I keep massaging the place where my earrings go. Fleshy holes. What are all these fleshy holes I’m covered with? Which of my fleshy holes are most important? Mouth, ears, earring holes, vagina, nostrils, asshole. I can put things in all of them. I am rubbing my earlobes and squatting on the bathroom floor. I’m naked except for underwear. My belly is all rolled up and dangling and I can feel the pudding pie inside of it, being attacked. Poor pudding pie. I open my mouth as wide as I can and put my fingers into my mouth as far as I can without touching anything wet. I feel hot breath over my fingers. I slowly take my fingers out, but they catch on my lip and I feel the fingers wet and sticky and I feel disgusting and close my mouth and taste a little salt. My fingers are salty.
I can hear something in the other room. Through the vent in the bathroom I can hear someone breathing. Someone is breathing. I’m the only one home. I’m squatting so I’m real close to the vent. I get down to the vent, put my face to the dusty grill and whisper. I’m not whispering words, just sounds, plosives of whisper, ghost-talk.
Wasisathwhfamanoshshbudavauhlfadus s s s s.
“Hey, are you dreaming? Do you dream?” I whisper.
The vents carry the whisper. My words must come out hollow and metallic on the other end. I splay my fingers over the vent grail and get in real close and look down into the vent trying to see beyond the immediate darkness. Nothing. I stick my nails underneath the vent and pull up and the thing comes loose, like a brick and I slide it over and I stick my hand down there. It’s scary but exciting. What is in this vent? My hand hits something wet and furry and I almost recoil, I bite my lip and go deeper. A cool wind lives in these vents. My fingers bend on metal. I close my hand over something, a tuft of hair. I imagine a Barbie doll. I see vents stuffed with Barbie dolls. Barbie dolls caked with grime and green moss and tar. I pull my hand from the vent and I am holding a clump of hair coated in dust and slop, urban seaweed. I stand up and wash my hands, I coat them in soap until I am wearing gloves of suds and I wash my hands clean, I get under my nails and deep into the creases of my palms.
I smell my fingers.
I need a bath.
I just bathed last night but it wasn’t enough. I feel filthy, like I’m fresh from a surgery. I want to wash myself off. What is wrong with me? Is it me or is it my family? I don’t know. I look at my diamond earrings on the counter. I’m rubbing my earlobes again. My hands are burning a little. The sink is gurgling. I slide the vent back into the vent-hole with my foot. Someone is breathing heavily in the next room. Nobody’s home. Frank is at the library. Who is breathing in the other room? Who is breathing through the vents?
No one is really breathing in the vents.
The dexadrine feels nice.
I take off my underwear and run the bath. I’m fully nude now. I feel the lunch stirring around inside of me. It’s funny. I feel so cold on the outside. I’m covered in goosebumps but my stomach is hot and loose. I feel like my stomach could float away. I imagine my intestines losing gravity and floating away in pretty pink strands, hundreds of feet of entrails circling around me in the bathroom, some delicate string.
I stick my head into the toilet bowl. It just happened. It just happens.
Here I am.
This is square one.
The bowl takes on an echo and I make a small sound and feel the porcelain hum.
“Baby,” I say.
I stick my fingers into my mouth, to the back. I taste. I press and gag. I press again and then again and feel it, like a bundle of something toppling from some shelf, down it comes and my fingers get free just in time and everything patters right into the toilet. There’s a rush and the burn. There’s a brief moment of peace. The world is okay. I heave a few times and the moment vibrates in me, along with it comes the cool on my skin. The bathroom changes and I congeal with the air around me. I’m covered in sweat. I’m calm. I lean back against the wall and crash softly into the wood. I reach forward with my foot and flush the toilet. I never look. I don’t look I just feel it, the meditativeness of it. The art and beauty of it.
My earrings catch the light in a funny way. Little daggers of light shoot out from points upon the diamonds. My eyes are wet with tears. The tub is almost full. The radiator grill is warm and pressing into my back. I didn’t notice that. The bathroom is full of life.
Frank Hinton’s Action, Figure is forthcoming from Tiny Hardcore Press.