two arrests had been
  made in the Hillside Strangler case, and we slept
      better. Her parents were coming home soon,
  and I didn’t want to leave. Our days in the house
lasted because we made them last in our quiet,

or silent soaking in the bathtub, our dinners
  by candlelight (all the romantic business of youth),
     and on the bed each night we burned prints
  of our bodies on the sheets, this language
of our desire, and her parents returned. I moved

back with my parents. I called her every day,
  she spoke of our final getaway, but we’d need
     money. I found a job selling shoes, she in data
  entry at the emergency ward of a hospital,
and by the end of the summer we still didn’t

have enough money, though we never asked how
  much we needed, and one night we met after
     work, I picked her up, and we drove to Palm Springs,
  the windows in the car down, the radio on,
her face on my shoulders, and when we got there

we checked into a seedy motel (of course) and made
  haphazard love on the broken-down, musty
     furniture, the smell of previous lovers dead
  in the stuffy room, and she told me she couldn’t
see me anymore, that she needed to get away

on her own, that she was leaving Glendale
  for Miami, that it was over between us, that she’d
     never really felt anything other than lust for me,
  and I said, Okay, that I too could learn to live
with my lust, but it was no use and we broke up.

A few years later, I find myself in Miami, after
  moving there from graduate school, my own parents
     residents of the State of Florida, longing for a quick
  return to Cuba to see it one more time before they
die, and I am jobless, and unhireable, and totally

useless as my friends say, and one night at La Carreta,
  I see M. again with another man, she is pregnant,
     looks happy enough, and she is eating buttered toast
  with cafe -con-leche, and I resist the need to walk up
and say hello, but she sees me looking at her in the mirror,

recognizes me, then stands up and approaches me,
  I burn my tongue with the hot coffee. She says hello,
     it’s been a long time, I look at her pinked ears,
  think I can smell her the way I used to those hot nights,
and she tells me that her father got run over by a bus

in downtown Los Angeles, he was coming home
  from the printers where he worked nights, and didn’t
     see it coming ... and I say sorry, and she asks
  what I’ve been up to, and I say not much, nothing at all,
that it feels as if time has stopped for me, for all of us,

and she pats her stomach and I say I know and congrats,
  then she returns to the table where her husband or
     boyfriend awaits, cuts his eyes at me one last time,
  and I think she tells him that she knew me once,
I was the guy who kept vigil at her parents’ house

in Glendale when the world seemed chaotic, serial
  killers roamed the hillsides, fires ravaged the land,
     the stars glowed in the night sky, pearls,
  I always thought, the moon cradled by mountains—
that I, her sentinel, guarded the gates of hell, right here.

   

© 2001 Virgil Suarez

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