Clarice Hare

Autoflagellation

HARD 2GET huffs up my neck, sharp 
as the knife of the scribe who scrawledon the wall of Gomorrah, which he 
smuggled to Avignon for Pope John 
XXII (so smooth he could’ve 
had him, in sissified Buddha-arm 
sleeves), then headed to Southern 
California to meet sex-addicted 
hookers and their clients at the Lost 
Oasis where he must’ve got his 
knuckles tattooed like that.

“I’ll make you squirm like a 
pig on the grill,” he said. Like a 
girl on the pill, you heard—as much as 
you’d like to have gone back in time,
just to say you won.

After-dinner swig. Krack. The bloody 
edge of a black eye. You never knew 
what you would learn, what you 
must decide upon.

Your tears smell salty on his breath, 
and his foul taste from the last over-
lubricated orgy will make 
you cry even more. “I’ll take you 
to the beach, where the brown sea and thrashed 
sands’ll remind you of your insatiability.” 
He says something to you about tanning 
beds and cancer. You can’t concentrate. 
Everything comes back to you: sprawling
naked on a barstool with your heart 
hammering on your bladder as you tried 
to remember what you’d been 
researching at the library.

“…you want it in your fat beautiful
mouth before I put it in your fat ugly 
broken heart? I’ll knock that whoreface out 
of you with the force of a yellow firehose. 
You’re fucked, now and forever. And if you ever 
see me again, you’ll know exactly why. No 
more advertising—it’s fucking time.
You’re gonna have to suck the 
foaming top off of mine.”

On and on he went, little chains of 
explosions and gallons and gallons of 
concentrated fillips. When you’re fucking 
that high, you can’t take pleasure in
just pleasure. You want to…you want…
to punish yourself. So you give 
yourself to his manic jabber.

“You gotta give it all 
to me. It’ll feel too good 
to be true. But it will. 
You don’t know much, but you 
know that. A hooded creature with 
keel-like teeth has taken your 
heart away. Yeah—I can feel your 
nova vigor ebbing. I see all your 
wounds. You don’t know 
who you are.”

It’s too much. The cracks in your 
timeline start forming all over again. 
Shadows strain to give birth to 
the unknown in front of you from 
the should-have-known 
behind you.

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