[Creative Non-Fiction] Particulate
Men have told me that when you apologize, you sound weak. They’re right, but they’re talking about themselves, not the thin stems of little flowers.
My lover wore a shirt to work that was printed with flowers. All day her purview was milk and bread and yogurt. Her friends crowned her with dandelions on breaks. She was a lover of opiates, a lover of pleasure. She is from the cult of lovers, I thought, and I am from the tribe of wildness and wolves and weapons.
We fuck in a time of flux. We move in sidereal time. I am weightless and unencumbered by our fuckglow through the heavy red fires of a hot summer.
She said ‘haha’ in her texts. She taught me haha, social code. She knew when it was time to be awake, and when to sleep. When to talk. She tried to teach me when to shut up.
We were more precise than atomic clocks when we came.
Let me describe her. She’s chic. A sexual savant. Music was her first language; she’s the daughter of a musician. We devoured the afternoon dreamlight like suncake. We never gave up.
There are light brown particles on the lip of my bathroom sink.
For me, it is unmedicated bipolar sex. We smell like cunt, like wet animal. When she was honest, I was a bully. I stripped the mattress of our sweaty sheets. “Boo-hoo, why don’t you go do some heroin?” The poppy pulsed between us.
I am T-minus two weeks on a collision course with her dad. We move in circles. His purview is vegetables, cash, notes–his hands on the body of a guitar.
There was a time before sodomy was declared legal in the United States. A time before Columbine, and Columbus.
When we split I want everyone in the blast radius. I want her friends, I want to make a child, I want her father’s child. I glow in the direction of beauty.
I meet him as a familiar stranger. Around his eyes and mouth, there is a pulling I recognize.
We meet at a diner, and at a cafe. We email. I tell him everything I know, and he is cocking his head. I propose to be with him and his wife and he says after a long time that it is impossible.
The cycle of addiction begins with an emotion, which triggers the ritual of getting high, and eventually guilt.
Her eyes are starglazing. So are mine.
I want to talk Theory of mind and antidote.
I’m sending unanswered texts and nude pictures. I’m raving.
Bombardment, from French, heavy battering upon city walls. Penetrate is Latin, an ingress to the innermost chamber of the temple.
Thrill-seeking behavior. Sex. Drugs. Punk rock. Internet shopping.
She is like a child for pleasure, her eyes rolling back. I watch her radiate like I am watching a ball of fire in the sky grow bigger and brighter.
As a rule of the species, humans fear undefined gathering, dark clouds, and mastoma.
Her hair and clothes smell like bonfire.
I keep texting, haha. Haha. My words fly through the warm air like arrows on fire.
The whole world is filling with smoke.
She spots signals in the smoke. Addicts are so exquisitely tuned.
The wolf over time has developed a fear response toward humans.
I liked when she fucked me with fingers like light blades, wet red on her nails.
One thing becomes red and then all color floods in. These are my favorite types of stories, stories on fire. Bloody ones.
Her keys clatter to the floor like hot bullet casings.
We resist disintegration. We’re in bardo, attempting to change.
This is before David Bowie dies. Before she grieves like a country in trouble.
Here is the shrapnel, which I hoped might dig under her skin. Words have precise meanings like almost nothing else on earth. I’m replaying her father’s albums and imagining his cock. I’m imagining myself in a sugar house at the height of summer, licking her arm. Higher and higher.
Who is falling asleep at the gate? The West Coast is aflame. Cascading. The people are watching their houses burn in shimmering waves. No place to dwell. Only homebones appear from the copters. You want to lift those people up, somehow. Into space. Get them to accept their loss with a song, bring them higher than damage, to the place where life does not meet pain.
Kodiak Armstrong is a writer and editor living in Seattle. She attended the MFA program at the University of Washington. Her work has appeared in Squalorly, Pacifica Literary Review, Hobart, Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine and elsewhere. She is working on a novel and runs a reading series, Lit Show, for Art Walk around Seattle. She has a sweet dog and cat.