“Cities in Dust” by Siouxie and the Banshees throbs from unseen speakers. Every hungry eye in the room is focused on a beautiful topless girl with long raven hair making love to her reflection in a giant mirror behind the stage, swaying along to the danger sexy sound of the music, her hips rising and bucking like a ship at sea. Boom, one memory of earth made… She climbs to the top of the pole with the greatest of ease, the delicate muscles in her abdomen clenching and unclenching. She wraps one absolutely perfect thigh around it, bends over backwards and spins gracefully back to earth in a clockwise flight path, her soft tresses making an inaudible swish against the desperate background ballad of Pompeii’s destruction.
In other news, I can’t feel my lungs.
Something about the way a girl dances makes my brain short circuit. It makes the clock slow down and then stop moving altogether. Everything stammers when a pretty girl moves. A bell rings in my brain; a low, booming gong that resonates down through my chest like a hammer on a taut steel cable. It is a feeling beyond anything.
The moment is palpably charged. I can feel shivers traveling down my spine. My heart forgets to beat once, then once again and I sip hard drink from my glass and slowly chew an ice cube, thoroughly mesmerized. My thoughts are pure Glossololia, fragments of texture and descriptions of space, flowers, paintings, the ocean and music.
Why do I come to strip clubs? Partially because I love women, and because I am partially empty. Does it help? Does my occasional frequenting of strip clubs help to patch the hole in my soul? In no way, shape or form. I’m not after sex. I just want to be loved, same as anyone else. I crave human contact. I am an addict for the scent of a woman, the crackling fire of soft skin, the feel and sight of her thin fingers intertwined with mine.
But when I can’t get love or contact, I come here and pay – admittedly – far too much for five minutes of friendly female flesh, for the undulating womb of all creative process to writhe about on my lap, nuzzle my neck and tell me I smell nice, tell me that I’m still handsome, and tell me that I’m different from other men even if I know she’s lying. I close my eyes and breathe deep from that nest of wonders at the nape of her neck and imagine that I can hear distant explosions; the sound of light traveling across the vast reaches of space, booming and rolling across the expanse. I fill my lungs with the scent of her hair and swear to her that man was made to love women, to appreciate their beauty and to be inspired by them.
She probably hears this eleven times a night.
Some strange sensation, some fantastic, earth-smashingly wonderful… thing! runs laughing lightheaded through my veins when siren strangers smile at me. It’s got something (and nothing) to do with their eyes, their come-hither scent, their campfire touch, and or their starry-sky glowing skin. A beautiful woman is a spell and an incantation, a wholly desirable voodoo curse. It’s in the male programming to heed. Woman is the quest of all nights, the eternal muse, the tick of the clock, the birth of music, the death of lonely and the spawn of desire. We write songs about women to watch women dance while the flames roar higher and higher. Every whiskey bottle rock ‘n roll nightmare, every feverish darkness spent clawing after our wandering mortal souls points to woman as the objet d’art to end all objet d’art. And I love women, from the edges of their delicately painted toes to the tops of their sweet, perfumed heads. I just wish they’d learn to love themselves in return. What’s more beautiful than a girl in her element, a woman empowered, a Valkyrie on her way to war?
Time’s up. Cast out of heaven, crashing back to my barstool, I sit smiling my idiot’s grin, fumbling fingers tapping and telegraphing this remarkable high into my phone while the tingle climbs the tree of my limbs, driven by the wild wooden whoosh of my pounding heart. Take the picture before the moment flies away… Dots and dashes rise into the night like sparks from a bonfire, secret poems stashed among the pops and cracks, the faces of the dead frozen in the burning embers.
Remember: It’s all bullshit and illusion. Don’t ever forget. These women aren’t smiling for you. They’re smiling for your money. Everyone on this lost rock needs a way to stay afloat, to live, thrive and survive. They don’t care about you specifically, your words or the wild, stomping adventure you claim as your life. Not really. They’re beyond that, having traded their bodies again and again for the caress of paying pushovers just like you. It’s all about the Benjamin’s. We have the graceful swan of human sexuality in a headlock and we’re punching it in the face, over and over.
Sitting at my writing desk the next morning, windows open, music on. Struggling to put my notes together, to describe something so beautiful without coming across as hackneyed or ham-handed. Difficult. The old masters had it easy; more words in their everyday vocabulary, more poetry on their shelves. The world was not yet connected, and nothing was “kinda like this”, or “similar to that.” It’s one thing to feel such an overwhelming emotion; it’s quite another to make it explode from your fingertips with any sense of realism. Words are dumb, like pawing at the piano with frostbitten fists in a clumsy effort to pound out a concerto. It’s like taking a photograph of the Grand Canyon, getting the pictures back the next day and weeping openly at the celluloid rectangle of rocks and stupid dirt. (And don’t give me that goddamned crap about art being subjective.)
There are days I’d gladly make a Faustian deal with the Devil if I could harness the pure, unrivaled force of true expression for four, maybe five – okay, – six amazing books, works of such maddening beauty that their release out into the world would ripple across the globe like shockwaves, subtly (or not so subtly) changing the planet forever. Words of Mass Destruction — the Necronomicon as a perfect pulp novel. Each word in this sentence is perfect.
Instead, I’m human. I eat, I shit, and I make mistakes. I don’t know the first fucking thing about writing. Or love. Or women. And someday I will sleep forever in a box in the earth as the rains come down and the flowers bloom while some other lonely sucker drinks away his money, forking over his cash in order to feel loved.
If even for a moment…