FINGERING BY T.W. SELVEY



I am truly blessed. I have fingers.

I have blessed TV dinner fingers that perform the prerecorded act of a cultural vivisection upon a deformed network television hospital drama, digging a jagged full-length bone out of a hungering evening’s liquid crystal display, osteophyte razors where there were fingernails. Blood halts the credits, which has named the moving, talking mounds of microwaved blackened Salisbury steak. I serve warm fistfuls. The brown goop is unsalted and I eat the acrid weight, insatiable and fat from feeling in the centerpiece that I will never compete, measure up, subtract or add to the compendium of a sacrificial history and its entrees: the apothegms gutted from heads, the hook-hanging costumes, the peripatetic wandering around unchaperoned in meat packing plants, unbidden eyes turning into reddish water and I go blind while crying, emptying sockets that gave up on sight. I should choke on such slabs. I can agree totalitarianism has conquered matter. The sealed material is imperfect as every nation is a plenary and power binges on revolt, a revolting group of muscles that’s not overpowering and pinning me to the world, but as an interlude producing me as a civilization’s stopping point, discredited but comfortable like a sand mattress, sinking.

I have blessed fingers that practice safe sex with multiple bullet holed partners, shot through like the Kennedys, lacking a reptilian hymen, fingerfucking through the soft tissues exploded into mutated orifices, some pulling tight, some coming loose, as hollow tips burrow new avenues of pleasure leading to organs, organs caressed bloody by the tip of a studded condom that yanks at the enriched hair of my whitening knuckles. I am not Jim Morrison’s Lizard King persona. The runny bodies of my lovers and I cruise by fiery monuments made to honor assassins. Waving adieu, we ride by in a camouflaged Humvee limo. NRA sponsored wars, backseat cocktails, pleasant smelling oils, and roofies supplied by a pharaoh billionaire. Presiding over a deep-fried population, a hieroglyphic briefcase stores Ra in a manilla envelope. Burning all the sunlit and immeasurable, the time-honored girth of treason looms with the stature of an omnipresent investigative camera lens. Spoon-fed cyanide, this political inheritance runs down my chin and puddles on my shoes, glistening nuclear yellow.

I have blessed fingers that help me open packages of over the counter medications, cut up lines of what could be battery acid or eyelids, find and ingest fingertip full droplets of antielectrons to polarize myself, and un-charge an abandoned vaginal pyramid in favor of an unvisited one that features little translucent apparition entities who fuck in the middle of the street, contorting zig-zag arms, nauseous genitals blending. People made of bending neon tubes and yellowed paper who don’t get arrested for lewd acts I inexplicably think we should try. Then one time they stopped the fucking. The constant shifting of the ghostly outlines of their empty bodies: that continued. I graphed their functions with my trusty calculator. Not quadratic formulas. Don’t they know I hate precalculus? Living vicariously with asymptotes, a new show on cable starring Chairman Mao talks about me to spiritual death. I send text messages from a future time to a friend who’s entitled “The Carter Presidency and Beyond: Power and Politics in the 1980s.” She doesn’t respond because I’m a hostage now, too busy. With the voices, the figures, more and multiplying, pounding on my plexiglass ear, pounding and demanding to be let in, like an archeologist, positioned at the entrance as flies gather for the mummified stench. Beginning, in the beginning, it is muffled and from there it rises, purple iris opening, the volume madly rising, a wild chorus of gnostic shrieks, and all is set to ruin my good cheer.

What did they say, what did they say? The carbon monoxide hits. We hear a ringing in your head, the detonating of synapses, their snapping. We can hear every time you take a drag, when you suck nitrous out of a balloon: R i i i i i i n n n n n n n g g g g g g g!
The consequences, the symptoms, the syndromes: an unholy triad. A personalized four horsemen of the apocalypse. Your only hope is to euthanize Hippocrates, warm up a contraception glue gun, and bar ownership of ape-mind bombs.

I have blessed fingers that held a #2 lead pencil and shakily took the ballot, writing-in the names of anonymous sex workers for mayor, for shattered atoms, for sheriff, for the root of elusive guilt, for judge, for defunct creationism, for senator, for supernatural suicide, and for governor. We shouldn’t be concerned, ruling the slaughtered, a sacred missing-link vale of tears runs the show. A new Inquisition caught on. I get sick inhaling an inhuman wind. Long shot victories forced me to swallow performance enhancing political action committees and buy a league of bench-pressing lobbyists to flex influence not with money but with toes in a batch snapped off at the roots of tubular feet. Little toe tokens. Buy babies little smiles to keep. I let them wriggle as they please in my hand. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze like little caterpillars anesthetized, they birth feather-soft pillows snuggled and loved during blizzards expending no snow. Clip your toenails. Clip your toenails, mother implores. Or I’ll put you in a kennel with the other redacted fellows. Bad electroconvulsive dogs get me crazy. A tick’s toothless kiss. Talk and talk, too much crawling lips. Ingrown lips, you logomaniac. Shell game preachers cite ignorance as proof that I am not a hairless animal, not a Galapagos turtle. Darwin ate all the animals he found, but not me. Look what you let loose to nestle my femoral artery. My thigh, my thigh!

I have blessed fingers, an orchestra of instruments, in search of a saxophone and slimy snake eggs. They roam the English countryside at night, hitchhiking, seeking a ride to London when the moon is full, spilling forth a Luna and lupine sign language, a veritable zoo of physically disabled veterans of the most recent war. I audition for a nude band, but I’m bereft of talent and genitals. Oh, at the end of the evening, our fingers so different but intertwined. Alone, you and I, in fog tumbling like sheer bed curtains through candlelight, the night clouds glowing, lanterns yellowing the wan cobblestone. We walk. Winter-death it seems is against spring, its gaunt seeds, popping out of the dung, a life but nature keeps an unseen synthesis at bay. And so, I am me, and you are Man-Beast. Furry louse-ridden head on my shoulder, pointy ears abrading my neck, I feel like a girl necking an unshaven, impolite boyfriend, my shirt front a bib for drool, but whatever. Tell me of your pain, your happiness. People, objects inanimate, clothes. Until I pull them out of their skin clothes, rip, rip, rip, patchwork skin borders break hard, not perforated like paper forms. Not a god of evil, mythologized, sickening the ash trees with untreated rabies, I’m a misunderstood husband to infertile rocks.

I have blessed fingers that became blastocysts, five days old, falling severed out of a miscarrying womb into a clear lab dish. Embryonic stem cells, pluripotent, are able to differentiate into the basis of tissue, bone, blood, muscle, or tracts, but the doctors chose to inseminate Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, donated to churches in honor of the crucified welfare state. To feed the homeless with conversion, fill their bellies with pop culture, a genetic baggage lugged around by the soul of consumerism, a person like any other. Boarding the bus in the thick heat, feeling trapped in the perspiration, the heat emanates from bodies cooking in an oven moving anonymous people to lives hungry to eat them when they arrive. Homes almost foreclosed, derelict bars, half flunked classes, chattering children, dead end street needles, cheating partners, loving wives, same-shit-different-day jobs, a midnight restaurant alone with the sickening eggs. What else am I leaving out, what is missing?

It’s survival of the fittest, fattest, fucked breathlessly, awaiting the compromising position on all fours, taking it in whatever hole that will allow the eye to project its destiny on the whitest wall and in the brightest minds. I shrivel at the sight, flinching in disgust at the thought of allowing a ruthless devolution to go on any longer.



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T.W. Selvey’s writing has recently appeared in The Shore, Nauseated Drive, Cav Mag, Grody Mag and Trashworld. T.W. is the proud curator of a haphazardly curated blog, www.documentdement.com

*Image Credit: Philip Guston, Untitled, 1968.