Morgan Freeman makes me cry. He played Mandela in Invictus. His eyes are so kind and his voice makes me feel like he will sit me down and tell me everything's going to be okay. I love Morgan Freeman's voice. It is warm and velvety but it also holds a certain gravity. Every word Morgan Freeman has ever said or will ever say is important because it came out of his mouth, his perfect, perfect mouth. I love the color of Morgan Freeman's skin and I love his dark freckles. I can say that because I'm black. I love the wrinkles around his eyes. I love his hands. Have you ever noticed them? They are long and slender and soft. I have not felt Morgan Freeman's hands but I know they are soft. I know he would sit next to me and hold my hand. The palms of our hands would be soft together. I would lean against Morgan Freeman's shoulders and he would put his arm around me. I would study his perfectly manicured fingernails and compliment him on his personal grooming. He wouldn't stare at my breasts or if he did I would be fine with it because Morgan Freeman has kind eyes. He'd kiss my forehead. He would tell me wise things infused with humor. He would tell me dirty jokes but not in a perverted way. Morgan Freeman would invite me to his house. I would sit on his kitchen counter while he cooked for me. He'd talk about what he was cooking while he made it, sharing bits of trivia about the origins of pasta and why basil is an essential ingredient. He would use coarse sea salt and grains of it would stick to his fingers. I'd hold his hand and lick the salt from his fingers and he would nod, smile, return to his cooking. He would pull out my chair for me at his grand dining room table, and he would serve me, grate fresh parmesan over my food, cracked black pepper. We would share wine, two or three bottles and I wouldn't have to lift a finger. We would talk about everything, absolutely everything. After all the fine food and the fine wine, I would be drowsy. Morgan Freeman would stand and hold his hand out to me. I would take it and we would walk up a grand staircase. I'd sit on the edge of the bed and Morgan Freeman would kneel in front of me. He would remove my shoes and I would lie down. Morgan Freeman would lie down behind me and wrap his arms around me and he would kiss the back of my neck and I would feel the length of his body against mine. Morgan Freeman wouldn't try anything. Morgan Freeman would talk to me as I fell asleep. He would tell me every good thing he sees in me. I would fall asleep easy.
My mom has a lot of decorative knick knacks but they are cool knick knacks not like the weird ceramic or glass things that collect dust in your grandma’s house. Like, for example, right now I am looking at a little twisted lizard with wire looking feet. His body might be made of a stick, I’m not sure. Across the room is a zebra sitting on the edge of a table, just chilling out all upright. There is a candelabrum in the fireplace and under the TV a little metal headed man whose body is a child’s block. Also a day of the dead skull and a framed black and white poster of Billie Holiday. My mom has always told me how beautiful Billie Holiday was but in this photo she’s an old woman. Her head is down and you can’t really see her face. She’s standing by an old fashioned microphone. She has a drink in her hand. She looks like maybe she just finished singing a really sad song. Like she can’t go on until she composes herself. It’s a somber moment. I can almost feel the audience holding their breath. The picture feels like the culmination of a long life lived hard. I wonder how long she stood there like that.
Mr. Rogers was able to wear cardigans with dignity because he's smooth and debonair in the suburban sense. He teaches important things. I am certain he smells like Brylcreem and Old Spice and pot roast. I would make Mr. Rogers a pot roast. I would do so while wearing a smart white apron with a lace hem I tied around my waist with a neat bow. I would even serve Mr. Rogers his delicious pot roast and fresh vegetables and mashed potatoes. I would bake him pie for dessert, apple, with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream or a thick slice of cheddar. When he came home from work I would make him a high ball or a martini. I don’t really know what a high ball is. It's a drink, probably fancy. In my head it involves whiskey. A high ball sounds important like, if you are an important and serious person you drink highballs. Mr. Rogers would be a good man to come home to, never raising his voice, always talking calmly, treating me nicely. When he sat on the bench just inside the front door to change his shoes, I would hold his impeccably shined Florsheims against my chest, carefully undoing the laces. I'd massage his feet between my fingers before sliding his favorite, soft slippers onto his feet. I would rest my cheek against his knee. He would hold his hand to my head. We would sit like that, quietly, together. In our bedroom there would be two twin beds, very close together. Mr. Rogers would want to hold my hand as we fell asleep. Most nights Mr. Roger would pat the empty space next to him and say come join me. He'd say, "Won't you be my neighbor," and we'd laugh at how so very clever he is. Mr. Rogers would never want a queen sized bed. He'd rather share a smaller bed so we can always feel close and special. He would say there should be no such thing as space where love is concerned. I would think that was the most romantic thing a man could ever say. I would lie in that twin bed with Mr. Rogers. He'd wear one of those white t-shirts and a pair of neatly hemmed pajama pants, probably with stripes. He would always wear a white t-shirt beneath his dress shirts because that's what a gentleman does and in bed, at night, his t-shirt would smell like his day, soap, a little sweat, fresh cut grass because he always mows the lawn, whiskey, and cigarettes because Mr. Rogers is a good man but he's still a man. I would pat my hand against his cotton covered chest and feel his warmth and the strength of the muscle there. Mr. Rogers would take very good of himself. We would make love with the lights off, beneath the covers, missionary style but it would be exactly what I want. Mr. Rogers would be a surprisingly passionate man. He would sweat through the Brylcreem and his hair would start to hang long against my face. He would whisper secret things and I would whisper secret things. Every night, as we fell asleep, Mr. Rogers would hum, "It's a beautiful day," and I would think of how nicely his cardigan sweaters looked in the closet next to my dresses. I would say, "Yes, Mr. Rogers, it is." I would always call him Mr. Rogers.
While I was waiting this lady was telling me famous people dog stories. She said Cameron Diaz was driving home from a shoot, saw a dog get hit by a car and she pulled over, got that injured dog and took it to their facility. Said Cameron Diaz had that dog wrapped up. That dog that was part Pit, bleeding and angry. Brave Cameron Diaz. Said Cameron Diaz waited four hours with no makeup, waiting for that dog to get out of surgery. Said that Cameron Diaz paid for all that dog’s shit and made sure it got adopted. Cameron Diaz called every day to follow up on that dog. Said Sylvester Stallone has a Yorkie. Says he loves that Yorkie like a fucking baby. (She didn’t say ‘fucking.” I am embellishing for effect.) James Spader too. My eyes big, I told her, “Dog Show. Welcome to the Dog Show.” A great idea, she said. I told her we should start filming in the spring. She said, I will get the vets to sign off on this. I said, we will make money we’ve never made before. Ass-wiping money. She said, my husband is in the FBI. I said, corn nuts broke off a part of my tooth once. She opened her fist up high and sparkles fell out of it. I took everything I owned and swallowed it.
Chris Keller, a prisoner in Oz, was a bad bad man. He had no remorse and no shame. There's nothing he wouldn't do. I like that in a man, that willingness to go there, to take what he wants, to do what he wants, to feel so much, to feel so hard, to feel so deep, he would die to hold on to whom he loves. If he did that for me, if he threw himself over a high walkway railing, knowing he would die after the fall, I wouldn't look away. I'd give him those last moments, no matter what it cost me. I'd stare into his eyes, and I'd see the peace in his face as the air buffeted around him. If he reached out to me, I would reach back and when his body reached the floor and broke in ways I could never see, as he lay there, still warm, limbs at impossible angles, I would rush down and kneel by his side and kiss his face and hold his hands against my chest beneath my shirt so I could pull the last of his warmth into my body. I would hate him so much. I would be the Toby to his Chris. I would let him take me in a jail cell, whenever he wanted, however he wanted. I would be his prison wife. I would keep our cell clean. Our prison would be a home. Each morning, I would make the bed, folding the top sheet over into a perfect crease. I'd run my hand over the wool blanket we are assigned and the pillows where lay our heads each night, smoothing out the wrinkles. I'd bribe a guard for lavender spray so we could smell something subtle and beautiful. I'd attend to his personal grooming, especially in the shower. I'd trace the tattoo on his left bicep, Jesus on a cross, waiting for a resurrection. I'd use my fingertips or my tongue, finding the ink edges and Chris Keller would smile at me while I did this, that disconcerting smile of his that does not rise from kindness. He wouldn't say a word of thanks. I wouldn't mind. I'd let him ink me, mark my body with his name, or more. I'd lie on my stomach and grit my teeth while his needle pierced me. I'd cut his meat with the plastic prison knife and feed him so my fingers might make him forget what he was really eating. When he met, each week, with Sister Pete, I would wait, quietly, and pretend I wasn't burning with rage for the warmth of her smile and the fragility of her faith. When he came back to our cell, our prison home, I'd smile. I'd smile until my rage swallowed the air between us and he had no choice but to pull me into his arms and take me again and again and again, to show me my rage was not necessary, to show me how deeply he needed me, because Chris Keller, that kind of man, he would never be satisfied. I like that in a man.
I saw a blurry photo of Shakira’s ass this morning and it spoke to me. It woke up what I did not know was asleep. It knocked on my morning wood. I rolled over. I put my pillow to where I could grind it. I rode the pony.
I said, “Hello, Shakira’s ass. You look so nice and soft and round. I like how the brown color fades to a light white as the coverage from your bikini bottoms lessens due to your bending/lounging position. I want to put my face there and try to die.”
There was a moment inside of me that wanted to lay my hands on Shakira’s naked ass even though she might start screaming for help or fighting me off like she doesn’t like it. The moment was called, “I Understand Rapists.” But it was just a moment. A moment that wanted to grope and grope while whispering, “Just hold still and this will all be over before you know it.”
Elliott Stabler, Detective Elliott Stabler, he tries to be a good man. He tries to be a faithful man, that is, a man of profound faith. He believes in the law. There is right and there is wrong. I would love Elliott Stabler even though he has a wife and five children. I would be his Delilah. I would be his Salome. I would say, "When you are with me, forget Kathy and the kids." I would say, "Forget your faith," because I have none. I would let him finger my skin like the soft, worn pages of an old bible. I would show him how I can tear and fall apart, how I am just a story some man once made up. I would let him turn me over and over, trying to find the center of me. I would let him worship. I would be his false idol. I would ignore the smell of his children on his skin, that of his wife. When he came to me, I would help him undress, strip down to a wife beater and boxers. I'd clean his gun, keep it slick with oil. I'd trace the cool metal of his badge and listen as he told me about the worst parts of his day. I'd let him raise his voice. I would let him be angry because Elliott Stabler, Detective Elliot Stabler, he's a mostly good man but he's also an angry man. You can see it in his body, how tightly his skin holds his bones and blood together. You see it in the stiff line along the bone of his jaw, how he grits his teeth and holds his hands in fists until his fingers ache. I would let him be angry that he can't have everything he wants free of remorse. I would push Elliott Stabler after he had a long, terrible day of seeing the worst of what people can do. I would coax his anger out, sweetly, softly. I would say, "Let it all go," and he would fight it because like most men, Elliott Stabler is afraid of his anger which is really more like rage in its constancy. I'd show him his rage could not scare me or break me. I'd show him how to abandon his remorse and his guilt and his burdens. I'd say, "Sometimes the better choice is to become a lesser man."
Madonna doesn’t know where to go. It’s dark so she makes every step a light one. “I can do this! I am a dancer, Goddammit!” she sparks, wondering, too late, if the word will bring a lightning bolt. In the putrid smell there is the heat. This was expected. Once upon a time, it was all they ever promised her.
Eternity is no joke. The days go by not as days but as a climbing up a hill made of sand. Madonna’s hands have become shovels, her feet, a wide sort of cloven hoof. She cannot get to the top. Nobody can. Later, Madonna thinks back to the time she gazed at the outline of her teenage son’s penis against his basketball shorts while he was on the couch asleep. How the length and girth seemed substantial for a boy of his age. How she felt proud and contemplated, for a moment, using herself to make it grow, just to see, to know, how he’d be as a man. She remembered remembering this memory so many times it became a dwell. The only time Madonna made any progress up the hill was when she was lost in this thought. She didn’t know it then, but the Devil smiled.