In my dream, I seem to be undercover in my own romantic history, a symbolic representation of it anyway, a diorama disguised as a lavish sex party where the collisions and collusions and cominglings of many periods are unfolding simultaneously in the electric blue ambience, blue movies unspooling all at once in the orgone ocean of my undermind.
A younger me would frequent parties like this when he lived in San Francisco, almost always those thrown by Polly Superstar and Professor Violet at a densely wormholed scifi tantra temple called Mission Control, a haven for holy hyperharlots and carnal karmanauts of every strain and persuasion. In my waking life, one of my projects in progress is helping to edit Polly's fierce memoir. Much has changed in my headspace since my fifteen minutes as a bon vivant in the freakiest of demimondes, but I did experience a miracle or two or three in those artfully textured spaces. I also had a strange habit of evading miracles for deep and creepy reasons. Those times have been on my mind of late when I'm not focused elsewhen. In my dream, I'm at Mission control (a sprawling apartment, seven big rooms, each with its own ambience and decorative logic). But the rooms go on forever and are clubs unto themselves. I can feel that my head is freshly shaved but I'm evading my reflection. I've been trained for this. I know you avoid all mirrors when you're swimming downstream in your own tangled timeline. I'm wearing tinted plastic glasses. I look like a narc from the future, fresh from some asylum for psychic fractures accrued in the line of duty, here to assess my younger self and dissect his delusions from a distance. I think that's what I'm doing. Or maybe I'm just a ghost, haunting myself backwards. That would explain why no one can see me. I know they can't see me because I'm reading their minds.
There's me in my early thirties. Decadent. Handsome. Knowing it. Loving it.
I see the women who were of this scene: Rose, Lulu, Stasha, Eloesh, Maile, Stephanie, Melissa, Indra, Polly herself. Several others. Women I flirted with and shared kisses with. The name they all knew me by was Orji Walflauer, and I'm realizing that as much as that name was a door-opening invitation into debonair absurdity, it was also a conjuration of abiding frustration. We shape things when we name them. Despite the fact that I was at the peak of my personal gorgeousness and moving through zones of promiscuous beauty and strange telepathy and fetishistic frenzy, I wore a kind of force field. I was ensconced in a lascivious polyamorous demimonde, and inwardly I was still addicted to an adolescent abstraction of romance. I wasn't just hungry for the skin of the Other, or for contact with her essence. I craved assimilation...interface...SYMBIOSIS. I wanted to be invited to experience an alien being's beauty utterly, in its every facet...to possess that beauty completely and unendingly...and to be possessed in turn...dreamed about...a fanatical monogamous jihad of mutual worship and sexual espionage. A mingling of multiple selves. A splicing of spectral bordellos.
That's a difficult thing to put in a want ad, to ask for directly, or to even hope for. It's the sort of thing that is only likely to happen by accident (if you believe in accidents). I've actually experienced it, here and there. "Unendingly" is the ambition, but imperfect invocations of the deepest Venus have their own life-cycle, their own half-life, and their own designated shelf-space in one's repertoire of lovers you barely think of anymore. But every time eternity goes wrong and contracts into the finite, the muscles in you that can extend to contain a cosmos get bruised. You end up flinching at the first sign of caution, the first hint of distance. It gets so you'd rather slither, unmoved, through a garden of possibilities than test one and lose the dream to some glitch in the execution.
In the dream, I'm realizing that I know EVERYONE here. The guests are mostly female. Women who extended invitations that I evaded or refused because I wanted them too much. Women who covered the surface of my forcefield with lipstick prints to no avail. Not just women in the Mission Control context, but all the crushes that may have been mutual, all the obvious flirtations that scared me into awkwardness, all the tidal tugs of chemistry and friendships I resisted because I knew I'd never own her. There are boys at the party, too, from early affairs and experiments and accidents of chemistry, before I came to grips with the troubling fact that an identification with gay culture, dearly loved gay friends, and an appreciation of every kind of beauty did not add up to me being gay, when slap came to tickle. But every guest seems glamorized with a nimbus of what could have been. Every flirtation seems to have the blueprints for a feverish communion folded up inside its moment. It's a biblical zoo of beasts I never knew who make their ogler seem beastly by contrast. A garden of throbbing doorways i didn't have the nerve to cross, unlived adventures hanging in suspension in the aching abyss between what comes to pass and what doesn't. I corner my handsome younger self and I slap the handsomeness. HARD. I want to tell him to shut off the forcefield, grow up and LIVE. But it comes out as a bubblebath brainwash of a come-on that will never be consummated. It comes out like something HE would say. Even if he did hear some sketch of my truth and knew it to be the urgent plea of an older him who wishes he'd let more love in, he'd just go home and write about it and go on as he did. And here I am. We are who we are, maybe. Maybe I knew what I was doing. The spaces left where we didn't love can be filled up with the song of our longing.
I woke up wistful but glad I'm not that kid.