The Old Boy Story

by Aria Riding

Once upon a time, a man is kidnapped and imprisoned for about seventeen years without knowing his crime or his accuser.  When he is released, he meets a young woman and they fall in love.  When they are about to marry, they discover they are father and daughter.  Of course this is unsupportable and they feel very bad and separate, although they feel a great pain, because their love is a true love.  In time the man meets another woman and they fall in love.  As it happens, she too is his daughter.  She feels heartbroken and he feels heartbroken and confused.  They separate.  They divorce.  He meets another woman. They make love.  They fall in love.  She is also his daughter.  This happens two or three more times.

Finally, the man swears he is unlucky in love and that he will never marry.  The woman sitting across from him on their date says, I wanted to say exactly the same thing.  In this moment, their eyes meet and they fall into deep deep love.  They marry and after a little bit discover they are brother and sister.  They separate, and like all the other women before her, she never tells him about the pregnancy.  In fits of ecstasy and despair the man marries and separates from three more women, all of them undiscovered sisters.

The hapless guy gives up on love; he thinks, I will never be able to meet a woman.  And from time to time, he mopes, Who is it that imprisoned me and condemned me to this crazy fate?  My crime must have been really terrible and my punishment, to be related to and forbidden from love, it must be justified.

The man decides to go into seclusion and enters a monastery.  All of the monks are very quiet and kind, and he thinks, A little bit sad, he thinks, With guilty consciences like me.  They rarely speak and their nods and acknowledgments are infrequent, and if their eyes meet, there’s usually a little flash of knowing, a little flutter, a little color in the cheeks.  The head monk is very warm and kind.  His gestures are more effusive and bourgeois than the man would have expected from a monk.  This elderstatesman starts to invite the man into his chambers for tea and philosophical conversation and they play board games which seem kind of symbolic.  One thing leads to another.  The man is resistant at first but he rationalizes to himself, This man is much older than me, he cannot be my daughter or my sister, and as I’m condemned to never meet a woman, maybe I can accept at least the touch of this old man.  It takes time, but attachments form (in May).  After a few years the man is finally able to admit he loves the old man as they lie in a soft, sunlit embrace.  The old man says, Of course, it’s only natural for a son to love his father.

The man cries out, Father, I’ve been so unlucky in love!  He extrapolates: I was imprisoned for something like seventeen years, and since I was released, I have only unwittingly loved my own daughters and sisters, and now, my own father.  And to make matters worse, I don’t know my crime or my mysterious accuser, but I must have been the worst kind of person to be punished this way.  The father is taken aback, Son, you’re taking it all the wrong way.  Please stop torturing yourself and feeling so bad, you didn’t do anything wrong.  It was I who imprisoned you.  You are a good boy, just like all of your brothers.  The old man gestures broadly towards the grounds beyond the window, indicating all of the other monks going about their daily chores and meditations which usually lost focus, unraveled and reassembled into contemplative orgies.  You see, we are a very loving family, and what I did, I did out of love for you, because I loved you so much I wanted to keep you for myself.

Then the man saw that every trial in his life had had to unfold exactly as it did, love upon laboriously planned and awkwardly unseemly love, so that he could now naturally, and of his own accord, fall into the loving arms of his father.  And he did.  And there they stayed, father and son lovingly making love … until some young man that the man did not yet realize was his own son showed up at the monastery and the embrace of the two monks slackened as their hips both swiveled towards their new great love.

Aria Riding, 1977, is an artist and performer; the body of her work is about intimacy, mutations of love and intimacy, holding intimate time and space, limits of the mind and body, and the poetry that comes from exposing or being exposed by these limits.   She likes doing music and dance training with special abilities people.  Her writing, painting and sculpture collections are entitled the Book of Total Darkness and Grinder Family Archives.  Her performance work incorporates butoh dance, theater, installation, literature, and altered states like Hysteria, prisons, obsessive compulsive disorders, bloodletting, love.  She has co-directed the performance group, Danse Perdue since 2002, and the Teatro de la Psychomachia (a theater, art and workshop studio located in Seattle, U.S.A.), since 2010. Since 2005, she has performed, exhibited, and taught in different places in the United States, and, always by the grace of Flavia Ghisalberti, in different parts of Europe and Russia.  She can’t update her website from her fainting couch, but can look her up at

When I Used to Love

by Mr. Wolf

I used to love…
When he would hold and kiss me
When times were better
When we didn’t care who saw
When we just discovered our feelings
When I found him again on Facebook
When he told me he loved me
When we held hands
When we held each other
When we slept in each other’s arms
When I was 17 and he was 20
When we were a grade apart
When we were in the JROTC
When we made love for the first time
When we cuddled in the backseat
When time knew no bounds for us
When we were two kids in love
When our hearts were synchronized
When our souls were one

Then…the heartbreak
When I found out he wasn’t the one
When he left me for someone else
When I used to love


“Mr. Wolf,” was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He graduated from Cass Technical High, but still hangs around with his younger friends from time to time. He’s 18, and has his share of hustles to get by. He loves to write and debate. He is also a Liberal Republican, defending both the NRA and gay marriage. He’s bisexual, and looking for his love once again. This poem is based on his relationship with a former schoolmate, and the first time he was in a relationship with another guy.


by *Miss Theresa*

When all hope diminished, she called to me.
When it seemed that i was drifting, carelessly, she called to me again, louder, insistently…..
Her voice; muddy, raspy, stirring things in my core, taking hold of the chill resting like glass in my bones.

I crave her, and have no idea why.
I know that I always have.
Faceless, through the fog of my brain, as on the hopelessness of my seas, I desperately come alive, wanting her, but sense the only movement around me as skeletal birds and choppy water.

Water, black as the sticky tar that holds me to the thought of touching her, to the thought of a happiness beyond happiness, splashes up and over the boat….

Deliciously foreboding she calls me again, her words are transparent, made out of apparitions, are dreams.
She calls again.
And again.
To me and only me.

I hear screams of others wanting to pull me to safety, pull me to them. Throwing ropes and stretching hands to me, selflessly offering their lives for mine, rescuing me from this shipwreck that i have caused.

I do not deny that I am adrift, lost by my own free will.

The fog seeps into me, pouring into my lungs, making me choke, making me gulp back tears, making me want to breathe from her mouth, wanting to suck from her all that i dare.

My face rests cradled in my hands and I strain to hear her call, yet hear only the voices of the cherished ones, those willing to wait for me, time and time again, never disappointed by how lost I have become, how selfishly that i live, how freely i love.

Warmth laps at my neck, and I turn to face the glow, knowing that it will not be she, but the love and strength that i have always claimed to want so greedily, but have rejected time and time again.

I then turn to face the promises, and vow to do right, to make them proud, and goosebumps appear from nape to knee as i hear her again. Her laugh. GODDESS BE DAMNED!!! That laugh. Oh sweet gods, that laugh. For me.
Just for me.

I plunge my hands into the liquid chill, and paddle myself forward as something grabs hold of me. Reason, sensibility, clarity grips me and tethers itself onto me. I feel foolish to resist, but am not ready for the journey to the shore. A beacon of light, penetrates the never ending mist and shows me home, the “where i belong”, as i shut my eyes to it, fighting the feelings that are melting my shame. The feelings want to stop me from finding the voice, from floundering in the “never will be”. I hate that feeling. I lust for her and i struggle. I want to be with her. I want to be there, gazing upon whatever form she wants me to see.

Whispers of goodthings, a warm breath on my hand, kisses sweet, make my eyes heavy, as a delicious honey-thick rain drizzles onto me, offering purification, a release of all of my anxiety. I tear into my brain, as the fog cuts itself wide, and i allow myself to drift towards the certainty of life.

I grow hungrier as i roll on the waves to shore seeking the cottage that I know to be there. My senses are sparked, my body is alight. Smelling the bite of burning wood and delicious bread, my stomach bellows. My tongue swells as i can imagine the crunch of apples on my teeth. MY strength is renewed.

From nowhere, a paddle is placed in my hands, and my aches and pains are gone. I am calm, and let go into the whispers of love in my head.

Shapes, fuzzy, forgiving. Family, On shore. Waving and wanting. Offering respite, love, satiety. Wanting only to meet my needs. My loneliness drops away down past my feet, sucked into the swelling sea.

I see blankets in their full hands, along with cakes and coffee and kisses. I now crave these things and know that my journey is coming to an end. I am finding my peace as i am reaching shore and feel the crackling fire and deep soul embraces. I am focused. I am finding my life, the love, the fulfilling ending as my ears fill with delicious words. All stress is released into the pregnant clouds above.
I no longer understand the concept of doubt or hurt or shame. The only thing i understand is “home” and i am ready. I am heading to “love”, to “happy”.

Their laughter welcomes me and sparks me to paddle faster. I am without cramps or pain, and their forms become features, faces. I feel their welcome and a rope thumps cheerfully onto the boat- ready to pull me to their welcome.

but. i hear her again. her voice blowing icy fire on my newly warmed heart. i have no need of this illusion. I have all that I was. I grab onto the rope, I am home.

As the boat is pulled forward, I turn my face to the breeze, and look in the direction where the voice began, and all i see is spongy mist.

I do not want her. The void. The not knowing. The uncertain future.
I want home, and hearth and spirit.

I justify my thought by saying that anyone would do the same. There is no certainty, no absolute security, no sure thing for the future, and i let go of the rope. All i have is this voice, this desperate lust. My craving of more.

Friends, blankets, cakes, grow fuzzy again as I drop the paddle into the water. My joints grow stiff and muscles ache as the wind replaces the fire in my heart and head. Cracks form in the boat and water so cold it burns, pools and swirls around my bare feet.

She still calls, promising nothing. I wish for but a glimpse of an idea of who she is. My want is replaced by desperate need and I stand up in the crumbling wood that is now no more than mere boards afloat on rough and dangerous water.

I face the biting wind and call out to her hoping that she will hear me and lend a hand, to help me to her. There is nothing but my apprehension as fear starts pushing and pushing. Pinpricks of electric, bites of pain. The clouds release all of my previous trepidation, drenching me, dampening me, making me instantly regret my denial of security. I look to the shore and see nothing, no people, no fire, only the black of the night ocean.

Guilt overtakes me as i start to forget my family, and wholly want the voice of the unknown. I remove my soaked clothes and face the direction of She Who May Not Even Be, and I plunge into the water.

My heart slows and I have trouble breathing as lucid liquid fear pumps through my veins. I am more alone than ever, but merely have survival on my brain, I have no time to regret or justify my decision.
The time is now and only now. There is no turning back and I am terrified as I tread water in the slippery sea that wants me to be sucked into its abyss.

There is no longer a voice, but in my head. There is no guarantee or even certainty that i shall survive. I am not even sure that she exists, but goddess do i want her.

Thoughts of her tease, and make me believe that it is her, touching me, tempting me, leading me on.

It is not my choice.
I just want.
Maybe too much.
And now I need.
There is no turning back now.
And i as I feel things coiling, roiling about my naked legs in water so thick that i feel that i can walk on it, I start to sink.
Goddess help me.

Ten Seconds

by *Miss Theresa*

Ten seconds to the point of contact. Electric stares; the kind that turn your stomach to jello… Eye contact connecting, breaking. Wanting to look into his eyes, but not brave enough to do so for more than a second. Quick upturned glances; looking just long enough to see him smirk, making blood boil then freeze. An arm’s length away, yet a universe-sized distance apart. Lips too far away to kiss, but smoldering eyes fasten me into his personal space.

I fuss with a paper scrap and dare to look again. His held is tilted with a quirky confidence, making me wonder if it is all just an act of false bravado.

He stares. He smirks. He waits. He teases. He waits some more. He makes me weak in the knees and turns me upside down. I feel like every clichéd love song and every sappy movie enjoyed by giggling lovelorn ladies. I feel impossibly goofy.

Nine seconds to contact. Just several breaths away.

Eight… seven…

He looks at her, wanting nothing but to touch his lips to her petalsoftness. It is imprinted in his eyes. He doesn’t want to make love to her. Not just yet. He just wants to taste her breath. He wants to feel the lifeblood of her lips. He wants to touch the tip of his tongue to the fragrance of her neck and fuse their separateness. He wants to melt into her.

Six… unconsciously we move closer together. I can smell his cologne, and open myself to it, to the glorious deep deliciousness of it, and knowing distance between us is decreasing.

Five… four… three… we move closer still, somehow. And closer still, as if gravity was pushing them together. And closer.

Two… he stares and I stare. The awkwardness is deathly sexy, which only makes things feel like guilt. We both smirk and snicker and feel like schoolchildren. Our eyes lock and release, and I welcome all of the background distractions. I enjoy the intensity of the unfulfilled passion, but wish it to end.

One… somehow we are “right there.” So very “right there.” Our eyes lock and release again, and he reaches to me for the first time. We have reached the point of contact. We are solely in the moment. And I expect him to touch my face, my neck, my cheek, but instead, his fingertips play through the ends of my hair. He half strokes, half sweeps the wispy ends of the heavy fullness. This simple unexpected act dizzies me, emptying my lungs of breath, my bones of marrow, and my heart of blood. Time stops.

I look down to witness his strong hands playing through the straightwave of curls which are the color of blackcherry soda. He caresses just the ends, fearing to move up further, not wanting to break this entrancing moment. Tangible shockwaves of restraint keep his fingers from following the tresses to the source. It is maddening. My lips pulse. My heart thumps. I watch his fingers lace and coil through the ends, just the ends of my hair, through the texture of melted chocolate.

His self control is overwhelming. His confidence is deadly. His smirky smile is sex. He plays these cards without thinking and I flounder, fully lost in this moment. He is content to just be in my personal space and touch my hair as if this act is desire-come-to-reality.

His full hand is in my hair, and softly tugging, as if plucking a juicy apple from a treebranch. Not quite a pull, not quite a grasp, my brain short circuits and I struggle not to crumple to the floor. I can feel him playing there as if my tresses are nerve endings. Testing me, touching, trusting, trying, forever registering my reaction; waiting for acknowledgement. Confirmation, permission or even a possible hint of discomfort. My legs are incapable of holding me steady as his hand continues to relish this luxury.

I look at him, his face crackly silver sparks all aimed at me, and with a now-or-never attitude I say, “any more of that and I wont say ‘no’ to anything you want of me.”

A half-raised eyebrow and he breathes out, “that’s the idea” and grabs a handful of hair from the nape of my neck and pulls me into his intimate space placing his mouth just inches from mine. I was breathless upon breathless. No air but his flowing into me. I swallow his desire for me in that instant.

Our lips weren’t touching, but I could feel him on me. His hand stayed in my hair, now a tangle of fingers and flounce. He whispered out and into my mouth “does this make you nervous?”
“Of course not,” I lie, I fake.
“What about this?” He scrums his fingers on the flesh of my scalp, neck and nape, all the while holding me, still, controlled, his.
“Not really.” I muster.
“This?” He pulls me closer still, and with a handful of my hair, he tilts my head and smiles deliciously. Daring me.

My lips twitch. My lips want. My eyes wander. We smile dangerously. This is the instantkill. This is-.

We reach the point of no return as his other hand goes to the small of my back and guides me the last inch to him. I exhaleinhalexhaleinhale… Warmcreamy mouth on mine. His hand pulls and stretches my hair pushing me, pulling me to the place where his mouth can explore my soul.

I feel him exhaleinhalexhaleinhale as if he is pleased that this was all planned.

Our tongues move and our lips twitch, and heat is exchanged in our kiss. The bright room is now black ink and I can see nothing as my eyes want to cheat me of his face. Although it is full daylight, the city behind us twinkles and shimmers as day has turned to night upon the initial moment that our lips touched.

Our passion is a mushroom cloud bellowing out from our locked embrace. An out of control brushfire sucked into a vacuum of our intimate space. The force of a rainforest downpour. The perfection of a fanning peacock on full display. The joy of a favorite song playing JUST when you need it. The pinnacled bliss of every “happily ever after.” And this was only from lips touching and clothed bodies pressed to the other’s. But his was THE ultimate kiss. The simultaneous “ah” from a crowd immersed in the grand finale of fireworks when the sky is exploding purple and goldflame and silver shimmer and tinkling, falling, sizzling sparks. The moment was ours. And in that moment we wrote sonnets, and swam oceans. In mere seconds we traveled beyond any place on a map, and learned things no person could teach us. But in ten seconds more, his hands were no longer in my hair, his mouth, not on mine, and no sonnets were written. We were back to what we were moments before. We were just two people afraid to lose themselves in each other, too afraid to take that leap. Two people that had no idea what they were missing in those ten seconds, never reaching that point of contact, the ten seconds to an opportunity that they would never get back.