I last left off saying that I would try to do a stream-of-consciousness write for the speaker of "Firsts," and what I realized in the process is that the she, let's call her J (I thought about the way all my literary examples last time had their main character female with first names beginning with the letter J and thought maybe that's a formula for a good romantic tale, or not), is not as meek or as passive as the original draft will have you believe. Writing in J's voice, I found that she holds her appeal as a covert weapon, one not easily discerned for the outside. Her character is so much more alive and interesting than it had been before that it seems to betray her age, which when I wrote the first draft I imagined to be a teenager. But then when I think about it, isn't it in your teens that your chest must be puffed out the most? When you are most insecure of yourself but so sure about decisions you've already made? Perhaps I was living in a cliched idea of how a young girl losing her virginity ought to feel. I ought to know better, my own lost of virginity episode was as anti-climatic as most, but what was most significant about it was how sure I was in my decision and even in the process. It's a sort of blind confidence that's harder to maintain now that I've matured, a-hem all-around, that makes decision-making a much more pain-staking task than ever before.
The next step in this process will probably be how to marry the images of the first draft to the voice of the speaker. I'm starting to hate my first draft, I wonder if that's progress.
You think because he calls me up from abysmal wells that he is master over me,
but you don’t see the way he levels his arms, knocks back his hardness
when he is faced with me. He wishes he could wring his skin of me the way
he does other women too faint to be heard over his wolfing nights. I give
to him the pieces of me I can bear to lose. He imagines me hot water.
Truth is I know his name better than he knows his own. I reach into his wood
hollow and pull out prayer, grate it into his bicep with my razorblade of tongue.
I hear his time crackling and sparking pretty like ember. He seeks me out like
the sleep he’s been missing, knows I’m like grass, always a few staggered steps
away. You think because he runs wayward that he’ll always be lost in songs
he can’t escape living in or places he can’t pronouce. Poor thing, watches
a room arouse itself with smoke wanting to savor, his mouth open and
drying, its strange wetness wishing to God it were steam.
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