J looked like Audrey Hepburn. She had glitter on her face. I took off my glasses.
It made it easier to see her bad skin and yellow messed up teeth that looked like someone had forced her to eat glass as a child.
J’s vagina was shaved. Her chest looked undeveloped.
What have you been reading, J said.
What are you reading, I said.
Erotic literature from the Victorian era, J said.
Are you from here, I said.
No, J said.
Where do you live, I said. I thought about the two of us leading an austere
life of window panes and glare.
In the NE, J said. I’d like to have my own yard. I work in sales.
I noticed J right away when I walked into the bar. She was obtuse and very
pale. Her legs especially were long. I liked her. She chose to talk to me while the other
women ignored me. I didn’t know if it was her turn or if she saw that I was shy and had money. I didn’t care. Money was part of the ritual, the gamble. Who knows what
one was going to get and when. If you were impatient and did what you wanted
and not what she wanted it was possible you wouldn’t get what you wanted or if you
were patient and did what she wanted it was possible you wouldn’t get what you wanted . And maybe you only wanted for her to be happy and it didn’t even matter how you felt but it was important that you did feel something for she would surely notice when you didn’t.
Are you a writer, J said. I bet you hear that all the time.
I like to write, I said.
Of late I had been feeling proud of my paintings. I felt that the world would never see them unless I got attention somehow with my other work. J made me feel that
I could consider getting the attention I needed for my paintings with my writing or the attention I needed for my writing with my watercolors. I was shameless.
Can I buy you a drink, I said.
Yes, please, J said.
J had a Bombay whisky for six fifty. She started talking about Bukowski, Billy Childish and Punk Rock. I hadn’t heard of Billy Childish. I thought she was talking about
an artist in Portland. It was later when I read Childish in 3AM Magazine that I learned Childish is a British Bukowski who also painted a painting of a famous mountain climber.
I wanted to forget about everything but J. I had started my day at six in the afternoon and my mind was unusually clear not having had to think all day about how empty my life was without my family. I had read part of a James Purdy story
about a writer who uses people for material. He dumps the person he is with for a more interesting immoral, if not criminal, type of person.
I’m reading Gide, The Immoralist, J said.
What’s it about, I said. I read it a long time ago in my early twenties. I was still able to remember the small triangle with trees and benches on The Avenue of The Americas below Canal st. where I read some of it not understanding it, my incomplete thoughts competing with the text on the page.
It’s about a young man who wants to please his father, J said. He gets obsessed with young boys.
It’s been awhile since I read it, I said.
J studied medieval literature in college. She was twenty nine. I thought she was
Patti Smith studied medieval studies in grad school, I said. Pasolini made a film about Decameron or the Canterbury tales. I remember the long shots he took of authentic peasant faces. I felt like I was extending myself.
J’s long white legs were getting away from me. I kept looking at them. I didn’t want to lose sight of them. They made me feel like my escape and survival depended on them. I thought I should cry to augment them, even though I didn’t feel like it, so that they would be generous.
J’s pelvis and shoulder blades were like a staple gun.
What’s up pedophile, said a young stalwart woman with a shaved head to a woman with a group at a table.