‘I love you too’
the somebody said to thin air
‘I love you too’
‘I love you too’
the somebody said to thin air
It’s desperate, no one’s doing it. There’s calves in Switzerland with spikes on their noses so that they don’t drink their mother’s milk.
There’s people who pet and hug cows yet order their limbs for meal every night. Traitors.
There’s cows in Switzerland walking in beautiful hills, forming a normal life, but any day any one of them could be picked for murder.
The unruly muscular bull probably gets picked to die. Maybe the butchers hate his attitude. The unruly ones are easier to kill because you feel less guilty.
Are we humans or are we evil…
There’s pigs spilling off transport trucks that crash while taking them to slaughter factories. Wild ducks being caged.
Spiders being squashed out of someone’s amusement.
Street dogs being poisoned.
Wild animals being burned alive in agricultural fires and wildfires in the Americas.
There’s people who love animals eating and abusing them.
Foxes whose habits are being destroyed due to new constuctions.
Animals have nobody! The situation is dire and no one’s doing anything. I can’t sit here and be helpless all night. I’m gonna be their superhero, I gotta save them now.
They don’t have anyone that truly cares.
I gotta save them.
I gotta save them.
lights underneath the night sky
from the airplane;
they dim and light to the sound of guitar riffs
there’s men, so far away
who knew it’d be you
curly dark hair
eyes that glare and don’t speak
the smile that lights up streets
You sitting, surrounding yourself by the fireworks
the love in his embrace
the bighorn’s silent thoughts
that is all I need
the look in Twinked eyes
Wanting to be close to you
and to be afraid of being close
the gates to your castle
wide open for the waves to come in
you’re too intelligent, too complex,
yet too social
to not to hear you;
give me too much
to the point I just want it
these are the concerns you have
when a study subject
The places where we swam,
submerged and destroyed in water
the smell of unsettling drown
sunscreens gone rancid
music no longer gives feeling
you’re back to being a stranger
“Your story’s good” she said while blowing her cigarette up in air at the table with him.
Across the table, he dipped his fries into the ketchup then ate it. She wouldn’t have believed that the only story that ever mattered to him was the one with her in it.
‘Hell, I don’t even need to be in it’ he thought as he gazed at her. She wasn’t just the stripper whom he loved who didn’t love him back; she was the last ever love of his life.
“It’s whatever” he said disinterested as he dipped a fry in the ketchup.
“Oh I’d die for a story like that” she smiled with her eyes closed as she faced the ceiling. Seeing her smile almost made his heart skip. “Being picked up at my childhood home…” she said, “The guy asking my father if he could let me go on a date. Falling in love underneath the stars after the dance. You had such a typical, classic, sweet experience” she said with a pause, “That I never had…” she continued.
“It’s not that exciting” he dipped another fry into the ketchup.
“Oh it’s grand” she said as her eyes lit up, “How lucky you were to go on a date with her. I would have taken hours to get ready. I would have worn the most perfect gown. I would have laughed and danced with my date at the school dance and then we’d kiss underneath the stars afterwards. I would have gone to sleep that night smiling at the thought of falling in love. I’d go on more dates, get to know him better, he’d propose to me in a year or two, we’d have a lavish wedding blessed by our respective families, we’d grow old and happy together.”
His face turned red as he chewed his fry. He looked up at her and saw her smiling with her eyes closed as she talked gibberish.
“It’s not too late, you know” he told her, “Those things are possible.”
“But it’s not possible” she tried to convince him, “I don’t know my father. I didn’t grow up in a house. I’m old. I never finished high school. I never went to a dance. No parent would ever give their child a blessing to be with me. I have too many conditions to grow happy and old.”
“We could have it our own way” he said to himself.
“But there’s got to be no other way” she responded upon hearing him.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I want it that way” she said with a broken heart. She got up and left the table to go back to work. He watched her glittery skirt move while she stepped up the stairs to get to the stage. He would have given her everything she wanted. He would have given up on all his memories of love, first love or whatever it may have been, if he could have the last with her.
I don’t know what you’re made of
it’s so far away, strange, and foreign
I don’t know if you’re a friend or a foe
but maybe we’re friends
at least it appears that way
but within this facade
is there anything more?
are you a mirage
a place never known
the people in it, strange
I could go there with you
take me there
to this mirage
this place where I’ve never been
She wanted a teddy bear. She drove him wild. She was the stripper whom he loved, who didn’t love him back. He recalled a story she told him about a time when she really wished for a new teddy bear, but her single mother couldn’t afford one. Now that he was making money selling burritos, he thought about how he could be her knight in shining armor. He’d do everything he could to get her the teddy bear she always wanted. He’d get her the biggest softest one there is. He’d go to the end of the world for it. He went to various shops to find the one for her.
He got her the biggest softest teddy bear there was. She was dancing on the pole that night when he walked in and told her that he had a gift for her in his car. She told him she’d meet him during her break. He waited and watched her do her job. He was in love.
He asked her to close her eyes as they stood before his old car. He then told her to open her eyes while he held the teddy bear.
“Surprise!” he said, “Who’s cuter, me or the teddy bear?” he asked as he smiled.
She smiled back, “You ARE a teddy bear” she said. She then ruffled his hair like that of a kid’s before taking it from him. She hugged it tightly, “You’re so sweet” she said, “So random and so sweet.”
“Anything for you” he said.
“Thank you, sweetheart” she said as she smiled and touched his cheek. She told him she was going to put it in her car now and go back to work. Inside, she’d do some more pole working on her scantily dressed body for money.
“Don’t work too hard” he told her.
“Why, teddy’s got me?”
“Teddy’s got you all day and all night long” he said.
“Can’t do that with a teddy” She chuckled and walked inside. He smiled in the dark for a moment in his own delusion before he headed out.
He dialed the hot girl hotline. He fumbled through the steps for payment. “Hello…” a seductive voice answered.
“Hi” he said, “I just needed to talk” and he broke down and cried.
Typically, he would have gone to the familiar strip club and attempt to talk to the girl he loved. However, she only made herself available when she wanted. The rest of the girls there hardly ever wanted to talk either.
“Can I talk to you for a long time?” he asked in desperation.
“As long as you want honey” the deep womanly voice responded.
“My dog died” he blurted out with a cracked voice. That was a lie. He was actually alone, sad, and pathetic.
“Oh I’m sorry honey” the deep womanly voice said with an even gentle tone, “Is there anything I can do?”
“Be there for me” he whimpered. He looked at himself in the mirror. He had dark hair and his facial hairs was graying and needed trimming. His shirt was unkempt. He looked darker than normal in low light. Through the reflection from the window on the side of his face, he could see a tear mark below his eye.
“I’m there for you honey” she said.
“Thanks” he sobbed. He kept sobbing as she kept silent. When his sobbing subsided, there was more silence. “What’s your name?” he finally managed to ask.
“Selena” she answered.
“What are you wearing?”
“Can I touch you everywhere?”
“You can touch me anywhere honey.”
He then asked if he could touch her in her sensitive areas, to which she willingly responded ‘yes.’
“Can I make love to you front ways and back ways?”
“Oh yes honey yes” She responded.
He then asked her if he could make love to her in many other ways, to which she responded with a ‘yes oh yes.’
They made heavy sounds. They made petting sounds. They giggled. He cried.
“Selena I think I love you. Would you live with me forever for as long as I like?”
“Oh yes honey” she responded.
“Selena I love you” he confirmed.
“I love you too” she validated.
“Selena, let me give you my address and you come down here. I’ll take you around, we’ll go places. My room’s closet-sized and tiny, but I also have a living room with a window, and it’ll be my own once my roommate leaves. He’s leaving soon because I’m kicking him out since he only does drugs and doesn’t pay rent. I can manage the payment because I have a burrito job, but just barely. I know that’s confusing, but I manage burritos. I got promoted. I used to distribute but that almost killed me. Long story, will tell you all about it…”
“Hello…? Hello?” She responded on the other line.
“Hello? Selena can you hear me?” he asked eagerly.
“Hello? I can’t hear you…” her voice trailed off and then he heard even silence.
“Hello? Selena are you there? Selena?” he asked again. He heard no response. “Selena?” he asked again but still got no response.
After the call dropped, he went through the hassle of paying for the service again and called one more time. When it was received, he immediately asked “Hello, Selena?”
“Hi honey” the woman responded.
“Selena! My Selena?” he asked laughingly.
“It’s Tulip” the woman responded.
“Where’s Selena?” he inquired.
“I don’t know, but I’m ready for you honey” the deep womanly voice said.
It felt like the loneliness of a bar in broad daylight, the imperfections of a club room when the lights turned on, and the emptiness of bass beats when there were no one dancing. He felt just as empty and unmotivated; just as quiet and unfulfilled. He hung up.
He made her breakfast; whatever she wanted, and they ate together. They went for a nice afternoon walk. They huddled and cuddled. Watched their kids play. Kissed each other “goodnight” and repeated it the next day.
That’s all he ever wanted. It gave him purpose. He also had a supportive wife. Every night they pretended that they were meant to be together… that it was written in fate. Every morning they woke up with purpose; to cut through the day, the week, and to head into the weekend. Then they got old, and they looked back and wondered how it happened so fast. But when they looked back, it was nice memories. There were no regrets. Then they died, just like the couples before them, and disappeared forever.
He raised his head up from his desk and looked out the window at the gleaming sun. He had slept again and was thinking crazy things in his delusional state.
He looked out the window of his apartment’s living room. The sun was setting, and his feelings were just as distant. He thought about the temporary situations in his life, and how they made him feel so alive. And yet so empty.
Like that one-night stand he had with a stripper that led to nowhere. ‘What was I seeking from that anyway?’ He wondered. The other stripper that he was in love with didn’t love him, so he went with what was available. He looked at the sun and wondered if that was okay.
On his day off from work, he went out on a date with a woman. It was dinner at a casual place. She looked good and said all the right things. He looked at her, smiled, and didn’t talk much. Once again, he was lost and confused. Where would this go? Should he focus on just this moment? That would surely lead to the bed together.
Would she want anything more?
But would he? When he was in love with a stripper.
He decided he just wanted a one-night stand with her. With hugging. Lots of hand holding, caressing, and cuddling. Maybe he didn’t want one-night stand with her.
Maybe he just needed a hug.
But a hug that would go nowhere?
He looked at her with his eyes fixed. He debated all these things while she talked.
They met up another weeknight at the same table in the strip club. She was still as distant as before. She dragged her cigarette in front of him. Her painted eyelids were cast down, and it seemed as if she was in deep thought. He stared at her. His light hairs shone underneath the club lights, while colorful changing lights reflected on her face. She looked beautiful in dark lighting. Her heavy makeup was flawless. When one looked hard enough, one could see the childishness in her face. Her youthfulness that never left. She looked up at him and said, “You know, you look pretty good under that light.”
It was a sadder night than usual for both. Maybe it was the full moon, or maybe they were just incomplete. He wanted her, but she wanted something else; fame, fortune, and everything that came with it. She looked at him, burrito boy couldn’t take care of her.
He smiled at her and said, “You look like an angel.”
She laughed softly tilting her head back, then looked at him. She shimmied her chest and laughed again.
“Do that again” he said.
“Only if you call me an angel” she said.
“Angel angel angel angel” he said.
She shimmied over and over some more.
“Angel” he said again.
She came up to him dancingly rubbed herself on him.
“Angel” he barely whispered with excitement.
She moved herself deeper and harder. He whimpered.
“I love you” he whispered to her as they looked at each other up close.
“I like you” she said. She then cradled his head on her chest and caressed his hair with her fingers. He sighed with relief. She tilted his head and made it face hers, “Gotta make some money” she said. Then she walked away towards the stage to dance for other men.
He sat back with an open smile as he looked at her. His entire day was made. No, he thought, ‘My entire year is made.’
“I love depressed guys” the stripper said as she stared at the club’s ceiling and smoked her cigarette, “They’re good at sex.”
“Well I’m not depressed and I’m good at sex” he said.
She turned to look at him and blinked her eyes, “You live in a closet, smoke crack at dawn, and have a disease” she told him.
“So? That doesn’t mean it makes me depressed” he insisted.
“But your parents died in a car accident when you were twelve.”
“And your brother is a murderer.”
“And you don’t have anything going for you in your life.”
“See, you’re depressed.”
“Shall we have sex then?”
“No” she said.
He got a phone call from the stripper he loved one night. She was crying on the other line, “I just need somebody to talk to” she sobbed. She told him how the guy she was seeing used her and left. How she had given him some of her hard-earned money, only to never get anything in return from him. “I really thought it was gonna go somewhere” she sobbed.
Deep inside he was glad it didn’t go anywhere because he loved her. However, he hated hearing her cry. He wished he was there to cradle her in his arms. “Well, I’m always here to listen” he told her sweetly. He remained quiet as she sobbed, cursed, and blabbed on the phone. He was great at listening, and she knew it. It was why their friendship was so great, and why she didn’t want anything more.
come greet me on rammed earthen steps
call me with the sweetest names
that when you speak, the vines grow and flowers bloom between you and I
they twist and tie around my wrist, ever so gently
and sprout goosebumps on my delicate skin
kissed by the sun
and your ever so subtle coos
Shower me with pleasures
of your raw and open pride
shoot an arrow at the skies
letting the storms tear open
my chest erect with response to your pressing tremors
oh so subtle
again and again
that they form rifts on the ground
cutting deep within the plains of my skin
I know exactly how to deal with a man like you
through the blades of beautiful words too
let’s lie to each other with hardcore truths this minute
while your words are beautiful
They promoted him at the restaurant just when got tired of delivering burritos and had wanted to quit. To his dismay, he actually accepted the offer. The dream of saving money for a new car may just have been written in his fate. He now took over the management aspects of the burrito business. Every night at two AM, he gathered money at the register and closed the store. It was an upgrade from delivering burritos at night and almost getting killed by hoodlums. He was making decent money now; enough for meals, keeping up with his portion of the rent, and fueling his gas. As a bonus, he got a free burrito dinner every night.
After the drunk college kids left his store that night, he closed the register before heading home.
She grinded on a pole going up and down. The balding and drugged men looked at her with their mouths open. She moved her hips around over their glaring eyes. They followed wherever she moved. On the other side of the stage, another balding high man was offering her some money, she pranced over there and got down effortlessly. He placed that money under her stringed outfit that covered nothing, and she air-rubbed herself over his face. She went back to the pole and glided her behind up and down, shaking her bosom, as more men’s eyes followed her every little move. The air was stale and smokey. The music was loud and thumping, and the colorful lights came and went in strobes. Her hair was long, blonde, and full of hairspray. Her eyes and lips were painted in heavy colors. She smoked her cigarette as she danced slowly.
At the apartment, his roommate slept on the couch with the television and lights on. There was an ashtray with recent smoke from cigarettes fading away at the table. His roommate’s short hair was all messy, and he was drooling from the mouth. He took his shoes off and turned the television off. He turned the living room lights off and headed to his little closet sized room.
His room was messier than it typically was. He hadn’t had time to do laundry, so his bedsheets were still dirty and ruffled. He went over and smelled it. It still smelled of drugs and sex from days ago. He laid down on his bed, too tired to change his clothes. He turned off the lights and went to sleep.
A few weeks later, he finally met her at the strip club. He was one of the few guys there that wasn’t balding or old. She sat next to him, and they chit chatted while she smoked her cigarette. He inhaled the smoke that loomed near him.
“So are you gonna kick him out?” She asked him.
“I thought about it” he responded.
She took another drag; her red painted lips sucking on the little cigarette and releasing smoke, “I say just do it. He hasn’t helped you out with the rent in months! Months!”
“I know, but I’m a nice guy” He looked at the table and played with his finger.
“Being a nice guy doesn’t help pay the rent” She shrugged, “Listen. Tell him he needs to either get a job and pay up immediately, or you’re getting a new roommate or moving out.”
“I wish it was that easy.”
“Are you in love with this guy?” She laughed, “You make it sound like you’re getting a divorce.”
At this moment he looked up at her and said, “No, I’m in love with you.”
She looked at him frustratingly and blinked her eyes, “Hey…” She said as she shook her head and put the cigarette on the ashtray, “You know my situation. We’ve talked about this before; you’re my good friend and you always will be! I gotta get back on stage.”
And with that, she got on stage and spun on a pole. She glided down and spread her legs slowly amid the hazy air.
Their story’s never complete. It always stopped in the middle before any climax happened. Just like when he stopped talking about the time he was taken advantage of, and she couldn’t pry further. Mouth locked and zipped without gap.
He delivered food though, during times like the pandemic, and he went to shady houses owned by drug dealers and sex offenders.
He was on a mission to become rich enough to buy a new car. One that would lead him to drive cross country, so that he could view the stars clearly from Utah.
He grasped what he could carry and headed out the door. He had on his cap, jeans, jacket, and an ambitious drive.
Who knew burritos would be the cause for some really scary near death experiences. Hoodlums stopped him in his tracks when he headed near the drug dealer’s house to deliver burritos. One held a knife to his throat and the other pointed a gun at him before he entered the gate.
“What’s in that bag?” the one pointing the gun inquired.
“Burritos” he confided.
“You got any money?”
He gave the hoodlum whatever change he could scrape from his wallet. He also gave him the bag of burritos. They then let him go by the gate and drove off. He went back to his ratty car all shaken up. He had no burritos to deliver and no money in his pocket. He headed back to the restaurant.
Few strippers tried to entice him at the bar that evening, but he had no money to give them. He had no money for drinks either. He was friends with one of the girls there, but she wasn’t working tonight. A different dancer glided on her pole and winked at him. He glared beyond her; still shaken up from the encounter earlier.
After her duty, the stripper even suggested they hook up later, but he wasn’t into her.
He went to his rented unit that was pretty much a walk-in closet in an apartment that he shared with another friend. It was dark, gloomy, and the bedsheets needed to be laundered. He slipped in there and went to bed. He shut his eyes hard in an effort to go to sleep.
The next day, he quit his job, and wondered where life would take him next.
She walked around her new city. The streets were narrow, and the shops were small. The smell was of piss and pastry, coffee, and alcohol. There were high-end stores, and roadside stalls. There were girls in fancy dresses and men who slept on the streets. It was a city of extremities, of highs and lows, an immersion in contradiction, and a mixture of feelings.
Just like how she was feeling that exact moment when she smiled under the streetlights at dusk while looking at the subtle raindrops. It was spring season, and the air smelled of salt from the nearby seas. And piss. There was always the smell of lingering piss. Piss and salty sea air. Such was the city by the seas.
She moved here when she wanted to move away from her previous city. Now that she was here, it was only natural for her to soak it all in and belong to it. She was one with this city. It was her home now, for however long she was going to be here next.
She walked into her apartment, and the cats came prancing at her feet. There were three of them; Catskill, Lidia, and Annalee. Annalee was a stray she had found near the trash bin at this new place. Catskill and Lidia were adopted from the local animal control center in her previous city.
After giving them their food, she went into the kitchen and microwaved something she had made last week. Then she opened her laptop, read the news; lots and lots of news, and went to sleep. The next morning she went to her office, worked very late, came home, fed her cats, microwaved something off the fridge, read lots and lots of news, and went to sleep.
The weekend came and she went for a walk in the woods.
The weekday came and she continued with her everyday routine: work, cats, food, news, sleep. Then the weekend came and she went for a walk in the woods. Then the weekday came, then the weekend.
Then suddenly something happened; it was her birthday. She was miserable. She avoided all phone calls from family and friends giving her celebratory cheers. After breaking down and crying while reading news, she went to sleep.
The next day she was back into her same weekday norms. Then several days later, the weekend norms.
Life just happened. It just flowed until she moved to another city where she would take in a new cat and continue with her routine.
How is this different from the current consumption and exploitation of animals?
Ota Benga at the Bronx Zoo holding a chimpanzee (1906) Around the beginning of the last century—in 1906, to be exact—the 4’11” Ota Benga was featured in an infamous… 515 more wordsOta Benga: The Congolese Pygmy Who Became a Zoo Exhibit — The Vale Magazine