Tag Archives: deprivation

“There Is a Girl in New York City Who Calls Herself: ‘The Human Trampoline’.”

She was sitting on the edge of her barstool, with her bright red hair cascading over a tea-light candle, on the bar:  Dangerous.  

How many poets, I wondered, had lost their minds to a red-haired woman before?

Never a barfly — always a butterfly — she knew how to balance her glorious womanly behind on the edge of the shiny, brown leather-bound seat.  No way she’d fall off — from her dignity!  Her back had learned the perfect arching, the angles of which made it irresistible to the gaze.  Or to the camera.

It’s a fascinating skill that came with the habit of being looked at.  I knew that:  Beauty and sex were prone to that habit the most.  

Perhaps, most civilians couldn’t even pinpoint the hair-thin boundary between the real girl and the red-haired fantasy.  Most civilians just found themselves dumbfounded, with her.

But I knew:  I knew the game.  I used to play it all the time myself, before I got way too tired to keep up with the nuances.  Beauty was insatiable:  It demanded constant maintenance.  And for a while, I began relying mostly on sex.

But then, I got tired of that too, and I settled for truth.  Truth — all the time.  

Besides, sex was always much easier, for a woman.  And in my bedroom, I would keep all the lights blazing:

Fuck it:  Truth — all the time!

And if you don’t like it — LEAVE!

We had entered the bar together, that night.  Earlier, she had taken me all over the City:  Her New York.  She hailed all the cabs herself with the flip of that magnificent red-haired cascade.  And the green vintage coat off the rack of Marilyn Monroe or Betty Davis was flung unbuttoned, at all times.

“Boo.  Put yo’ hat on!  It’s fuckin’ freezing, out here!” I scolded her, always a few steps behind.

I was entering my own age of self-awareness:  and my most self-aware self, as I discovered, would be maternal.  And true. 

True — all the time.   

But she would just clap her fluffy cashmere mittens in response, and redistribute her lipgloss by smacking her lips.  The hair would be flipped again; and as soon as she baited some unknowing cabbie and we’d slide inside, onto the shiny, black-leather bound seats — the mane would be tamed into a low bun:  Show over, buddy!  

Her New York was very different from mine.  She lived on the island, I — right over the bridge.  She cabbed her way all over the place.  I braved the subways, studying rats playing house in the garbage on its tracks.  And when it would get unbearable, I’d come up for some air, in Harlem, and unbutton my jacket:  Ay, mami!

She made her living by mixology behind the bar, similar to the one we were now flocking:  with her low-cut blouses and perfect lighting hitting the hemispheres of her breasts.  Businessmen, cheating spouses conferencing in New York and horny boys from NYU would claim to be her regulars alike; and they would study their fantasy, while playing with the labels of their beer bottles and the hot wax of tea-lights on the bar.  From behind the rims of their rock glasses, they would gather their courage to start up a conversation.  And their drool would backwash onto the ice inside — if ever she paid any attention to them.

She didn’t have to, though.  That’s the thing about bartenders:  They aren’t at the mercy of our egos, for their income.  It was all up to her:  When to lean in, while arching her back.  When to cascade the hair, when to pull it back into a bun.  And when to tell them — TO LEAVE!

While I settled for bargains, she knew the importance of well-made things.  But for the first time in my most self-aware self, I was willing to learn.  I was open — to changing my mind. 

It was about dignity, I was beginning to suspect, despite my artistic premonition about some artsy suffering in deprivation.

“It’s crucial, for an artist, to be proud,” she said earlier.

Street lights were about to take over from the sun, as she strutted in her high-heeled boots through the shadows of concrete high-rises in Chelsea and red brick oldies in the Village.  I followed her, in jeans and flats, with the rest of my life packed inside a mighty Mary Poppins’ shoulder bag.

We were both competent, in our own way.  But she could survive on her credit card alone (although a girl like that never paid for her own drinks).  And I was spending my youth in a perpetual state of readiness for a take-off.

Our bartender that night would be a model by day.  Or an actor.  (I wasn’t really paying attention.)  To me, he was bitchy right off the bat.  With my girl — he was debonair.  We hadn’t been at the bar for half an hour, yet he had refilled my girl’s glass at least three times.  The petals of her lipgloss had circumvented the thin rim entirely by then, but the only sign of her tipsiness was in the pout of her lower lip.

Despite being seasoned by New York already, he could not have foreseen his purpose that night:  He was supposed to comp our drinks.

Which he did — in exchange for her number written on a bev nap and held in place by a tea-light candle.  He would even hail us a cab.

Inside, on a shiny, black leather-bound seat, she shook off the snowflakes from her red hair and smacked her lips.

“That number is fake, right?” I asked.

“No,” she answered.  “I would never do that, to a man.”

She gave the cabbie her intersection.  We were silent.

“But he’ll have one hell of a time — chatting up my shrink at Bellevue,” she smacked her lips again and pulled her hair into a low bun.

Show over, buddy!  

Back to truth.

Yoga Orgasm? Anyone?

“If you don’t experience an orgasm here–in dance–you won’t experience it in life.”

Last night my brown, stunning yoga teacher gave me an ultimatum in a class she was invited to substitute.  Or perhaps, she spoke to the other four women who, just like I, had no idea what just hit them.  Because you see, we were expecting to be in the midst of level 1/2 of bending and twisting ourselves past the mind’s resistance, just so some of us could land in our bodies, while I very much desired to step out of it:  Out of the mind that has been thrashing about like a captured wild cat for the last–oh, I don’t know–lifetime.  Instead, there she stood:  killer looks–a fucking Kama Sutra goddess, picture-perfect stunner; clad in jewel tones, with her Indian hair cascading down the perfect caramel-colored skin in waves that her arms would soon imitate; with her magnificent chest thrusted forward–as was her heart–with zero shame, apology or self-negation.  Her bare dancer feet clasped the Mother Earth with every sinew like roots:  With those alone, she could kick the living lights out of an opponent–or to hold her ground like no one’s business.

When the goddess began to speak, her hands mirrored the poses of Shiva the figurine of which overlooked from a shelf suspended above her head:

“I mostly–(always)–work with women.”  She jotted out of one of her hips to the side revealing a silky, hip-hugging pair of underwear that made me drool; then shot her eyes in my direction and cracked a smile that bitch-slapped my soul with memories of my Indian best friend and every other woman I have ever loved.  “So:  Welcome, Amazons!”

“Shit.  You gonna be like that, huh?” I thought, already feeling the itch in my tear ducts.

From that point on, I didn’t even have enough time, my comrades, to conjure a resistance in the form of fear or embarrassment; for I was already smitten into submission.  As were the other pale, exhausted women in the room.  Where ever this Indian dancer-turned-teacher would lead us–it surely could not be a place of depriving our best interests and needs.

She began reminding us to breathe–alas, so simple!–from the very ovaries; and on every exhale, she demanded to hear our voices.  At first, the choir was timid; but how could we disobey the force and the beauty channelled through a core of a woman who has obviously suffered enough to devote her entire life to suffering no more?  Eventually, the voices grew.  Some women moaned.  Others–yelled hysterically past the tension of their exhausted vocal cords.  (How the fuck did we all become so appropriate?)  The young girl on a mat behind me, who seemed imprisoned by her self-pity, yelped even if mostly out of frustration and misunderstanding–but at least she made a noise.  I–hollered!

On her hands and knees, the goddess cat cowed her strong back; and with every vertebra’s shift, her magnificent behind lifted up and apart.  The thong rode up her back and imitated the arches of her hip bones.  I thought of motherhood.

“Remember that 5-year old girl before your parents told you to be an adult?” the goddess read my mind.  “Or maybe they were right–and told you you were magnificent.”

In the child’s pose, she spoke of the Mother.  In the chair pose, she reached her arms forward and wiggled her fingers while writing metaphors of rain and petals of jasmine that the women of her country braid into their hair.  Everything about her–was woman.  Every transition–was sex.  She made us pulsate and jive.  Thrust, ride, release.  Touch, caress, hold, clasp, reach, fall down.  In dance, she ordered me to take down my hair.  In stillness, she taught me about the perineum.  (Who knew there was a yoga pose for that?!)  When breathing, she demanded awareness toward the pelvis and the womb–a loaded area inhabited, as I am convinced, by my own issues with motha.

“Yoga is a very masculine practice,” the cutie gave a brutal breakdown from her home front.  What cultural barriers did she have to overcome to be here?  to be this?  “Everything is about resistance.  I want you to unleash.”

No problem, honey.  From day one of this fucking year has been about unleashing.  This year, I, myself, have been all woman–all sex–all hair, and substance, and sweat; finally and fully. I have shaken off the corpses of the past relationships that have slowed down my step for the last years of my second decade.  Why am I carrying this shit around, I thought; then deleted, unwelcomed, cut out–cut off–and finally said my au revoirs to the dead weight.  When lighter, immediately the art began to happen.  As if past the broken levees, the words have flooded in.  Who the fuck am I to hold myself back?  Who the hell gave me the right to fear?  to resist?  to worry? And:  I have been unleashing ever since.  Speaking up and out.  Resurrecting the 5-year old who had no problems with her voice.  Writing songs and odes and pamphlets on the topics that make others wince or giggle, or, better yet, to run the fuck away.  Yet, I continue, for the sake of the honorable few that stick around, listen up, and even change; and those few make it all worth it.   So, yes, my earthly Shiva:  because I have called you out, I shall obey your command and unleash–and embrace my orgasms, wherever they happen.