Early on, we go to Mars Bar knowing it’s supposed to close forever soon. The ceiling, walls, tables and window are scratched with overlapping drunk-people graffiti. He gets a glass of malbec. None for me, thanks. It comes in the tall thin kind of glass you can knock the edges of your teeth against. Dyes his tongue red. Under the dark glow from the streetlights, we draw pictures in a small notebook. He draws himself: a stick figure waiting for his spaceship. He draws us on a slivered moon. He’s never heard of yuppies or hipsters and only a few years ago learned chick. I’m an alien he says. They’re coming for me soon. He seems so earnest, so certain. I start to believe him.
We take the train uptown to his place. The bed takes up more than half the room: an old cot mattress balanced on exposed metal coils. Even spooning, we can barely fit but when he sticks his mouth against mine, it takes a while, but soon I’m purring. And later, when he’s worked up my cunt slowly the whole area feels like all the world’s pleasure is centered there, like I’m shining out warm electric lights in a big apricot triangle everything is red his palm is making circles his fingers wading the sluices. He’s grinding against me but No you can’t grind back. He’s licking all over my face, sometimes dipping his tongue inside my lips but You’re not allowed to move.
Oh but I want to kiss you I’m saying in a pleading high-pitch voice. I kiss him. He draws his strong hand up and slaps me on the cheek. It doesn’t hurt! I taunt. He slaps harder. Oww I complain. I can feel his penis swelling through his wool pants cinched tight with the ten-inches-too-long belt he won’t cut because it’ll look bad with the stitching and. I know that penis now. How it gets glassy at the tip when it’s straining against the boundaries of itself, how the veins ridge out like rivers beyond the silver cock ring. The freckles in funny places, on the head, under the foreskin. You’re lucky to have one I say. Why he asks. Well, supposedly it cuts down on pleasure, even though that’s hard to measure.
He presses me against the cold wall, my head thudding on the door frame. I say We’re alive, we’re not dead, unless we’re dead really but no I think we’re alive and he says I want you to shut up. I get scared. You’re going to be so wet you’ll be begging for me to put my fist in you. I’m back to whimpering Uh-huh. I’m thinking. a billion people are starving right now, he doesn’t have enough money to get through the weekend, and I just paid $140 for a fancy music player. I’m thinking. so lucky. this moment. a lover. so many years without even though sex is overdone and maybe overall he’s terrible for me. My eyes are getting teary as I watch him watching me turn into another creature, the yellow jackets are back to caress the saffron tendrils of the crocuses, and the sun is making shadows of everything it sees.
Becca Shaw Glaser’s still questioning what’s up with the literati, and where exactly does writing overlap with social justice work, anyway? Her writing has been published in Black Clock, Lemon Hound, H.O.W. , Spoon River Poetry Review, Birdfeast, Quaint, and New South, among other publications. Nonfiction work has been published in the book “Mindful Occupation: Rising Up Without Burning Out” (AK Press), in The Icarus Project, Mad in America, Off Our Backs, The Maine Commons, and other journals. Fight for the right to heal.