Age has laid claim, insinuating maladies while separating flesh from its skull-and-crossbones scaffold, jowls conspiring with sunken cheeks to show how immortality endows no thing that breathes, eats, drinks, empties, procreates, while occupying its infinitesimal niche in the tick-tock-tick of time—cruelly, in this instance, havoc wreaked on handsomeness, bags under either eye abutted by crow’s-feet stamped, scowl afflicting a mouth down-turned at its absentminded corners, chin a grizzled outcrop, throat a scrotal sack, gone-gray chest hairs mingling with their ghosts over muscles swagged with flab, trunk a v-shape bloated at the point like a wedge of melted cheddar, under which a memoir of virility hangs in flaccid effigy, useless as a bugle that can scarcely summon urine much less muster sexual reveille, bandy legs gaunt props for a desiccated bottom shrunken in proportion to its flipside belly’s bulge that overshadows toes gnarly as any rooster’s, spine of chain-link vertebrae progressively inflexible fusing parts-entire, posture ignominiously revoked to reinstate the stoop of some ‘lower-order’ simian, wit pursuing childhood like a cat gives chase to tail, infant on to infantile, the cycle near completion: meet Alexander Obadiah Pierpont, heir to the Pierpont Fortune, wifeless, childless, isolated grandly on his hundred acre walled estate cum ranch, standing in the nude on his verandah like a toddler just abandoned by an apathetic nanny, nipple plucked from his sore, receding gums while he stands lassoed by a lapse, longer than usual, judging by the piddle puddle spread out north to south, over terracotta tile, to form a stagnant, inland sea, faintly putrid, drawing senses reconvened among a plethora of flies colored cobalt in the slatted sun that brands a jail bar pattern over piss-fouled squares and feet; home sweet home, by house arrest subverted, is an idle notion passing, indistinguishable from notions less intransigent hence confusion tends to reign, thoughts like mavericks, in wild west terminology, forever bound astray—round up, round up, get along little doggies, come rejoin the herd, steer your hooves toward Bar Bemused Corral before the daystar sinks and sets…‛thou shalt not’ what; can he recall(?); there were specific prohibitions, codes of conduct, expectations for behavior, oughts, ought nots; ‘do onto others’ was a maxim often quoted in his youth ‘as you would have’ how did it go(?); ‘as you would want’; ‘as you would hope’; do not exploit but how avoid it; selfish interests always clash, so be unselfish, think of others first for peace of mind, or lack, for mind in pieces, sundry fragments, jumbo jigsaw puzzles scattered—retrospection like a shattered mirror whose shards distort, distract, reflect a satyr and a saint at once,

a giver
and a gobbler,
one who praises
one who denigrates,
one who nurtures
one who spoils;
had he not worn a two-faced mask throughout the whole of his majority(?):

saved the children / made them orphans, funded scholarships / leveled schools with weapons bought and sold in deals he brokered, profits turned on slaughter, guns to landmines, bombs to missiles,

booby traps modeled after toys which he had sponsored, having toured the actual plant where they were crafted, painted brightly to attract unwitting targets they would blast to smithereens,

a hand, a fingertip, a foot blown off, eyes blinded, eardrums deafened; these were matters of inconsequence when compared to long-range goals; the 'greater' scheme of things preempted, surely, 'mini' devastations; maiming minors crushed resistance, shortened conflicts, salvaged lives, a gruesome means that oft' produced an end most merciful…

than failure
to maintain
one’s grip
on pee,
a tepid
of which
adds to
thigh to calf
a network of them,
blocked to all save aches
and maddening fits of itches—

occasioning Alexander to respond, at last, bend down, and rigorously scratch, breaking both his trance and brittle concentration…embarrassing him momentarily as if his sordid state were the exception not the rule—this new-world-order chaos of rants, bladder leaks, and nudity, from whence he shields his crotch, hands crisscrossed like a pair of withered fig leaves, pointless as a gesture insofar as not a solitary soul bears witness,


his attendant, off doing who-knows-what, fornicating, doubtless, with her pick of ready paramours: chauffeur, gardener, stable boy high on the ‘likely’ list, conquests her employer (from pervasive peepholes) craves to view—in lieu of demonstrating impotence face to face, his voyeur’s lust the last vice unimpaired by runaway dementia—not that Paula’s lewd shenanigans are all that riveting; like most of Alex’s interests, his in sex has waned, reflex leading his eye of late to portals through which, vaguely, he gazes as at some reverie that grants to creeping senility a hale and hearty twinge, a flashback flush that projected bumps-and-grinds occasionally can evoke, recasting him as ravisher, Paula as ‘ravishee’—with unchaste variations some might label ‘warped’; favors bought, for instance, from sources too impoverished to offer real resistance, raise objection, or hazard condemnation—further fostering lechery with its dearth of self-restraint, wealth a sure prescription for counteracting virtue…oinks are Paula’s noises during bouts of copulation, greasy-greedy grunts that keep pace with whomsoever her pubes slurp—‘sap’, he further prognosticates, her stamina, almost legend, for soliciting sloppy seconds, thirds, if time allows, fourths or fifths; assorted sessions leaving session-partners spent—

hence all the more entertaining for him whose tear ducts drool, recollecting scenes when fucks were non-vicarious, when girls who he impaled, hymens torn asunder, obligingly would bleed, youngsters scared worse than harmed by their paid-for violations, sullied ever after in the eyes of those informed…

though Hoi told no one, mummed up resolutely, according to her parents, from the tender age of eight to well nigh twelve, silenced less by shock than by an overwhelming pall of sheer betrayal, her sense of which hit home with recognition that the Family Eng lost face—despite assurances beforehand that she would be acting nobly, that her siblings’ very lives were being saved by the money she would earn, gratitude smeared by onus once the deal and deed were done, funds remitted as promised but status forever stained; Hoi had been ‘deflowered’, was the expression, ‘ruined’, ‘shamed’, ‘defiled’; sacrificial or not her loss meant hardship gained—affording premature disgrace and foregone prostitution…child abuse the crime her vocation would avenge, making men a mockery for buying what they did not merit, most so desperate for love that its sensual semblance was enough to keep them fooled and coming back for more…

to the teenage Hoi,       

a commodity
they might rent,
or sometimes lease,
but never fully own,
fanning their libidos
with her post-pubescent charms
into flames that burned
like napalm
yet left her un-scorched personally,




                    to the adult Hoi,

totally walled-off from emotions she aroused
though oh so sumptuously seductive;
men would squander sums unconscionable,
lie to sweethearts,
cheat on wives,
compete with rivals sight unseen to partake in sultry interludes, all dismissed by the object each cravenly desired,
with a shrug,
arched brow,
or sneer,
none successful in atoning for the sin of their pedophile-cum-predecessor,

whose conscience failed to function when his uncouth phallus gored, penetrated maidenhood like a stake poked through a veil, flimsy flesh no match for his unrelenting ramrod, insult added to injury by a geyser-gush of sperm that clotted, upon exit, with her sanguine exed-virginity, sating Alexander Pierpont’s statutory kink, one of several he indulged en route to slack-ass dotage, tacks he took as detours from the straight and narrow path so boring to a lad endowed with ample resources, financial and intellectual, rich kids also smart becoming top drawer gents or terrors, bound for fame or infamy in accordance with their wants, whims, and spurious inclinations…

shuffle, shuffle, shuffle,
bare feet shedding skin,
molting like a  staggered pair of lizards
on the terracotta tile turned marble, verandah
left for vestibule, vestibule crossed to secret door,
through which Alexander sneaks with vain
determination, to leave and to arrive
become activities interchangeable, 
Paula’s unknown whereabouts
slithering back to mind,
suspending sluggish
to direct his
one good ear toward
the source of telltale(?)…
humming, he detects, treble
clef, in the major key of G—whiz,
what he would not give to possess a pipe so
sweet, babbling like a brook, virgin spring, or
youth-eternal’s fountain, blissfully unaware of the
hourglass sands’ staid seep that seems to speed at
life span's bitter end in an exaggerated onrush,
magnifying failures, rubbing-in regrets,
threatening souls with calls-to-account
once the last grain finally settles,
Now’s succession over,
Nothingness recommenced…

haunting is the melody, poignant as déjà vu, notes like those from a music box, by its velvet lining muffled, one such given as a token, he remembers, to a would-be nymphet-spared:

Afghan, living in a camp for refugees therefore ripe for duty-free picking, gift-wrapped in a costume of captivity tragic circumstances wove into camouflage fatigues re-scaled to fit her waif-ish figure, smuggled in and up to his penthouse suite at Hotel Istanbul, package on his doorstep, business perk and prize, gift bestowed in deference to his then-notorious quirk, impolite to refuse, troublesome to accept, earmarked as the trembling urchin was for one-time-use-then-jettison, plea for mercy fixed in her panic-stricken eyes, into which he peered as might a Sultan at some sacrificial serf, reading left to right, right to left, appraising her up and down, measuring her capacity, it appeared, to slake some unnamed thirst…

which Phaedra failed to fathom from her disadvantaged standpoint, deprivation’s diet having starved her into stupor, what took place that pivotal day and night a mystery to her still, why a man would pay her fare to Utah, arrange to have her placed in foster care, and surreptitiously fund her education, exacting absolutely nothing in return, hovered in her heart hummingbird fashion never to alight and accord her questions answers…Blackbird singing in the dead of night words there were to the tune that trilled from Paula’s vocal chords, that triggered Pierpont’s memory, that chimed in Phaedra’s music box—treasured keepsake from her enigmatic mentor, purchased at the airport from whence her fate took flight, lifting her from ravages of war to suburban Salt Lake City, blinking her, in effect, from third-world poverty to first-world prosperity, from wails of woe inexhaustible to hymns performed each weekend by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Take these sunken eyes and learn to see; she had, all her life, or ever since its misbegotten start took a providential turn for the better, the purer, the more righteous, delivering her from evil on an angel’s outstretched wings, his to her illumined by the selfless grace of charity, Alexander Obadiah Pierpont expressing his lighter side, villains in the real world seldom devoid of kindness, dastardly sobriquet dashing, two for the price of one; to banish all true scoundrels exiles Good Samaritans, because coin-toss Mankind only comes to rest after many revolutions…many incarnations at Pierpont’s stage of looking backward for fear of looking forward...though Paula, in her underwear, is a motivating sight, garb from Fredericks of Hollywood, skimpy as sequins, sheer as veneer, tackier than vernacular, styled to suit a tart You were only waiting for this moment… Paula frowns, interrupts her song at the instant she perceives her boss’s rheumy eye eclipse a lens discovered recently in the wall of her boudoir,

integrated cleverly amidst papered fleurs-de-lis,
bulging like a minute crystal ball,
lending him who leers a pang
brought on by prophesy,
easily envisioning the tableau minus him, Beauty left unfazed
when the Peeping Beast expires,
crumbles into dust
and with one dainty sneeze
gets dissipated,
Alexander Is
become Alexander Was,
atoms mixed with Adam’s,
elements reunited,
one big happy reconvened family…

legacy the link by death unbroken—what and who remains once a given ghost gives up, parents leaving offspring to squabble over inheritance, bachelors leaving sycophants if mentioned in their wills, things of life accumulated to be donated, doled, or discarded…Paula’s precious piece of the Pierpont pie at stake, auditioning, as it were, before an inculpated spy, wriggling in her seat face-forward at a vanity placed strategically, its triptych mirrors reflecting a corseted Eve times three:

temptress, helpmate, metaphorical mother of all Humankind, 'prepossessingly' shaped by a twenty-first century template that global fashion dictates through the medium MTV—modesty more endangered than the wild world’s rarest species…like residue forming on unprotected skin, Paula feels his stare as an ultra-clammy wheeze, glomming onto her back, trim waist, taut buttocks in a drawn-out exhalation she can only hope and pray will be among his last, sick of the old man’s antics, foul smell, and sticky-tongue depravity, eager to be shut of her number-one-worst assignment—lap-of-luxury trappings set aside…preening as if posing for some closeted child pornographer, pretty-girl pout enhanced by lipstick, salaciousness intensified (stirring scant reaction from a lingam lone-gone limp but nonetheless desiderating); Paula paints her pulchritude from a palette of gay cosmetics…remotely reminiscent to the Peeping Tom who peers, wanders in his wits through nostalgia’s dim lit corridors searching for, now finding a once-familiar nook wherein boy transformed into girl using elder sister’s accoutrements: make-up, jewelry, and pistillate lingerie while locked inside her bedroom-rendered-vacant after heroin turned its trick,

tracks between her toes like gnarly roots under Buddha's signal banyan,
bloodstream fed by intravenous drip
until narcotic knowledge dawned,
injected the code name ‘more’ (overruling moderation)
and wooed her co-ed consciousness into mistaking duress for sleep,
then wrapped her soul in a winding sheet for burial
in Nepenthe’s lethal fog,
Meredith thus renouncing any claim as legitimate first-born heir,
plus forfeiting her accessories to younger hormone-haywire brother,
Alex, next in line, making a beeline
to plunder the disinherited wardrobe,
'he' transformed into 'she' before a full-length cheval mirror
requisitioned bra and appropriated panties,
prick and testicles tucked behind,
rouge applied to cheeks,
nose powdered,
clip-on earrings glamorously dangling,
neck encircled by a string of mothball-measured pearls
he would later redeploy—stuff inside his rectum,
slowly pull,
and one-by-one extract
while lavishing his cock with goopy gobs of cold cream,
lubricant for his feverish (and chronic) masturbation…

to be free from most constraints had wrought unusual twists in Alexander's character;

selling arms meant traveling to hotspots: Congo, Crete, the Isle of Cypress, Turkey to East Timor, Bosnia to Burundi; wherever the planet brewed turmoil he-and-his took part, ‘his’ as in fellow merchants, dealers, manufacturers, and experts in ballistics, peddling armor, lethal chemicals, gas, defoliants, plus smart and dirty bombs, his Cohorts of Catastrophe as many as outbreaks served, each producing casualties psychic and physical, mental and moral, social and individual, numberless people displaced, dispersed, and/or dazedly disoriented: including women, children, the aged, the sick and infirm, the walking-with-wounds inside and out, one and all made vulnerable (to both culprits and profiteers) thus perversely indispensable…

pain in her milk-swollen breasts a constant remainder of who had been wrenched from her arms, dropped and stomped, the soldier intent on relieving his lust and bloodlust simultaneously reaching for Lamu’s crotch before her baby’s squalls were squelched, rifle butt crushing cranium as hand groped at its genesis, tissues barely recovered from the rigors of giving birth, battleground rape on the spot on the plot where her newborn would be buried after he who took its life took its mother for his incidental bride, stabbing her when he finished with a rusty bayonet, leaving her for dead beside the corpse of her mashed and mangled progeny, Lamu’s tale from then on studded with more horrors and vile abominations: husband butchered, family hacked with machetes—none beyond recognition, a curse but maybe not, because knowing who was gone made plain to survivors who of their kith remained, the sum at last count three:  Lamu herself (age eighteen), a cousin (age twenty), and a nephew (age almost five—young enough to be helpless, old enough to be traumatized),

Lamu losing track of both at the camp
where her gash was finally treated,
healing then so quickly she felt guilty,
so she picked, picked, picked at the scab,
creating a scar in lieu of a headstone
on her infant’s unmarked grave,
the scar a tan-tinted brow
on her coffee-colored belly
that lent her navel the look of a sorrow-sunken eye…

and learn to see with Paula’s song resuming, Pierpont jerks awake, suddenly claustrophobic in his covert cranny’s crawl-space, damned if he cannot exit, damned if he makes a peep, stuck like a youngster’s fist in the confines of a cookie jar, Paula on the alert having detected strangled sobs—rump revolved face-front as she swivels upon her stool, backside briefly captured in panels one, two, and three, then vacating left and right, the center retaining her image in retreat to investigate, spy on the hapless spy, ear pressed flush against the spot at which he slumps on the opposite side...'blubbering', she confirms, such outcries heard before, if seldom so protractedly; how to find and free him from a trap he sprang himself—and would serve him right to croak in—lead him by the hand once determining his shady whereabouts, aghast to find upon doing so a network of labyrinthine passageways riddled with peepholes, invading her privacy, her bedroom, bathroom, dressing room, and sauna fitted for his surveillancethe filthy-minded pervertprecluding her surprise, a spanking overdue—though this might serve as encouragement…

teeth were not allowed, Lamu had duly warned;
he bit; she seized his scrotum;
he masticated her mammilla;
she punished his gonads fiercely,
eager to make him wince,
disgusted by his erection;
the tighter she compressed the more he grew aroused, cradled in her lap,
stark naked,
like the babe she lost to savagery,
siphoning the sustenance meant for a mouth un-warped by promises to pay for the precious drops she shed,
vented into his gob to relieve her bosom's pressure,

replaced by disbelief at the grown man’s strange request—understood too well when his unsheathed penis bobbed, then erupted an emission an admission of his masochistic druthers, dousing her with semen (as her fingers broke their hold), prompting her to taste it (though the odor made her gag), doubling her reward (or so he proffered, should she lick it clean and swallow), while recommencing depletion of her milk supply and pride…

the truth about employing folks for tasks they might dislike is that the bulk of occupations eminently qualify; rare is the happy laborer, the worker whose work fulfills, the manager who delights in corporate bottom lines; even the self-employed seldom are self-satisfied; the issue, then, is degree, plus fair remuneration—‘how’ distasteful for how much, as in what does the insult pay—for degradation is as degradation does, and Pierpont’s hirelings never are/were coerced to perform their sordid tasks, nor was he compelled to inquire about their motives, personal tragedies, or private reservations; find him a lactating lady, for example, Black, young, comely, and well-endowed, offer her what it took to guarantee consent, then up the agreed-upon price until it fetched a furtive smile;

this the formula that time and time again had served to win compliance, often real enthusiasm—weirdness irrespective; whims acknowledged ‘unnatural’ tending to augment Pierpont's fervor, especially those he considered anomalous himself…

pursuit of
genuine G-spots
a lifelong predilection;
'Gusher Girls'
he dubbed them,
the precious few he met,
none save one equipped
with a squirt-gun vagina,
Joy’s a joy
to manipulate,
a taste-treat
to imbibe
the one reliable test
to establish authenticity),
Joy’s ejaculate
and secreted
like a stallion’s…

if and only if technique had been applied, Pierpont’s penchant for making a woman climax his signature expertise, due perhaps to his fervid fascination with the vulva’s shy anatomy, envied from his youth, simulated sometimes by reshaping balls and penis into nubile cleft and mons—convincing from the front, whereas his member, from the rear, stuck out like a tail, Satanic in appearance when, inevitably, it stiffened, glans escaping foreskin like the Devil’s crimson barb, oozing at the tip, insemination threatened, heartbeats in cahoots with agitated throbs…sobs quelled, tears stanched, privates swathed in a diaper he objects to when aware it is in place—Paula adamant (it is she who must mop up each time her client springs a leak)—face washed, a dampened towel employed to wipe the dust and cobwebs from his sad-sack integument, Alexander Obadiah Pierpont letting forehead drop onto Paula's buoyant chest—as generous in proportion as in willingness to bear his wizened brow, his nose aligned with her sternum, his nostrils perpendicular to her infrastructural collarbones—partially exposed as are the 'mammaries' they suspend, the memories they elicit illicit thus doubly delectable...row, in chorus-line symmetry, assembled for his 'edification' a la Paul Gauguin's depictions of Polynesian pinups nude to the waist and at his alleged beck-and-call, several top contestants for the title 'She With Perfect Tits' attracting Pierpont's critical attention, judging shape, heft, and size, biases swaying his choice among the patently overanxious—whose tacit humiliation was all but eclipsed by rudiments of survival, rival tribesmen lurking in the bush to waylay those rejected, Hutus hell-bent on massacring Tutsis (or was it vice versa?) their age-old animosity cheering-on each to annihilate the other, Pierpont and his pals supplying the means while alternating sides (where hatred is a constant, graft need not discriminate), partial payment offered and accepted in the form of a one-night bride, taking his pick aboard the complimentary whirlybird, leaving the rest to die—after servicing men unlikely to pay for what they craved with anything short of barbarism, Alex, on the other hand, adding income to salvation for a wayward urge indulged...Oryema paid to massage his piss-proud penis between her kissing-cousin breasts, channeling first his urine then his semen through the equidistant lobes so uniformly large, round, and firm they might have been implants, nipples in particular fashioned like perky pacifiers, purplish by comparison to the umber mounds they crowned, thence glistening with their captive's showering effluvia...until she washed it off in due course, soap and water sufficient to cleanse her of the proof that even a 'small' concession could reap a 'huge' reward, reprieved as well as refinanced thanks to a bust she found an embarrassment,

'coconuts' the constant taunt tormenting her since puberty, her 'pair' rarely overlooked by predatory 'mammophiles', useless heretofore, Oryema's bouncing-ball impediments which no one could have foretold would one day save her and violence, violence and sex, bedfellows strange or commonplace, given Pierpont's ways and means of defining his complex identity, his being-in-the-world, his existential stamp, weapons of mass to minimal destruction his chosen stock-and-trade, procreation (sans issue; an oxymoron) his averred recreation,

Rape of the Sabine Women

his favorite 'leit motif', to the victor go the spoils, plunder like a right, a rite, a duty that the privileged need not circumvent; for how else recognize top from bottom in the absence of a some persevering gauge, hierarchy, pecking order, scale on which to weigh one's handicaps and an eardrum that turns sound into echoes underwater or teeth that spend their nights in a tumbler grinningly submerged or eyes so weak that lenses worn to assist them are thicker than plated glass or taste buds atrophied through lack of any spice upsetting to their host's digestive tract or nostrils overgrown with hair so dense each sniff casts doubt on the strongest odor, leaving touch the last unhampered sense in a world as shriveled as foreskin, Alexander's litany of age-related 'challenges' making a mockery of his wealth, a hair shirt of his longevity, a wasteland of his obliquely grim prognosis: incurable, destined to deteriorate, bound to burn in Hell—about which he is worried not one whit, disbelieving in comeuppances, understanding that gains are gains no less if classified 'ill-gotten', moralists' the only souls in jeopardy, doomed by their faith-based minds of frame: correction—frames of mind, words, of late, inverting themselves as thoughts out-of-sync run Wild thing, you make my heart sing, you make EVERYTHING... Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, she who nearly had him hitched, whose sump-pump cunt could milk a Guernsey cow if fastened to its udder; utter ecstasy it was to enter Ruby's viscid vulva, have her drain you to the dregs, betimes well past, her muscles like a cock-ring that prolonged a man's erection to the point of her getting off an extra once or twice, letting go at last with a grudging little 'thup', the noise alone enough to resurrect one's ardor, never rushing to wash—why waste all that lather(?)—nothing more erotic than pudenda fully lubed, nothing more poetic than to use a man once sapped, refusing to release him from her self-fulfilling flue which positively reveled in the feel of a conquered dick, like savoring T-bone steak once rid of its adamantine skeleton, munching so to speak on tenderized meat made gruelingly hypersensitive—heavenly so for Ruby, while just-desserts for him, rapturous versus unbearable, tickled pink slash tortured, she content to prevail, to slow-turned the worm upon a pillar sobriquet pillager, nobleman aka knave, philanthropist alias philanderer; Alex hath many monikers, 'hypocrite' topping the list, in Ruby's estimation, every shred of virtue cancelled by a vice, every act of kindness offset by some cruelty—

calculating, too, which worsened the ill effects, giving her an engagement ring, for example, that must have cost a fortune then reneging, pulling a no-show, stranding her at the altar, chaplain, bridesmaids, congregation all left waiting, parents, friends, and co-workers mortified on her behalf, nobody more abashed than she by the groom's unmitigated chutzpah, breach-of-promise suit threatened; she sold the ring instead, bought a trip to Paris where she nurtured a brief depression, grateful upon return to have dodged a sure divorce—Pierpont's promises preludes to perpetual promiscuity...loved her laugh; it was a quiet, confidential sort of sound she made when mirthful that belied the brooding sorrow in her Middle Eastern eyes, 'wounds' he used to call them because their lids bore bruise-blue veins, the skin translucent, brow to lash, like highly polished alabaster; worthy as a wife, her flaws spawning few misgivings; whereas his, toward marriage, heckled and harassed from the day she said she would, exchange vows—which were outside Pierpont's purview, love among the lovelorn impossible to sustain, his low regard for the madding crowd a misanthropic boomerang, aspersions hurled at others circling back to clobber him...

when he least expected it, unsportsmanlike insofar as he was down, euphoria having worn off post preserving his highly valued bachelorhood, solitude reinstated, loneliness gnawing a nerve—if never quite severing its connection to his isolated psyche: 'no man is an island' a cliché perhaps but true; underneath the sea all land mass lies as one; humanity on the whole excludes not a solitary member—yet 'single' Alexander stayed, for better and for worse, for richer and for 'wealthier', in sickness and in health, the latter gone for good, the former making a mishmash of his Mensa-Member intellect...Paula successfully wresting him from his spur-of-the-moment 'nap', wipes her bust of slobber and guides his stutter steps gym-ward, routine physical therapy a half-hour overdue, Pierpont's peephole detour, subsequent stasis, and ignominious discovery sabotaging the schedule to which nurse and nursed adhere—lest gross infirmity overwhelm their days with random fits of nonsense, discipline native to neither yet needed for ordinary living: meal time, reading time, exercise time,, making sure a spine maintains support for rather loose-leaf flesh—Alexander's slack with silly-putty jiggles, tone an attribute lapsed like a passing fancy's wake, colorless (in between liver spots, moles, melanomas, and bedsores) with a pallor kith and kin to curds and whey; 'yucky' is Paula's term for describing her boss's hide, handling it the least enjoyable of her several vulgar tasks, better to cope with shit than to cleanse its point of origin, Alexander's anus like Calcutta's famed black hole—a lax-lipped port unable to contain its own fetid feces, too often leaked—legacy of sundry sex toys that pulsated, vibrated, twisted, twirled, or inflated, scandalizing his sphincter thus pummeling his pus-filled prostate, appropriating an exit for double-duty entry—ruined over time through countless usurpations...
Amsterdam the venue, Jacques and JudeJude and Jacques the carnal sandwich, Jude a transgender 'female', Jacques a transgender 'male', both elaborately altered by surgeons-extraordinaire, Jacques inserting 'her' prick, Jude dilating 'his' vagina, Alex fucking from the front while being buggered from the rear, all three coming (to his-her-his capacity) in orgiastic unison, raising the question: who did what to whom, because Jude, as a reassigned woman, wanted masculine sexual partners, whereas Jacques, as a reassigned man, wanted sexual partners feminine, meaning Jacques' relations with Pierpont were homosexual in nature (except Jacques was born a girl), just as Jude's relations with Alex by nature were heterosexual (except Jude was born a boy), complicated further by their client's crazed attraction to her-him, him-her both, not to mention the ménage a trois itself—prurient permutations making sex and sexual identity, for practical purposes, merge (as chromosomes once had done to parent each participant)...withered arms outstretched like a simple-minded supplicant, flailing in the absence of his unacknowledged caregiver, blind as blunt antennae unaware that comfort and aid are near, shaking with impatience, frustration, now desperation since Paula's brusque—predicting the trance will pass, resigned to seeming nonexistent to a man whose days are numbered, unconcerned as a lifeguard on an empty stretch of beach, land-locked, miles away from any place worth visiting on her once-a-month day off, pissed at Pierpont's periodic stints of deeming her invisible; worse than being ogled is to feel oneself transparent or recognized as someone you resemble not one iota—another aggravating 'symptom' blamed on his disease, which the doctors cannot cure, which witch doctors might better treat with magic rituals, arcane potions, and esoteric spells, anything to curtail the disconnections taking place in this comatose codger's brain cells, neurons losing touch with neurons, taking heavy casualties, damage irreversible barring a miracle by some necromancer, alchemist, or grand vizier—the supernatural realm denoting solace a la fat-chance wishful thinking; how rewind the process by which human beings grow old, as in decrepit, as in minimally functional(?); how isolate the proteins and order them to backpedal(?); surely that which ages leaves a trail to be retraced, ravages erased
, devastation undone: renovate, rejuvenate, reanimate, reinvigorate, refurbish and Paula's fine-fettle level and jungle-gym agility would suffice—Pierpont's eyeballs, clouded like a reptile's, awaken, blink, and peel, vacant focus zeroing in on flesh cherubim might envy, radiantly unblemished, luminous as a moon, a pair of moons in fact, crescents rising from her scoop-necked leotard—indicating the hour for calisthenics, his daily dose of rigor (before mortis makes its acquaintance), elevating his elbows like fledgling wings pre-flight, with no hope whatsoever that flapping will get him airborne; winded is more likely, meager effort over-taxing breath, the least exertion leaving Alex gaspingly exhausted...lazy lout; left to his own devices moss would root on joints unused except to signal now and then for substances un-prescribed: alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and worst of all Viagra (for which his designated gesture is viscerally revolting) up / and down / and up / and down / and lift / relax / and lift / the dull / routine / of which / exacts / a toll / that both / believe / inane / because / the end / result / for him / will be / the same / the same / the same / to stay / alive / in such / a state / one might / debate / is too / forlorn / so why / persist / in this / charade / of up / and down / and lift / relax; the sweat is Paula’s;

with each other
they amalgamate,
within a mesh

oh, oh, oh, to truly care about the contours that define a woman's bosom, from her cleavage to the creases under either spongy orb, design of nipples, their circumference, their resiliency whence sucked, perchance to leach a telltale liquor in advance of a hungry child not yet conceived but first in line when milk is finally manufactured; pert or flush, pronounced or subtle in relief beneath brassiere, their tips erogenous, wildly sensitive, charged, erectile, indiscreet or shy as mushrooms in the shade of an undisclosed once were Blue's, her nickname founded on the facet of her character most conspicuous, melancholia like a mantle she adorned, a psychic hood that cast its shadow over features bruised by exquisiteness—her Spanish blood descended from Granada's Gypsies—born within a cave to which her last remains returned, but not before she worked her wiles on Alexander's id, utilizing little more than hints at the beginning, sly asides to tweak his ardor, innuendo, knowing looks, a risqué grin, immodest pose, alluring wink, solicitations indirect (no less on target), 'what you see is what you...' never too explicit, leaving sentences unfinished, phrases trailing off, words clipped, as if to spell out her obsession were to cheapen it, make it crude, reduce its lure of fruit-forbidden to an un-hygienic kink, obscene, uncouth, a pair of dogs its inspiration watched when Blue was prepubescent and their coupling was an act she incompletely understood; that they were mating she had comprehended; puzzling was their plight when separation seemed desired but could not be accomplished; stuck, locked tight, the link between them so engorged (she found out later from a book) that neither bitch nor cur could part conjoined genitalia, secured within each other like a laced boot traps a foot, captivating Blue's erotic speculations, prompting her to practice pushing objects up and in, at first a pencil then a pen then sundry carrots, squashes, gourds, not into orifice number one (which stayed un-breached till she expired) but rather orifice number two, revamped to dilate, swallow, hold whatever implement snuggly plugged her ductile posterior...on all fours the lone position Blue endorsed for intercourse, she and Pierpont reenacting scenes of divers hounds in heat, her intestine irrigated beforehand, scoured and flushed to serveas hostess, like the cupcake: devil's food outside crammed with a whipped-cream coreonce  semen was released with a canine yip and yelp...'suicide' the coroner's judgment,

evidence irrefutable, wrists slashed lengthwise—choice of the serious; Blue, if anything, never did things by halves, her swan song thorough, ceremonial, and willfully irreversible—drugs found in her system backing up the noose around her neck, heart  stopped due to blood-loss from self-inflicted hemorrhages, toxic corpse bled white and hanging from her loft's supportive crossbeam...Alex not a factor, Alex, if truth be told, dismissed as a passing 'pipe fitter' whom Blue obliged for six of her life’s three-hundred months, a hedonist, to her feminist-leaning mindset, steeped in the leaves of pleasure (clever at reading them) yet worthy merely of sex with her discriminating butt, as were most men, as were all men during her duration (abbreviated though it was), preserving her virginity until time on earth elapsed and she was called by Christ to enter the Pearly Gates of Paradise, saved because she believed, saved since she found Jesus, saved despite the mortal sin that ushered her from perdition to everlasting happiness...

or to nothingness-eternal, though scarcely two in a thousand humans venture to their graves without an escape clause (neither looking forward to it), Pierpont one of these, charmed not in the least by the prospect of decomposition, looming large, the process already started—in fact well underway, as Paula's efforts demonstrate, tormenting him with exercise, her cheerful cheerleader zeal in support of a losing cause, 'voluntary' muscles volunteering very little, even their resistance no more than token, while lungs, bowels, heart, etcetera perform their tasks sans earnestness, weary as the brain that keeps them dumbly, numbly functioning and inadvertently vital—signs about to fail...Paula, on the contrary, healthy as a horse, spirited, too, if relatively chaste regardless defamations—by him who views 'objectively', Paula deemed a 'thing' to be acquired, a pair of boobs and buns whose nursing skills, surprisingly, came highly recommended: patient with her patients, gentle with her gents, caring even for careless, caddish curmudgeons, Alex second to none when committing random acts of crudity; belching, farting, drooling, scratching at his crotch; though what repulses her most is his attitude toward humanity, his I-me-mine centricity making others mere means to ends, his underlying assumption that everyone has a price and being able to pay it confers some sort of status, some extra-contextual rank that sets him apart—and, by inference, above—the height from which he looks upon 'inferiors' like a hulk's upon homunculi—vocabulary known to Paula from years of avid reading, the fact of which refutes that often-cited adage 'the bigger a woman's bust the smaller her brain', Paula's double-D cups no indication whatsoever of an underdeveloped intellect—which probes Pierpont's persona for a soul-redeeming virtue, utterly convinced that everyone harbors good, the measure one of proportion when factoring in its opposite, Alex's misbehavior (though most done unawares) counterbalanced surely by...

          witnessing Anna die,
an urchin thrust upon him, dumped outside his tent under cover of night, damage-done to her 'collateral', meaning 'unintentional', meaning 'non-com accidental', meaning 'innocent just unlucky' that the shrapnel hit her chest and tore a vent which robbed each tiny breath of lasting value—while whispering rhythmic chirps like the song of a winded sparrow, muffled but un-mended by Alex's well-placed thumb, stanching flow of blood and loss of vital air, so long as he stayed awake, attentive to the last-will-and-testament of a terrified child, whose tacit trust he read in every tear-constraining blink, pupils round as BBs, shiny as onyx, uncanny in their upside-down reflection of him who tried to soothe her with touch alone, who tried to cure her with compassion, then, as a last resort, with prayer, imploring God-knows-Who to stay mortality's Shadow from its ineluctable creep across the stricken youngster's features, to deflect the Reaper's scythe, to rescind the sentence passed and cancel Death's abduction of a wounded, fragile waif, ripped from Pierpont's grasp as by a force of nature vicious—or indifferent, thus demonstrating how apathy is as impotent as is empathy when it comes to changing outcomes sans concrete remedies, medicine, tools, a disinfectant at the very least, a suture, a first-aid kit independent of 'intentions' to assist, fix, heal by laying on handshis only recourse after shouts for help reaped echoes and bouts of expletives served to heighten childhood fears, every motion made to shift his burden amplifying her agony, verified by body language evincing pain insufferable yet endured for six long hours, each one a rehearsal for the next, throughout which Alex maintained vigilance with paternalistic tenderness, feeling Anna's torso, in the end, expel its fragile ghost and orphan all four limbs with one submissive shudder, toes and fingers last to signal expiration, flinching albeit feebly with a nerve-reaction flinch...

Pierpont henceforth cynical and staunchly irreligious, importuning deities a ludicrous waste of breath, merciful gestures likewise apt to prove inutile (certainly hypocritical) and oh so typically American to prosecute a war then rescue a token casualty (or attempt to), salvage white-hat rep in vain denial of black-hat machinations, wave ones proud humaneness like a flag (to which allegiance might be pledged) in blatant disregard of carnage waged on 'others',  on 'foreigners', on 'them' not US, not Christians, not homegrown true subscribers to God's very own democracy

—super-power status bestowed by super-power Almighty—

in whom Americans trust; it says so on their money...Alexander Obadiah Pierpont christened, baptized, blessed, rests his shiny-as-a-duck-egg pate in Paula's nest-like lap to gestate convoluted dreams and random reminiscences: his/hers/his as she reciprocates hers/his/hers projecting private figments his/hers/his asserting an identity hers/his/hers reminded of an interlude his/hers/his determined to exist hers/his/hers transported by an urge his/hers/his apart from him who sniffs hers/his/hers enamored of a smell, a taste, a touch of tongue to tissue turned erectile then erogenous to the tune of oozing mucous clear and viscose warm and thick anointing infiltrating lips, gums, teeth,

initiating boyhood through the sacrament of foreplay to the birth canal of Eros thusly Alex came of age before his pubic hair had sprouted hers already grown profusely slathered lushly with his spit upon soliciting licks to crotch in strict adherence to instructions from the nympho-nextdoor-neighbor who considered it a kick to teach a ten-year-old the rudiments and with practice the refinements of performing cunnilingus on her avaricious clit from noon to twelve-fifteen each school day for an undiscovered month until suspicions roused advised the lunch-hour munchkin skip dessert and eat his peanut butter sandwich home alone as done before then back to class unscathed by pornographic detour...

toe, tack, tic an X an O an X an O an XXX reads Pierpont's subtext, non-stop smut so adolescent Paula looks at him askance as if intuiting what supports her patient's antics...yet...and mimes a rhythm or a pattern or a theme whose raw recurrence triggers parallels, odd simpatico, correlations with her own, if not directly then by proxy insofar as he 'suggests' her, he 'conceives' her in an eerie sense like dusk presages dawn, the one dependent on the other for concrete definition; tick, tack, toe an OOO reads Paula's quandary, is she negative to his positive, empty space that he fills in, his X a plus her O a minus times whatever he does, once did, his trash-bin soul the original repository from which all else derives(?)...lo, it came to pass that Alexander pacified his employee by relenting of demeanor unbecoming—humbly, too, and most sincerely, if his penitential posture can be trusted: almost stooping, palms pressed prayer-like, eyes cast not at Paula's boobs but further south, below her waist, trajectory unspecific; she, bemused (this supplication unexpected thus all the more disarming) grants forgiveness (past offenses pardoned, better judgment overruled) taken by surprise (yet not off guard completely) giving him the benefit of her (noncommittal) doubt, well aware of Pierpont's (unabashed) duplicity; he, confused, though knowing he can ill-afford to lose another helpmate, grown familiar, which, in him, has bred affection (in her contempt—if put on hold the while contrition still holds sway) calculating the cost of prolonging Paula's patience, money less an issue than feathers needing smoothed (his slobbering on her crotch the insult raising hackles, dampening—literally and figuratively—her flimsy self-esteem) makes bow-and-scrape amends with vintage Pierpont charm: subtle, debonair enough to smooch a butterfly's wing and scarcely smudge its powder, other talents latent if equal in allure, mindful of effects on unintended targets, children in particular, none potential prostitutes (or as such identified) rather one-parent tikes whose moms he principally aimed to woo and win, latching onto Alex as if he were a lifebuoy, grabbing at his limps, climbing into his lap, flirting with him shamelessly in head-on competition for undivided attention, flaunting nubile body parts, sex appeal implied (if innocent of adult interpretations) conscious, irrespective, of methods to monopolize...

Esmeralda expert at dominating ids, stealing suitors' hearts, Pierpont's easy pickings for her 'plu-precocious' ploys, bronco-busting his thigh and knee clad in miniskirt minus undies, 'ride 'em cowgirl' instigating giggles while saturating slacks—Alex unsure what had wet his pant leg if not Esmeralda’s urine (nine-year-olds, coquettish ones included, typically pre-orgasmic) but no mistake whatever about her plot to upstage 'mom'...who was not pleased, whose luck with men had left her pregnant thrice with nary a ring to sport: abortions two, deliveries one—regretted ever since, an exception to the rule that 'women make natural nurturers', childbirth's foremost benefit her menstrual-cramp-cessation, alas short-lived after newborn snubbed her mother's meager milk supply, doubtless out of spite for being thought of as a 'parasite' turned 'enfant terrible' with respect to would-be mates, Alex snared between an aging 'bachelorette' and her 'pre-maturing' daughter, damned if he sampled the morsel of dangling jail-bait, damned if he did not, 'Alda' no less punitive than her parent when desires went unrequited, 'tuck-in time' another opportunity to establish who ruled the roost, Esmeralda adamant that her "Now I lay me down to sleep" be chaperoned, imagining the soul to be somewhat similar to a foot pad made by Dr. Scholl: a cushion for the conscience, lily white, shaped like infinity, detachable at death, "I pray the Lord my soul to keep" though vulnerable during slumber hence petitioning God Almighty to stand each night on guard, "If I should die before I wake" afraid to fall asleep without a grown-up at her bedside, "I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen" a man ideally, so when her mother let one stay she always-always insisted that he oversee her prayers, mentioning him—if nice—among the special people for whom she asked God's blessing, Alex extra nice because he did whatever she wanted without demanding more, fun things, too, that were secrets, which meant they must, must, must be kept or when he crossed his heart and hoped to die he would; die, that is, and go directly to Hell like jail in Monopoly—DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT TWO-HUNDRED DOLLARS—the number one thing she hated about adults being how they fibbed, swore to do a thing or not to do a thing then did just the opposite, which really was common; she had watched; she knew; and she never-ever forgot or forgave the people who transgressed, 'Uncle Alexander' as he wanted her to call him, a paragon of honesty (where Alda was concerned) her 'most-est' private thoughts un-blabbed to anyone once confidences were shared, his no less secure than hers from getting dragged out by wild horses: how mother's voice annoyed him, for instance, whereas hers was "like the trill of a liberated bird, set free from convention's gilded cage to fly in the face of righteousness", most of which she little understood beyond its sounding complimentary, or his finding fault with mother's mammoth breasts whereas hers were "modest as a nun's, blushing in an undeveloped grace-state like two-fold first-kissed cheeks", this allusion fully comprehended since mouths—hers and his—had met, Alda's curiosity thereby satisfied—further trials discouraged (Alex disappointed but loathe to persist in activities uninvited), or his fervent affirmations that mother's groin was a prickly-pear next to hers—
"smooth as a nectarine, quixotically dimpled, intimate as an oyster",
whiskers on his upper lip and chin a torture test of tickles while giving her the 'raspberry' after patting dry her 'pucker' (post-permission granted to attend her evening shower, 'Uncle Alexander' promoted to 'one of the family', fox admitted to coop, chick on a silver platter, Pierpont licking his chops...alongside Esmeralda’s armpits—erogenous zones to a minor unrehearsed for her role of wayward imp, self-assertiveness notwithstanding (the culpability his whose appetites knew no bounds, sexuality spurned—regardless its age—seen as sexuality squandered; why waste Alda's willingness to engage in illegitimate practices, provided she, not he, was the author of their course—intercourse on the menu, her choice entirely, his a seeming deficiency of standard-issue qualms, kiddy-porn a digression he now and then had followed—though trained child-whores and Alda-style nymphet-ish-ness were independent categories, one group corrupted by desires imposed from without, the other by those within—witness Esmeralda’s shock upon beholding Pierpont's phallus (after she had prized it from his crotch-distended pants), 'what's that' fascination turned to wide-eyed disbelief at the unclothed member's girth, animated heartbeat, and comical responsiveness to her index finger's prod, tentative at first then joined by digits four, closing on its shaft like a fist lays claim to a gearshift, having not a clue about effects she might induce by applying forms of friction, scowling at the pre-cum dewdrop issued from its tip, mistaking it for pee, except it was gooier, she discovered, and could stretch between her finger and the hole from which it oozed, not so much a hole as a fissure, squiggle-shaped and crimson when she pinched to peek inside, poised above his organ like a student at her microscope, orifice viewed as aperture, pulse a bit distracting as she tried to hold him steady, restrain his weird gyrations, puzzled by a prominence she had somehow overlooked—unless the muscle changed dimensions, puffed up like a bicep doing push-ups yet would otherwise lurk un-flexed, so stubborn in its stiffness under Esmeralda’s scrutiny it took ages to revert, to lose its purplish color, to cease its silly throbbing and stop that salivation, shrinking from gigantic down to pygmy-like proportion rather cute in its petite-ness, wrinkled into folds, mushroom cap withdrawn inside the foreskin, demonstrating how it went unnoticed, this jack-in-the-box enticement—at the same time an affront when she remembered what and who her private plaything jabbed...hearing breathy moans and groans the night before, on tippy-toe, at her mother's bedroom door, cracking it open to steal a long hard look at rigging hung from the rafters, her mother dangling in a harness like some trussed-up marionette, thighs and ankles wish-boned, pelvis tilted downward, affording 'Uncle Alex' easy access to an outstretched pair of lips, parting like  parentheses to enclose the rude erection as it trespassed on the sore spot of  Esmeralda's jealously, irate past endurance, desperate for a scheme: how avenge this flagrant violation, prosecute the culprit yet have him for herself
without the carnal knowledge bred of carnal knowledge gained(?), hymen still in tact, imagination puerile, which is not to say bereft of persuasive ways and means, quite the contrary; buds as yet unopened burst abloom with pert potential, Esmeralda’s very immaturity her most seductive asset, un-obscured by prudery, false modesty, or moral prohibitions, inhibitions negligible—or absent without leave; girls perhaps more then boys disposed to act out sensually, an attribute widely denied by cultures puritanical wherein Eros during childhood is refuted, disavowed, or primly overlooked, deemed sinful furthermore criminal when recognized much less exploited, Alexander Obadiah 'Pariah' a pseudonym well-deserved, priming perdition's pump, in hot pursuit of a sex-starved parent, using oil-of-her-only-child, Alda's provocations greasing aftermath eruptions that her mother would absorb—greedily, slung in a network of ropes, knots, and nooses to exhibit lewd positions, each intended to kindle such desire as might inflame a likely mateblind eye turned toward her daughter's green complicity, be it blatant or covert; let the little hussy flaunt her undernourished tooshie, so long as Alex maintained his allegianceand orbit around mom's torch, venturing in and out until his bachelor's wings caught fire and burned resistance to a life-in-the-suburbs cinder...

swings were best, the ones for big kids like at Winchester Park a guaranteed pleasure, tall, securely anchored, with bald spots in the grass where feet could kick up dirt, if legs could reach, hers a trifle short hence the need for Uncle Alexander who held her in his lap while doing all the work, gaining height and speed with every pull and pump, power from his arms and thighs propelling them higher, higher, tummy muscles tensing, relaxing with each forward, backward whoosh, spine to belly, hers by his supported on the upswing, abandoned in reverse, plastered, pried apart, plastered, pried apart by the to-and-fro momentum of their flight to ‘Timbuktu’, Alex claiming to have been there, all the way to Mali, where ‘whoosh’ you saw it, ‘whoosh’ it disappeared, ‘whoosh’ you saw it, ‘whoosh’ it disappeared, the desert sand revealing, concealing, releasing it from obscurity, reclaiming it for oblivion:
Esmeralda... Alexander...
Esmerander... Alexalda...
coming to a coexistent stop, each aware of having been the other psyche/gender, mindset/body, insight/outlook each holistically recombined until both rib and clay are dust to dust identical...

displeasure mollified (having misperceived regret as true repentance) Paula deigns to cuddle her supplicating charge, commingles sweat with sweat, his brow / her bust abutted briefly as she helps him lumber upright, as she hoists his frail anatomy to a standing posture—stooped, his shoulders torquing slightly inward to protect a birdcage breast as though the heart within its confines might take fright, take flight, take leave before permission has been granted by its death-defiant host, the thought of no-thing-ness anathema, still; diminished not extinguished, life is one-and-one-time-only ours, yours, Pierpont's to possess thus he is loathe to let his go without a fight, a brawl, a clash of mind and matter, wits and wasted hulk at odds, his will intact if often sunk beneath the surface of encroaching disability whereby who, what, when, where, why become a bog that clogs awareness and condemns it to the depths of paradise lost, forgotten, lapsed; a brain remembering not itself is a self devoid of mirror... mirror... "on the wall, who's the fairest of them all"... Meredith was... before she went to bed with heroin, woke up with heroin, took heroin to class, let heroin fuck her arteries irredeemably, until she bowed and scraped before her hypodermic Leader, playing Simon Says for the rest of her cut-short life: Simon Says tell mother you have an eating disorder to explain your weight-loss; Simon Says tell father the school has doubled your tuition; Simon Says tell brother not to tell what he saw while hidden in your clothes hamper, why he was hiding in your heap of dirty laundry un-discussed, the fact that you were fixing when the wicker blew his cover with a tattletale inflection phrased as inadvertent squeak eclipsing any, every care save self-concern,
Alex having watched the needle bite,
the blood-rose blossom in a substance poised to chaperone its sinister return,
the plunger pressed, the chamber emptied into intravenous splendor,
orgiastic in the fiercest sense,
uncensored bliss that made her eyeballs lose their bearings,
roll like marbles in their sockets,
pupils overtaking irises like an ink stain blackens silk,
her blank stare typical of zombies, spooky, making Alex flinch among the fusty fabrics, hold his humid breath, and hope the vacant look she cast his way perchance stayed vacant, unfamiliar with her Nosy Parker sibling and his dress-up fetish—bared; not only midst his sister's garments, he had donned a bra and panties that retained a smell he came to call 'generic,' hers no more, that is extinguished once embalming fluid superseded smack and she was laid to rest in the Pierpont crypt at Virgin Mary Cemetery, Alex left to ponder the spectral face of death, Meredith's in repose composed and ever-after static, stupidly unresponsive to his surreptitious kiss before the casket lid concealed and sealed her chalky countenance, make-up ill-conceived to disguise her ghoulish pallor, youngest next-of-kin apprehensive lest the corpse—undead—arise, avenge his wholesale commandeering of elder sister's dowry, pay him frightful visits in the stillborn 'mares' of night to curse his greediness, damn his selfishness, ridicule his cross-dressing, caught flagrante delicto in lingerie he coveted, secreted, fouled, then tucked beneath his pillow to spawn assorted wet-dreams, which propagated often; emissions spewed like ambergris, saturating sheets, fulfilling weird desires, sleep a realm wherein Alex unleashed harpies of juvenile delinquency: bondage, sado-masochism, necrophilia, bestiality, each indulged with adolescent fervor and sociopathic zeal, few perversions expurgated from fantasies bred at bedtime, many, upon waking, reenacted in his head, gratified anew by an eager helping hand—its palm prone to hairiness; sight at risk of blindness—idle threats that those less fertile in their sexuality hurled to no avail; his so-called "self-abuse" a source of unrepentant rapture... ruptured since the crow came cawing—Pierpont's symbol for the 'trickster'—that descended from a cloud at night on existential wings unseen as black on black to cloak his powers of reason with a viral veil predestined to add layers day by day at first so thin they seemed transparent, blotting nothing of significance: misplaced house keys, someone's birthday, names of places, people, things forgotten briefly, no big deal, a simple spacing out on details he recovered shortly after as if memory had the hiccups, fickle gaps that did not last but made a fool of him the while he tried to think, retrieve, remember where he left his shoes(?), his reading glasses(?); who was Millard Fillmore(?); perspicacious meant exactly what(?); had the cell phone bill been paid(?); a string of questions begging answers keeping palms upturned, shrugs active just a mini-moment longer than was usual, normal... good; he finds the toilet well before he vents his piss, congratulations—triumph cancelled by the fact that he forgot to lift the lid; a common oversight, he quibbles with himself, "remiss" not "addled"; it is normal to mistake what day it is, mistake what year—but to persist in one's contention it is 1949 and that the centerfold at which one gawks with teenage concupiscence is intensifying tension in an organ primed to paw, to rub, to squeeze in handle-grip fashion and to foster sweet sensations overtaking any qualm aroused by cognizance of sin, remark the playmate's comely contours with a mind to have and hold, possess her pulchritude without a plan, indulge without a notion as to what a boy confronted by a naked girl should do, a naked lady more confusing were the image to incarnate, were the ink on glossy paper to transform, form bone and skin, assume a living, breathing body (not his horny next-door neighbor's, not belonging to the woman who corrupted noonday lunch, but rather hers whose was an icon for a bygone generation, the epitome of what gentlemen once preferred, big-breasted, blond) adjacent his in such a way as to accompany masturbation and induce so keen a climax Alex cried aloud then panicked when he-knew-not-what daubed forearm, fist, and bedclothes, doused pajamas, and made irremovable spots on his father's magazine... sex again, the life force, why obsessed by procreation at a stage when passion's panther has grown feeble, lost its teeth, the very will to purr as atrophied as the ability; gross, pathetic, to inflict this senile state upon some apple of his eye is to corrupt live flesh with carrion, his apposed to hers a crime, a desecration no less foul than pissing on a posy, yet, betimes, a resurrection of erectile gumption visits, makes suggestions, disregards his halitosis, overlooks his toothless grin, pretends the boneless plug of meat between his legs might mount a comeback and inseminate, nay impregnate, reenact the timeworn cycle whence a living thing begotten (once it comes of age) begets, fulfills its biological, psychological, sociological function by replenishing the stock from whence it issued, spawned, emerged—perchance perpetuate Pierpont's line, for he (the family's sole descendent) has not fathered a single heir in his decadent profane life, a pre-condition of his bachelorhood, a fluke in terms of risks he ran when coupling unprotected, use of prophylactics sparing (irrespective lethal microbes), much preferring skin to skin in his deflowering nubile maids, yet the recipients of his wayward sperm had not, to date, conceived (at least informed him of paternity with a suit filed for assistance, which he likely would have tendered uncomplainingly, un-coerced so long as money was the forfeit), lack of progeny one regret, perhaps, initiating flashbacks focused on coitus, opportunities erstwhile squandered, intercourse futile sans 'effect' (defined as offshoot, offspring, 'chip' off the Pierpont Family's block) his legacy left to a vacuum,


denigrating wealth; wealth, like all things material, gilding the body's wake; wake, devoid of mourners, cheapening ones condolences—not that Alex will be concerned post pushing up... Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do