The Virgin, the Devil, and the Chosen One
Chapter 16

December 11, 1981

I packed my knapsack, giving thanks to God I was going to Manhattan for five glorious Susan-free days. Bonnie was giving a workshop there over the weekend and I planned on staying a few days longer with my friend Eric from Findhorn. My ride pulled up in front. There were already four women in the tiny car, including the driver. I squeezed into the back seat just as Susan came running out of the house in a torn t-shirt and panties. She raced across the lawn then poked her head in the driver's window. “Hi. Can I come, too?”

“Uh, sure, I guess so,” the driver said, “Are you ready?”

“Yes! Just a minute!” She raced back inside the house. I was so furious I couldn't speak. Ten minutes later, the driver went inside to see what the problem was. Ten minutes after that, she came out, shaking her head. Ten minutes after that, Susan came rushing out with so much luggage the trunk had to be repacked, and still there wasn't enough room. She squeezed in next to me in the back seat, jamming a suitcase beneath her feet and a bag behind her head. The car was so small the woman on the other side of me had to sit on my lap, and the woman on the other side of her had to sit on the floor. “There’s more air down here anyway,” she said. The car pulled heavily away from the curb. Five hours to go.

Susan put her arm around me. Her nipple erected through her thin, worn t-shirt and claimed my bicep. My genitals were crushed into a little nut underneath the woman on my lap. Susan’s jealousy pollinated what little air there was. Darkness fell. With difficulty I extracted the writing pad from my knapsack and scribbled poetry in the dark, my hand bumping the ear of the woman crouched on the floor.

But as the hours crawled by, our bodies did their own accepting thing beneath our awareness, and then it was even a little bit nice to be crammed into a tiny space full of women. Although I still felt wedged by mistake into a space capsule with the wrong species. Or at least the wrong religion. The difference between men and women is a religious difference, I decided, like between Christians and pagans. Things are not only different, they are differently seen.

The lights of Manhattan were dazzling, and suddenly I had all the room I needed in the cramped little car. The city was dark, wet and cold, and the car as warm and cozy as a lap. When they let me out on a lonely, windswept corner near Wall St., I felt evicted from the nest. Eric let me in to his enormous fourth-story loft, then left to visit his mother.

During a free movement period in Bonnie’s workshop the next day, I wrapped my arms and legs around a three-foot-wide aerobics ball and started bouncing. Soon I was bouncing so high the other people in the workshop started watching. I started showing off, traveling in huge bounces across the room, higher and farther each time. I checked to see if Susan was looking, and fell from several feet in the air onto my tail. I quickly got back on the ball and bounced lower and lower until no one was looking, then crept to the wall and lay down. Severe pain radiated through my pelvis. My tail felt broken.

After class I walked slowly and painfully back to the loft, enraged at Susan for what she brought out in me. By the time I walked in the door, my left-side lower belly was in spasms of fury, kicking like an unborn baby. I gave birth to it, and wrote a poem that would kill her: “If your witch has made you pregnant in a last-ditch attempt to force me to treat you like a Daddy, I deny it, utterly. Abort your baby, Susan, it is not of me.” I put it in an envelope and tucked it under my pillow. I felt I was sleeping on a knife.

The next morning I was so stiff I could hardly get out of bed. I had to walk so slowly I was late for the workshop. “When I was a little girl I fell on my tail real hard,” a woman was saying when I walked in. “I cried for hours. When my mother tried to comfort me, I said, 'It's not that it hurts, it's that everything is different now and nothing will ever be the same.’”

“Vision begins at the tail,” Bonnie said. “Your vision of the world would never be the same again.” I gingerly lowered myself to the floor. By the end of the workshop I was covered in a heavy, sickly sweat. I walked like an arthritic old man back to Eric's. By the time I got there I was so angry I mailed the knife poem to Susan.

As darkness slaughtered the day, I stood at the huge windows and looked down at the hurly-burly of Manhattan rush hour four stories below. My tail was still in pain. Instead of worrying about permanent damage, I closed my eyes and “looked.” The joint between the second and third coccygeal vertebra was jarred apart. Tail-electricity flooded out from each side of the new crack, filling up the lowest part of my belly with strange light. “This means utter chaos,” a deep voice said, booming around my suddenly hollow head. Thirteen days to Halifax.

I leaped out of bed the next morning just as a glorious dawn broke over New York City. I stretched my fingers up to heaven and a sweetness of sexual joy radiated down my legs. I'd broken my tail out of Jesus jail. Only a Christian would call that damage. I hoped it was permanent.

Eric was over six feet tall and dynamically stout, with green eyes and a shock of straw-colored hair. “You know what I did before I was a stockbroker?” He danced around the kitchen as he tied his tie. “I was growing organic vegetables in the California desert, living on less than a thousand dollars a year. I made a few hundred thousand last year.” He ate a spoonful of granola, ran to the bedroom to get something, darted back to take another bite, then leaped up to look for something else. I felt like a woman lying around in her bathrobe. Eric’s energy jarred the walls like one of the big trucks thundering by on the street below. After he left the loft felt like a gratefully empty vagina.

I called Phyllis to make sure it was okay to visit her and Cary over Christmas with the boys. “Do you know what Carol said about you? She said you were going to be extremely disruptive after not seeing the kids for a whole year. Carol still has that lie in her, the same one she had about Ariel. It's like she doesn't give.”

“Well, I have to go now. See you at Christmas.” I hung up and Eric burst in like a marching band. “Want to play darts?” he boomed out. “Then let's go out for dinner!” My first dart landed with a thunk in the floor, several feet away. “What's the matter with your left hand?” Eric asked. It was stiff from shoulder to fingertip and stuck out in front of my body. . . . to keep Carol away, I realized. I rubbed it, alarmed I hadn't noticed. Eric tossed a dart. It landed in the exact center of the bull's-eye. He threw another one. It landed in the tail of the first one. We walked up to the board to look at them. The two darts were joined in one straight line parallel to the floor. “Eric, I may never see that again for the rest of my life.”

We ran all the way to the French restaurant. Big, blond and rosy-cheeked, Eric looked like a giant Christmas elf in his bright red parka as he surged through people, his enormous boots flinging snow all over me as I struggled to keep up. I ordered calves' brains and we talked about sex for hours. We didn't make it home until after midnight. I headed gratefully for the couch. “Let's go play pool!” he shouted. “I know an all-night pool hall right near here. You'll love it!” He was so chubby-cheeked and sparkling, I followed him out the door. A block later he told me it was another twenty blocks away.

I bent over the felt, saw the flicker of a migraine, then hit the white ball and watched it miss every other ball on the table. The nausea came, then the pain. His turn didn’t stop until the white ball was lonely on the table. I looked up at the blackboard. “Carol” was written at the top. Eric followed my eyes. “We'll have to erase Carol first,” he said.

“I need to talk. Do you mind?” With enough scotch he didn’t. We hung up our cues and sat at the bar. “Carol first made love to me in New York City at 404 West 57th Street. I loved her so much I couldn't handle it, so after a few weeks, I flew to Edmonton to train for a job teaching English to Portuguese gold miners. After seven days, I missed her so much I hitchhiked all the way back to New York City. We didn't spend a night apart after that for over six years.”

“Man, I was always horny for Carol at Findhorn.”

“Everybody was always falling in love with my wife. Especially me.”

“I wish they all could be Carol-ifornia girls,” the radio wailed.

It was past 3 a.m. when we got home. Eric kept leading the conversation around to men having sex with men. Around 5:30 he came out of the bedroom wearing a red bathrobe, and hung around while I undressed for bed. Tension made the air stiff. After I was naked, he walked to the window and looked out. “So, after all that talk about men, do you want to feel each other for awhile?” I remembered a dream from the first night I slept here. . . . Eric and I are two stores. I refuse to make the exchange between them, and as a result they both go out of business. “Sure,” I said, and walked toward him. He opened his robe as I approached so it was a naked hug. I followed him to the bedroom. He handled me, and I erected with the normal flood of feelings, but there was no place for the sexual energy to go. It just built up, male upon male. I had an image of both of our male energy being added to me, which scared me so badly I nearly stopped everything.

“Do you want me to suck you?” he asked.

“I've discovered that attitude precedes behavior, so if my attitude is one of sexual self-love then it doesn't matter what the behavior is. Behavior is irrelevant if the motive is love.”

“ . . . What?”

“Attitude precedes behavior, so if my attitude is one of—”

“Not now,” he said, and went to work. I looked at the top of his head and felt abandoned. My erection went away. He tried everything.

“It's okay, Eric, the same thing happens when women do that.”

“You'll get over it. Want to suck mine?” His penis had such a huge head I thought I was going to gag. He enjoyed it, but didn't come. “Do you want to fuck me?”

I was shocked at his language. “I'll give it a try. I have to pee first, though.”

“So do I.” He stood over the toilet, but nothing happened. “I guess I can't go when you're here,” he said, embarrassed.

“Bashful bladder. In a washroom I have to use a stall.”

“Well, I've never had it before,” he said, miffed, as if it was my fault.

My bladder felt full to bursting, but I had to shut the door and then go back and lock it before I could go. I went back to the bedroom and looked in his huge mirror at the foot of the bed. I looked from the mirror to us and then back to the mirror again, fascinated by the image and the concept of the doubling of the male. There was nothing female in the room, just male and male again.

He lay on his tummy and stuck his bum in the air. I tried to enter, but an anus is a tiny thing. I tried to make it bigger with Vaseline on my finger, but I touched a turd in there and was so powerfully repulsed I lost my erection.

“I guess not, Eric.”

“Do you want me to do you?”

“Well . . . okay.”

“Why don't you turn over on your stomach? I think that's the way it's supposed to be done.” He entered, moving slowly at first, then faster and deeper.

“Ouch!” I yelled, tightening up like a rollie bug. The stabbing pain reminded me of when the doctor lanced my hemorrhoids and I fainted. I remembered the frightened look on the nurse's face as she looked up from the bottom of the stairs and saw me start to fall.

“Just relax, take it easy,” he said, suspended over me like a man-bird in full flight, his huge upper body balanced on powerful widespread arms. I uncoiled. He cautiously began to move again. I moved up and down on him to make him come sooner, then was quiet beneath the sudden power of the male orgasm, the scratchy chest hair, the hard muscles convulsing on top of my back.

He went to sleep. My anus stung. My sacrum felt pushed out of joint. The pressure in my lower belly was explosive. I went to the bathroom, and was greatly relieved to get him out of me.

It was eight in the morning. I fell onto my belly on the couch, seriously exhausted and more than seriously disturbed. I didn't have a way to get back to being me. Sex with Eric had nothing to do with being gay; it was about the sexual feelings of the tail, the utter chaos ones.

I lay like a slug in a terrorized stupor until the phone shrieked and flung me off the couch to huddle shivering like a caged animal behind it. Half an hour later, without deciding to, I sprinted to the shower, then popped into my clothes and out the door to a coffee shop. I ate lots of eggs and wrote of other days and dreams and pretended not to notice how much my anus hurt.

When I got back Eric was still asleep. I was fixing a bowl of cereal when he woke up, a little slower this morning. He avoided my eyes. Just like a man, I thought, runs away after sex. “You know what sex was for me last night?”

“What?” He froze in front of the door, halfway into his jacket.


“What?” He turned around as he shrugged into his jacket. He looked like a giant blond rabbit in suit and tie: pale, jittery, and ready to bolt.

“Oruborous, the snake who eats his own tail. That myth was completed in me with your penis in my anus.” He looked painfully uncomfortable to hear those words. “The Hindus say the perineum is where God enters the human body. Did you know that?”

“Uh . . . What's the perineum?” He looked dazed.

“Between your anus and your balls. Want some cereal?”

One smooth motion took him out the door in seconds.

That night I walked to the window far above dark and rainy Manhattan and felt the sperm in my anus killing me slowly. I remembered the sight of Washington Bridge as the tiny car crammed full of women had driven past it a few days ago. Seen from between the two massive iron legs at one end, it looked like the glowing tail of a dragon angrily lashing back and forth across the dark water. My sacrum buzzed and the back of my sacrum tingled. No wonder I was freaking out. The new energy at my tail was the same size in relation to my ego as the Washington Bridge was in relation to my body.

. . . “My middle is holding back sperm release,” I tell Jesus, “the flood of love throughout my body.” But telling Jesus that means I will have to feel the flood of love, which in turn means I will have to have Eric come in my anus again. Which I will not do. I woke up just as stuck. Before I could talk to Jesus like that, I needed to have sex with a woman who loved me a great deal. Until I did, the utter chaos of the male at the tail would not end. I went back to sleep.

I left Eric’s and threaded my way through rush hour crowds to the bus station. I felt overloaded with maleness, toxic with it. I was halfway across a street when a blast of power shot up from the earth and entered me at my perineum, then rose up the front of my spine into my midbrain where it set off explosions that stopped me dead with astonishment. I had an opening as wide as a vagina giving birth from the tip of my tail to my pubic bone and from one sit bone to the other. An organic blackness teeming with little sparks of life was rising like a geyser from the earth and entering me at my perineum. As I started walking again the uprising blackness increased in force, cascading into my brain like a fountain of thick jungle night, containing all feelings as black contains all colors. When my brain was saturated, the blackness condensed into a chant of power in a deep bass voice resounding in my head to the drumbeat of my blood: “I have three sons or I have none.” I came so quickly to a stop I swayed a little from side to side. I tasted truth. I was the father. I was the only one who had the right to say who was my son and who was not. I had the power of the doubled male within me, and no woman could ever take it away. I started walking again, my mind on fire with thoughts like black flames. I could not arbitrarily choose to have no sons. That was not a human-level decision. But if I could not have three I would have none. I crossed a street without looking. Cars screeched to a halt to let me pass.

I caught the bus to Amherst just in time. I sat down and breathed deeply into the alarming new space behind my prostate. I drifted off, and an image of Halifax at Christmas streaked across my mind: “Mommy is lying, boys,” I tell Caleb and Wren, “I have three sons!” I exploded in sweat. It had taken anal sex to tear off my civilized clothes. There was no force on earth that could make me put them on again. “Bring me my son!” I roar over and over again. She locks herself in the bathroom. I punch the door. It explodes in a shower of splinters. I didn't know how to hold my head up with all that gorgeous black dancing in the back of my skull. I chain-smoked at the back of the bus, scribbling as fast as I could to keep up with the images of taking control away from Carol.

The bus pulled off the freeway in Amherst. The knife poem! I wondered if Susan committed suicide after reading it. The bus stopped with jerks and groans. I walked home nearly fainting with horror and guilt. She greeted me at the door with her very best smile. I managed a sickly grin and a hurried hi, feeling like the dying man who has to console the ones grieving him. I barely made it up the stairs to my room, then collapsed in the hammock. My ears pricked up to the sound of her heavy feet climbing up the stairs of my teeth, then clumping across the roof of my mouth as she walked past my door to her room.

. . . “You're so kind to your children,” a woman says in my large Victorian house. “You're just wonderful with them.” l smile at her. I know it's true. There was peace in knowing that, even though my children might never know it again. I gathered the remaining books on my shelves and took them down to the used book store. They were worth a few dollars. I’d sold everything else.

Sometimes, especially in the last days before Pompeii in Nova Scotia, I needed only to sit quietly in the dark with a nice cup of tea. I looked out the window and saw heavy snow clinging to the evergreen trees until their branches bent over from the weight of snowy abundance. Snow piled up along the sidewalks in long rounded banks of fondness just like in the images of the ideal Christmas that suffocated this season, the absolute worst time of the year I could go to Halifax.

Susan's leaden feet came up the stairs and tramped down the hall and into her room. I badly needed this relationship over. I knew the knife poem would do that, but it just wouldn't come. She pounded to the bathroom and turned on the shower. I worked on catching up my journal. My feelings toward her began to shift away from guilt and loathing. I caught up to the last time we had sex, and remembered when sex had sprung its trap when I was writing out the story of sex the time before. “Oh, no, no!” I put down my pen. The unthinkable horror of sex with Susan—oops. It had been a possibly fatal mistake to think the word ‘sex’—Knock! Knock! Knock! I shot so high off the chair I had time to notice my handwriting getting too small to read before I landed with a great crash just as Susan flung open the door and said, “Hi. Want to have dinner?”

Synchronicity is intuition from without, I told my stunned and incomprehending mind. “Okay, but I might not be able to relate too good.” My voice was a croak. I followed her down to the kitchen and slumped into a chair. All my little rules about how to end the relationship screeched horribly as I broke them. She put the salad on the table, sat down in the chair closest to me, then pulled it close and asked, solicitously, “Are you okay?”

I nearly ran out of the kitchen at the sound of her voice. “No. You're one of the reasons I'm in a state of nervous exhaustion right now. I've had three major deaths in the last three days and then I come home and find you here. I don't know what else I have to do!” My voice broke, so I shut up. But I felt better for having spoken, enough so that her voice didn’t send me screaming out of the room while she told me the story of her week. The grated beets tasted awful. I moved on to the lettuce. It tasted even worse. I looked closer. It wasn’t lettuce. It was beet greens. She was trying to poison me. I hid my salad under my plate to throw out when she wasn't looking, then got more fed up with my stupidity than I'd been with the salad.

“I don't like my salad!” I yelled.

“I'll eat it,” she said sweetly.

I glared at her—and could hardly breathe. I hadn’t really looked at her since I’d gotten back from Manhattan. She was radiantly, catastrophically female. Panic, long, fat, and hard, sprang to life in my pants. I choked. Food flew out of my mouth. I coughed like I was dying. Finally, red-faced and hoarse, I said, “Sexual feeling is like a murderer inside me. Most people don't realize Death is Love to neurosis.” Her face shone as though she’d heard me say I loved her. Angelic light poured off her face. She was the divine perfection of womanhood. In helpless frustration, I began to weep.

“I'm not surprised, but we should do the dishes first.”

I had no idea what conversation she was in. She took another mouthful of beet greens and worked her jaws as she chewed, which only made her look beatifically adorable. My muscles dripped off my bones, hot tears scalded my cheeks, my chin fell onto my chest, and I began to drool. She noisily swallowed the mouthful of beet greens. “Want to go upstairs?” she softly asked, her voice vibrating with celestial harmonies. She stood up, smiling, and streams of loving kindness shone out of her womb. My body filled with a quiet strength, and I followed her upstairs.

I stood forlorn in her messy room. I didn't know how this relationship would ever end if we kept on having sex. I stripped and buried myself under her blankets. There was a strange contentment in the commitment of nakedness. She came back from the bathroom. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“I am naked. I am wearing no doubts.”

I shut my eyes so I wouldn't see her undress. I didn't know if I would survive any more arousal. She slid under the covers and lightly kissed me. A tide of desire washed over me like all the oceans running together in one great wish. My eyeballs rolled up inside my sockets. I panted loudly to keep from fainting, then I drew back the covers and felt like the blind man healed by Jesus. In one astonished first glance he knew both the miracle of love and the miracle of light. My hands were like newborns that had never been nursed. I let them run wild over every inch of her until even the fingertips were so round and stuffed with love they could not take in another drop. Then I let my tongue and lips run free over her soft vanilla ice cream skin, taking deep drafts of her scent, the body odor of an angel. I lay back, satiated. She touched me all over with her small, delicate hands, and kissed me everywhere with kisses like the wet noses of small wild animals. The great erection shrank away from her teeth, but as soon our lips met, I was hard again and moving deep within the endless love of the Female with the endless love of the Male. A long time later the universe began in a blinding roar of light.

I crawled into my hammock and swung softly in the moonlight, dazed but happy, because I didn't know who I was anymore.