Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Erotic Landscape of New York (an excerpt from The Edge of the World)

When I moved to New York City I was struck by the sensuality of the landscape. I mean, I knew about the sensuality of the women there—indeed, when I was just a visitor to the city that was the thing that stood out most in my mind. But only upon moving to New York, and becoming a resident, did I begin to fathom that the physical structure of the city itself was rife with concupiscent images.

First were the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Seeing them on the drive into town they seemed like mere skyscrapers, nothing more than concrete, steel, and glass. It was an image that bespoke not of sensuality but of those decidedly non-erotic activities of business and industry. Yet, beholding the towers from a closer perspective, while standing on the far side of West Street, I began to see something else; and what I saw were a woman's legs, stretched upwards towards the sky as if to anticipate the crucial moment when, spreading them, she allows her lover to enter her.

I often took walks to West Street for this very reason. There was a spot, about two thirds of the way down from Carlisle Street going towards Rector, where the erotic effect was at its most vivid. And in moments of fancy I could practically hear the conversation between this very long legged woman and her unseen lover—conversations in which she would at first tease him, even scold him, before begging, like a desperate woman just set loose upon the soil of Manhattan, to be fucked and fucked hard.

The next area of Manhattan to have erotic implications for me was the neighborhood around the Flatiron Building. Whenever I ventured there I found myself enamored by the fragrance of the neighborhood—though perhaps "fragrance" isn't the right word as "smell" is the word which best describes what entered my nostrils upon my heading up Broadway towards Twenty-Third Street. It was a smell not unlike that which permeates the atmosphere around the open-air fish stalls in Chinatown, which is to say that it was the smell of a woman.

I investigated this matter over the course of a few weeks, at the end of which I discovered that the smell was emanating from The Flatiron Building itself. It seems that through its triangular shape (and through some variety of sympathetic magic), this famous New York structure had become a gigantic working replica of a woman's genitals, with the wide area of the triangle at Twenty-Second Street being the beginning of the pubic region, and the narrow tip at Twenty-Third Street being the entrance to the vagina.

Not surprisingly, I found that gently rubbing The Flatiron Building at this point would cause moisture to seep through the stone. Soon the masonry itself would give way, becoming fleshlike, so that I could insert my fist, or entire arm even, into the building's viscous opening. In fact, on a few very pleasant occasions, I was able to place my entire head into the opening, happily lapping up the building's moisture as I caressed the soft outer masonry with my hands.

Although there were other structures in New York with similar erotic qualities, The World Trade Center and The Flatiron Building were, for me, the most significant. There were days when, despondent over the loss of loved ones, I found my salvation in these solid forms. When, through the static state of their being, I found both comfort and knowledge—and a sense of calm separation from those forms which, by their fleeting nature, eluded me.

And in the strange days which lie ahead—days when the incidents of my past life fade into shapeless anecdotes to go along with the odd trinkets I leave behind—these structures, although they never belonged to me, will be as a legacy bestowed upon my memory, speaking even more than these words of who I am or who I was. And though these great structures may one day be destroyed, their memory will remain, carrying me through an eternity which persists beyond streets and skyscrapers, beyond continents and oceans, beyond the air itself and that final, shiver inducing cataclysm we call The Edge Of The World.

Excerpt originally published in Pink Pages, 1995.

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