n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If I Were to Take 4 Photobooth Moments With You They’d Be

You, mussed hair, one side of a tattoo, smeared. We’ll be lopsided, my portion less than yours, yours startled. There’ll be visible history, the truth made literal in that far east looking expression: you’re not fully present despite taking up the larger portion. You’re partially elsewhere, your mind caught up in some other photobooth, with some other, who is young and unkind and more desirable more wanted more very unavailable, so rich with unsatisfying but meaningful history, not right but beautiful and designed and full of the very scent you’d been always seeking. Your nose will be slightly upturned, smelling her. Your eyes, turned towards her. The music—hers. You’re looking east, which in our photobooth would be to the right. I’ll be present, but less. To the far left. I’ll be looking at you with opaque eyes. Eyes hiding all the moments in time when I’d received far less than I wanted. They’ll be opaque because they’ll be full. –of my first love, who took too long to love. –of my second love, who eroded love with the rushing speed of anger. –of my third love, who did not love. –of the in between when I couldn’t ever love. –mostly of the love I tried to substitute. –of the meaning of love when it had so lengthened. Our first photo will be full of unrequitedness and absence.

In our second, we will notice each other and be embarrassed that we were so obvious. Me with desire, you with desire. Not matching desire. We will notice each other desiring. We will do what people do when they notice each other desiring. You will be kind but hidden. I will be unkind because I will feel unhidden. My face, when it is slightly hostile like this, looks like an unyielding river. With currents. My face, when it is very vulnerable like this, looks like an unforgiving icon. My eyes will loll to the west, yours will look directly at me, and you will be smiling. You will be struck by my childish face, by my freckles and wide eyes. Struck, as in patronizing. My face will be west facing, rejecting this. I will think about choice, about how I want to be chosen. I will be thinking, “Is it so much to ask to be desired back by this very precise person?” This will manifest on my freckled, innocent-looking face as a very deep sulk. My mouth will be a straight line, in contrast to yours.

I’ll feel briefly guilty just before the next, but this will be invisible.

In the next, we’ll give ourselves over. I won’t be able to resist and will have to look directly at you, your messy swirling hair, the wisps just to one side, a side of a tattoo, smeared. I’ll be smelling you, my nose as close as I can justify. I will justify everything in this moment. I will give it all up, and get as close to you as I dare. My shoulder will touch yours, just barely, my mouth will open, my anger will be just visible in the corner of the booth, in the rippling lip of the curtain. I will not care. You will be scared, mostly, but in that not-going-to-admit-it way. Your mouth will twist between fear and smile. You will be aware of your new moment, which is much larger than me, and foreign, and so so open. You will be underneath sad but your expressive mouth will hide it with a twist smile I will never be able to forget. I will cling to this set of four photos just for that. I will know everything those lips hide—longing for someone else, joy for me, fear for me, hope for you, the past, mostly just the present looking finally looking at me as a person, not a freckled innocent entity but someone. One of your ears, with that spiral gauge earring, will be directly facing the lens.

The last is the one the photobooth always waits for. The photobooth lets people enter—friends who will not always be friends, lovers who are only temporary lovers, strangers, all strangers, family seeking to cement, drunk buddies who will make out in this moment because why not, awkward embraces, always the last is the awkward embrace. The photobooth is most interested in this last shot because so often it is telling, and more often it is not. The photobooth will watch as we grapple with the idea of each other, very quickly, very soonly, very last. It will watch as you discard the past, it will watch as I discard the past. We will both discard the future because that last shot happens so quickly. We’ll be trying. We’ll also stop trying, and you’ll drop the worry of risk, and I will never have had the worry of risk because I left that far behind. I will have left wide stretches of sand. I will have left subways and gardens, solitude, anger, the vague notion of forgiveness, whatever comes next. You will leave discarded traces of who you wanted to be, collections, the ideal you always thought you wanted. The elements will disappear. And what will be left will be two individuals, sitting next to each other with a curtain on either side and a bare background hovering up above, even portions. In our fourth photobooth photo we will either lean towards each other, or grin ironically, or my arm will drape across your shoulders, my head resting near your messy hair, or you will stretch towards me, or we will pretend to dance to a faint music that reaches in, our lopsided mouths unstrained and for a brief moment accepting, or maybe it will just capture a faint reverberation of what might.
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