Body & Bed
by Eurydice Eve
Where I come from there’s no nice word for this size of gargantuan hunger & for the shameless bulimic behavior. it brings out a little girl like me who was raised by a good family like mine. Bulimia is a Greek word that refers to eating everything in sight. Nothing about purging in the toilet bowl is ever inferred. So when my pretty skinny ladylike mom left the table & sat hugging the toilet I had no name for it except she had a stomach ache sth she ate upset her stomach.
We are in the midst of a slow simmering female revolution. From allegations against studio heads and journalists, to hotel maids recounting abuses on the job, women are exposing the truth and men are losing their jobs. But the revolution whose third wave this is has been too selective. The men passing me in the street who devour my little body with their eyes as I walk the dogs, the waiters who wink with their arms invisible laden with piled up dishes of multilayered food like towers of talismans against greed, the construction workers up in unseen rafters/ who catcall as I pass by the urine smelling site walking over rubble getting smacked by torn ad banners in the ocean breeze, the bikers veering too close to the dogs & me as we cross the one way avenue revving so loudly my nerves jump & my eyes turn to see their exhausts spew fire inches from my legs, the breathless runners on the boardwalk who stop to chat me up & get my number, the feral cat feeders on the boardwalk who talk cat rescue with me & ask for my number, the guys who ogle when I pass the guys who stare when other guys offer to buy me a drink the guys who walk behind me but do not pass me the guys who I can imagine are following me home the predators the perverts the hungry beasts the ones who have nothing to lose the ones whose appetite I know too well, my brothers in hell, the anonymous strangers whose gaze rapes us every day, what do we do about them? Do we out them? Do we make sure they lose their measly jobs? Do we confront them, one on one in a dark alley on the way to the dog park? The drivers who honk & when they catch my passing gaze as I drive by in my lane stick out their from tongue & lick the air between their open point & index fingers like it’s a pussy, do we look away, avert & move on? & what do we do about own own hunger that never subsides or gets satiated, that gets louder the more it gets fed or ignored, our hunger to take it all back in between our legs & say, crawl back inside, you, you’re wanted, you are loved, relax, don’t ache. What the fuck do we do with all that? How do we handle the personal daily one on one energies?
In every one of us a demon lies hidden. Intimacy cuddling coming are the only things that keep my demons quiet & at rest. I’ve tried everything, prayer alone & in groups chanting yoga running.
Some nights in the heat of the bed
everything that I am cries out
for pleasure and pain like a church bell
whose peals call the faithful to worship.
I call my inner concerted pang
the growing hunger inside my every part
my appetite for everything.
It turns me on to resist & control it.
Men say even God likes to be desired
like a teenage virgin just on the verge
of opening for the first time dressed
like a slut to own her new curves
like a clean-cut southern belle
splaying her oiled shiny labia
on a glossy page in playboy.
Others would say I should dress modestly & walk with my head down & my hips stiff as fear & all in all display no confidence no joy not the bliss of being alive in this beautiful world but fear, display fear, one of the faculties I constitutionally lack. But I have tried all that. When I was raped, I was wearing a second-hand fluffy coat that went to my knees & snow boots & pants. I was walking in a hurry in the cold from the aMTrak station to my uncle’s house in Rye Westchester where I was staying because I couldn't afford a dorm at NYU. The rapists were a gang of boys also overdressed in sweaters & coats. I hadn't seen them because I was walking with my head down against the howling wind thinking of how much I hated looking after my uncle’s toddler kids like an au pair. I doubt my hips swiveled in their usual Anna Karina way because I was feeling like a gladiator about to walk into the ring of domestic fights that did not involve me & I was feeling dejected after coming down from the social high at school to middle class bourgeois tedium & I was freezing cold. I first made eye contact with my attacker when I felt his arms push me off balance & down against the uphill sidewalk concrete on a shady spot where the shaft of electric light from above was broken by a low hanging weeping-like tree misformed by the wind & its DNA. So I have proof, based on incidents too numerous to recount, of my body, all 5 ft & 95 lbs of it, being buried under clothes or other types of camouflage & mounds of disinterest & yet being coveted, hollered at, chased, grabbed, lifted, stripped, kept hostage, & not let go of by acquaintances & strangers alike for decades.
Because my heart always beats with hunger but I hide it, because hunger possesses me like a body-wide alarm that does not vary its intensity but I hide it, because my body pounds desire along with blood like the city that never sleeps but I hide it, because my gaze is prowling & I hide it; & because I spend the rest of the night eating my anger at having to hide & at hiding to no effect till I lie on the tiled floor unable to breathe & passing out. I eat not for pleasure but to turn my hunger into oversatiety & let my wounded overwhelmed body sort through it all, digest it all, heal itself, keep busy till the next gorge so I can keep hiding. Of course I’d rather be sleeping than bingeing. But the upside is, when I stay awake, I don’t have to dream of being chased by those who desire me against my desires & by my desires that I dare not express because I’ll likely get raped again.
Am I complicit in the serial public verbal pickups?
Only by being (in) my (poor) body.
Do I get turned on?
In the street? No. I’m on alert instead.
Never have I masturbated thinking of that.
Is it a reaffirmation of me? Is it flattering at all?
In the street? No! No!
Do I pimp my own body by the way I dress?
In the street? No.
In my bedroom yes.
In my bedroom I objectify myself to get turned on
That’s how I was trained. I have the male gaze.
There’s no other way to gaze & desire.
My Teacher in 8th grade wooing me promising to marry me & a 10 12 yr old boy cutting my name on his arm, what did they teach me? I didn’t even have a period then. They taught me I was prey.
Is Weinstein worse than most? How guiltier is he? He’s an addict is the only difference.
The power is the high for the male.
The power to possess me. To break down my will, turn my No to a Yes. Even though I haven’t changed my No to Yes in decades.
I walk the dogs every night & on every block a guy will say you’re pretty or a stream of Spanish verbiage that sounds like it should be accompanied by guitars will aurally assault me
& threaten me. I run to go back in, to hide.
We are on one level all a single cell organism. The female body is our shared fetish.
The street assault isn’t casual. It’s invasive. Yes just like a rape. It’s not a sexual Namaste.
The sexual part in me recognizes & bows to the sexual part in you. Wouldn’t that be nice? A bow. Hands on the third eye. A bow & a downward gaze & stillness. That would be a dream man.