The Kiss

    August 2011

    The Surgeon and I were watching a televised boxing match in my living room.  I like to watch men fight.  It excites me.  I downloaded twenty hours of MMA fights off the internet and watch it late at night sometimes.  I can’t watch boxing in public.  It feels too pornographic. 

    “I want to get punched in the stomach!” I declared.  

    The Surgeon did not look surprised.  I had asked for much stranger things.  

    “That would hurt a lot,” he observed.  

     “Do you know how to do it?” I asked him.

     “Well, I guess.  It’s not hard.”

     “When’s the last time you punched someone other than me?” I asked, happily.  Storytime! 

      “Summer camp.  No, wait–med school.”

      “Really?   So that was, like, 1950, huh?”


      “Smartass.  Keep it up.”  


      “Who’d you fight?  Wow, muy macho!  Did you win?”  


      “It wasn’t really a fight.  I’ll tell you about it sometime.  You know, you are really strange.  A really strange girl.”


      “You know you love it!  I want to get punched in the stomach right now.  I want to know what it feels like.  I heard that if you get knocked in your solar plexus, it’ll make you fall down!”


      “If you get knocked anywhere hard enough, it’ll make you fall down.”


     “Do it to me now!”


      He smiled and put his drink down on the coffee table.  “Well, all right.”


       We stood up.


      “What do I do?” I asked.  I was suddenly nervous.  


      “Close your eyes.”  


      I closed them.  I remembered back to the beginning of our relationship, when I was beginning to open up to him about my sexual proclivities.  He’d said: I would do those things to you, but I could never hit a woman. 

      I’d laughed in his face.  Even then, I’d know that he could.  He was only saying that he couldn’t because that was the socially correct answer. “Oh yes, you could.”

      And I was right.  My intuition about his capacity for violence was always right.  If anything, I underestimated him.  He was more intemperate and savage than I could ever believe.  Sometimes I’d watch him presenting a lecture at a conference and be struck by an unnerving feeling of strangeness.  He passes himself off as a normal person, I’d think. 

      I felt him moving around me, felt his weight shift on the wooden floor.  I was suddenly scared.  Sometimes it’s worse when you can’t see it coming.  He knew it; he was using it.  The Surgeon had a flair for showmanship.  I’d started to sweat and clenched the muscles in my torso in anticipation of the punch.  Wait for it.  When I felt him move again, I flinched.  He laughed. 

       The blow hit my diaphragm and caused me to exhale all my air in a violent whoop.  My legs gave out immediately and I started to collapse backward.

     He caught me in his arms, bent over me, and kissed me deeply.  

     He told me that he loved me. 

     For a while, I even believed it.   

Parrot Goodness VI

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    Parrot is so cute!  I look at her and talk to her as I sit at my desk.  It makes her happy.  She runs back and forth on her favorite perch and squeaks. (Her favorite perch is a “Comfy Perch,” if you want to know.  It’s made of cabled fabric and it’s kind on the feet.  The other birds love it, too.  If you are reading this and you have birds, get your bird a Comfy Perch today!  You can wash it in the sink, dishwasher, or washing machine!)

All Hail Comfy Perch (that is not my Parrot)

 I LOVE MY PARROT!



P.S.  I watched the trailer to Coriolanus three times after I woke up this morning.  Wow–PROJECTING MUCH, MARGO?  

Coriolanus: Nature Teaches Beasts to Know Their Friends

     I just found out about a new film of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, directed by and starring one of my imaginary boyfriends, Ralph Fiennes! (FYI, my co-workers say that I have a passing resemblance to the redhead.  A passing resemblance.  I think I look more like Katherine Heigl.)


   
      Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s clunkier plays, but–like Titus Andronicus and his other less-famous works–it contains moments of exceptional brilliance and psychological insight.

        Nobody can turn a phrase like Shakespeare.  Nobody.

         (I always become irritated when I hear someone say that The Merchant of Venice is an anti-Semitic play.  It’s a play (partially) about Antisemitism.  Any thoughtful person who’s read the Shakespeare cannon knows that this guy was not a narrow-minded bigot.  This man gave us Othello.  He was a feminist.  A Humanist!  Was there a contemporaneous writer more sympathetic to the oppressed?  More understanding of the human condition? Hell–is there an author more sympathetic today?)

        The way that he captures human relationships–especially between parents and their children, specifically fathers and daughters–is unparalleled in sensitivity.

       I read  Coriolanus as an undergrad (it was superior to A Midsummer Night’s Dream–how did that mediocre play get so popular?  Every Shakespeare festival has it, and I have to traverse the globe to see Measure for Measure.).  Clunky, but you can geek out on the politics if you get into it.

Freedom is Slavery

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Well, slap me with a Skinner box!  I am but a poor and lowly pigeon.
  I just texted the Landlord and offered him $4100 in cash to renew my lease.  It’s more than he deserves.  His demanding five months of rent upfront is illegal and morally deplorable (I haven’t told him that I know this–I don’t want to antagonize the man).  He hasn’t been giving me interest on my original security deposit, either.  



     If he tells me to get lost, I’ll start looking for places today.  There is a landlord somewhere in the East Village who wants this cash.  


     I am returned to a sort of indentured servitude, and the only thing I feel is relief.  I have existed in a state of unrelenting fear for weeks.  I have seldom been so demoralized and humiliated.  And my mother–WTF?  


     That chest-thumping “Apartment Update” post from a few days ago..? 

      Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.  Proverbs 16:18


      Am I a prostitute because I took his money…?  Tell you what: I don’t care if I am.  If that makes me a prostitute, you can accessorize me with a street lamp and a public defender right now.  

       You don’t know desperation till you’re barfing from panic in the middle of the night in a bar with “cabaret” in its name.  I am now seriously considering a career trajectory that helps victims of human trafficking.  If nothing else, I’ll find an org that specializes in this and cut them a fucking check every other month till I die.  

      Whether the landlord accepts my offer or not, it’s all over but the shouting.  The crisis has been resolved.  It’s done.  It’s done, and so am I. 

Sorry for the blurry photo.  My hand was shaking. 
Cash is sort of heavy.  Who knew?  It smells weird, too. Come and get it, landlord.  You torturing scumbag.


The Surgeon Takes Control

   It was 11 PM when I called the Surgeon from the dressing room of a strip club in Long Island City called Show Palace Cabaret.  Let me tell you: it did not resemble a palace in the slightest.  I was supposed to go out on stage and I was having a panic attack.  The shitty hip-hop music was making everything vibrate.  I’d just thrown up in the bathroom and I was crying through my false eyelashes.  And yeah, I was drunk.  


      I guess I was hoping for sympathy.  I expected him to be in a good mood.  I expected him to break out the champagne. 


       But I didn’t get any sympathy.  The Surgeon wasn’t exactly sympathetic.   


     He was fucking furious


     “You’re WHERE?!”


    Wahh wahh I’m at a strip club in Long Island and I’m supposed to go dance but I’m scared to do it and my landlord is going to kick me out blah blah blah wahh wahh I applied for welfare wahh wahh I’m really sorry I don’t know what to do wahh cry cry cry says our heroine, Miss Margo.


      “Be quiet.  Listen to me.  This is what you are going to do.  You are going to get dressed, leave all your shit there except for your purse, get immediately into a cab, and go straight home.  STRAIGHT HOME.  RIGHT NOW.  A fucking strip club.  On Long Island!  Are you out of your mind?” 


       I don’t have money for a cab!  I took the train here! sniffle sniffle.  


       “What, you didn’t earn it rubbing on some asshole’s lap?  Is that RAP MUSIC? Get in a cab and go home RIGHT NOW.  Call me from the car.  What the hell is the matter with you?” 


       I pulled off my stripper shoes, put my shorts and sneakers on, and ran out into the night.  You could hear that shitty music from the parking lot.  I ran to the train station.  It was a crummy industrial neighborhood and I did not exactly look inconscpicious with my big velcro-rollered hair and face full of spangly Las Vegas Showgirl makeup.  


      I called him once I was inside the train.  


      “I told you to take a cab!  Are you trying to get raped?”


       Wow, what a question.  That’s a good question, actually, I thought.


      “You go STRAIGHT HOME and get on your webcam and call me.  I want to see that you are home in your room!  If I was there I’d come over right now and kick your ass, but I’m (out of town).  I have to teach first thing tomorrow morning, and you pull this shit right now!”


      The Surgeon is a very skilled surgeon.  He invented (among other things) a new surgical technique.  He can do it very fast, too.  I’ve seen the video.  


     “I’m sorry!  I didn’t know what else to do!” I wailed pathetically. 


      “You didn’t have these problems when you were with me!  You did this to yourself.  You get no sympathy from me.  You call me when you get home.  I want to see that you are there!”


      It was past midnight when I dragged myself up the stairs.  I wasn’t crying anymore when I called him back.  I was cried out.


     He wasn’t raged out, through.  The Surgeon has rage in tremendous supply.  You get on the wrong side of this guy and you won’t soon forget it.  


     “Hey!  Nice hair!” He said when he saw me on webcam.  “That’s great!  That’s really great!  You ought to wear it like that when you teach!  What were you wearing tonight when you were at that bar?  Show me!”


     I waved my idiotic stripper shoes and bikini in front of the camera and set them on the desk.  


     “You go get scissors RIGHT NOW and cut them up!  I want to see them destroyed.  You are NEVER going to wear those things again!  Go do it!  THIS INSTANT!  I can’t believe you let some random asshole off the street look at you.  Nobody but me gets to watch you undress.”


        I fetched my kitchen shears and I cut up the gold sequin bikini (FYI, my stripper name was gonna be “Goldie,” but then I remembered that Goldie was the name of my childhood Cocker Spaniel–I changed the name to “April”) and the straps of the stripper shoes.  I was so embarassed.  Thank God I had the apartment to myself.  


         He softened a bit.  Not much, but a bit. “Now tell me exactly what’s going on.  Tell me everything.”


         I told him.


         “I’ll be back late tomorrow.  I can’t get there any sooner.  Listen to me.  You are not going to leave that apartment.  Maybe you can go to the store to get food.  Every fucking time I call, you are going to answer, and I want to see that you are home in your room.  If I find out that you are at a bar or a fucking strip club, you can sleep on the street for all I care.  You think I want to be with someone like that? What the hell is the matter with you?”


        This coming from a man who met me at a dungeon.  This guy is not Dr. Norman Normal.  Trust me on this one.  But I guess a strip club, watching pretty naked women dance, is beneath his dignity.   Yeah, he’s a class act, all right.  


       “See!  This is what happens when you don’t belong to me!  You’ve probably been running around with some stupid college student assholes. And you let this landlord harass you.  Fuck him!  Seriously.  Fuck him!  He’s not GOD!  I could buy that building ten times over!  I’m going to call you tomorrow morning after my class, and you better fucking be there!  In your room, young lady!  I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!


      I was sort of hoping that there would be a honeymoon period.  I guess not.  

       

Freedom is Slavery

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Well, slap me with a Skinner box!  I am but a poor and lowly pigeon.

  



   I just texted the Landlord and offered him $4100 in cash to renew my lease.  It’s more than he deserves.  His demanding five months of rent upfront is illegal and morally deplorable (I haven’t told him that I know this–I don’t want to antagonize the man).  He hasn’t been giving me interest on my original security deposit, either.  


     If he tells me to get lost, I’ll start looking for places today.  There is a landlord somewhere in the East Village who wants this cash.  


     I am returned to a sort of indentured servitude, and the only thing I feel is relief.  I have existed in a state of unrelenting fear for weeks.  I have seldom been so demoralized and humiliated.  And my mother–WTF?  


     That chest-thumping “Apartment Update” post from a few days ago..? 

      Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.  Proverbs 16:18


      Am I a prostitute because I took his money…?  Tell you what: I don’t care if I am.  If that makes me a prostitute, you can accessorize me with a street lamp and a public defender right now.  

       You don’t know desperation till you’re barfing from panic in the middle of the night in a bar with “cabaret” in its name.  I am now seriously considering a career trajectory that helps victims of human trafficking.  If nothing else, I’ll find an org that specializes in this and cut them a fucking check every other month till I die.  

      Whether the landlord accepts my offer or not, it’s all over but the shouting.  The crisis has been resolved.  It’s done.  It’s done, and so am I. 

Sorry for the blurry photo.  My hand was shaking. 
Cash is sort of heavy.  Who knew?  It smells weird, too. Come and get it, landlord.  You torturing scumbag.


Crushed

The Surgeon’s been trying to return my call and I’m scared to pick up.  He was in the OR when I called him. 


I gained ten lbs since the last time I saw him.  Maybe he won’t think I’m pretty anymore.  I was really skinny in winter.  


I been crying all day.  I kept having to reapply my makeup at work.  And then a man came in and said something bad to me, something truly bad and shocking.  I will never forget it.  He is lucky I didn’t murder him.  I kicked him out.  


I can’t believe my Mom wouldn’t help me.  I wish I’d never asked her, because now I am crushed.  I never asked her for anything before.  I have been racking my brain trying to think what I have done wrong as her child.  I have always been dutiful. I was the best one of all my childhood friends.  


Maybe she is mad at me because I moved away from her.  


She gave my little brother the down payment for his house.  He has not even graduated from college!  His bachelor’s!


Maybe she doesn’t love me as much because of my father.  He was a bad husband to her, but that’s not my fault.  He was awful to me, too.  


I don’t know what I did.  What did I do?  Really.  What did I do wrong?  I thought she was proud of me.


I was going to ask my brother and uncle for help, but I don’t know if I can.  If they told me no too, I just don’t think that I could handle it.  

Despair

    My mother cannot help me.  There’s nothing else.

    I can’t believe this is happening to me.

    I will do whatever I have to do.  I just want it to be over with.

    If the Surgeon says no, I am going to lose everything.

     What if he’s replaced me.  What if he doesn’t want me anymore.  How do I even ask him.  I dumped him.     How do I beg for this.

      What will happen to Parrot?  She is whistling now.

     What happened to me

Apartment Update

     I’ve had a few requests from readers about my living status.  Yeah, I’ve been avoiding talking about it for a few days.

     First, I’m grateful anyone cares.  

     Second, I don’t have time–I literally don’t have time–for your judgement.  How dare you.  I’m trying to survive.  What, do you think I didn’t pay my landlord because I blew my money on frivolities?  I like to shop, maybe?   

       I’ve been living hand to mouth for ages now and I knew when I left the Surgeon that I was forfeiting my only protection (not to mention bringing his wrath down on my head).  He seldom gave me money after the relationship became personal, but at least I always knew that it was there.

       I am temporarily bestowed with beauty and relative youth.  Society affords monetary value to these traits.  They are commodities.  That’s a fact.  I did not invent this rotten system, but I live under it.  

        Selling access to those commodities is not “the easy way out,” as some jackass who emailed me put it.  Think it’s easy?  You try doing it, asshole.  Oh, you can’t?  Because you’re a man and can’t conceive of being in my situation.  Because the choice does not exist for you.  Because society doesn’t demand and fetishize these things from you, and then cruelly think less of you for providing them.  To you, it’s not wrong that this system exists.  To you, the only thing worthy of shame is the woman. 

         There is no easy way out.  I wish there were.  Every option that I have is BAD.  

          I live on the edge of society.  I always have.  Despite the consequences. Know why I do it..?  Because I’ve liberated myself from culture’s tyrannical horseshit, and that includes the morals that are preposterous and the values systems which are fucked up.  You want that idiocy?  Religion and God?  That absurd bourgeois mentality?  Fine.  You can keep it.  Enjoy it.  Your life is probably more secure than mine.  But I am free.  I am fucking free, and I don’t owe you, or anyone else besides the people I love, a goddamned thing.  I deliberately refuse to live off of a goddamned man and I refuse to be beholden to anything or anyone that I do not choose, and that includes you and the stigma you think I ought to carry.  I obey the law because I fear the power of the state and I don’t hurt people because I am a kind person. The way that I treat people speaks for itself.  That is who I am. Otherwise?  The values I live by are my own.  I picked them.  Me.  

       You try to shove your shame on me, and I’ll rip off your goddamned arm and shove it up your ass sideways.   

      My father was a very bad man, but he was talented, and he passed some of his talents on to me.  He lived exactly as he wanted to, and he wasn’t afraid of anyone.  He has fears, but they are not human.  He is truly an outlaw.  The only difference between he and I is that I have morals.  

       Think about that next time you open your mouth to shame me. 

      Memo to self: Be more like Franz. 

Dog of the Year: Greek Riot Dog Loukanikos

    Go, go Riot Dog Loukanikos! 

     Found this video on Max Keiser the other day.  At first I thought it had to be some weird joke, but then I googled Loukanikos  and found that he was real and has his own fan club.  DOG OF THE YEAR!  I’m in love!  

     I’m working on a blog post about Loukanikos  and the other Greek riot dogs for Craven Desires.  


     
 Music is Ennio Morricone, The Ecstasy of Gold.  Morricone’s the guy who did all the spaghetti westerns.  I really like westerns.  I took a weird random class as an undergrad–The Western as Literature.  It turned out to be one of the best English courses I ever took.  The professor taught the hell out of it.  The first Western, should anyone ever ask you, was The Last of the Mohicans.

       Anyway, if I could sing like this lady here, I’d never shut up.  As it is, I can’t sing “Happy Birthday” without musical accompaniment–I can’t keep tune.  

      How can people like Morricone come up with shit like this?  I mean, really.  I can’t imagine playing it, much less inventing it.  It’s like when you watch someone draw–it’s like magic if you can’t do it.