16 August 2010

Guest Post #1: In The Dark

I think Teresa found me first, found me through Jo(e). One day a comment from "YourFireAnt" turned up on my blog. Your Fire Ant? I still don't know what that means. Teresa's a poet, who blogs in fits and starts. And she's been naked on the intertubes in a post in which Jo(e) monikered her as "Often Erotic Sometimes Blogging Friend". Teresa and I have had lunch, fully clothed, a couple of times. The last time we had lunch, I sent her north to Madison Square Park, camera in hand, to see the naked bronze men.

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[After walking through Madison Square last month with its dozens of naked man sculptures and thinking about a recent post wherein Magpie said that everyone pretty much looks the same when naked, I resurrected a favorite fantasy.]

In the dark

I’ve often wished there was a class in blindfold sculpture of the human body. Don’t you think it’d be fun working the clay in bandanna-ed darkness, running your hands over the bare flesh of the model ? Imagine him shivering on his dais, one leg crossed over the other, trying for a pose without the artist’s direction, his skin, horripilated, sheened with sweat.

I imagine smacking clay into a mound I can work with and needing to touch the model’s flesh to see. To find the way into the piece I envision. My voluntary blindness, my carelessly placed hands on his bare thighs causing a shiver, his skin sprouting little bumps all over as he squirmed into a less vulnerable position. His closed body, my groping hands in the reddened darkness of a silk hood I’ve pulled over my head. Dropping into a crouch I pry his thighs apart to find the crevices and dips in flesh alive with movement, opening each hand, finger by finger, I move closer, breathe him in.

Then, a tea break. Hot cranberry and ginger to warm up so I can put my hands on him without so much jumping and startling. I rinse them in tepid water, dry them on a towel, then reach up and braille the fine half circles, dents, and curves, curling rounded shapes and tufts of hair, the secret bumps and softnesses of his face. A gentle hand to round off edges, reaching to grasp each ear and tug a little, humming as I work him over, memorizing as I go lower…. to jaw and throat, out-jutting adam’s apple, clavicles, one in each hand, pinched between thumb and index finger . . . . a meditation on how sound gets into bones.

Could I translate all this to a mound of clay? Turn warm sweaty hairy, flesh into something of what I had in mind? Or would I need to sing? I’ve noticed singing sometimes relaxes, easing an awkward situation, helps the work go smoothly. If I got him to sing a duet with me, he might not cringe away from my gritty fingers every time I touch him. If only the clay wasn’t so cold. or the warmth from a hot mug lasted longer.

What if I took my own clothes off? Distract him from the icy seeking hands frisking his inner thighs and down behind his knees, my nosy hands that so delight in finding out what makes this guy tick. I could place his hands in the mud too, let him touch himself to see how I’ve translated him.

We could both be blindfolded. Neither one of us knowing the exact moment of impact of cold snaking fingers on naked skin, both suspended in an agony of anticipation. I could work with him standing, me working my way up from the delicate cords running from each toe, bony ankles, on up the muscle-y calves, the almost-sharp shin bones, knob of knees with their mysterious moving plates, the cartilaginous clicks and pops, and softer widening-out of thighs, flare of hip, bones like clenched fists turning this way and that. And then another break. To rinse my hands in hot water before reaching around to grip a handful of each buttock, hear his yelp. Surprise at the little stabs of fingernail into flesh, then quick upward slide along his spine, and then hands off while I go over to the hotplate and turn off the heat.

Later on, after tea and a sandwich or peach, maybe some dusky merlot, we go back into the dark. My hands are warm from the mug, from running them over bare flesh, I’m down on the floor in a half squat for one more exploration before getting on with the work of shaping clay and making it stand on its own.

Taking his hand, I lead him to the table, where he stands with arms outstretched as if conducting a symphony, [or maybe just hanging at his sides]. The light’s off as we are both in hoods now, neither one quite knowing what will happen next. I plunge my hands into a bucket of rinse water and run them over the clay pile, punching in, squeezing hard in places. Mud splatters and runs down my front, the sounds in the room exquisitely clear--water slosh, little sighs and breathing, knock of ancient radiator, old floorboard creak, the wind outside tall windows, now and then a slap against flank sound that reminds me of horseback riding.

Gradually my fingers stiffen till I can barely work the cold clay and I ache to touch warm flesh again. It’s all I want at this moment, in the darkness where I am poised between the thing I make and the heat of human contact. I reach toward the comfort of his body, at the same time itching to take my own life in my hands. To make a living work of art, a thing of beauty bigger than myself, something I can leave behind in the room, that I’ve created in hundreds of afternoons and evenings laboring in the dark, never quite knowing what will come of it, if anyone else will ever see what I see in the dark.


Janet said...


Angela said...

Beautifully written!

Springer Kneeblood said...

Exquisitely done, Teresa. As always, your ability to translate a moment into an experience is extraordinary.

De said...

Amazing, and very far outside my comfort zone. I was thinking today in the shower that being naked is kind of like finding myself in a horror movie. I stand there hoping not to drop the soap, telling myself, "don't look down, don't look down...."

Unknown said...

Nicely done Fireant! I could feel his body with your hands and later cold clay stiffening my own.

S said...

This is so evocative. Really lovely.