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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
The Fragmentation in the Persistence of Lateness
by RhondaK
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He was 30 minutes late, which meant little really than perhaps he was improving if he showed up in the next three minutes. My phone rang as I suspected it would. If only the ponies were as dependable.
     "So, where are you now?"I'm not sure. I began looking in Kim's Video and became mesmerized by some of the Italian films they have available. One of them, I was sure you would like it, had a large buxom woman who was tormented by dreams of the devil. The type, whose high, rounded breasts look so passionately buoyant when they run. The type that seems to make you think in rhymes."Did you rent it?"Why no, but I was thinking about it. I'm always thinking about you."So, maybe instead of thinking about me, you could get here?"Sure as soon as I figure out where I am."You have lived in Manhattan for 7 years, how can you be lost?"I'm somewhere in SoHo. Let me get a coffee and I will figure it out. I'm feeling confused."
     He was an artist, you see. A fine, generally polysyllabic noted up and coming author. It wasn't that he was smart, but he was too smart. We had begun last year after a corner collision where I knocked the book he was reading out of his hand and ended up three days later with him reciting poetry to my slightly bruised bottom. As love mythology goes it was a pretty strong myth.
     It was now seven O'clock. Raven, as he preferred to be called, had no visible means of support but none the less had trouble getting enough sleep. I was having a problem believing that stories of child rape and fantasies of family cannibal orgies paid that well. However, whatever problems I had with Raven's stated reality were erased as soon as he breathed on me. I know it is odd, but Raven was an asthmatic and a mouth breather. I loved the permanent cold of his breath and how he held the city in light bondage, trapping its essence passing it again quickly in and out through his weak lungs. I liked his kitty kisses that were always wet and chilly.
     He was a tough fuck. Guys who write or read excessively always are. There is always a fetish; scenario or pathological history to deal with that was subject to change by the hour. Last week, he had me against the wall, my leg around his arm, he is fucking me with his cock set full-on while making me tell him of how my Grandfather had raped me when I was the proverbial wee thing. The more confused and reticent I was, the harder he thrust and even I was getting woozy on the heat of it all forgetting what I was supposed to tell him. I couldn't recall how tight my pussy was as the cows lowed outside the gate at the family farm. I really could no longer remember if my Grandfather had spat on his hand and rubbed his cock wet before he forced it in me. And each time he slammed me against the wall grunting "tell me, tell me you little whore, I know you liked it," I was prone to forget such details as how it felt to feel my padre's slooze in my underwear while I ate Sunday dinner with my family. Particularly because it hadn't happened. And there was no family farm. However, he desperately needed me to be a molested, broken thing dangling helplessly at the end of his cock. I complied because at times it was mighty fun to be there.
     Thinking about our naughty wall slamming good times made me restless. I knew he'd be lost in SoHo for at least 45 minutes.
     Downstairs, I hit the neighborhood bar with a vengeance. I had scant time and a lot on my mind. As the helpful barkeep poured something dark and Brooklyn, I made eye contact with Armando, the tavern owner.
     He pointed downstairs. I followed, beer firmly in hand. Bent over Armando's unkempt desk, I kept being shoved closer and closer to the smiling face of his wife and three handsome boys. Truth is, I rather liked it that way. Here I was, skirt up feeling the family jewels clock me, checking out the family jewels as recognized by the Catholic church and feeling full of a certain fleshy expresso that was saying "Good Morning" in a very late evening sort of way.
     I felt like Armando didn't really count as I never looked him in the face.
     Back at the homestead, I noted there was no Raven and no message. I took a shower. Inevitably, just when the shower massage was beginning to sing to me he calls.
     "Where are you? I'm trying to get to you where are you? I thought..."
     "Here, here.." I pick up the phone dripping.
     "Why didn't you answer the phone? Is anyone there?"No. I was taking a shower. Where are you?"Well, I ran into Frank who has this book coming out with Penquin and I really had to talk to him. You see, he might be able to help me get an in and you know how important that is. Therefore, I could not rush him. I know that you know how important my book is to me. At any rate, I bought him a beer at the Cedar..."
     "You mean in Greenwich Village? You found your way out of SoHo?"
     Irritated. "Yes, I'm in the West Village now. You know how crazy the buses are getting back over to the East Side so I'm going to walk down 14th and catch an uptown bus."OK, honey. I just can't wait to see you." I nearly meant it in a homicidal fashion.
     It is 8:30pm.
     I'm feeling irritated. Raven doesn't respect time. I fall back into my velvet comforter and seethe. I think of him in terms of Dali. Raven is a clock. He is the demented slow exploding clock of "Soft Watch at the Moment of Explosion." I see his ribs cutting through his soft blue white skin into springs. The mainspring is the engine of the watch. Its very soul. In the slow explosion, the twisted components shooting from the warped face of time look like couples burned and mangled together from the heat of time's apocalyptic seizure. Arms, legs and shattered things twist free of the molten yesterday as I count my now in torn stretches of Raven's skin. I am making him the very reverse of a mummy.
     By 10:00pm, I have called all the hospitals including Bellevue, Manhattan's infamous place for the disturbed. No one has seen the compact figure either of an asthmatic poet falling into their emergency room on his own power or by others. The city morgue attendant laughingly lets me know that no latter day Walt Whitman's are on ice this night.
     The phone rings.
     "And where are you now, love bug?" It is an unmistakable growl.
     "You really called all the hospitals? Why did you leave that on my answering machine? You should show me more respect. What will my roommate think of you calling Bellevue looking for me?"
     It is a question I choose not to answer. The morgue after all, is still an option.
     "Look, I got caught up at St. Mark's Bookstore. You see, Phelps book came out and I wanted to review it. I cannot believe anyone published such a redundant bit of 80s tripe. Blood. Corporate killers. Why do people fail to respect art, classics and literature? Am I the only voice of reason?"
     I, again, choose not to answer.
     "Look, I'll be there in 30 minutes."
     Down at the Irish pub, two blocks from my house, it seems to be a fireman's birthday party. I let this one lovely Irishman know how very hot I am. He offers the use of his fire hose. It is this scene that the beat cop catches us in at the alley behind the pub. After some initial tension and an exchange of identification, we agree it is best that we go back and enjoy the party with our pants on.
     It is 10:30pm and I love Raven more than ever. His brilliant blue eyes and geisha pink mouth haunt me.
     I'm spread out on my bed thinking things in terms of obscenities even he hasn't even written yet.
     At 11:30pm, I have to admit I'm getting more than a little down. I like to think my open legs have more to offer than an open book. I think in my mind, there is quite a bit of poetry. And I have been told my mouth is nothing short of lyrical. For the tenth time, I change clothes. This time I put on a red satin nightgown that sweeps to the floor. I feel scarlet and forgotten. If I could make a watch for Raven, I would. I would treat it like 14th-century automata clocks. At six, my face would appear on his band and sing something classic, such as, "You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine." At 11, a command to come over immediately and paint my toenails would flash over an image of me licking my own bare nipples. Midnight would have a scene of black panthers feasting over a dead body that might look intimately familiar to him, particularly as visible in the victim's blue white hand would be a garish orange inhaler.
     At midnight, someone knocks on the door. As I open it, I see what I can only now see to be the face of pure evil. It is Raven late, again. It is Raven who has spent the night trying to get himself published, not by the more traditional method of actual writing, but by talking to writers and criticizing other writer's work. It is Raven who can get lost in a two-mile area he has lived in for seven years.
     I slam the door in his face and lock all five locks carefully. Raven has all the time he needs to find a way to be published if he can only find his way back home.

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