Monday, August 18, 2008
Years ago, before I moved to the terracotta dust storms of Phoenix, before I moved to the small big town Long Beach, when my life was still unpredictable, when two full meals a day seemed almost extravagant and cheap wine and gin weren't inconsequential expenses, I was spending an evening at house of a man whom I had known briefly, but in that sort of way that lets you imagine you knew them better than most. He had a beautifully preserved beetle in his house, hung on the wall in a glass case. I had taught a mutual friend how to re-constitute and move the limbs of dead insects without shattering their exoskeleton, slowly hydrating their tiny strange reverse muscles till it was possible to pose them. I saw the beetle, alien in its perfection, in it's completeness, and I wanted so badly to smash it. The desire to destroy to, to make it into tiny pieces no longer recognizable as perfect and wonderful or even as beetle bits--I could taste that penny taste in my mouth that you get in a fight when you know you will lose but you keep on anyway, because to run away, to leave and preserve yourself, is unthinkable in that moment.
I recall it now. And it tastes the same.
For the first time in over ten years, I heard an old family lie. Initially, I was so saddened and outraged by it, this false image of me. But now, I envy this fabulism, and I dream about that glowing, fictitious naked child, so strong with nascent victory, and feel the reality of me to be so wormlike in contrast, cowering as I am, and recieving unprotesting, where she took what pleased her and destroyed when she had tired of it. She is powerful and full, like a new butterfly over filled of potent new blood so that it drips out of the ends of its wings.
But so many, people who knew me the best I thought, believed in her, in that shining ideal evil, all bright eyed and deliberate. Believed, that at least briefly when I was pushing my nymphette years to their last, that I was her. In "1984," Winston is asked where the past is. He responds that it is in memory.
I did not destroy the beetle. I just saw it a few days ago while on a trip to Salt Lake City, in a different house but still owned by the same boy.
"You look so healthy." I told him.
"It is because I am full of poison," he said.