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Fumbling with new skin Arrow vol 1 no 1 contents
About borderlands Volume 1 Number 1, 2002


Fumbling With New Skin

Juliet Gagon


It’s dark and we were fumbling with new skin. Dragging my signature moves pulling in every which direction tickle tongue. His awkwardness is moving, looking up I can’t feign the adoration that makes men weak for just a moment, I’m in awe. Deep lashed pools with a tuft of red hair, that wasn’t it. It was the way when he leaned back his hand covered the center of his chest. Delicate. Delicately covering with a sign. I try to kiss back his hand and holding tight to the spot, I drag my tongue down his sides distracting him. In the dim light of the dial of my stereo I make out a twisted knot of scar tissue and angry red boils. I want to jump on him and shake my flabby stomach in glee "look at me!" but I don’t. I avoid like he asks in silence. But this knot gets me and now days later I think of it. I think it is beautiful like the edges of his flesh pulling out all the guards all the stops crying halt whoa there not too close. I wanted someone to wave his or her hand over, me, underneath. I remember twisting in inhuman directions to hide the hand over belly that each year grows in proportion. Purple crevices pulled tight with the load of my parcel of protection. A pound of flesh for each of the infractions aga inst my skin, against my soles.

When I was a kid I was always hurting my feet. My little body dragged across a beach filled with glass by an angry girlfriend of my father’s into a waiting car. A broken bottle finds its way into the softest parts of my foot it clots intently with sand. Screaming. They think I just don’t want to leave as they hustle me into the car my legs twisted round; my opposite toe gets caught in the slamming door. I scream the 12 miles home ‘till they figure it out. While running across the wooden bridge to my aunt’s camp a long sliver of wood slides the length of my sole. We spend the afternoon getting it out. Do the wounds we receive have anything to do with what we are, my distended belly, still aching feet, twisted knot of boils on his chest?

Sex is a way of life. Too be truly committed to getting laid regularly you have to give yourself to it completely. I think, rather know, I have lost years to this pursuit. Now I have a number of arguments to defend my choices and on any given day I’m either the Joan of Arc of sex or the Leper of sex. I have fears about eternal damnation on occasion and often fears that the sharp pain in my cunt is a sore or the case of strep throat with its tell-tale signs of white spots on the back of my throat are in fact the four horsemen of the apocalpyse-of-aids banging down the door. Door. It was a door to my inside and if plundered enough they will work their way up into my intestines liver lungs banging their way to my heart. Hello thump thump anyone in here hello heart bang bang eyes on the fantastic this is love here love, or this I control as they grow weak and fall into my arms.

Limp and washed-out I hold them up to look at the cum that made it in the envelope. My pussy is an envelope I am sending to my heart wicked letters passed onto Senator Daschle. You want to talk about epidemics baby look away from the headline. Anthrax is going to kill less than sex. O.K. right you want to make a bet. All right I say there are more connections between the cunts and assholes of the world filled with semen cum what have you to anthrax than any of us would like to believe and sadly the envelopes filled with white substances have more to do with each other than anyone would like to admit. This is not just the connecting to AIDS it is looking at the width of breadth of connection and the loss of letters to the email, the loss of running one finger ‘neath the seam of an envelope to discover the words worlds of those around us. This is an epidemic. First, however one ought to understand what the difference between an epidemic and pandemic is really and just how afraid we ought to be of anthrax.

Epidemic: Affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time. (Typhoid was an epidemic). excessively present, contagious <epidemic laughter> from the Greek epidemia: visit, from epidemos; visiting, from epi+demos: people

The fact that anthrax is rarely seen in the U.S.A. and, although it seems that this is an outbreak to my uneducated eye and according to the thesaurus an outbreak is the only word that is connected to epidemic, but we all must take a moment and look at what the average person sees when they switch on the news and sees epidemic, they see the plague. Ok it would be more reasonable for the average Joe to open up and realize that AIDS is an epidemic. But given the fact that people seem to only want to connect with the things they feel can really affect them. For Christ’s sake even in the blissfully bucolic state of Vermont the local Joanne’s Fabrics even called in an anthrax scare. Ok yes fear much they the big THEY are even out to knock down those craft-loving Martha Stewart craving persons. Ok yes I understand. One might add that the average craft-loving granny has a better chance of contracting AIDS after her one-night stand with that swaggering dancer at the retirement center than receiving a tainted letter. Yet the fear has increased in the past few days with a granny dying from anthrax. I don’t mean to poke fun. Well that’s not true. But the fact remains that I do not call this an epidemic. AIDS having spent some years on the back burner after heterosexual men began distributing it is through the population and the "evil" gays no longer seem responsible. Well let’s face it AIDS is not classifibly an epidemic anymore. It is a pandemic.

Pandemic: Occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.

Here again however this element moves it totally out of the America mindset. Now its those Blacks whom as we all know just fuck and fuck and hell this is even more reason to close those borders between the blacks and those towel head A-rabs no one’s safe. Ahhhhh wait one moment though....They have decided on a suspect for the anthrax epidemic ... And the envelope please. The profile is a "white-male, anti-social mid-twenties" oh yes ohhhh no well this can be read in one or two ways. Hello much like AIDS being spread within our own country not being the outsider element (i.e. people we love and trust as well as sexual liaisons between consenting adults). Or this profile could fit any healthy American male in his twenties who might not be signing up to go to war or even better an activist. Hell we won’t need the draft this time around the government will just bully poor boys into service. So perhaps this is nothing like AIDS. Perhaps I’m going to for a moment look at the reason I choose to draw a connecting line between my pussy heart and guts to the anthrax scare.

When I first went back to live with my family my father decided I had grown too soft in the outside world soft with convenience and the fact that he was a big believer in "spare the rod spoil the child" he was determined to break me and quick. We lived in an old farmhouse that was closed up except for the kitchen bathroom and the two upstairs bedrooms. The rest of the rooms remained still, but filled to the ceiling with an endless array of treasures and junk. The main part of the house was heated by a very large wood stove that was used for cooking as well. We lived in kerosene lamplight and late at night the smell clung dirty to the insides of my nose me lying in bed rummaging through scraping big black sooty balls and flicking them to my oily walls where they would either bounce off or slowly slide down.

My father was not only a big disciplinarian but also a terrific slave driver. I was five and a half years old when I returned home, and my first job was to stack the wood. Granted my Dad was right at that point my only chores at Nana’s was to make my bed and put away dishes. Standing in front of that load of wood my Dad next to me saying it all had to be in by nightfall or there’ d be hell to pay. Damn that was daunting. So I trudged back and forth for hours holding as much as my little arms could carry, which was approximately two cut pieces. My arms getting red and raw through my thin sleeves. Splinters. I tried at first to make it a game but my father busted me for what he called "lollygagging". Back and forth the rumbling of the generator in the barn as night fell I was still out there, hungry and tired but I had lollygagged so I had to stay. That pile never seemed to end and the stacking got slower and slower. I missed dinner when my dad finally got me and I went to bed without that would teach me.

                I I I I I I

When I get his letters in the mail I get a weak feeling. Love replaced with remembrance, I sift through first looking for the thousand ways he still tells me that I am, will always be, the one. I met him on a bus that seems a million miles away and considering the amount of male terrain I have traversed since him it might as well be. I told him in those soft morning light that if he were ever in Maine to stop by and left my address. A day later the clanging of my door bell and I rush down two flights of stairs in a blue flower sheet wrapped loose. He said he’d never seen anything more beautiful. I had never seen anything more beautiful than the look in his eyes taking me in. This was a first. Taking in my breath as we lay in that morning mid afternoon to evening sun. Although months past now years he flooded me for a long time with envelopes filled.

Envelopes. You slide your finger under tight triangles, angles bit back holding your finger tight sucking on the tip lightly grazing my tongue over the ridges left. Lick to seal. Licking is a formula. Taking time to seal the deal. Tendrils of sweat replace saliva. Sweat replaces with vicious fluid gives way to twisted pained retractions hard red and wet first the tip and a rivulet lick it light and the force of a quickly opened can of pop.

I have slid my fingers into the crevice of my cunt digging in deep only to come back empty handed, I dragging pull the protective moisture to the lips to make what I want possible. In 11 years no one has said "no wait let me seal draw out the breath that makes the inhale deep and satisfying." Perhaps it’s been my fervor. Crawl on top fill me with words write me a love letter leave a letter in my box. Let me show you this beautiful letter, let’s not waste haste on the envelope.

With my legs spread, adjusting the awkward mirror perched betwixt my feet, I look at my cunt swollen and red from the last mail room disaster. Another boy who uses the clean edged letter opener that always fails if you don’t make it, sawing back and forth, fast. My vertical slit. Opening it carefully I inspect it and try to see what lurks there moving underneath the layers. I flinch, it quivers the surfaces. How this must feel, I wonder, wrapped around them? Them. They flood-jab-ram, even the better ones. Feel the flesh flinch, whisper how sexy I am how good I feel... I wonder if they have any idea. Sitting back we stare at their semi-erect member. It dancing upon on and off commands, twitched. But my place is a movement a drawn flinch the whispered shout... depending on circumstance through my entire package. A package. Men have packages? Foolish notion. What lay between my legs is a package. A package is filled emptied sealed opened. Something’s small fingers, toes penises. Large thing’s babies, fist, penises. This package ultimately holds me together. All roads lead upwards. Take care not to bump my tipped uterus obstructing the view. The scream resonates. All to often the no-so-sensitive member has failed to see it as a signal of excruciating pain.

Envelopes filled with white substance settle on the bottom. If I lay on my back too long it seeps into my spine.

Take care with lumpy packages covered with a lot of tape. As a young woman I was with a man who insisted on staring at my pussy with the lights on. Being young and shy I found it unsettling and when he told me why I finally understood the root cause of my discomfort. He said he was making sure I was clean. Clamping my legs around his head I love to say I didn’t let him in but in the case of chain letters you never really know where your plea may land. Send twenty warm wishes to the following or face horrible year

Laying on my back the din of the T.V. flickers wildly on the ceiling and on a bottle of sticky sweet coffee brandy. Don’t look down at the dexterously good-feeling tongue of my father licking the seal permanently of the chain letter sent to each one of the men. They all seal it with their varied responses: "NEVER SEND A CHAIN LETTER TO THIS ADDRESS AGAIN!" "Wish you well!" "Good luck!" Running for the door with clothes in hand staring at the ceiling flicker flick flick flicker. Fucking, making love. Made love with coffee brandy and that origin of this letter. Danger is what may lurk in that substance. It could kill you with a virus or even worse, with the illusion of what could have been, childless, disease, free, single and groping.

Sealed the envelope with days and years of lost time hiding in the recesses where he was a handsome prince, or I was the wife, the mother. That was ripped away as my sister appeared in the door woken from sleep and needing me to ease her back into dreamland. He sits up as I fumble underneath the covers as my sister crawls onto the warm bed as he vacantly stares at the television. Blank but waiting to pounce on that fragile tender flesh I’m holding in my arms. My arms weren’t long enough to wrap around myself so this was the first introduction to shame.

What could have been? Shame is a constant parade of nuns, jilted used-up angry lovers screaming BITCH, angry grandmothers looming, the crawling on the bathroom floor puking in the bowl, that sigh of a child in my guts eating me, my insides the cruelest package of all, one whose seal is split with a needle in the cervix, scraping tool, injections of light fluids taking this letter away from my mind. Sitting up in pools of blood wiping my hand down the paneling. "We don’t understand this never happens." Brought in a zip lock rainbow spill of tissue floating oils that are a combination of them and me. What could have been? Warm split beaver.

I have read if you are desperate in cold climates to survive you can kill a deer or large animal and crawl inside. A gift inside of racks of ribs nestled in with the stink of a fresh kill mingled with the scent of opened bowels.

Anal sex.

Once I was seeing this reporter in Austin who in the midst of making out went to the loo while I lay on my stomach perched on my elbows. Out of nowhere he leapt on top of me ripping through the walls of my anus. Perhaps he too was cold but considering the summer temperatures in Austin I’m not really convinced.

In the letters for that long lost love, hiding under the grit that we both know is there, blind to the stench bleeding from the warmth of left-over sentiments. This is a more plausible reason. Hiding in my fear and bloodied ass.

The opening of an email is like masturbation, it’s done with ease and as much as you try to savor it, it’s only a semblance of the intent. I laid back and upon the suggestion of a dear female friend revisited the ease of the handy back massager. Slipped in between the sheets and in a matter of moments I was rolling my head back into my eyes and laughing. There was no stumbling through my mind for the right fantasy grouping of interchangeable men, each equipped with a specially or focusing on whomever was currently the "best". Boom. I can revisit my emails at any time but the closet I get are the :) and the ever suggestive ;). The wink in a particular man’s emails always got me all hot and bothered.

Do not bump shake or sniff. Odors permeate the room. Last year while riding the trains in Berlin I was often overcome by the desire to lean my head into the liquid smells of the businessmen, eyes fixed on the mandatory newspaper. Now I can settle my nose in to the folds of my current man’s jacket, the sawdust woven into the fibers and the faint whiff of chainsaw fuel is a heady blend that I lose myself in. The same way my father always smelled of V.W. engines. The problem with a scent is it will catch you off guard at any given moment and who knows? My heart is mending and in walks a smell throwing me into a wall of hurt, tightening my chest and making me want to throw a temper tantrum right there in the middle of the grocery store post office DMV. Do not bump, shake, or sniff - it is an infection. Bumping, grinding late at night into damped laps until their sex rises and slips in the back door and try as you might to work your way ‘round the kisses fall short of holding the edge of the bed or wall and getting the full grunt of it all. Shake it out before it recedes and settles in the springs... shake it outside, reach back, and rub it in because no one likes a wet bed, especially one in patches.

Remember darling to never ever take mail from an address unknown to you. Once a year I update my list, figure in all the new candidates, and a shiver runs through me each time. When talking to my girlfriend I know his feelings are not settling on me alone. How many packages of unknown origin have spent the night chatting days away before disappearing into the sunset? Or the torrid nights in sweltering clubs falling out onto the street with a tongue in my ear?

If only those same bulletins were released to us all as we headed out into the wild blue room.

No matter how he shifted I saw the raw red boils nestled in the cavern left behind by previous angers. They spotted him at the neck and around his chin and in the cool unforgiving cold light of a gray morning I sat back and looked as sleep had torn down the defenses. I sit facing him as my belly softly folds over the tops of my thighs. He is still, aside from the subtle shifting of his legs and the palpable breath that fills my room. Open on the desk a few secrets in this warm open letter.d

There is this Laurie Anderson song that has a line that sends me into a fit of tears every time I hear it. "Then one day you receive the letter you’ve been waiting for forever and at the end it says ‘Burn this’". I lay in the wake of every letter fearful of that inevitable burning. I have found solace in the fact that I"ve never let this letter in my box.

Do not open tightly taped packages. Report immediately.

Whenever I send letters I tape bits and pieces to the inside as well as the outside. I want someone to take the time to get inside and as much as I enjoy sending these I only do it once and in a great while, as well I only receive these tempting bits every so often. But when they arrive, layered and smudged, I squint close in the wee hours trying to decipher the sender and bits meant only for me.

We always entered through the barn, its massive door opened just a crack with barely enough room once inside to get to the inside door. A narrow cluttered hallway strung up with unused farm tools, old horse equipment, a scythe. Then you’d push through a heavy door into the consistently under-heated kitchen. A long room with a kitchen sink at the end broken up by the wood stove and a worn therapist’s couch. If you went straight there were the rooms closed off in the Winter. In order to reach these rooms you peeled yourself through sheets of heavy crinkling plastic like an overwrought attempt at fancy holiday packaging. But when we snuck in during the day, when my father was off gallivanting in town, my mother was always like a vague smell in the room. We would stalk through the rooms prowling for leftovers of bygone years. Pretending to play house, dragging old furniture or playing with the assortment of pianos and the odd clarinet or saxophone. With the latter, I would crawl to the second story, hide in a room that required a certain amount of skill to heave yourself over, and I would drag out mournful scrapes of music. Once I found a large number of discarded dollies. Their lashed eyes permanently lolling, boxes that once held voices lay dormant in the centers. Still golden locks ratted up in ungodly messes. Digging further in these recesses of the back of the house I found treasures on an almost daily basis. Photos, old makeup kits smelling and tasting strongly of oil I knew nothing of. Lives I still know nothing of. Such filth in the rest of the house but here the thick coats of dust left it pristine white/gray clouds of magic discovery. Swiping a well-licked palm across glass reveals a photo or a drawing. This was the only place I loved to sweep. Each turn of the room drew a massive swell. Hiding finding discovering burying. The racket in the rest of the house numbed even when I was not there. I was there, tinkering about, whenever I was told to spread my arms to the top of the therapy couch for whatever number of lashings with the belt I was to get, the taunting crack crack as my dad exercised his knowledge of just how hard this could his, was reformed as the sound of the stacked boxes I carefully navigated listening for sounds that showed my footing to be unstable. Only in this part of the house could I safely hide my greatest treasures of found birdies or mice. The others that I had bought had been discovered and I had been made to listen as his boot crushed the screaming gray fluffs, or Esmarelda, the cat, my father’s Cerubus, munching contentedly on the baby birds I had coaxed out of their nest. Coaxed from their warm mother’s belly with a stick and a shovel, the mother birds swooping down and fiercely defending. I had the idea I would be a much better mommy than they, oh how wrong I was. Please forgive me.

Munch, crack, snap, crinkle, freedom. Angle light where I could lay when it got cold, lounging in the long panels cast upon the floor. This was all mine, my present, the present no one else could be aske d to bother with because I never let on how much it meant to me, of that I was careful. Show no love and it won’t get taken away. I really should have learned that lesson and carried it into adulthood.

This infection courses through my veins into my temples beating hard long times of great friendship men who love me but their lack of interest in me sexually left me deflated, rejected. I wanted to give them me wanted to crack open. Wanted them to feed get warm. Beating at my temples impatient longing fill me fill me senseless losses moved in unshakable sexual frenzy.

When I was young I would have nightmares where the road I was walking on was strewn with the many bodies of animals that I had lost or seen dead. There was nowhere to step, even on my tippy toes, the road just filled and filled. Now my dreams are filled with the carcasses of men and women sliced open with knives from their bellies to the neck, all riding.

Rocking my envelope over the tip, squat in deeper holding myself so nothing but the cunt touches, ‘till I fall weakened and tired. The hands on my hips moving me where they want me to flex and tighten. My love handles, just that.


© borderlands ejournal 2002


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