The Fourth Form of Love

“The fourth form of love is touch: holding a newborn baby, or cradling an old woman in death.

“And yet, the awful reverse of this may come true…that we must cradle a newborn in death.  Thus, this fourth form is the form of love through which we can begin, perhaps, to take the pain that is unfathomable, through which we can come to accept the deepest form of all suffering.

“The highest reach of touch is erotic surrender.  It is the tenderest, most flowing, most embodied form of love.  It can exist in the flesh, or in the imagination.  Through dreams, and visions, it can become a form of contact, even communication, across great distances in time and space.

“Touch can also encompass other forms.  Touch can be prayer, heartbreak, or play.

“Its inverse is fear, and lust.  When knit together, hallucination, and terror.”


Cheat (The Second Touch)

And who loves the other more? 

No!  How could I have asked that?  …I just took the question for myself.  I’m so so sorry. I…

“It’s too late.  Look to yourself,” the cricket said,   “You know the answer.”

My heart sank.  A flood of images, memories, rushed through me, as they had in Sailor’s apartment in New York, just after we’d met.  But now they were not mine, they were hers.  Once again I was inside Sailor, and she was deep in the bowels of the theater, in the green room, in the half light, slung out on the sofa, books and newspapers piled all around, half naked, fucking….

With my eyes still open, the present moment now layered into my strange vision, I could see that Sailor was asleep, yet restless, uncomfortable.


(Back Door:  Enter Sideways, Their limbs twined together, Pea Green Easy Chair or Turbulence (The First Touch) into the search bar.)


Dried grass rustled beneath our feet as we stepped down into the hollow.  Overhead the blonde roots made a deep, vaulted ceiling, studded with mushrooms and textured with moss.  Still cold from the rain outside, we huddled.   The space was warm, and soon our shivers dissolved, and our clothes began to dry.  Although there was no torch or fire in sight, a golden light bathed the hollow.  The light seemed to come from the roots overhead. Nestled into the dried grass, we fell fast asleep, holding each other in a spooning embrace.

We slept for what seemed like hours.  I do not know whether we made love, or dreamed that we made love, or both…but I do know that my body became a rigid crescent, and that her body enfolded mine…and that her softness nourished me, and that my blood surged within that softness.

Later, Sailor’s body became hard…and she shuddered, and cried.  Afterwards we were both soft together, our cheeks hot, our bodies locked tight.

Then we were conscious, and our clothes were dry again, and soft against our skin.  We sat upright in the hollow, and stared into each other’s eyes.  As we did I felt an echo of the surge I’d felt before.  My body was hard again, and I knew that I had held my potency.

Sailor smiled.

rated x, part three

…the moment when I am with you…and we lose track of time and space; we rotate and tumble; we become each other; we are sweat and skin; we are liquid; we are ether…

until again we materialize…propel ourselves deeper into the dark, whirling corridors of eyes…

…so that when we sit on the cement grit of my stoop on the other side of that reality…when we drink our coffee, and smoke our cigarettes, me in my jeans and you in fresh cotton…(when the “morning is cold, and bright, like we need it”…)

…when we look up into the sky and watch a skiff of gray cloud…and shiver in the air that sweeps our skin before light rain sprinkles the fabric of our sleeves…

…we know we’ve been somewhere.

(Back Door:  Enter rated x, part two into the search bar.)

(Please note: the quote above is from the music of David Eugene Edwards and Woven Hand,  whose lyrics can be heard in the Wim Vandeykeybus/Ultima Vez dance film entitled Blush.)










How did she know?

“It’s okay,” Sailor said, “it’s going to be intense.”

How did she know?  How did she know what was coming?

Things flashed back to me, at a terrific pace, tearing through my mind and body, memories rocketing through me like a river charging down a rapid.

I remembered a relationship I’d had, there in New York, but years before.  I’d lived in one of the last cheap apartments on the West Side, way up where there were those Chinese-Cuban restaurants on Amsterdam; we’d shared the space, a skilled concert pianist from Armenia and some other musicians, a percussionist from Portland, Oregon, another pianist from Mexico, and my roommate, whose closest male friend was a pool shark, and would come back early in the morning, his pockets lined with hundred dollar bills.

The relationship I’d been in was hot, insular, toxic, paradoxical…  Because we loved each other so deeply it was magical.

And we fucked. Oh lord we fucked.  We fucked on the floor, against the dresser, in the toilet, the shower, against the frosted glass in the dead of winter, wherever; we were in our twenties, and never got tired, and came everywhere.  It was a time when we were fucking with an urge, and an anger, and a hunger, and a need.  We were exorcising ourselves through our fuck.  We didn’t know what was wrong with us, and we were trying with every cell in our body to get rid of the thing we couldn’t find.

During this time I was a heavy smoker; it was bad for a dancer: 20 cigarettes a day, maybe more.

Often when I was down on the street smoking I would encounter Malakian, the pianist, whom we always called by his last name.  He was often gone concertizing, but when he was around, I listened to him.  He spoke either not at all, or in a complete paragraph, before falling into silence.

Once Malakian said to me, “Hey, it’s okay that you are enjoying her.  And I don’t want to impose myself.  Please just let me say this.  A little noise…okay, you know, when the feeling is so good, and you want to cry out during sex…okay.  But the crazy shrieking and all this, that I heard a couple of days ago.  Man, it’s too much.  Good sex is one thing, but it’s not the holocaust.  Please.”

I nodded my head in deep embarrassment.  Malakian touched my shoulder, and finished his cigarette. She and I were quieter after that.

The memory was gone.

It was inevitable: I was coming to what I had to say to Sailor.

“I love you,” I said.  I blurted it out.  It didn’t feel right, but I’d had to say it.

She looked disappointed…as if this were exactly what she’d been expecting me to say.

False Idols

“No false idols,” said Epson, almost smiling, now bringing his pen down to a post-it note that he held in the palm of his hand. He scribbled a note to himself before sticking it to the lapel of his tailcoat.

“Every soldier has to be a little diva, a little Jesus,” he said, “In order to insure this, of course, no false idols are permitted…”  He chuckled, and said, “And what good is a savior anyway if he’s not a soldier…”

Epson’s pen came up from the paper; he raised his eyebrows.

America looked at him in much the same way a cow looks at a fence post.

“A soldier has all the good qualities of a martyr,” Epson continued, mostly talking to me, and professing a bit, almost as if he were interpreting a script “…plus he has a rifle.  A big stiff dick made of metal and wood, that fucks people with hard tiny bullets of sperm.  This is to make everyone comfortable about his martyrdom; the fact that he has testicles…and a penis, makes everyone more comfortable. Because no one would want a woman as a savior…”

Epson broke into high pitched, hysterical laughter, and then, realizing he was being watched, tried to get the better of himself.  There was a murmur among the theatergoers.  Some of them sipped their cocktails.

Epson cleared his throat, and continued, under his breath at first, “no…a woman as savior…no…much too realistic…and…ahem….,” he said, smiling now, “and no one would want a man savior without testicles…  Biggest downfall of Christianity, really…”

He removed the note from his lapel, scribbled something more, raised his eyebrows, looked at me, looked at America, and then broadened his gaze to include a couple of the theatergoers who had now drawn closer to listen.

He continued, looking intently at his listeners, almost as if he were telling a story to children “It would have been much more popular, Christianity, if there were only some gospel tales about the rock hard erections of Jesus Christ… Then we could have trusted him better.  There’s a formula for this sort of storytelling, you see.  It goes like this: You all need saving; and a man with a rifle, one of us, is going to save you.  Yes, the rifle toting Jesus, the erection Messiah…spreading bullets, like seeds in the desert…”

“…Of course the gospel is a martyr tale without an erection…  And it just doesn’t stimulate the soul in the same way,” Epson said, shaking his head gently, as if internally scolding the writers of the gospel for not consulting him, “It’s not complete…”

Then he looked down, and turned into himself.  Almost self-admonishing, he said, “But I know, I know…God is a victim..God is a victim..God is a victim…remember what they taught you in school, Epson…remember what they taught you in school…”

He was now fussing with getting his pen back into his inside jacket pocket; he’d gotten it caught somehow, and was trying to get it free so that he could slip it back into its proper pocket.  As he did this he continued to mutter to himself, but the words were by now indistinguishable.

I closed my eyes to consider what he had said.

(Back Door:  Enter “The Man Called America” or “Upside Down, Hogtied to the Timbers” into the search bar)