Self Conscious, the J Eric Miller blog

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Eat Me. Cageless. Date. Under My Skin. Tower of Song. Gradual.

--In Tawain, a man enters the cage of a lion and said, “Come bite me.”

The lion, given its nature, complies.


I’ve often thought that if you were willing to experience a hard death, then you’ve earned your suicide.

If you were willing to shoot an arrow straight up, for example, and then position yourself beneath it, arching your chest upward and centering your heart, it could be said that you’ve passed any test that should be required of the soon to be dead. If you’re willing to climb in the cage of the lion, embrace the bear, swim with the sharks, bless you on your journey to the Great Black. --Incidentally, I hate cages. A work of art to me is a cage with a broken door.

--Date night. Who is this girl? I hardly recognize her, more a name scrawled on a napkin than a face, more a voice on a phone than a body, more some vodka dream than a reality.

--We drink and walk from bar to bar and drink more.

She tells me the things that have happened to her and the things she has done and how she relates to the people that are important to her. She has the voice of a broadcaster. In fact, she has been a broadcaster.

She says, No more about me. Tell me about you. There’s nowhere to start. There’s nowhere to end.

She’s half Tai. She asks me to feel the muscles of her calves. She begins to do things in the bar that I do not expect her to do. We’ve gotten into some kind of game to see who frightens first. I do not know how this happened. I know that she will win.

Aggression in women does not scare me if I believe it comes from a place of hunger. I’m uncertain of what motivates her, though. She keeps saying, Looks are not important to me.

This is nothing I want to hear. I make a deal with myself finally that if I hear that from her one more time, I will excuse myself and go to some bar where I can drink alone. But she finally lets it go. Justintime.

The night passes. I can't tell if there is anything real to this or not.

--In the cold, beneath the street lamp, I seriously study her. I know she doesn’t want to be studied that way. She wants to be judged according to her bravado, the willingness of her tongue, the hard curve or her ass and the harder curve of her cheek. But I study her anyway. I cannot help it. I study her eyes. I try to see what of her is in there. I sense something beneath the clever of her and I want to see it.

I find nothing I can be certain of.

--The cd on the way home is a mix, something a girl made me, the last girl who had a real shot into me. The cd was her strategy to complete the seduction, not of me bodily but of me completely. It is supposed to read like the soundtrack of her life, like the reflection of her soul.

No girl is saying when she gives you a mixed cd: here is music I thought you’d like and wanted you to have.

What she says when she makes that mix is: associate these songs with me.

There is not a song on the cd I don’t like and I’m strong enough to listen to it without letting it become some memento of regret, some reminder of warm morning showers at her house in the country, of the feeling of comfort I get when I’ve allowed myself to put my soy milk in the refrigerator of a woman and shirt in her closet.

What I think when I think of her is that she was more full of half truths than any of the others.

And I know: she did not write these songs. I know these songs are not about her.

Her magic has failed.

--LC writes: You can stick your little pins in that voodoo doll/I’m very sorry, Babe, it doesn’t look like me at all.

--Driving past the club where the important ex works, the last love, I think: This is what you’ve traded her for. It was for nights like this. For weeks like this. For dinners on Thursday and drink dates on Friday and phone conversations deep into the night and all things like this you introduced a deep regret concerning those few you lost.

I think: You are becoming what they feared you were.
I think: Maybe it is not that you are becoming. Maybe it is that they were right.

--And I think: don’t worry about whether it is a worthy trade or not. That question is irrelevant. This is Vegas: when you put your money on the table it’s already bet, for better of for worse.

--I wake up too early in the morning. There is a word I am obsessively sounding out and spelling in clear white letters in my mind’s eye. Even when I come fully awake and begin to think about other things, I still hear and see the word, forming and reforming itself. SUBSTANTIATE.

--In this early morning I think about the ageold question: If a man lifts a baby bull every day and carries it round the barn, will he not be able to lift and carry it even when it is full grown? On what particular day does that strength break down? How can the bull grow enough in some twenty four hour period so that the day before it could be carried and now it cannot? And yet that must happen, for we know that the man will not be able to carry the full grown bull, nor even lift it.

What is gradual?

In my mind’s eye, I lift my son. I’ve not been with him a single day since he was one that he hasn’t ridden around on my shoulders. Will the day come when my arms fail me in that action? When my back is not prepared? Will it happen that he’ll feel too old to want to be carted around like that? What Meridian will divide that moment from all those that have gone before?

Sometimes I ask him how big he’ll be.
Big, he tells me.
Bigger than I am, I tell him.
(And Of purer heart and happier disposition, I promise myself.)

And I ask him what he’ll do when he is big.

He says he’ll carry me.