“It is either the lack of originality or the lack of will – conviction – that leaves you like this,” he wordlessly reprimanded himself while, before him, the virtual page on the computer appeared as unmarred by words as sheets, fresh washed and bleached of love's stains, hung to dry in the late spring breeze.

“Or focus,” he continued in a litany of self-effacement. “Whatever you are doing, you are doing it wrong,” he pronounced, berating and condemning the failure of the cursor to move onward, surging as insistently as a lover's passion.

The flagging resolve – the literary impotence – could, he conjectured, be manifold in origin, to be attributed to conflicting presences and absences in his own life but, the fact of the viscerally perceived frustration could not be denied. It amounted, in its omnipresence, to a constant restlessness in mind and body, yearning for the satisfaction of even the most meagre spurts of creative release.

“You are worthless – useless,” he stated, disgusted at the scant lines of verbal triviality that now laced regularly on the page like fingers trailing across the flesh of a lover's back.

Of ideas, he knew, there was no lack. However, it was their exposure that was wanting. It was, he considered, shifting against the rigid back of the chair, like garments being removed in a slow dance while mouths found one another until, in the bedroom, she was exposed before him and they fell together in unencumbered freedom to enjoy their own lucidly composed union.

The voice on the phone had come to him the previous night, humid and sultry, with a hint of southern drawl and a scent of magnolias. In that voice, alone, were stories of languid evenings where, on a blanket, beneath the shaded privacy of a spreading willow, beads of sweat would drop between pale breasts ... or a body be dropped, unceremoniously, into a fetid, vine-entrenched, swamp.

He started and gazed at the screen before him – two-thirds of a page written and no recollection of a single word pecked out by his fingers that hovered, poised stoically, like eagle's claws, over the keyboard.

“It's all sexual,” he noted and shifted uncomfortably again. “Maybe I really do need to give someone a call.” He immediately checked his phone and found several names with their associated numbers; women who remained interlaced with his life in undefined and inexplicable ways and that always seemed available for dinner and, later, some more intimate, mutual gratification.

He was chagrined at the heat which wafted upwards from below but decided, in his flawed and absent judgment, that it was due only to the words written and not where they had come from. The last line stood out, ignominious, brutal and orphaned at the end of an aborted and unsatisfied, verbal foreplay.


Maybe the connection was not so distant after all.

Another conversation came to mind; that with a dear friend, far, far to the south-west, in which, was discussed dominance and submissiveness in relationships and the perverse lengths that it can arrive to.

“Isn't it all about that?” he questioned, abstractly - the query unhinged from any apparent consistent train of thought.

His hands slithered away from the keyboard, knotting and warring with one another until, tired of their fretfulness, he rested his chin on the restless mass of two, large hands and they submitted, becoming quiet.

“The bodies want; the minds seek,” he intoned philosophically and the hands, freed from their submission, hammered out the invocation on the keyboard.

“It is in the diastema between the two where is found dislocation and the loss of purpose.”

This time, with a page and a half filled with abstractly disjointed ramblings, his fingers continued to tap away at the keyboard – more gently, as though calmed and directed by the action of some internal flow, an immediate expression of the union between conscious and subconscious streams of thought.

True – they revealed, still dancing – there are dominant and submissive states but, in a world where no two things are exactly in balance, not exactly equal in relative importance at any given time, where is the give and take of balance to be found if not in trading off of dominance? It must, surely, be this way in solid relationships: each partner knows their own relative strengths and weaknesses and those are exchanged, making the union more powerful than the individual. If that is the case, then so it must also be within the context of our own selves: there is no part – mind, body or single sentiment – that is, innately, more of value to the whole than what others may be. Therefore, an equitable exchange of dominance must be sought in order to bring equilibrium to the whole, satisfying the desires of the mind and the needs of the body.

“Without balance, where would we be?” He nodded and picked up his phone.

He tapped at the reflective surface and chose, not quite randomly, a name and number. He pressed 'send'. The call clicked through and the ring burbled back on the other end of the digital line. He shifted the phone to the crook of his shoulder as he heard a familiar response.

“Hi Tamara. Long time, no see. How are you?”

“Hi yourself,” came the enthusiastic response, the voice lowered to scarce more than a whisper. “I'm excellent, thanks. I'd been wondering if you fell off the Earth.”

“I've been busy and kind of distant, lately. Sorry.” His voice, he noticed, was thick with anticipation. “If you are up for dinner, I'll tell you about it. You hungry?”

“I'm always hungry,” she said and laughed. The sound of her laugh was musical, liquid and sensual.

His hands drifted, noncommittal, over the computer and then moved autonomously, saving the document and closing the lid of the device.

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