Here’s my equation: sex is more human than everything else. Let me put sex to the left of me and you to the right of me. In the interstices between me and sex, I have achieved my greatest consonance with humanity. In the interstices between me and you, I can (hopefully) give you a greater consonance with humanity, just by showing you the seams, the zippers, the ruffles, the cuffs, all the accoutrements that dress us up to be naked, in a text with its own nakedness. If I start with Marie, it is to show you her humanity so that you know why this was, for both of us, a fortunate fall. Marie had pale flesh. I am watching her; she is sitting on the little grass upwards-going slope behind the White Lodge, sipping a bottle of beer. Her straight, shoulder length black hair is parted in the middle. Then, a big open field with a peninsula of woods behind it; we’re in the woods, making out. She wants to lie down amid the ferns, twigs, dirt, grass, and have it off. She’s a teenager and I’m 22 and I’m freaked out, can’t do it. So that I learn two kinds of hungriness can’t always converge. Our bodies are slaves to different masters: duty, propriety to the right of us, impetuosity, passions to the left. When two hungers meet, they must negotiate. My hands go up her sleeveless, multi-colored blouse, but I’m going down the slope towards duty and right action.
When hungers meet in the middle, who wins? I held onto the top of my black mattress for leverage, Marie beneath me. Black mattress feels like a black Sabbath with this teenage princess on it, who has brought us hydrochloride pot to smoke. It’s a cloudy afternoon in late November. To the right of us is the empty red fuzz coat with black buttons Marie likes to wear. To the left of us is the sense that you can’t get what you want without breaking rules. I am consonant with the knowledge that morality is an ill-fitting glove for most mortals. The rightness of this is the rightness of me going down for the first time, thus expunging everything in my system that does not want to serve Marie. Intoxication traces its way around us and if I have fallen (and I know that I have) it is because what the preachers will tell you leaves too much out. As there is no bed (just the black mattress) no one in the house hears the pounding. She offers to take my streams, but I must not. It is in her nature to want the promise of motherhood hidden in the folds of her body. So our deepest hunger remains unsatisfied. Marie is naked except for the series of necklaces she likes to wear, and as she sits astride me they make little jingling noises that tell a tale of bitter bliss.
There is the Godly and the diabolical. Someone has stolen Trish away from me; I’m using the Devil’s wizardry to get her back. She comes to my apartment, drunk, in a white frilly skirt, hair in a bun, eyes half closed. When the inevitable laying on of hands takes place, Trish mouths a few negatives. Our bodies know that her mouth is being ironic. Faith is something (or someone) you have above the Earth; hands are for taking up out of the Earth to put something else back in again. I am overpowering Trish because we secretly know she is overpowering me. I am part of her equation: let’s have sex about art. Since sex about art is meant to turn back into art again, drama, betrayals, secrets, and passionate consummations are all not only valid but mandatory. Her skirt is off, panties down, and for once I don’t care how fast this is. I’m in with such ungodly relief that it takes ninety seconds for me to release myself into her. When it’s this fast and this good, who cares what the equations are? The only equation is dissolution, and it’s as permanent as hokey contrivance, where the human race is concerned. If the diabolical results in as complete a clench of dissolution as Godliness, then who’s to say if God and the Devil might not be the same thing? The Devil’s universe is as heightened as God’s is; the Devil goes up just like God does. And, when it ends, you’re left with recognitions that all binary systems dissolve in the sexual act, when it is performed without inhibition, and with full knowledge of no consequence.
Have I ever stood wholly on my own reverse mountain? I met Cindy at the Bean on South Street. She had long, stringy black hair, large, frightened blue eyes, and a full figure. Moreover, she exuded a mood of emotional desperation. She was a scared kid and I (age twenty-nine) was on the prowl. The equation was mutual neediness, for separate reasons— she needed me to allay her hunger for affirmation, her need to be needed; I needed her to provide food for a voracious hunger for female flesh. And when I saw her apartment (almost a loft, pictures she had taken strewn everywhere), it added to the novelty aspect of the experience. I penetrated her sans protection, knowing how her neediness could be manipulated; and a torn condom wrapper by the side of the bed painted a picture that could not be mistaken. This girl was lonely. I was in this for the high (no other reason), and while she slept I rode the high out into the universe. I learned that the universe is not only higher up but deeper in. Because I was only higher up, I felt my high fade into a depression. Cindy clung to me, but the man I was for her that night was a nothingness. Everything I’d done had hurt her, as I later found out. When notches start accruing to your bedpost, it is hard to avoid the crassly materialistic attitude that another notch equals victory. The cost is a series of flights into nothingness, the sensation of a nitrous high gone bad.