Saturday, February 20, 2010

Michael Excerpt #3

(February 1974)

I look at myself, my face. Bumps sprout around my nose as I watch, and I can feel the thin layer of sour white shift when I push my skin. I dim the lights in the bathroom, watch in the mirror as the room darkens. It never gets cold in Los Angeles, but last night I slept with my comforter and my sheet, and I writhed my legs until they felt their blood. Something hot underneath all that.
This dark mirror again. I raise my hand slowly just to see it move, interpret the gesture. It feels personal when I meet my eyes. My mouth hangs open slightly and I see my tongue. I run my nails over my chest, watch the fingers swoop and circle. I don’t say anything. What would someone else think of this? I wait for the touch of my fingers to root in me, to forget touch is happening. I go to the closet and I get my stand-up lamp, and I bring it into the bathroom next to me. This is when I examine my face, turning my head to the right forty-five degrees in order to follow the line of my cheekbone. The line travels crookedly up, a little puffed and rounded. Then it bends back in for the dip of my eye socket and back out again. I turn my head left. My eyelashes poke out of the line, into empty space. Trying to study myself without locking my eyes to their reflection, I move the lamp around my feet to the other side. The light changes my face, and I move in and out of it slowly, tilting and nodding my head.
Prickles of hair stubble my soft cheek, and I hate the razor. Don’t think about it. I get so close to the mirror that I can’t see around myself and I squeeze the bumps on the bridge of my nose. They sprout white and black, like disease in a ruined place. I find the flat places on the right side of my nose. I squeeze every dot I see, though some of them won’t come. I get as many as I can, especially around the corners of my nose where the oil seems to breed. The left side of my nose. I count every pimple on each cheek as my fingers absently graze my chin, prodding and pulling. Then I use force, and urge the skin together on two sides of a blemish.

*Soren Stockman

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