Skin Deep

From adventofreason’s Xanga Archives . . .

The Kiss (detail)  Gustav Klimt~The Kiss

he never could discern just what the flower
was that curved delicately down her hip bone
to her upper thigh and then disappeared
somewhere behind her knee, trailing
tendrils of green and lavender
she had told him once-was it lilac?
or something else-wisteria?
she had not been a delicate girl
her hair a ruddy red and a spray
of freckles across her body
her jaw was a bit too square and her
eyes tried to be green, but were
grey and smoky
her arms told of her strength and
she could drink most men under
the table, telling dirty jokes to make
a sailor blush
but that traveling flower down her
leg, from hip to knee always made
him see her as something ethereal
and dainty; how he loved to kiss that
purple ink, leaving a trail of moisture
on her pale skin
he would lie awake at night
alone in his narrow bed and wish that
he had learned to love more than
just that tattoo

ceg 11.2.11

This Fallen Angel

From adventofreason’s Xanga Archives . .  .

fallenangelArtwork by Ryn Li

Suddenly, as the owl-topped clock strikes eight, a mysterious figure enters the room. It is Herr Drosselmeyer, Clara and Fritz’s godfather. He is a talented toymaker who has brought with him gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls—a Harlequin and Columbine, and a Vivandière and Soldier—who dance to the delight of all.
~The Nutcracker

Herr Drosselmeyer, late of Ost-Speicher, had moved, taking the gears and velvet, tools and paints of his trade with him.  He set up shop in East Burnham-On-Crouch.  Only a few of his dolls adorned the windows, but they were enough.  At first, it was only the scruffy urchins from the streets, with their smudged faces, rosy from the chill of New L’Ondon’s cold.  Soon, mothers and fathers, trying to find their absent children came also to his shop.  As word spread of his works, the clientele became more genteel.  He welcomed all of them.  They wanted to be angry, those wealthy ones; angry at the good Doktor.  He would not sell his beauties.  He would sell clever watches that would light up in the darkness.  He would sell music boxes that could fill the room with the loveliest fragrances and the most mysterious music.   He would sell cunning puppets which could dance by themselves when a pipe was played at just the right pitch.

To say that Herr Drosselmeyer was a genius, was a laughable insult.  He was courted by the wealthy patrons of New L’Ondon and plied with food and drink and whispered promises of riches if only he would sell one of his beauties.  Always, a smile he gave them, and a head shake.  They were not for sale.  Why not, he would query, purchase a walking stick with the carved head of the Sphinx, that would chuckle at its own irony as it tapped the ground.  Or a jeweled butterfly that would fly about the room before settling on the shoulder of the sweetest child.  As beautiful as all of these creations were, they would not satisfy the hungry longings for the beauties.

Sir Edmond wanted only Vivian, Herr Drosselmeyer’s most beautiful of his beauties.  A ballerina, she, with hair spun from angel whispers, lips of the essence of sweet dreams and eyes the envy of the sky itself.  She would pirouette and twirl, dancing with such grace and beauty, that Sir Edmond had indeed lost his heart to her.

“Gentlemen, this fallen angel is the illegitimate daughter of art and science. A modern marvel of engineering, clockworks elevated to the very natural process which even now is in your blood, racing, your eyes flashing at such irreproachable beauty. Here is Gaia, here is Eve, here is Lilith, and I stand before you as her father. Sprung fully-formed from my brow, dewy and sweet; she can be yours and yours again, for her flesh is the incorruptible pale to be excused from the wages of sin.” *

Gears and paint bedamned, he loved her.  He would gaze upon her for hours, memorizing her softly parted lips and smooth porcelain skin.  He tried everything to encourage Herr Drosslemeyer to sell her to him.  Money, power, women, and eventually rage and tears.  Drosselmeyer remained unmoved.  And so it continued day into night, week into month.  Edmond, a pale imitation of his former self, sat, rumpled and weeping, gazing upon Vivian.  New L’Ondon had moved on without him.  Always a new delight, always a new allure.  Drosselmeyer’s shop became quiet again, save for the tinkling sounds of dolls which dreamt real dreams and soldiers who fired muskets at unseen enemies.  Overhead, a candelabra bearing flames that sang, and below, carpets whose woven ocean tapestries carried the scent of distant seas and spices.  These were lost to Edmond, as he began to leave this world and enter Vivian’s.

The story was carried as an afterthought in the New L’Ondon Carrier-Times.  A ruin of Herr Drosselmeyer’s shop was pictured, still smoking.  No sign of Sir Edmond was ever discovered.  Cryptic stories of Drosselmeyer entertained the residents of New L’Ondon for many years, but no evidence of him ever emerged. Scattered and broken marvels were found in the ashes, as well as Vivian.  Vivian, broken yet still lovely.  Vivian, the object of adoration and unrequited love.  Broken yet still pure.

ceg 6.12.11

Herr Drosselmeyer’s Doll, by Abney Park

Immediacy

images

He watched my foot tapping turn to a full-force dance and he laughed.

Not the sweet laugh from long ago, but the kind that is mean.  I don’t think I will ever forget the ugliness of it.  He knew I was almost frantic in my need, and yet he laughed, finding humor in my pain.  What is it they call it?  Schadenfreude? Coming from someone who is supposed to love you, it is never appealing.

That incessant need-It starts with a gentle nudge and builds to this screaming demand that refuses to quit until heeded. Unrelenting.  My thighs were squeezed together and I was using those I internal muscles I had learned about when I was pregnant.  Squeeze.  Hold.  Breathe.  I was terrified of losing it completely in public, but he thought it was funny.  He laughed as he saw tears begin to swim in my eyes.  I had come to terms with his bullying.  I had learned to ignore the almost constant stream of belittlement.  This laughing thing was an unwelcome addition to an awful repertoire that he had displayed for years now.

Through the blur of my tears, I spied the urban equivalent of an outhouse.  To me, it looked like a green gateway to paradise.  My nose found it as well, but my need was too great to worry about that.  I “ran” with my knees squished together, beginning to gag from the smell.  I heard his peals of laughter ringing in my ears and the sound of my own retching, as I grabbed the handle and slammed the door shut behind me. Fumbling quickly with the button and zipper of my jeans (had it always been so difficult?), I managed to yank them down and sit before my bladder completely let go. I cried in relief and gingerly rubbed my tender side.  In a fit of pique, his boot had connected with my ribs. The resulting bloom of blue, purple and black was impressive.

When I emerged from that little hut of horror and blessed release, I looked for him and contemplated, and not for the first time, what it would be like if I could just run away.  Run away and not look back.  I had stayed with him all these years.  I couldn’t just leave, even though he was a monster.  A monster.

But, I stay.

It’s not like you can divorce your own child.

ceg 7.24.15