It’s like a kind of prison really. A prison in which seats are in high demand. They want to be there. We looked out at them ? those who sit like abandoned children waiting to be claimed. We feel sorry for them. We have compassion and concurrent contempt for them. They wanted the agony we experienced each and every day. The agony of knowing and not knowing.
We are creators of gods. We, apart from each other, having never met and with only a vibratory knowledge of each other had truly created a god. Men and women, since he could remember, were always within his grasp. I don’t believe he had ever spent a single moment alone without it being his expressed choice.
But I really don’t want to talk about history right now. We were there, all present and silent, in that room. Each one had a corner of the wall, the door, or a standing place (there was no resting in this room) near the window. We even held our breath in order to not be inundated with the sound of our living. Each one was free to leave. And that’s the key to the whole thing; he made freedom so very unattractive.
She was there too. She was there with their gods. I think they liked me and painfully sober. I’m not drinking or high or crazy. I always have the feeling, when I’m summoned, that those spirits which float through that art gallery masquerading as a private residence, that they are at least amused by me. When he’s not in the room I look into her eyes. Like living marble, alive, cold, and without any trace of age. Marble new. Marble old. The better the marble the more mysterious it becomes. I’ve asked the old lady to tell me something. Give me a clue. I’ve asked her to talk to him about me. To intercede on my behalf. I guess I’m admitting to blasphemy and resigned myself to hell. I believe in God. I also believe I love my god even though he is not of my making. I came late, almost too late, to this party. I had no idea I was going to be invited as I might as well have been a servant stereotypically barely seen and stereotypically unheard. I had the hardest time, and still do, with not calling him, ?sir.? I can’t help myself, we go on in many ways, as we began.
I was talking about his haunted house now wasn’t I? There was another spirit there. I would feel him watching me. Especially the first time I was there alone. I went down the hall and I could feel him pulling me forward to the bedroom door. Fitting that it would be at the end of hall. That’s where all of the carnage always occurs. It can’t happen in a bedroom right by the front door. It can’t happen even in the makeshift basement bedroom with the used twin bed. It always has to happen in the bedroom down the long hall. I was propelled and pulled past all of the idols, living and dead, and I was afraid. I had fear in my heart which caused my quiver. All hunger. All desire. Nothing could exist except for this fear. My hand reached for the door.
I opened it. Of course the room looked like a display. It was too much to hope for some clothes on the floor or even a damp towel on the bed. Everything was perfect. I didn’t know this was my time. But he knew. And the spirits of the house knew as well. Everyone waiting and witnessing this moment of my life when my life would no longer be my life.
He could speak. He spoke very well but he didn’t utter a word. I looked at the bed. I started to think if I was clean enough to sit on it. Doubt. Insecurity. Every step bringing me towards him. And that thing was watching. She laughed, somewhere, and I don’t know if I heard it, imagined it, or remembered it. Her face was always familiar to me. I think I saw her in my sleep far more than I ever saw him. She guided him. And I hated like hell that I was being brought into this macabre miasma in which I was only a servant. Not an equal. A few steps higher than the dog and sometimes, since that first time, I’ve wondered if the converse is a more accurate representation of the fact.
I’m avoiding telling you how that thing watched me. I can feel it feeding off of me. It doesn’t even take off the hat sitting on its skeletal head. I can feel it syphoning my emotion and it doesn’t care about the source, it dines best off of intensity. What does that mean? It doesn’t care if tears fall from pleasure or pain. I can’t even frame accurate words which would describe it. I can only say it is a state of no consciousness whatsoever and since I have no body I am sensation actualized and epitomized. Each touch, no matter how slight, is akin to the talons of an eagle or the paws of a lion, wrapped ’round my throat or re-shaping my ass to fit a purpose. One word its and it is ?anoesis (I heard it first in my ?History of Christianity? course in graduate school). He places me in a state of being without cognition. That’s good enough for me to devoured as entertainment. Christian and lion all over again, with vain entities cheering the slow demise and slower digestion.
That thing watches! If I close my eyes I can ignore it but I can’t close my eyes. He won’t allow it. I cannot disobey. He demands that I open my eyes wide and face him. I’m really not that good at opening my eyes, literally or figuratively, so I’m learning. Through all of this I wonder what he would do with an innocent. I shudder. He would ruin her. He has ruined me and I’m far from innocent. But not with him. The first time, he had to remove my clothes and I can still feel his fingers all these days transpired and gone. I can feel those fingertips and I can’t help but fall more in love, more dedicated, more directed in this thing which is very slowly ameliorating my own self. My image of self, passively, is being taken. Admittedly, there were things I needed to lose. Immediately. But isn’t it my choice to keep what’s good and what’s bad?
What is one night like? How does it proceed? There is never a sameness. How would you like to never fall into a groove? A pattern. How would you like to walk into the same room and never know if you were going to be beaten or made love to? Or both at the same time? What if you were expecting either and all you received was an evening of listening to the obscure arrangements of Davis or Coltrane? He is either driving me crazy or creating something which needed to be. Like any god he is also father.
You’re expecting a giant member or maybe some other people or maybe a few drugs? None present. Just wooden gods. Red lights. Hovering, watchful, matronly ghosts and a malevolent erotic force which presides over life and death. One foot in the nursery and the other on the hallowed dirt surrounding a rural church. I’m always on the altar. He rarely sits or lies with me. Once, he even consecrated me on the altar. Cold vodka down the small of your back can make you scream. Trust me, I’ve done the research on this one.
I can’t avoid it any longer. I can’t avoid telling you about it any longer now can I? I can’t avoid telling you about that invisible agent provocateur which lives, I think, in his house. To be honest I’m used to it. I don’t run from it anymore. It could be Satan himself and I would walk in, take off my clothes, and get on my knees for his entertainment. Doors close. I feel a breeze. I smell something. I should have run the first time I knew it was there. He was out walking the dog and I was there alone. I was terrified to walk around and turn on every light I could. As if that would really keep it away.
Every bead of sweat fed both of them. The old lady disappeared when they, or rather when it, joined him. Every scream filled their bellies to bursting. Each muscular contraction seemed to bring them nearly to the point of satiation. I was the sacrifice on their altar. I died. I was reborn and lived, sleep walking, until I was next summoned. I am not embarrassed nor am I ashamed. Acquaintances have given up trying to make me give it up. Internally, I think they want it too. Just once. They’ve seen the bruises and the odd paddle mark on my cheek. They’ve asked me if I was sick when I slept all the next day. They can ask now but I don’t tell. If they knew I had returned to his court I would be the subject on an intervention.
But that’s not all we are. There court has business as every castle has. There are children to feed. Animals to be brushed. Papers to review. And sometimes the television gets turned on. But not frequently. If your life, your existence, is more animated and more visceral than a movie ? why would you watch one? There’s nothing more exciting in my life than him. There are things which are far more amusing ? but not exciting. And calling this excitement is an insult. This is a living, breathing, pulsating, surviving thing.
What’s more is that we aren’t human. We were born human but somehow became something else. He, gradually infected me with each touch of his lips to my throat, each kiss on the small of my back right above my ass. His bite? If he would have pulled out my jugular with his teeth the height of ecstasy would not have allowed pain. We are a type of immortals. No one on this earth and maybe I’ll allow maybe 100 souls out of one million have ever approached this state. I’m confident in that irrefutable fact. And it’s the instability, the craze of it all. I lay in bed and he places something on my back. What is it? Seconds later I know too well and I’m trying not to scream or I’ll feel the leather cutting deeper into my bare, oiled, trembling skin.
He is an enigma. He is the enigma. He kisses me everywhere. He slaps my cheeks and makes me thank him for his attention repetitively. I don’t want to do it but if I stop? He’ll stop. And then the spirits of the house will go hungry. We’ve tried that before. We’ve tried to starve them and in response they took us away from each other. I can feel him across miles, oceans, no distance blocks my reception of him. But when the spirits aren’t pleased? We can sit on his couch and feel absolutely nothing but severance.
My screams feed the gods. My screams are the causative of Richter-scale tremors in the foundation of the house. No dog barks. No cat purrs. We are the height of ancient ecclesiastical lascivious concupiscence. He and I. He believes that I’m serving him. Who prepares for whom? He lights the candle in the window which swiftly brings me to his side. He does it when the remembrance of me won’t let him live his life alone. In the mornings. At noon. Late at night he gets angry because I never answer. If the time is acceptable, I’ll arrive. And then it begins. Tied at the ankles so I can’t move. Hands cuffed so I can’t stop him from doing whatever he does to render me completely insensible. Eyes blinded so I can’t see him coming. Ears barraged with sound from other ghosts who wail through trumpets and saxophones and the percussion of piano keys. Not even the smell of us can interrupt this reverie. Sandalwood and rose becomes our air. We are gods and we are without morality.
So we’re all revolving around him. Each one knowing and not knowing. I’m not necessarily speaking of other women. I mean all of us. I have never met a person more skilled at keeping an entire world out of his presence. Perhaps this is the greatest thing I needed to learn from him. My world was so intrusive that I would go, when I couldn’t withstand the pressure, and grab some oblivion. I would go to the worst place I could find. I would become invisible and actually pay someone to nearly take my life. Not anymore. If I was dead I wouldn’t be able to hear him call my name. I live for that as gods live for the prayers of the faithful. I wait to smell the incense. I wait for the lights to be lowered. I wait for him to place me on the altar and worship me. And the sacrifice is so remarkable that spirits pause from their eternal wanderings to pay us homage. We are everything and we are nothing. I am the god loosed from a solid frame into the elements. I infuse all, with my pleasure. He has made me. I am the flesh, elevated, and no longer corporal. I belong to him. I am the apotheosis of John. I left this life a long time ago, one night when he was drinking, and I was crying, and we were fighting. We used to dance in the bedroom, right in front of the patio door. But now we dance among stars and clouds but we can come back to Earth. You can bring our energy, pray us into your bodies. You can make love without rules, without care, without any distraction and with total Luciferian abandon. You can bring down these gods and feel miserable when we’ve departed.
I know that feeling. When I was bad and required correction. Or when he was bad and I complained about his badness. He would exile me from the castle. He would cast me out. My heart would be as empty as my body when he ceased moving deeply, deepest of any other, within. And then I was elevated, taken from the dust, sired by him. And every pore of me was filled with nothing but him. What you are now I once was.
Light a candle. Place it in the window. Call our names, whisper them to the wind from your window or your front door. Call our names and be damned to the most delectable depths of Hell. You don’t know our names? Look, our friend is behind you, waiting with the two words to set you free.
Articles by La Vonda R. Staples