The way David sometimes seems to fetishize the perceived violence of others as something close to comfort and I’m wondering why I don’t read more often, I mean I used to do nothing but read and now it’s only at times like these when suddenly my mind feels more functional except as soon as we’re done I crash and then I go upstairs to do another bump, okay that’s better.
This is the place in the book where the drawings become less ink and more line. Oh, these are the drawings that freaked me out the first time I picked up this book, made me feel gross, made me feel like the book was gross. Right before I remembered I was sexually abused.
I think it was this first drawing in particular: black lines on a white page with a hard dick in the center, face cut off. The chest is just a box, arms without hands, and it’s a drawing of a Polaroid a guy took when David was 9 or 10. It freaks me out to look at it now too. Nine or 10, when I was nine or 10.
Then there’s one with a guy examining David’s underwear to make sure he doesn’t see any signs of an STD, there’s something so disgusting about looking at that line drawing of this old guy with a receding hairline staring into those white briefs. In the narrative underneath David writes that the guy is with his son, they picked David up together, but remember this is from the viewpoint of a 10-year-old so presumably it’s the guy’s lover or another hooker, sitting in the background with a hard-on. But I can’t stop looking at this guy who somehow reminds me of my father even though my father’s hair hasn’t receded, and I was the one that would study his underwear when he wasn’t around, take the white briefs out of his dresser and look at the stains, smell the underwear while I was jerking off.
What does it feel like to say that, or not to say it since I’m not saying anything, I’m just here at the table with Ned, kind of wondering but not wondering what he’s thinking, maybe he’ll tell me or maybe he won’t. But I’m also trying to think about what I’m feeling when I think about these memories because looking at the drawing makes me feel gross, thinking about my father and how rape imprisoned me in his desire. Four, five, six: before I even knew what desire was. How is it possible to invent something else beyond own memories, and what do they make me feel?
Distant. Like I’m up there in the ceiling or down beneath the chair, or both, and yes, it’s time for a bump but maybe first more of this cocktail, yes, this cocktail, oh that’s perfect, put the glass down with a little bit of noise and Ned gets right up to get me another and in my memory this book was all about AIDS, about dying, but here we are on page 39, I mean here I am on page 39 since I’m not sure what page Ned’s on exactly, but I’m on page 39 and still the book hasn’t even gotten to AIDS, no mention yet, and the book is only 61 pages long.
But then there’s the middle of page 39, “the beautiful view and my overwhelming urge to puke.” This is the view from the hospital, on the page right across from the guy looking into 10-year-old David’s underwear. And then still, after the image of the hospital and the smell of human shit, another page with an image from childhood: the wind blows everything in the room to the left, this guy is telling David not to worry, he won’t come in his mouth.
I realize now it’s going to get really intense, I mean I turn the page for a second and I see the picture of a guy with all these lesions, and then I turn back, and I close the book, because I don’t know if I’m ready, I mean I know I’m ready but I don’t know if I’m ready to read this with Ned. So I close the book, and I say what do you think of these drawings?
And Ned closes his book too, and says pornography, childhood pornography.