“What an abstract thing it is to take your clothes off in front of a stranger for the very first time. It isn’t really what we planned on doing. Your body almost looks away from itself and is a stranger to this world.”
—Richard Brautigan, from “The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966”
Elliot Smith knifes the ghosted speakers hidden in radio, blowing lyrics like incense smoke. Musk of patchouli rhythm curls around your bare shoulders, nude because it is too early for sleeves and folds.
Wrapped around your thighs is a green blanket from early adulthood, when your skin was taut and taught to moisturize in preparation for now.
There is a crowd of strangers in your bedroom, which is two rooms away from your kitchen; they are in there too. And they are named window and door frame and parquet flooring. And dresser and wardrobe and even the drilled holes meant for hanging are watching, too.
Call this dancing, but really you are just bending your knees slowly and then straightening. Tilting like a carnival ride to the left then right and back again. It’s from the music; this has nothing to do with foreplay or tease.
Your body blinks closed; it cannot watch this. And then, the slow drip (leak?) of skin away from bones.
A song about Omaha, which you’ve never visited but imagine is bright and vast, kind of like your throat.
Your nudity is parched, so you drink a leggy glass of milk, though you are allergic and begin to spoil from within.
You forget your lines. Were you supposed to gasp now? Your moans sound like choking and maybe you are. Maybe your nude is one giant allergic reaction.
How to get back from all this?
Elliot howls behind screeched guitar chords about drinking stars or kissing shotguns; you aren’t really listening. And also, he is the only one you hear.
Yes, that is an elbow. And how about that hip. A field of tattoos. Scratched in and scratching their way out.
This body is grey, gray, grey. Like earl. Like elephant. Like ail.
This body is sound machine. Alarm clock. Concerto.
The strangers leave. Body grows clothed. Elliot grizzles cold and fades out into the perfumery of oil and carbon.