The King of Love is Dead
Had to be, I guess, 2002, 2003? My good girlfriend (I'm peanut butter, she's jelly) told me a story way too big to handle on your feet. A sit you down story. The I was different after that kind. It was a story that wasn't supposed to be. It was about her going to the park with an adult she loved, loved—loved the hairs escaping the bun on top of her head, I mean. Loved her stomach—never mind the stretch marks, its folds, its being squishy…as a matter of fact, she loved it precisely because it was marked and folding and so soft. She loved the veins leaping through the backs of her legs, the corns hugging three quarters of her toes. She loved anything she could run her fingers passed, and the stuff she couldn't even see—the pitch and angle and sometimes depth of her grainy-like-sugar voice. This was a most important love is what I mean, and the story was about going to the park with that love, love, and meeting another woman and the children who loved, loved her there. It was about the grown ups staying back to gossip and philosophizes about why their men weren’t acting right, and maybe when the kids weren't looking, to take a little puff of the roach tucked between one of their titties and a bra. It was about the grown ups staying back and the kids running off to play. And I could listen to those parts all right. I could hear all that just fine. And even the part about one of the boys trying his luck and touching her where he ain’t have no business touching. I could stand that, because she was right there with me and I knew she had survived. But my heart started to climb at the part after her panties were torn. When she ran on top of her little girl stick legs to stand before the women—the one she loved, loved, and the other—and show them what the little boy had done. My heart was inching through my throat come the part where her love, love told her, “Shut up! That boy ain’t touch you.” It was up in my head by the time she said the woman whose baby hair she adored, whose stomach and veins and corns she'd have gladly kissed and thanked the heavens for, made her apologize. "For making up that lie." “Apologize to that boy and his momma. And get on out my face.” She told me that and my heart was sitting like a chicken on its eggs in my spinning head. So I wrote her story, then. My hope being to undo some of the hurt earned/kept when you run on top of your young and wobbling stick legs to tell the love of your life how you were harmed, and rather than blow something up, rather than even take your hand and run like the devil out of there, she turns her head and pulls on the weed. My good girlfriend’s story and all the others in The King of Love is Dead speak to sexual assault. It is a collection of work about women and girls who are on the verge of extinction. Six of its nine stories have been published or accepted for publication. The remaining three are just almost there; after a few tweaks I'll send them off. Once I have published all nine stories individually, I hope to find a publisher who will bind them forever.