Breaking down the word “fuck” I see how these nebulous feelings arise: sometimes I fuck, and then — oh shit, oh man, so suddenly — I give a fuck. In double elements I’m giving fucks from the left, the right, and the centre. I give myself to you, physically, deep down and dirty, starfishing on your bed with open legs. And then, I give myself to you, emotionally, deep down and filthy, feeling so conflicted and confused my gut works part-time as a milk churner.
All these fucks squared by nine. And the more we fuck, the more fucks I’m ready to give — I’m handing them out like little tokens, ready for you to use when you’re ready to abuse. Yo, I’ve had a man like you before. One day, he secretly read through my secret diary, circled a secret he didn’t like, and the next thing you know, his hands are on my throat and his nose is pressed against mine and he’s strangling me, dangling me, pinning me to the wall. (You know that hurt.)
Like turning water into wine, he knows how to turn wine back into water too. He’s the fucking alchemist. Ain’t that just the trick with his dark art? I look through the workshop door and I see a man using the wrong methods to cure the wrong things, believing, so vehemently, that a higher power lives in hardened things.
(What happens when the cure becomes the cause?)
Here’s the elixir of life those alchemists seek: pain. Let me say it again, and this time a little louder: pain. That little secret, at the base of the human code, at the root of the double helix: pain. His pain is immortal: it survives generations, bred in quiet rooms filled with hushed tones, sweaty women pinned to beds, fucked to conception, mouths stuffed with secrets. (You know that hurt.) And when you conceive in pain, you breed the pain. Yes child, it rises up in your first born: it splinters somewhere in his iris, a discoloured shard of hurt that he carries everywhere with him. That crack — open to every passer-by, every woman who window shops — reveals itself before he can even reveal himself. Then, it is his destiny, he must — ugh he must — crystallise that shard and make it immortal. (The seed must breed.)
A small woman, grey and cold and with a curved spine, moved in closer and sang to me, softly and knowingly: girl, you reap what you sow, so be careful where you grow. She paused, “this man you love, this man is not a scientist. This man, this man you love, this man is an alchemist.” Another pause: “do not water him: for he will grow.” I tried to thank her, tried to speak, but with a chest full of feeling, thumping like a bottled-up boiler, I choked. (Gratitude is evasive.)
An excerpt from the fictional short stories, Conversations About Paradise.