Tongue Heart

One has to get done before the other becomes possible.

One is the burden to determine; the other a determined burden.

He always thought that maybe he’d be one of the boys, but the boys weren’t having him, and so he slighted them as strangers, and he being not one of them decided he must be something else.

There was a time when he thought he’d never fall in love. He watched the girls, and later women, stroll up and down the paper clip boulevard, elongated monkey shadows, alien and torn in a silk stocking crisis, lifted like steam from worming manholes, womanifested into sour-pored flesh, sent to fulfill some strategy or deed of a higher divine purpose, or marching into cotton-candy fire and so he longed for them, longed for love, teething their silken scarves rippling along their necks, clutching swollen handbags, fire lips pursed and dream-fingers adorned with painted nails, skin alkaline, death-marbl’d.

He was love-starved; he knew it too, knew it as far as he sought it in the desperation of books and magazines, penning furious tongue poems and missives from heart to heart, mainlined through a defeated battery of nerves and tiger intelligence.

And so, having neither man nor woman, he had only himself to consider, and of that he was not fond at all. He drove in the country and barked at trees, dropping to his knees, skin-burned by the moon and heart-chilled by the sun, suffering savage taunts from birdcall, wanting yearning needing what he could not find, finding not what he needed.

The world was a walking shadow-play. He cut himself with knives and stabbed his tired heart with scissors.

Once he removed his heart, clean and beating and placed it on a paper plate. He watched the purple blood seep into the porous paper. He thought maybe he’d take a photo of it, and so he did, and he walked that night up and down the boulevard wanting to show the world what he could do.

The man’s face was knit from a savage and brutish energy; in the bathroom mirror he asked himself ‘who will love me?”

Who – will – love – me – ?

Will I find death unto dying, will I find love unto loving?

And it wasn’t the sex he was starved for, but the essence of it, that creamy tapioca of legs and arms raped by piercing sunburned hair – hair so burned it smelled like a dog – and he wanted to belt his arms around her and talk in animal tongues that she could understand, a primitive death-rattle of birth yearning joy.

But it was all for naught, he could not take it any longer and so he stood on the street with a cardboard sign around his neck.

“In here be the soul you so despise – take my skin my heart my eyes tongue liver follicles dirt – despise me fully but my soul you cannot reach.”

For many days and nights he stood with his sign, his sallow skin gone fallow, eyes burned into opal fire, watching the daily transgressions honk their horns into the empty heart-lamps of the world.

It was all for naught, and so he took his sign and threw it in a trashcan.

Maybe the tide will be in. I can try there.

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