Lust & Philosophy (ch. 2): “To seize the event, lock its meat and bones in my jaws and relax into the thing”


“Can we go to Rexall’s today, Mom, can we?”

’Cause the drugstore on Chicago Avenue and Main Street has tons of plastic model battleships. I’m collecting them. I want to get them all. I found a secret way of paying for them after spending my allowance. When mom goes to the bathroom I take a dollar bill from her purse. As we walk to the drugstore, I run way ahead of her and place the dollar on the ground sort of hidden. Then I run back to her, hopping and skipping. Once more I run ahead of her to the spot, because now she can see me. I grab the dollar and rush back.

“Hey mom, look what I found!”

“Oh, wonderful.”

“I can buy a new model ship with it!”

I just turned nine years old. Being eight was fun. Last summer I went to Pioneer Day Camp. We made crafts. One day, I was waiting on the camp bus to go back home, and a girl sat down next to me.

Lust & Philosophy (ch. 3): “Success is never haphazard but only ever proceeds from comprehensive and systematic attack”

Several months went by. It was near the end of the semester and summer was in full bloom. Students rushed past me as I emerged from the west campus one morning on my way to class. We are entangled in thought and never more blind to what is around us than when we head to work. The more focused you are within, the more fragmented the reality without. A big set of female hips glided toward me, disembodied in their heft, narrow waist, black slacks. I looked up. It was Cookie. Again with a friend, perhaps the same. We locked eyes as we passed. She turned around and smiled, recognizing me. She spoke to her friend and both looked back laughing, followed by a third lingering smile over her shoulder. We were far apart now. I should have been running over to talk to her, but the certainty I would be seeing her excused me from the chase, now that it was clear she was on campus. She seemed a little older today, in the morning glare, mid thirties perhaps, grittier, with pencil-accented eyebrows. Much too old to be a student, unless enrolled in the BFSU language-training center for adults, where they just might have been heading. Or a campus employee.

The encounter dramatically altered things. That was no ordinary smile; it was a full-blown flirtation. Now the entire stretch was aflame with expectation, along with the west campus, since the language-training center where Cookie might be studying was on the way to my apartment in the foreign experts building. The funneling effect of our daily physical proximity would inexorably tumble us together again. Day One had begun.

Lust & Philosophy (ch. 4): “Kind of like Hot Wheels and tits and the Day of Judgment all rolled into one”

Hey, guess what! It’s my last year of junior high and I finally meet someone who deals in LSD, which I am eager to try. One day I skip my morning classes and head over to his high school. I don’t know his name, he’s just “the guy who sells acid.” I manage to find him hanging out in the pool hall across the street. He tells me to wait for him outside the school cafeteria while he picks up my dope. He returns with a small strip of paper otherwise known as White Blotter, with ten stained droplets on it for $2.50 a hit. The paper is perforated so you can neatly tear each hit off.

“Anything I should know about this acid?” I ask, being my first time.

“Don’t take more than one.”

The universe grinds to a halt as he speaks. Though only a high school student, he looks like a wizened adult. “Can you lay one on me?” he asks.

I give him a free hit and he puts it in his mouth.

Lust & Philosophy (ch. 5): “Each new walk down the stretch was charged with expectation, at once a cornucopia and a minefield of possibilities”

I returned from the U.S. in September to start another school year at BFSU. As the days went by, each new walk down the stretch was charged with expectation, at once a cornucopia and a minefield of possibilities. Sooner or later Cookie would be coming my way. Sooner was just as likely as later. On some days I was confident I would know what to say to her in the event of her appearance. On other days doubts sprang to mind. I worried she would burst into view just when I was sunk in such thoughts and most dreaded meeting her. It would take supreme agility to rouse myself in time to nail her. I would never be able to gather my wits together in the split second they were needed. Opportunity is bald in back and can only be grabbed by the forelocks, the old myth goes. She would loom up with such suddenness she’d already be behind me by the time I noticed her, without recognizing me, or pretending not to recognize me.

Or there was the prospect of spotting her coming at me from afar and being given a precious few moments to ready myself. One convenient thing about Cookie was her pronounced pear shape – broader in the hips than the shoulders – enabling me to pick her out among a crowd at a distance. I merely had to scan my visual field for any large-hipped females, on auto pilot as it were, freeing myself up to forget I was looking for her. There were even times when I think I forgot about her. Also making identification easy was her distinctive gait, measured and graceful, stamped more indelibly in my mind than her face. Yet the very likelihood of generous preparation time was even more frightful. So much so that her arrival on the scene would commence an interval of terror, like the specter of an approaching gunman shooting people in his path.

Lust & Philosophy (ch. 6): “In the town center lawn is a crazy quilt of motley freaks smoking pot and playing guitar”

Meanwhile Joe hasn’t bothered me much over the car theft. To pontificate about it would have the effect of trivializing his carefully compiled list of my lesser crimes. The harangues take place every three weeks or so, after a buildup of hostile silence. I never know what he is angry about until the harangue begins, but whatever it is, it always concerns the same petty infractions. They are permanently registered on a yellow pad of legal paper, the list filling up more and more of the pad over the years, so he can flip through the pages to remind me how many instances of the same infraction were previously committed, dates recorded in the margins. Nothing is ever forgotten or forgiven. Here he bares his Jesuit fangs: the pad of paper is my soul, with many-layered sin written all over it.

Let’s take the sole remaining bruised and wrinkled apple sitting in the back of the refrigerator in its clear plastic bag aerated with holes. The bag has been there for months. I have admittedly eaten most of the apples. My mother also ate a few. The last one stays there for the taking. Joe deliberately refrains from eating any of the apples, so the crummy little apple never gets eaten. But it doesn’t matter. It’s the point that counts.

Advanced love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I once asked my composition students, who were writing about the topic of marriage and monogamy, what love was, and none could give me a satisfactory answer. In fact they couldn’t give me any answer. This was after they had read a notorious essay by Katherine Anne Porter, “The Necessary Enemy.” In Porter’s nasty logic, the stronger the love, the stronger the hate. You both go into marriage with very high expectations of love and commitment. Your love gets off to a great start, but there is a growing, inexorable gap between the ideal and the reality. It’s not the fault of either of you; the gap is just there. Nobody told you about the gap.

At first you ignore it, but it doesn’t go away. You get frustrated and angry. The anger grows. It needs an object to attach itself to: your spouse. You hate your spouse because she doesn’t fill the gap. She is upset with you for the same reason. Maybe you hate yourself too for hating her, but it’s easier to hate her since you imagine you can bend her to your purpose. The marriage settles in for a long unacknowledged siege.

Newsex. A play in one act

Players: Bonnet (female), Research (female), Torch (male), Acorn (male), Dildo (male), Doolittle (male), Abigail (female), Horny (male), Casanova (female), Areola (female), Orange (female), Eyeball (male), Uranus (female)

Time: The future

Place: Newsex Sexual Re-Education Camp, Esalen, capital of the Liberated California Republic

Apron stage, surrounded on three sides by the audience. Upstage is a 4-person camping tent, with the door of the tent facing forward obliquely. The hour of dusk is evoked by the recorded sound of crickets and a shady-grove backdrop with artificial grass turf placed along the stage surface. The lights dim gradually in the course of the opening scene until the theater is dark, except for a small flashlight suspended inside the tent from its roof. Playing on the tent surface are the silhouettes of four actors inside who can be made out to be engaging in massage; they are visible as well to those in the audience with a direct view into the tent through its door or the tent windows. Reggae music plays softly in the background and continues during the opening scene, with the volume lowered further once the play begins so as not to interfere with the actors’ speech. Marijuana or hashish smoke wafts over audience.

ACORN and TORCH sit among the audience in the front row within sightline of the tent’s interior. They have been chatting. The audience becomes aware that they are actors in the play only after the lights have begun to dim and they get a spotlight.

TORCH  To call her a bitch would be an understatement. She really is a fucking sadist. It’s not for nothing she does Advanced Sado-Masochism Training. You know what Dildo told me she put him through yesterday in Level Three? They were doing these “erotic wit” sessions as part of so-called Sexual Humor Training.