Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

I Want To Recall

Posted: July 10, 2011 in Beauty, Love, Poetry, Women
Tags: , , , , ,

I want to recall that dangerous feeling,
of slick warm bodies moving, rubbing, twisting,
thrusting pleasures forbidden by stiff conventions and
banished to bedrooms; I want to be adventurous, for
moans to echo sibilant through midday corridors against
sunlit furniture or counters or bare floors, no reason
but lust, pure and animal and passionate; I want to feel
longing between open thighs begging for release, hot desire
flowing openly, fingers touching, legs, lips, mouths, hands
tangled and wrapped securely, inviting skin demanding pleasure that
I want so badly to be mine again; intertwined under sheets and quiet shade,
comfort awaits me, tempting in its voluptuous pose, craving soft caresses of skin
on skin; and I want, I want, I want.


Back in the prehistoric times of elementary school, you’d recognize ten-year-old me on the playground with ease; that bright flop of blond hair so pale it was bleached-bone white in California sunlight. I was never in the sun too much though. More often you would find me sitting on the benches under a canopy of oak trees, Goosebumps or Animorphs clenched tight in my hands as I took the fifteen free minutes I had in the best way possible. More often than not, when that bell rang to draw us back to class, I’d keep my book locked tight under my desk, the text exposed so I could read during the lesson. Funnily enough, out of the many reasons I was sent to the office after getting in trouble, reading in class ranked pretty high. My mom would get calls from teachers who would alternately complain about my lack of attention and praise my voracious reading, much to her amusement. Back before that hair darkened and grew longer, I was Tweety Bird; short and with a big head, a mop of yellow hair and a penchant for causing trouble for those prowling Sylvesters teaching my classes.

Seventh grade. The summer was an ocean to cross, and the new land I found across it was puberty. Girls I’d grown up with for years (who had always been fascinating) had become curved, perfumed beauties, and this was one of two reasons that I decided to try the rock star mantle on and grow my hair down to my shoulders. The second reason was also related to women, though not in a way you’d expect. My haircut venue had switched from Contempo (an Eden filled with gorgeous older women, chiefly my mother’s friend Diane, whose body would press warmly against my shoulder as she sculpted my hair) to Monty’s Barbershop. Needless to say, Monty was not a worthy successor to Diane. So I told my mom, no more haircuts. She breathed a sigh of relief for her checkbook and applauded my free spirit. My father, on the other hand, made snide remarks about his feeling that I looked more like the women I wanted to pursue than a Kurt Cobain. I didn’t care about his opinion by that point; I was doing what I wanted. And I made damn sure from then on that he never got me down about my choices.

Here I was, my junior year at a new school. A year before, I had said goodbye to the long hair and cut it down short as could be; Dad was elated that his son looked respectable for once. But once again I was doing it for myself, and mostly for the ladies. The long hair was reminiscent of the stoner culture so prevalent in my town, and a stoner I would never be. Girls liked the respectable look, and so I started wearing button-down, collared shirts from stores like American Eagle and the Gap to go with my new school and the new image I was carefully crafting. That year, I found a new hair stylist, Lindsay, who was twice as beautiful as her name would suggest. I remember closing my eyes as she washed my hair, reveling in the feeling of female contact that had been lost since those early days with Diane. She cut the hair down short and styled it up with a pomade to form a fauxhawk, a cut I admired both in name and look. I looked at it in the mirror after she was done, proud and preening. For the first time, I was truly satisfied with my appearance. I was smooth and suave, fitting into my new skin with an elegance I surprised myself with. I turned to Lindsay and told her I loved it. She smiled at me and nodded, then said, “You might want to try some Rogaine, your hair’s a little thin up top there.”


Posted: March 15, 2010 in Beauty, City, Culture, Imagery, Life, Love, Night, Romance, Urban, Women

“a blond walks into a bar.” Inhale, cheeks swell, then exhale. Eyes refocus through haze upon mine, amber browns versus cheap blue fifties telephones trying to tell stupid joke.
“is it a man or a woman?” Haze dissipates, smoldering cherry trails lit by green Heineken neon behind.
“what?” Blink, confusion, cocked head. “what do you mean?”
“sexist jokes written by sexist men. no one ever calls a man just a blond. it’s always a blond man. you’ve never wondered about that?” Eyelashes fan twice rapid, dizzying. Ash flickers like falling snow to maple/oak/whatever wood grain surface of table.
“uh…no, i haven’t.” Hand fumbles for long brown neck, squeezes and lifts, tipping amber brown liquid down mouth.
“same thing with nurses. a guy isn’t just a nurse, he’s a male nurse. they need to make that distinction to separate their masculinity from what’s perceived as a feminine job. it’s all to make them feel comfortable.” Uncomfortable myself now, want to go yet captivated by plunging neckline and glitter eyeshadow. Primal instinct pulsing with undertone of bad romance.
“female heiresses in the news; guys are always ‘playboys’. don’t you think it’s wrong?” Unsure of words, years of male-female conversation skills shift into gear.
“totally.” Irritated glance towards disinterested answer that prompts continuation but no involvement. Slightest shake of head.
“cops are always men, women are policewomen. it’s a power thing, you know. from jokes to titles, men have put themselves in control through every little facet of society.” Eyes now narrowed into sideways glance towards me, undisguised anger.
“yeah.” Mumbling, cheap blue fifties telephones already wandering to blond downwind of angry feminist.
“am i boring you?” Question missed, unconscious male coping en route to Titanic iceberg.
“uh-huh.” Amber browns turns to dark slits, cigarette pushed into ashtray, purse snaps closed and heels click decisively towards door. Feminine frustration incarnate directed towards typical masculine insensitivity. Blink, confusion, cocked head. Shrug, turn, eyes focus on blond. Gravitate towards adjacent barstool.
Maybe she’s a nurse.

Blonde hair that might have looked good if it was washed, faded green eyes, clear skin, almost rail-thin; by today’s conventions, she was very pretty. Her skin was pale, almost anemic. Besides a possible case of anorexia (judging by her weight and height), she had a slight yellow tinge to her skin that signified the early stages of liver failure, symptomatic of heavy drinking. To most people, she might have looked like a typical California girl, yet to me it was evident that her body was being badly abused through alcohol and starvation. Which, it could be argued, did in fact define a typical California girl.
White, cotton blouse. Dirty from the night, maybe a party. Dark blue jeans that were clinging far too much to her skinny little legs. Hollister sandals, bronze toe ring. A ring on her finger, a plain silver band with an opal set into it. Diamond studs in her ears. Cheap, gold-colored bracelet on her left forearm.
She looked like the kind of girl with family problems; a lot of problems, in fact. Maybe an abusive boyfriend, friends that were regularly drunk and stoned every night, trouble with school. Anything could have contributed to the situation she was now in. The situation being, of course, the fact that she was lying on her back in the middle of a grassy field at seven o’clock in the morning, eyes open, staring into the sky with cuts and bruises fresh across her face.
Add that to the list of her problems. She was dead.
“What was the name?” I ask curiously, pushing her head from side to side with the eraser head of a pencil I had found in my pocket. Tammy looks disgustedly at me from behind a clipboard that she’s scribbling on.
“Have respect for a corpse, Taggart.”
“How many times do I have to tell you, Tam,” I mutter, peering into the dead girl’s mouth, “call me Johnny.”
She ignores me. “Her name was Cassandra Halverson. Found her wallet and driver’s license. No cash, credit cards still there. Organ donor.”
“Well, I wouldn’t want her liver,” I murmur, poking curiously at dead, jaundiced skin. I pick up her hand and inspect her fingernails; yellow, like her teeth. A heavy smoker, drinker, possible drug user. “Did you send off samples to the lab for a tox screen yet?”
“Haven’t gotten them yet,” she mumbles, distracted by the clipboard in front of her.
“What are you doing there, Tam?”
“I like to guess at causes of death while I’m waiting for the brass to arrive.” She brushes a strand of hair back from her face. “At the top of the list now is alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, or boyfriend beating. All of which could have contributed to each other.”
Tammy’s a very smart woman. Those were my guesses as well. I peer into Cassandra’s staring eyes; the pupils are heavily dilated.
“Looks like ecstasy. Combined with alcohol could have lead to dehydration…which wouldn’t have been helped by her body type.”
Tammy nodded. “There was a card for an anorexia support group in her wallet. Looked like it was there for a while.”
“To be honest, though, the bruises are at the top of my list. Or some other kind of external damage.”
“Why is that?” she asks curiously. “You think this could be a murder? Sometimes bruises are just bruises.”
“I’m just thinking out loud. Twenty bucks says someone killed her.”
“I’ll take that. You’re not always right, Taggart.”
“Johnny,” I grunt, squatting next to the body and looking down at it. “Did anyone move the body yet?” I wave my hand at the forensic techs combing the field.
“No, but Noriega doesn’t want anyone moving it anyway, so you’ll just have to sit tight until he gets here.” She returns to her list.
“But you took pictures?” I ask.
“Uh-huh,” she says quietly, drawing a line through something on the clipboard.
“You were always very thorough about that kind of thing,” I comment as I reach under the body and flip it onto its stomach.
“Johnny!” Tammy cries out, eyes widening as I disturb her crime scene. “You can’t–!”
She stops, staring at Cassandra Halverson’s back. I look up to her, unable to keep a small, smug look off of my face.
“Seven in the morning and I’ve already made twenty bucks,” I laugh. I gaze back down to the body, to the dark, almost black bloodstain that spreads across her white blouse.
I give Tammy’s horrified expression a grim smile. “Murder.”

Mmmmm, she muses. He looks exciting.
Susie almost sighs, her chin propped up by her hand, eyes bright and wide as she stares at the man sitting at the end of the bar. Dwelling over his every move, wondering if his casual glances up the bar are for her or the TV. He raises a hand and she blinks. He’s saying something.
“Another beer please, miss…”
She shakes her head and smiles dreamily at the Southern lilt in his voice as she saunters over to him, curling her fingers around the handle of his mug and lifting it up into her hands. She keeps her eyes cast demurely down as beer sloshes into the mug, foaming up into a heady white froth that caps the dark lager below. She balances the heavy mug carefully in her hands as she walks back to the man. She does not set it down before him, but holds it out for him to take in his hands. Rough, callused fingers graze her dainty schoolgirl hands, and she catches her breath to keep her from making a tiny noise.
He smiles slowly, lazily at her, drawing the mug back and setting it before him. He does not drink it, nor even look at it; his gaze is focused on Susie’s eager, bright-eyed demeanor. Reaching down to take his mug in his hand without looking at it, he takes a deep swig. Lightning-blue stare set dead on Susie’s brown doe eyes, he does not blink. Susie becomes nervous, intensity mounting between them, something dark and unmanageable. She looks down.
“You’re embarrassin’ me, mister…you ought not stare at a girl like that.”
He grins, teeth white and flashing in the dark bar. He takes another draft of his beer, wiping his mouth and leaning forward. “I ain’t starin’ at a girl, missie. I’m starin’ at a pretty lady.”
She blushes hot crimson and fingers the hem of her blouse, unable to look at the man. A little smile tugs at the corners of her mouth, and she whispers a quiet “thank you” to the floor.
“I’m right here, honey. Ain’t no reason to not look at me.”
She looks up at him and the smile breaks free of reluctance. “Thank you, mister. That’s very sweet of you to say.”
He snorts a little with laughter, grinning wickedly up at her. “The truth ain’t never sweet, honey.”
She smiles again.
“What’s your name, sugar?” He nods at her, taking another sip of his beer.
“Susie,” she breathes quietly, feeling a little light-headed.
“That’s a good name, Susie. I like it.”
She giggles a little, foolishly, feeling more red flushing her cheeks. She struggles to meet the lightning-blue eyes again, smiling nervously.
“What’s yours?”
He nods slowly, finally looking away from her to take a long, deep drink of his beer, draining it down to a thin layer of foam at the bottom.
“Ain’t got a name, honey.”
“Everybody’s got a name,” she says teasingly.
“Why honey, who told you that?”
“My momma.”
“Well, hell, you’re lucky you had a momma to tell you such a thing. Ain’t nobody ever told me I needed a name.”
She doesn’t say anything, but draws a rag up from behind the counter and begins to nonchalantly polish the bar in front of her. She gazes into the dark wood, drawing the rag against the dim surface.
“Where you from?” she asks the bar.
“Round about Alabama way, miss Susie.”
“Why’d you come to Virginia? Coming up to see a girlfriend?” She smiles almost devilishly at him.
“Aw, no, nothin’ like that. I ain’t got a girlfriend, miss Susie. I’m just a travellin’ sort of man.”
“You a bum?” she asks jokingly, a hand planted on her hip. “Some sorta vagrant?”
“Somethin’ like that, I suppose…” He slides his beer over, fixing that same lightning-blue gaze on her, ratcheting the intensity up a notch. “Why, you worried I ain’t gonna pay for my beer?”
“Oh no, mister, you seem like too much of a gentleman to do that. I would never presume such a thing.”
“Well, you’re right not to worry about that, sugar, because I’ve got money.” He slides his hands across the counter, close to the dainty schoolgirl hands that Susie is desperately forcing to stay still.
“Oh really?” Susie asks, trying not to stutter in nervousness. “What exactly is it that you do to earn your money?”
He shrugs, gives her that same slow, easy smile, leaning forward. “I find things.”
“You find things.”
“Yes ma’am.”
“What kind of ‘things’?”
That slow, easy smile. A slight sniff as he reaches for his beer and takes a long pull on the dark, foamy liquid, his eyes locked lazily on hers. He finishes the beer and slides it in front of her.
“One more for the road, I think.”
“You leavin’ so soon?” Susie says playfully, taking his mug and slipping it underneath the tap to fill it a third time.
He laughs again, stretches back along the bar like a cat. “I’m always leavin’. That’s why I ain’t got no girl. I don’t stay long in any place.”
“That so?” she muses, setting the third beer in front of him. “That’s too bad.”
“Aw, honey, you’re makin’ me blush.” He grins at her over the top of the beer and takes another sip. His eyes flicker for a fraction of an instant to the mirror hanging back behind the bar. “But I bet you wouldn’t be sayin’ that if you knew me well.”
“Why?” she whispers, leaning casually in front of him. “You a bad man?”
In response, he brings up a pistol from out of nowhere, the long, silver barrel steadily winking at Susie’s widening eyes. Before she can draw herself back from the bar and scream for help, however, the man swivels around and three shots ring out.
A couple minutes later, the man leans over the bar and grins down at her, chuckling.
“Sugar, I just saved your life. The least you could do is thank me.”
Shaking, Susie just stares at him. The long barreled silver Colt .44 pistol is still held loosely in his hands, and he shoves it back into his jeans, extending a hand to help her up. She stares at his hand like a frightened dog being offered a piece of meat, then takes it gingerly. He helps her up gently, and her eyes widen again.
Behind the man, the window is broken, three spiderwebbed holes playing together in a close triangle along the splintered pane. Lying on the ground outside the bar is a large, beefy stranger with a bad sunburn and dark, stringy hair splayed around his head. A small .32 caliber pistol lays careless next to his stiff fingers. The black stains of blood are a sharp contrast with his bright blue denim shirt.
Susie’s eyes are the size of shooter marbles by now, and she turns to the man, her mouth hanging open. The man just looks at her.
He smiles, the slow, easy smile once again, leans over to her ear.
“I found what I was looking for.”
He kisses her once, grazing her cheek with rough lips, then leaves her standing shell-shocked, clutching onto her apron and staring at the half-finished beer sitting on the bar.

The crowd swells up before us like a surging ocean, undulating with the rhythm of the music being played. Guitars being slashed by angry fingers and hard plastic picks, drums being smashed by white knuckles and long wooden sticks; I can feel that soulless power screaming inside and out of me.
The singer howls like a demon and I feel a smile tugging at my lips, his fervor infectious, pushing me further into the crowd. Beside me, Eric howls along with the band, throwing devil’s horns into the sky. He grins ferociously at me, heading towards a small break in the constantly moving crowd. We elbow our way past our fellow patrons and make it to the fringe of what seems to be perhaps a refuge.
In a way, it is. A mosh pit has erupted near the edge of the stage, people bouncing in and out, laughing and shoving aside those in their way. Hard-eyed punks with steel-toed boots and mohawks, metal freaks with leather jackets and huge spikes; everyone gets their ass kicked equally on this battlefield.
Eric dives in right away, his skinny body almost immune to the wildly swinging bodies in the pit. He dodges and dips and whirls around the others, but still manages to get smashed to the side by a punk with three nose rings dripping down his face. Eric snarls at the guy, but any animosity is forgotten as two, three, four more people do exactly the same to him.
I hang back, reluctant to take the chance of intense pain and possibly injury. I watch carefully, however, keeping my eyes more on the pit than the band that’s throwing notes of gasoline onto the glorious fire before them. It looks fun.
Eric notices my entrancement, calls for my attention, his voice lost too easily in the crowd’s roar. I shake my head slowly, smiling a little. I try to focus on the music, bobbing my head to the rhythm like the hundreds of zombies all around me.
My eyes keep flicking back to the real action, and I can’t help myself. When and where else would I have a chance like this?
“Fuck it,” I mutter, shoving two dreadlocked chicks on the edge of the pit out of the way like two swinging double doors. I dive in.
I plow through the first few stragglers trying to escape the pit, sending them flying back into the others and prompting a fresh wave of spinning attacks from all around. For once in my life my much-maligned bulk is being put to good use. I smile slowly, pushing further into the crowd.
“Just another crowd!” screeches the singer, his voice rising high over the crowd’s buzz, and the heathens clustering around the stage let out a roar. My grin intensifies as the bumping bodies begin to match their brutality with the beat of the music, a syncopating rhythm of kicking and shoving and punching.
There were times when you fear for your life, certainly, but for me there was a bigger issue: my precariously hanging spectacles were often in danger, coming close to being knocked off several times. Thankfully they didn’t, but such risks are what you take.
Strangely enough, for a large crowd of bloodthirsty rockers, they were surprisingly gentle. If it looked like you were about to fall to the ground and be trampled upon, someone would reach out from the ring of onlookers on the fringe of the pit and hurl you back into the action. Conversely, if you tried to break out of the pit before a song was over, people would throw you bodily back into the mass, unwilling to let you get off easy.
As we thrashed, Eric finally spotted me, and threw a fist into the air, cheering triumphantly. Earlier, I had told him I wouldn’t be moshing, and his jubilation at my entrance into the pit lightened my heart. I caught onto his happy face for a moment longer before losing him in the sea of limbs, snapping back into reality to beat back the beefy shoulder of one of the metal freaks.
The crowd surged and cheered, an independent organism autonomous of the rigid world outside of it. I can feel with an unshaken belief that this community, in all their madness and fury, care for one another, care for complete strangers enough to save them from being hurt.
Which is more than I can say for the rest of the world.

I don’t know where the nerves are coming from, but something’s unsettled my body’s rhythms, set my fingers tapping on the steering wheel like rain on a window. The radio is off and I’m drumming my own repetitive track into my head, not sure where I’m going.

I’ve been driving around the city for a few hours, just burning gas and wracking my mind for what to do next. I honestly can’t remember the last couple of days, so I figured that driving aimlessly for a while would help me regain something.

But, nothing. It’s scaring me, and I don’t feel like the pills are helping. Nevertheless I’ve been taking them regularly; force of habit, I suppose. What else am I supposed to do, anyway? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

There’s Chinese food rattling around in my belly, remnants of the quick lunch that broke my search, but I’m regretting it now. I can feel greasy noodles slide through my digestive tract, stringy meat coating my stomach and rancid broccoli decorating my insides with little green bits all around. I always get beef broccoli and noodles at Asian restaurants, a combination that’s easy to choke down.

My mind is wandering everywhere, little sparks of nerves running around my brain, checking different combinations to see what unlocks the past few days. I’m not really sure what to do; not much has changed over the course of the day.

Maybe LA is the problem. The whole city’s a huge damn box, and maybe I need to think outside of it. I think about it for a minute, then head to Wearing Street. From there I can get onto the highway, maybe take a road trip or something.

Too many maybes. I need to start thinking in constants.

How about this: LA is the problem. I need to take a road trip.

Better. Grounding myself in reality. That’s what I need, a stable foundation. I laugh at this; nothing much has ever been stable in my life. My sister, yeah, my mother.

I twitch suddenly. I don’t know why. I ignore it and concentrate on the road.

Wearing Street on my left, I turn.

There’s a fire.

It looks like a nail salon, or at least the remnants of one. Behind me there’s a siren, and I pull over to the side of the road quickly as a fire engine breezes past me on the way to the inferno. What a shame that such a thing should happen, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

And the fire is beautiful. A shitty thing to say when someone’s business is being converted into ash and greenhouse gas, but it does have this fierce glamour to it, the flames leaping up to meet the sky. Autumn colors. Just pretty, you know?

I drive past the fire engine and the conflagration of a nail salon, heading down the street to the freeway.

And then…

A woman. Standing with a hand on a hip and a thumb in the air, a kind of self-assured confidence issuing from her all the way to where I sit in the car. A tight-fitting black skirt wraps itself snugly around her hips; a white blouse hugs her breasts and her thin body. I try not to stare, but it’s hard. Tanned and shapely legs draw my eyes down to these black high heels that look both sexy and painful on her feet.

She has blonde hair tied back loosely, carelessly. Black sunglasses conceal her eyes; she looks bored. Upon closer inspection as I roll by, I can see the faintest speckles of red dotting her white blouse.

I can’t help it; I’m intrigued.

Maybe I should pull over.

I pull over.