3 a.m.

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What are you even doing here?
The Love of my life?

Hardly.
She’s in Houston with her kids,
And his.
When I dream of her I wake a rock-
Head full of all the soft, wet places.

You?
Gravel and jagged edges-
Broken glass
Desolate highways with no lights,
No guiderails.

You took my heart; never given.
Smashed it, killed it, left it lie.
Didn’t wish you dead, but now that you are,
Stay there.

I’m cauterized-
Like a drunk needing a bottle when once a cocktail would do-
I must dig deeper and deeper to feel the
Pain you used to visit so cavalierly
With a word. A gesture.

I’ll stab at my skin with a sharp spoon,
Drive nails between my toes,
Tear my hair and rend my guts to wear
As braids.

I always feared I would see you in hell
To again be choked on your leash.
But I’d hoped to die first.

Go back to poling the River Styx
Ferrying the damned from sulfurous shore
To sulfurous shore
And leave me be.
I’ll see you soon enough.

Fuck you
Fuck you
And fuck me.

I’d give my left nut for the sunrise.

 

 

 

 

“…A Failure to Communicate”

She turned away from the window to light the cigarette she’d kept in a plastic bag hidden in an old purse with a wooden match from the candle drawer. In the utter darkness of the house the yellow flame burst brightly until she sucked deeply and shook it out.

“Fuck!” she whispered when she saw the red glowing dot of the tip reflecting back from the glass. Could he see it? She palmed the butt next to her thigh and squinted trying to regain her night vision. There was nothing. More correctly, she could see nothing. But he was out there.

Beyond the lawn and the rhododendrons, across the property line and beyond the subtle rises that she knew to be remains of Civil War trenches that existed undisturbed in these woods for 150 years. “If you didn’t know they were there, you might not know they were there”, said the locals. Over the old stone foundation of a house gone before she was born was an oak tree. It was probably there when the old house was built and stood powerfully if charred by a lightning strike on V-E Day-or so said nosy old always-in-your-business Millicent Fenwick at the library.

“It’s a four by eight sheet of three quarter inch exterior plywood”, he had intoned when she asked him if it would hold him. Those numbers meant nothing to her, she wasn’t a builder but neither was he. Still, he said “It’s a four by eight sheet of three quarter inch exterior plywood” in such a way that she guessed she should be impressed. He had taken this sheet of plywood and somehow wedged it between the three large main branches of that old oak about ten feet off the ground and “stabilized it with three two by four struts screwed right into the trunk.” She stared at him and he repeated it; more than a few times. Could just have well been speaking Mandarin-she didn’t know or care what a fucking strut was.

“Hear your husband’s building a tree stand back off the old Warner place”, Mrs. Fenwick had said, taking the cards out of the back pockets of the books she was checking out. “My husband Elmo, God rest him, used to hunt those woods. Got more than deer back there, you ask me.”

Her eyes adjusted and she could see beyond the yard into the black of the woods. She even imagined that she could see the top branches of the oak drawn against the silvery starlit night. She hadn’t minded when he moved from their bedroom to the spare room. That was a lie-it bothered her-but it had happened gradually. One night a week, then two, always a perfectly acceptable reason: he had to get up early, his back was a little off, he “felt a good snore coming on…” Then it had become semi-permanent.

Getting used to that wasn’t easy but at least she could still hear him breathing and rolling around and, at three a.m. precisely, getting up and walking to the bathroom. Sometimes he would veer into what he had begun to call “her” room and slip into “her” bed so that they could get into some of their nighttime business but that wasn’t happening anymore.

Because now he had taken to sleeping in a fucking tree.

“A little anisette, please…” Part ll

(Continued from “A little anisette, please…”)

The glowing wafer of moon slipped thinly into the chalice of the hills.

“I am not worthy to receive you…” the long forgotten words clattered across his memory like a broken strand of pearls. “…but only say the words….” He was startled to hear himself speaking aloud and bit his lips too late. The sweeping sound of her breathing was gone-leaving a silent void. He inhaled deeply as if to smell whether he had awakened her.

She was on her side so when he looked down he saw only her right eye glowing back at him. Her lips, always full, seemed swollen. He bent to them and kissed her. Gently. Dryly. She returned his kiss over her shoulder then, like a cat, pushed her haunches still wrapped in sheets back into him.

“You are definitely not worthy”, she said huskily-her voice full of sleep.

“Of anything.”

“Release my legs”, she told him.

“I don’t want to hurt you now…” he said quietly. Last night was last night. This was a new day.

“Release my legs”.

The knots melted in his fingers. A lifetime on the lake, sailing, boating and fishing made ropes and knots his superpower. Before she could imagine how she was bound, she was free. Still on her side she pulled her right knee up then, when he uncovered her, lifted her top leg toward the ceiling, opening and still pushing backward. From another woman this would have been an invitation. From her, it was a summons.

Hard since he’d walked into the room he held back and grasped her ankle, then slid his hand down the muscles of her leg-pausing to outline the panther on her thigh. It rippled across her quad and roared up the inside of her thigh directing with white teeth and a blood-red tongue where he should go next.

“Do you want your hands?” he asked.

“No”. She kept them, still bound, clutched at her throat like a child curling her loose hair around her long slim fingers.

He settled on his side poking like a blind dog against her still bruised bottom cheeks. She rolled slightly and pushed backward further. Even in the dim, dawn light she glistened as he slid inside-never surprised by how wet she was. She gasped, taking him all at once as he grunted-forcing himself all the way inside with a loud slap of flesh.

She answered his grunt and caught the wave of his thrusts, digging backward as he pushed forward. They quickened the pace and he held her leg high gripping the firm muscles and feeling the quiver coming from up top. She probably would have preferred to hold her leg up herself just with the core strength she never tired of yakking about but he just wanted a fucking handle. He grabbed her ass and kneaded.

Whatever didn’t work between them, this surely did. This always did. He listened for the breathing again; this time the quick gasping that signaled….here it came. As the bed creaked and rolled, he pushed-pushed-pushed thrust-thrust-quickening his pace-slapslapslap skin on skin until her gasping became a moan then a bark then a cry as she slammed her leg down like a guillotine holding him in place as he, with a last firm jam spewed his shuddering heat deep into her.

As they deflated, dissipated, he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close as if wanting to contact as much of her skin as possible. He slid out of her and rested until he heard the telltale whispering of her wheezing. He allowed himself to be lulled to the edge of darkness before he roused and pulled gently away.

Without touching her he leaned over and untied the ropes on her wrists but she reacted not at all, lying as if in prayer. He retrieved the knife and put it on the bed stand then, reluctant to leave, kissed her shoulder, her back and ran is tongue along the salt of her hip. When he felt himself begin to swell, he rose and pulled the sheet up to her neck leaving her exactly as he’d found her. He left the door ajar.

Later with the morning sun high over the ridge she, still damp from the shower and clear-eyed as a child, joined him at the kitchen table. The silk robe parted as she gingerly sat affording him an easy view of her small, firm breasts. “Good Morning Glory”, he said mocking. She gifted him a half smile.

“I trust you welcomed the sun”, she said seeing that the sweat from his sunrise workout was already dried on his shirt.

“Someone had to do it” he said pushing away from the table. “Coffee?”

“Christ, yes.”

“Cream?”

“A little anisette, please.” He took the clear liquor from the sideboard and poured thickly closing his eyes to the sweet licorice scent filling the room. He placed the cup before her and kissed her on the top of her head and slid his hand inside her robe. “Always nice to have the girls for coffee”.

“Will you join me for sword later?” she asked ignoring his hand.

“Technical or Kumite?”

“I want to fight.”

He stepped back and regarded her carefully. She was talking into her coffee giving him nothing.

“Wood”, he said firmly. Their steel tournament swords weren’t razor sharp but carried enough of an edge to do damage. He would only fight her using the wooden swords. They had a way to make that interesting.

“Fine”, she said looking up. Her eyes had a sparkle rather than a gleam. Which was good. “Eleven?”

“Eleven it is”, he said. “Now drink your coffee.”

She blew on it and sipped.

“A little anisette, please…”

Moon Fall

He awoke slowly; grudgingly. The new pills not only kept him asleep through the night-or at least more of the night than he was used to-but made waking a slow, weighted swim up from of the bottom of a deep pool. It was a chore that he deferred most mornings. He allowed himself a few minutes gazing at the ridge line until he could just make out the bare limbs and branches etched against the graying sky.

He rose and stretched-hands high-counting the pops in his spine as he bent this way, then that.  Then listened to the cracks in his ankles as he walked, squinting to unlock the bedroom door in the darkness. An unnecessary precaution as it turned out but one he felt he had to take.

He padded across the hall and paused at the slightly open door to the front room-just as he’d left it. Her deep regular breathing was the only sound on the floor. He slipped the door open wide enough to enter. This side of the house fronted the lake and the light of the dawn moon falling over the far hills pointed a silver sword their way across the water. He watched the flickering light crawling directly at him and fell under the spell of her breathing.

He allowed himself to be borne away by her rhythm, inhaling deeply with her and exhaling as she did. Not being asleep, the exercise left him feeling winded-in need of quick swallows of air. The room carried the sweet aroma of his grandmother’s bread dough rising in her tiny kitchen-a heady mix of sleep, damp heat and last night’s lovemaking.

He approached the bed where she was on her side sunken deeply into the old mattress the sheet around her shoulders. He checked the knots around her ankles and gently slipped a finger between the bonds and her skin. Secure and not too tight. He then pulled back the sheet to check her wrists, bound before her as if in prayer. Her breath feathered the back of his hands. The rope securing her wrists to her ankles was likewise fast.

And lastly, the knife. His own deer knife, a nine inch blade sharp enough to shave, cut and gut. Happily, it was safely sheathed within her easy reach. His suggestion was to bind her lightly so she could easily release herself if necessary during the night. She instead wanted to be bound tightly, with the knife as her out card.

He knew she was mad from the first. But the first was so long ago that the knowledge did him no good now.

Moments

There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there is nothing left to do, and nothing else to pursue.” – From Hagakure, by way of Ghost Dog. 

“I seriously can’t think of anyone who’s been together as long as we have taking such little care of their relationship. Seriously. It’s as if we assume that it will always be there-that we will always have it. That we made it and now it’s done, and nothing more is necessary.”

She, having nothing to add, was silent.

“Everything, your plants, the cats, the garden-they are begun then continue and thrive-if attention is paid to them. If they are fed. If not they wither and die. Relationships are the same.”

“Mmmfff…” she said.

“I’m not blaming you, you understand. This is on both of us. It’s as if we’ve made a conscious decision to allow our relationship to-if not die-then stagnate. There is work, there is the gym, there are the clients and the cooking, there is endless busyness…something has to suffer. We allowed it to be us.”

He stepped closer, his body next to hers, and rubbed her firm calves then kissed them gently. One. Then the other. He allowed his tongue to trace a path up her leg to her feet. Up close they looked small-petite even-and soft. He could see the attraction they held for some. He allowed his head to dip and kiss the instep. She made a small sound.

He ran his tongue toward the toes slowly then across the big one. A tiny buzz–not enough to make him hard-surprised him. He could definitely see this! He wished he could kiss her ankle but it was buried deep beneath the padded strap. He allowed his eyes to fall closed and was slipping her toes into his mouth when she jerked and said “Aaachlessshh!”

The spell broken, he pulled away from the shiny wetness he had left on her foot. She yelped again. Sighing, he dropped to a knee and released the gag from her mouth.

“Ticklish!” she spat. “Goddam it! You know I’m ticklish.”

“Sorry”, he said, not sorry. “I couldn’t help myself.”

“Jesus-my feet now? Is that was this whole thing was about? Getting to my feet?”

“No, honey…no. It just happened-they’re right here and they look so…”

“Forget it. Not the feet. Too fucking ticklish…”

“Okay, okay”, he said softly trying to bring the mood back. He rubbed down her legs, past her knees and then between them. His finger stroked across the tight folds of her pussy which offered no easy ingress.

“You’re awfully dry…” he said rubbing back and forth.

“I’ve been hanging upside down for a fucking hour Michael! All my blood and no doubt jizz has run to my head! It’s like I’m hearing you from inside a fucking washing machine.”

“Okay. Okay…” he tried to be soothing and cupped her inverted bottom cheeks. The welts were all but gone to the touch.

“Really”, she said. “There is a shelf life to this position.” He didn’t respond. “I mean, are you done…?”

“Oh sure”, he said a trifle dejected. “I guess so”.

He released her hands from the cuffs attached to the belt around her waist. She could then support herself as he lowered her to the floor. She sat with her legs stretched in front of her and waved him off when he came in to unbuckle her ankle straps. She bent to do it herself.

“Gotta say though-felt good hanging there…hips, back…maybe not an hour next time…”

“It wasn’t an hour!” he protested.

She absently rubbed at the weals on the front of her thighs.

“I don’t get the front of the legs thing. Back of the legs-in a caning scenario-I can almost see. This though…” she traced the pink stripes crossing her lap.

“Some people like it there…Some people…”

“Mikey, some people like EVERYTHING. Do we have to try it all? We’re barely into one thing than we’re off to something else. Spanking, paddling, caning, school girl dressing…”

“You like that…”

“Yeah…I…. But then we moved onto something else! Corner time leaves me cold. Boring.”

“We don’t do that anymore.”

She was on the floor stretching languidly almost speaking to herself “…the thermometer can be OK-especially if you’re sitting on the bed beside me. I can get that. But diapering…”

“We never did that! I never….”

“You don’t erase your search history. I figured that was next…Now the ropes…the hanging…the feet…”

“No, the feet was an accident. It just happened…”

“Then the pegging…” She looked up at him. “We got away from that pretty quick didn’t we?”

“That was….”

“Uncomfortable?”

“Yes.”

“Like hanging upside down for an hour uncomfortable?”

“It wasn’t an hour”, he pouted.

She didn’t quite shake her head, settling for a crooked smile and sideways glance. Straight legs on the floor she pulled her chin to her knees. “Didn’t feel too bad though. Just went on too long.”

He looked down on her, so comfortable in her nakedness, pulling a leg into her chest and twisting. He felt himself shrinking somehow while looking down on her.

“And what was that shit you were saying about ‘taking care of the relationship’…”

“Just shit I was saying. You know I like to…vocalize.”

“Why don’t you get into the bedroom and get undressed. I’ll show you how to take care of the relationship.”

“This was my time! I called it!”

“You used it.”

“You have to go to the gym…”

“They can miss me tonight. Figured maybe I’d lose a little of the…busyness.” He was stuck for a moment, transfixed in her gaze. “Go on now. I’ll be a minute.”

“Oh geeze”, he said. There was naught to do but turn and slowly follow his thickening cock into the bedroom.

Best to let sleeping dogs…

(Continued from If the boat’s a rockin’…)

She hovered, suspended in the dim gray place between waking and sleeping. Could she truly awaken though, if she wasn’t asleep? Her body wasn’t buzzing anymore as it had been so recently. Instead it was warm and limp-as immobile as a sack wet grass, radiating the living stillness one might feel sitting at the bottom of a deep warm well. Nothing to do but allow herself to be enveloped by the warm darkness.

It hadn’t been that way when James had pushed her-still wet and vibrating-onto his bunk. Had that been moments, hours or days before? She had spread wantonly on his rough blanket ignoring both the pinches from her strapped, bruised bottom and the pulses from her recently receding orgasm. In fact, as she lay back and pulled her knees to her chest she felt the receding waves cease their retreat and turn back-seeking a reason to crest and break again.

Being arrayed on her back gave her the first chance to actually see the shaft that had brought her to heights she had never felt before. She wasn’t the most experienced lover but this was beyond anything she could imagine. Was it like this for others? Then, as he mounted and slipped inside her still wet folds, she knew immediately that she would come again.

It wasn’t his length-nor the strength of his thrusts filling her more deeply coming from the front than they had from behind. It was not one particular thing. It was more the all of him. His scent, the soft beard that tickled her nipples as he sucked gently on her breasts, his strong arms that coiled around her back and the rough hands pulling down on her shoulders-driving him even deeper inside. It was all of that.

Each thrust, deeply planted then deliberately withdrawn to the very end, felt as if he were pulling her insides out. As if her hair and eyes themselves were being withdrawn back into her head-only to be pushed back into place with a loud slapping of belly on belly.

This on and on, again and again, until she gave herself entirely to the second orgasm of the afternoon. Lying under him, crushed and cuddled-open and pulsing she gave in utterly-allowing screams to turn to laughter then tears as she crested again, and again and…again? Or all at once? She knew not and cared not. She pulled her legs back opening her bottom hole-wishing he would take it. She kept her mouth wide, wishing he would take THAT. She wanted him everywhere at once.

Her last memory as she faded under her own wave was of his hot seed splashing hard upon her belly and scalding her up to her breasts. She moaned loudly under the thick pulsing rain and flopped backward sliding into the gray where she now found herself.

Her dream that wasn’t a dream was of kittens…no, puppies. There were three or four of them lapping at her-tickling her. She opened her eyes a slit and recognized the peeling paint on the wall beside James’ bunk. There were no kittens, nor puppies, but James sat on the side of the bed fully clothed rubbing dollops of lotion on her still tender bottom.

On her side she smiled and pushed back into his hand. “That feels nice.”

“I’m sorry about this but….”

“Don’t be.”

“I got a little carried away.”

“It was I who was carried away. Swept away actually….” She reached back and clutched his wrist.

“Had to be done.”

“Has to be done.”

“From time to time…”

“When warranted.”

He rubbed absently for a moment but she could feel his eyes painting her. He was fairly memorizing every fold, surface, dimple and wrinkle. Finally, he patted her on her fulsome cheek-finished with his ministrations. “We’ve a tow to deliver.”

She rolled onto her back. “My God, is there still a world out there?”

“Aye, and it’s a demanding one.”

She propped herself on her elbows, ultimately comfortable in her nakedness before a man who until a short time ago she knew only as a boss.

“Give me a kiss first”, she said with a smile.

“A kiss. After what we’ve just been through you want a kiss?”

“You can whip a horse James. And you can fuck a whore. But a man only kisses his lover.”

His eyes softened as he bent-bringing his lips to hers. She watched him come until the last moment when she closed her eyes and allowed his soft lips to close over hers. She opened to allow his tongue entry and as their tongues twined she began to feel yet another spark that threatened to reignite the dying embers that smoldered between her legs. Reading her body, James pulled back.

“Now would you please get your sweet red ass out of my bunk and go tend to the lines so we can get this tow downriver. The sooner we get this job done, the sooner I can take you ashore and show you how it’s done in a real bed.”

“Yes Cap’n”, she said.

He regarded her looking so young and small as if the copulations had regressed her to girlhood. He blinked then turned away quickly not wanting to encourage his sleeping dog into awakening and stretching itself again.

 

An Unquiet Mind…

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I was listening to an early Murakami audio book on the train home. So, of course, I was horny. Just as reading Jim Harrison makes me hungry for rich food and wide open rivers, and Ron Rash makes me yearn for the hollows, hills and murders of my youth, Murakami fills my mind with visions of young women in white cotton panties-even when he’s writing about cats. Maybe it’s me.

So at home I go straight to the freezer for the Tito’s and pour three fingers into a short glass. No icy dilution needed when your liquor is teeth achingly cold straight up.

My beloved looked up from her ledgers to regard me coolly. Her glasses perfectly framed her dark eyes which showed the wear of the day, but still sparkled.  When she pushed them up onto her head her hair bunched and tangled roguishly around them-offsetting and accenting her perfectly formed cheekbones.

Rough day… she said more than asked unwinding her legs from underneath and standing. Without pausing she seemed to float over to where I leaned against the granite countertop still in my coat. She looked at my knuckles to find them unbroken and not bloody. She got up on her toes to pull my collar down to examine my neck for rope burns or the slice of the garrote. Nope. She gave a certain quizzical smile before sliding the back of her hand gently across the front of my pants. Ah…she said.

Ah, I replied. You still have those white cotton panties?

Sure.

Would you put them on?

I’m wearing the black ones you like.

Has to be the white cotton.

She gifted me with that crooked smile and turned away, her body swathed in the long sweater she wore around the house. You want the skirt too?

Glass at my lips-warming fumes filled my nostrils. Sure I croaked. And keep the glasses.

In the study with a fresh cocktail I pulled a chair into the middle of the room and lit a few lamps casting almond colored shadows along the paneled walls. Outside the dusk had deepened with the first freshet of a cold February rain. Should have put a fire in I thought looking at the dark, lifeless fireplace. Too late now, though.

My wife walked tentatively through the open door. The plaid school girl skirt fell no further than the middle of her strong tennis playing thighs. Definitely shorter than would have been permitted at the Academy. We had established that previously. The knee socks were new and very nice. She wore the crested white oxford shirt we had found in a Shadyside consignment shop last spring.

Just inside the door she paused and looked at me with a perfectly rehearsed mix of anticipation and trepidation. She reached up a quivering hand and delicately pushed her glasses, which had slipped, up on the bridge of her nose. You wanted to see me Mr. Travis?

I explained as best I could about the missed assignments and the unrecorded tardiness and reminded her of what we had agreed at our last meeting. I’m afraid Miss Jensen, you’ve left me no alternative but to spank you.

She pouted beautifully and dropped her chin. I understand, sir. I’m sorry.

No need, Miss Jensen. Let’s get on with it then.

She walked haltingly to the chair where I took my seat. Eyes demurely downcast she lowered herself over my lap. My breath caught as I lifted her skirt up over her back revealing the white cotton panties tightly sheathing her bottom. I cupped her right cheek and was about to draw back when…a folder on the edge of the desk caught my eye.

It was the Kisama account folder that I’d brought home the day before. What a clusterfuck that had turned out to be! It had seemed simple enough-fairly straightforward Statement of Work but someone had neglected-it had been Elizabeth-to include the upcharges for the custom work outside of scope now they were balking at the cost.

Ahem, coughed my wife draped over my lap patiently waiting. Oh, right. Miss Jensen, I muttered. It’s time I dealt with you… I raised my hand then…I really couldn’t put it all on Elizabeth though. There was a team of five working on the document-that’s four too many to my liking. I would have one person shepherd it through from front to back…No matter. Done is done. I’ll just have to fly out there and…

Ah, Mr. Travis? my wife asked upside down. You may have to take my panties down so the spanking really sinks in…You have been rather naughty. Lift up. She rose slightly onto her toes and I rolled the white cotton down slowly revealing my wife’s bottom ready for Miss Jensen’s spanking which would …the word naughty struck me. We never really used it-seemed overly childish.

Like impure. Maybe impure was just mine. I had confessed to a priest once when I was eleven or twelve to having impure thoughts. He wanted details! I didn’t give him any-mumbled something about girls in bathing suits-right!-and he asked me if I jacked off. Just like that! I couldn’t wait to get out of there. What did you tell him?  Frankie asked me later when I told the guys about it. I told him no! You lied to a priest? We all laughed about that…

Tommy! I heard my name being called. It was my wife stuck in downward dog over my lap her panties at her knees. My shoulder’s getting a little creaky, she said lifting a hand off the floor.

Yes, right. Sorry. I reared back and delivered the first smack fully on her right cheek. She moaned lightly at the impact and relaxed-settling comfortably onto my lap. I regarded the perfect pink handprint on her bottom and thought a moment. It put me in mind of those turkeys we drew in grade school…where we would trace our hands on a piece of construction paper-I would go with the goldenrod color- then we would…

Tommy! Focus…

Yes, honey, I said lifting my hand.