Brindisi and a Bikini.

Joseph had just exited Runnymede subway station, the wind was biting cold as was to be expected on a January day in Toronto. The commute from his office at Savage Goldstein and Law seemed to him, filled with women dressed in Canada Goose coats and those hideous rubber boots. He guessed that after paying for the incredibly overpriced coats, whose only redeeming quality was the badge emblazoned on the left arm announcing to the world, I possess enough wealth to purchase said coat,( but not quite enough for  a decent pair of boots.) He ruminated on his own wardrobe, not a single corporate logo to be found. He lamented bitterly on the corporatization of our culture. As a copyright lawyer he understood the Borg like monolithic structure of the system. Resistance is futile.

The day before he had ordered a dozen long stem roses from a small independent florists that he passed on his way home. As he waited in line for his order his mind wondered to a phone call he received from his wife Ann that morning.  “Hi dear.” “Joseph, don’t forget tonight is girls night at Jeanie’s and we need milk and bread.” “Ann you realize today is our anniversary?” Shit! I’ll call you back.” Ann called back twenty minutes later; “Joseph, I can’t get out of my date with the girls tonight but I can be home by ten. We’ll get together then.” “O.K. sweetheart, see you then.”  “One door closes another opens. I can now watch the game and have sex later, just like ordering takeout.” They always had sex on their anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, when Ann got back from Italy rejuvenated and Josephs’ mother stayed over.

Ann in all ways was a fairly typical wife and mother with one outstanding character trait; she possessed either courage or the inability to foresee the consequences of her actions. This character asset or flaw in many ways has defined her life. If she wanted something Ann would take tremendous risks without the benefit of a risk and reward analysis. An indication of a primitive operating system perhaps.

She was admonished by her father for how she dressed and behaved in her teenage years, then her husband when first married. Slowly the wilting disapproval from without and within inexorably replaced who she was with not pain, not pleasure, nothing. Like the schizophrenic on meds, not alive but not dead. The relentless suppression of her sexuality and her overriding need to express herself created two personalities. The inculcation of who she should be as time unfolded was devastating to her spirit. You can hide the human spirit but not destroy it. If hidden it will manifest and express itself in a different form.

Ann was working on her biography for posterity. Taping away on her laptop struggling to place in a two dimensional form her multi-dimensional life. It was proving more difficult than she thought possible. “I was a talented musician, beautiful, quick witted, daring, and fully engaged in the world in which I lived. My younger brother, not so engaged, seemed always to attract more attention and family resources. I didn’t so much feel inconsequential, more so lived it. This slight became a part of who I am, this ethos I carried into my marriage. This rendering I called “Preparation for motherhood and the back of the bus.” I slipped readily into the role of wife and mother having been prepared sufficiently.

For the last seven years Ann vacationed in Italy, ostensibly she had a keen interest in Roman architecture. Her solitary trips to Italy were a concession she wrestled from her husband of twenty seven years as a way of decompressing from the accumulating pressures of life. Ann was married at twenty-two and became pregnant for her first of three children in the third month of her marriage. She was and still is a devoted and loving mother, however being a mother and wife did not define her.

As the years passed it wasn’t the drudgery of diapers, anhydrous lanolin, teething aids, kindergarten concerts, and later the high school equivalent, but the loss of who she was before husband and children. The unseen and unspoken loneliness and longing she felt while firmly concealed within the heart of her family was difficult for her to understand. She was lonely for that part of her that somehow slowly evaporates in a woman as the realities and demands of being a wife, mother, and woman in todays world displaces the young, sexually curious, and vivacious girl that once was. This gradual yet ongoing loss of identity, never allowed her to be who she truly was in her later years.

Later that evening during dinner a conversation started between husband and wife, the conversation was endured more than enjoyed. “Are you planning your trip, Ann? “To be honest I haven’t given it much thought. My biography seems to be taking over all my spare time.” Ann replied. Joseph never ceased to be amused at Anns’ attempts to lie. She lacked the sophistication to do so convincingly, and when Ann did lie it sounded like cracked china. She always predicated a lie with “to be honest”. Ann had started planning for her next trip immediately after her previous trip was over. Joseph peered over his glasses, “So, how’s it going?” “What?” “The bio” “It’s a challenge Joseph.”  He was reminiscing on how she projected herself in the early years of their relationship. After five minutes of silence Joseph asked.  “Do you remember the Holiday Inn, the bottle of Black Label, and making love all weekend Ann?” “I do” The tone of her reply was abrupt, ending the sunny thoughts of the early times along with that line of conversation. She was not in the mood to indulge in a warm and fuzzy conversation on their past. Ann was thinking about her upcoming trip to Italy. Bologna for some shopping, then on to Ravenna for a few days, before following the Adriatic coast south to Brindisi. The meal was finished in silence except for the chink of cutlery on china, tea cup on saucer. Both left the table hungry.

Later that evening after the ritual of the evening meal was complete Ann went to her bedroom and Joseph to his study. Ann had e-mails to compose; she needed to touch base with the people she had formed relationships with in Italy on previous trips. Joseph had his reading; at the moment he was reading, Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham.  He consumed literature to assuage his ravenous search for the truth about the world in which he lived and about himself. This was his lifelong passion and its spur was he couldn’t figure out if he was just innately curious about life or he was missing something important and desperately searching for it.

Joseph loved spring in the city within a forest, Toronto. He didn’t understand why Ann would choose this time of year to travel. “Ann shouldn’t you be packing?” “I have two days and you know how I pack.” “Will you be taking your one piece bathing suit or your two-piece?” “Didn’t you suggest some effort in the gym would go a long way, a while back?” “Yes dear but…” ‘Then my one piece black bathing suit it is.” Ann after twenty seven years could still be hurt by Josephs at times, lack of sensitivity. Ann decided to pack that evening.

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A love letter.

Wished I could tell you what is on my mind right now,

this very moment in time.

I wouldn’t be gentle,

rough like the game keeper,

course like the stone mason, not sweet like the violinist.

The lark would have no place, the primordial grunts of the stag in October would be my voice.

I would pursue and dominate until wasted.

Spent like a summers day in our youth.

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Out of The Sadness of The Swamp.

My dear Asha.

You must understand the night we shared was the most glorious night I have ever shared with a woman. In that one night you touched and caressed me more than any other women in a life time. To wake up lying next to you was overwhelming. I don’t know, my apparent loquaciousness fails me; it shunts me to silence, a landscape I am not familiar with.

Touch, such a basic human requirement for most, certainly me, I have never experienced it in that way until you. I longed for it not understanding what I longed for. You run your fingers through my hair, my beard, and your hands along my hip down my thigh. Your fingers in my mouth, my fingers in yours. I spooned you, you me, acts of physical intimacy exclusively shared between a couple. Now I am in a position to understand and it is unsettling.  You cannot touch my body in that way and not touch my heart.

You look at me at times and I wonder what is going through your mind.

 I love the way you move and I watch your body, pleasure unfolds. I will not analyze or question this pleasure; just enjoy it.

 I feel your discomfort when I express how I feel about you, just being honest. You are a beautiful woman and I will never apologize for reminding you of that.

It is not all about the physical side of our relationship either, the emotional side is proving difficult to describe or understand. I do not want to fall into platitudes you are too smart and intuitive for that. I know the words you need to hear and in their correct context. If I utter those words for me it is as binding as if we expressed our vows in the eyes of loved ones.

 It weighs nothing however it can crush you. It has the durability of granite but can be ephemeral. You cannot touch it yet it fills everything. I am also scared.

As I said to you that night, the day I go to my grave the last memory I will have will be of our first night. What a clear and precious gift you have given me.

James.

 

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You see dear, if you force me into warrior mode on this issue I will become to you unimaginably cruel. That is the sadness of being a man.” How do you cool your blood after the body rush?” It stems from the same talent that allows us to slit Bambis throat whilst looking into those big brown doey eyes. Don’t fuck with me on this one for I will tap into my primordial past for whatever tools are required. All my love, James.

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That Fucking Tree

There is a tree that grows close to my bedroom window. When the wind blows from the north a small branch taps my bedroom wall in such a way that it sounds like a knock on my bedroom door in that room service kind of way, apologetic, but insistent.  I hate that fucking tree; it just stands there and grows every day. It mocks me by its very presence.

I poured muriatic acid around its root system in the spring; just as its leaves were budding. It didn’t even turn the leaves brown. I’ve ringed it twice and it continues to grow. It’s too large to fell; it would damage surrounding infrastructure. I just want it to wither and die, and decay into the dirt from which it sprang. The tenacity of life can at times be galling.

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Women, Stop your Whining.

Whilst a mature student at art college I was once accused of objectifying the female body by the vanguard of the feminist elite. If they had bothered to learn their art history it would have saved them the time and effort involved in defacing, stealing, and putting a great deal of industry in trying to get my work censored.

I have two observations on the objectification of the human form.

 If you have not at some point during the act objectified your partners body you are probably doing it incorrectly, or at the very least without the appropriate level of physical passion. Between you and me, when I’m banging away on the vinegar stroke I’m not going through your resume or considering your fine personality.

Men at times for purely prurient reasons objectify the female body, and yes the results can be tragic, however when the male body is objectified the result is often a young man coming home to his family in a body bag from a foreign land.

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Revenge

 Never underestimate the therapeutic benefits of revenge. Only after you have exacted your revenge should you consider forgiveness. I understand the desire for revenge can at times be caustic, corrosive, and self-destructive, however revenge can also be cathartic. Forgiveness is seen by far too many, as a sign of weakness, however revenge can usher a primordial purifying, and release. The deliberate withholding of forgiveness like war is not always a bad thing.

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