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"There are beautiful men everywhere. One in particular is my version of a wet dream. He sidles up slowly, whips and chains behind his back, counter-attack plans in his pocket and a major case of early geek anxiety. He scientifically explains his eager predisposition towards girls with bodies half as tall as their brains, slim hips and tiny nipples. Audrey Hepburn-esque."

by Kimberly Nichols


Winter is coming. I open up in November. I display the parts of me that are usually hidden behind words. American Girl on film.

I am at a party. I am sick with a virus that overtakes me every two years and sends me reeling. My body becomes a dichotomy. On the one hand I want to eternally run and hide. On the other hand I can't keep my mouth from spewing out my truths in front of strangers. A thin tightrope wire lies somewhere over my head in that place where our ego meets id and everything collides into a scene where one comes flying down a staircase in fine silk trousers only to fall down face first with a rip up one's ass. I have to learn how to be me without drowning. I turn to my friends and let life do it's thing.

Theo warns me of getting strung out on cheap talk and pushy Machiavellians. On marketing monsters and ten-cent vixens who are cheap and high on the flimsiness of ego. I envision him in Kansas wearing my ruby red slippers, closing his eyes and trying to help me get home. Through the osmosis of his wisdom, he makes a fine spine.

I am surrounded by cameras.

I have ten pictures to take of the most important people. The big millionaire looks me up and down as if I am pork. As if I would bend down in his shower and suck him off, the water dripping from his cock like imported diamonds. I finish my ten pictures and peer around the sculpture garden for the girl with the ring in her brow, the waiter with the kind eyes, the funny doctor with the flask in his pocket, and my soft-spoken lover, and the ME hiding over there in the bushes.

There are beautiful men everywhere. One in particular is my version of a wet dream. He sidles up slowly, whips and chains behind his back, counter-attack plans in his pocket and a major case of early geek anxiety. He scientifically explains his eager predisposition towards girls with bodies half as tall as their brains, slim hips and tiny nipples. Audrey Hepburn-esque.

What do I do with these mounds of desire that find no fruition and no validation? I stuff mine in my belly to take out later during a round of masturbation. A curtain of creation holds my desires. A circle of temptation absent of denial. I am hopeless and praising.

Cold hard leanery, the sickness progresses. I am merely the sum of my parts.

Everything contains a slice of my heart.

My friend Monshu is on tonight. He is standing at the foot of the party while all of his admirers do a dance up to meet him. They want to know about his latest pictures. They want to know about the miles of flesh on film that he has lain bare in his final effort to contain the body in a nice black and white capsule. He always spanks my ass when he sees me. He is older and it is one of his finest pleasures. I am the velvet-clad vixen in his paintings, the shadowed seeker in his photographs, the girl with the warped eyebrows and skewed beauty in his homosexuality. I am the one ass he can spank with abandon in the middle of parties, in the middle of all the bullshit that keeps us both laughing. Uproarious.

It is a time of getting sick, the body slowing down, all of this taking place amid a world of cameras popping. Flash bulbs going off before my face. No time to think, to be alone, to let the normality of virus seep through my bones. Red lipstick produces a smile that covers the internal bleeding. Having to be on. So hard on myself, always seeking perfection.

At the end of November I fly to Chicago. On the plane ride up I sit next to two Jews. A father and son drink Bloody Mary after Bloody Mary to fend off the ensuing holidays full of nosy yentas and star-crossed lovers. The son is reading CÚline and the father asks him if he can borrow his nihilism. I laugh to myself and end up on stage a day later, nihilism in my own hands, and another ten-dollar smile for the crowd. After ten seconds of extreme nerves I find hours of continual bliss. Chicago feels like a cold version of home. The city reminds me of my lover's dictionary that lies at home, spread eagle above two bankers' boxes. Graphics, steel and environmental acoustics. An architect's orgasmia. On the plane ride home I read Joel Schallit's Jerusalem Calling and the woman sitting next to me pulls out her bible. In a terrorist situation my life might be coined as Communist. Off the plane I would go with my truths, my activism and my ideology stew.

A week later, I drive down the street to Brandon's. Stopping by after work for one song's worth of dancing and a glass of wine. Two little girls on the corner wave "Hello" with hands dancing in front of their mother's poor broken-down vehicle.

A few blocks to go and I am at a stop light next to a van. The driver has a trumpet in front of him, his mouth on the end. He blows the first two bars of "When the Saints Come Marching In". It is one of those moments when you know you are seeing something for a reason.

It's Thanksgiving gray and the desert's in a suspension of disbelief that it's finally cold. Circles of clouds are overlapping, diffusive above the dunes tonight. I am in danger of falling in. I remember my friend Jay's words, I remember him telling me to blink and close my eyes whenever I want to feel his strength and I do.

Winter is coming. Its impermanence is necessary to gain the feeling one gets when it turns from hot to cold and everything gets crisp and the sun falls down with definition and severity behind a mountaintop pink and rimmed. It's here. A tiny glow of gold outlining a tumbleweed.


Kimberly Nichols is a freelance writer/artist/burgundy spaghetti strapped Raggedy Anne in fishnets, living in the California desert. She attributes lust, hedonism, the electromagnetic field and white light as pure motivation in her drive towards omniscience. When she isn't glued to her computer screen she can be found dancing barefoot at drum circles, skinny dipping in the ocean, scouring the desert for cactus skeletons to pose people upon or gathering a good blistering drunk with fine friends and sangria. Her psychological non-fiction appears frequently in the alternative rag Desert Post Weekly. She has been published in Alternative Arts and Literature, Small Spiral Notebook and Feminista and is currently at work on a collage series called Girls of the hundred Proof Bordello Define Desire. Let her write on your back with thorns, wine or iodine and she'll paste you on a rusty nail in one of her paintings.

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