The Intuition of Imagination

by Graham Haught

 
If at all, it occurs in the most mundane of situations when the books near the couch lose the intoxicated heat of interest. The people who tend to come and go as they talk and lithely angle their bodies on the floor, all of these embodiments of interaction dissipate into the dull hiss of the ancient heater that with cracked ribs echoes an eerie POP and thisssss. The meter of banality enters the room in whatever way it moves, however unpredictable its form or guise. Throughout it all, the windows aren’t functional. They are broken, some may call them, and so the pulling fragrance of cigarettes or lilacs stirs the pulse into movement, into the hardened space of terse jerks and sweat.

At other times it comes during moments of intensity, of indecision and placated feelings. That instance when you know that you should be doing something with yourself (i.e. studying or worrying about the future), but instead settle on the go to, that snapping familiarity of desire. Restless or tired or depleted or self-loathing- it crunches within the limbs and needs a response, attention even. It overrides the peculiar nature of responsibility and the frosted edges of an ego. It is more than it seems and promotes itself as more direct than the relational filament between siblings, parents, or lovers. And it all begins with a certain wetness.
 
To the woman at the café who was sitting on a red cushion, looking out at the urban tide of Shattuck lapping past her peripheral, she turns to the woman next to her, preferably her friend but a sister could work, and says, “I just can’t understand where the passion went? After two years the sex became a task, more burdensome than pleasurable. It used to be so good. It used to inspire.” The friend and/or sister, acting as the understanding sage of relational worries, stabs her wrinkled brow with the stumps of her fingers. She appears frustrated, unable to bespeak of any cure or magical wonder that could appendage her mentally mutilated friend and/or sister. She turns to the cup of light brown coffee. Its tubular yet paper surface calms her momentarily. It is warm to the touch. The friend and/or sister leans back in her chair, furthering the anticipated response with acutely timed melodrama, and points one stumpy index finger at her frontal lobe and whispers, “It’s all in the fantasy of the mind.”

The woman looks down at her cup of coffee, which is black, and then looks at her friend and/or sister’s cup of coffee. The white noise of nearby conversation rushes blood to her forehead. She feels woozy, light-headed even, and focuses her glance back at the movement of Shattuck. Construction workers are picking away at the concrete structure of a building. A woman in overalls walks her Great Dane. Children laugh.
 
The bathroom is hollow in its aesthetic but not in its composition. Crumbled beer bottles lay forsaken in a corner. Spray paint and other monuments of collegiate inebriation-inspired artisanship flay limp and fallow in faded scratches on the walls. The shower is sarcastically painted pink for no reason. There is no toilet paper or soap. The orangish sink is clogged with facial hair, toothpaste, and carcasses of vomit. The mirror is sprayed, dirtied. What were once white tiles are now grayish and musky. A black XL Grateful Dead t-shirt functions as the window’s curtain. War splattered tampons clump together in the trashcan forming a mauvish colored mound. In a sense, there is a general cohesion of coedness and a complete lack of hygiene embedded in the one room designated for such acts of self-cleansing.

The toilet is the beacon, the temple. The circular wings of the seat are stained a yellowish-pink. The weight of the body (if shirtless) rests with the back against the white plastic lid, creating at first a coldness that tapers into eventual homely warmth. It is at this exact instance that lubrication, be it saliva, soap, or a numerous variety of hand creams or anal lube, is applied to the flaccid phallus. The already opened laptop affords such handy online organizational devices, such as Google Docs, which provide a specialized, yet meager assemblage of hyperlink htmls suited to the interests of the masturbator. Each link leads to a chamber of lust-fragmented speculation, which, with enough clicks and enough slowly loaded HD QuickTime videos, lead the penis to slowly harden. Grow firmer. The hand massages the selected lubrication down the slope of the shaft while the masturbator multitasks by means of observing the said video and/or jpg while introspectively crawling through the canon of his sexual history. He closes his eyes.

Arms and legs and thighs and breasts emerge to create the magnetic vortex of the desired and highly idealized female genitalia. Whether that crotch embodies a lover or the camel-toe of a Russian tennis player is beside the point. What must be noted is that the masturbator is simultaneously a human aesthetician, an imaginative wanderer, a mental antiquarian, a persevering sensualist, and a proud/closeted worshipper of feminine divinity. The masturbator is not one to objectify women, but rather, appreciate the co-gender act that both created him and destroys him. He is an admiral of the binary functionalism of the female crotch, in all its wayward ying-yang operations. But what is most important about self-pleasure is the space it forces the individual (sometimes) on a daily basis to exist within a made-up world with fictionalized interaction, much like a book functions for a reader. There exists for the masturbator a form, a script by which he follows and the rest is left to the creative juices of imagination.
 
My father is a man of astute convention. Each morning he wakes up at the first BEEP BEEP of his alarm clock, which generally reads 4:30 AM or 5 AM, and saunters to the kitchen. Already knowing himself and his routines thoroughly, each night he brews a large pot of highly-caffeinated Trader Joe’s Costa Rica Finca Leon black coffee. No sugar. No cream. In the morning, upon entering the kitchen, he locates the pre-brewed pot of coffee and pours himself a cup in a larger-than-normal sized mug. He takes a small nip at the black liquid just to make sure it tastes the same as it did the morning before. Indeed it does.

With the mug steaming in his right hand he wafts over to the living room, but first, removes his slippers so as not to dirty the room’s tan carpet. His socks skim the surface of the carpet with a soft tickle as he sets his cup of coffee on the brown lacquered coffee table that houses a lamp, a stone cut coaster, a notebook with a corresponding pen, and a Bible. The edges of the Bible are frayed from years of use and look stained, rugged, and even inked over with plausible coffee spills. This is his set up.

For an hour plus my father reads passages from the Bible that his Daily Devotion direct him to. In turn he responds accordingly with slow head nods and snaps of intercessory prayer. The adjacent coffee provides a sudden awakefullness to his morning ritual. He holds his pen as he reads, marking up significant passages, making notes in the margins, and journaling his thoughts and worries into his notebook. The feeling of watching my father in the morning is one of sublimity.

After returning home from work, while listening to NPR’s “This American Life” in his white Honda Pilot, and after eating a meager vegetarian dinner with my mother, while discussing their mundane dramas of the day, and after brewing a pot of Trader Joe’s Costa Rica Finca Leon coffee, my father removes his slippers before entering bed. He kisses my mother goodnight between the sheets and sleeps for somewhere between five to six hours before he rises with the first BEEP BEEP of his alarm clock.
 
Billie is infamous for his performance art on Upper Sproul, which stresses elements of the absurd layered on top of meaningless acts such as wearing blacked out goggles as he rests next to a constantly spinning yet dilapidating bicycle webbed with grey yarn. His performances usually warrant a few chuckles or high-fives. Sometimes even the occasional bagel. However, if one is curious enough, the retired acid-head will speak to whoever will listen. And if one is patient enough to separate his neurotic ramblings from his interpretations of War and Peace, one may hear him voice his theory of the feminine force.
It sounds something similar to this:
Never touch a woman. You lose imagination when you begin to touch a woman, you lose the ability to work with what she has and who she is. You become engulfed in touch, which by associative definition doesn’t require creativity. Once you begin to touch a woman it is almost impossible to go back to using your imagination with her. What you should do instead is watch women, notice the movement of their legs, metaphorize them, link them to similes, turn them into mythical creatures because women are our last form of sirens today, our last form of a creative muse. If you use your imagination you are recreating them and they will then be born again, reborn, I guess you could say, into a new guise, a new persona. Don’t just use women, birth them in your minds.
 
Imagination and creativity take different forms according to the individual. Some create art and stand back to admire the expanse of where their mind has taken them. Some take drugs in order to find a higher lift to what they can’t normally reach. Some reside in a world of habit, which comforts them. But throughout the differing shapes and colors and backgrounds of men, all are drawn together by the function of the orgasm. It is the masturbator, who can be every man or every woman, everyone essentially, who clings to imagination as the means to an orgasm. What is important is not the orgasm itself, but the stirring and crawling and necessitated need to explore the capacity of fantasy. These can appear as moments of lust-driven desire. They can appear as instances of objectification or self-loathing. But more thematically, these moments can be recognized as a sanctuary in which imagination overrides reality and produces a tangible, hormonic result.
 
The toilet water possesses a murky, whitish substance. It floats, recently ejaculated from the male body. The masturbator is then necessitated to wipe his hands through his thigh hair in order to lessen the slippery lacquer of the lubrication. The nearby sink affords him the prospect of washing if necessary. The toilet is then flushed as he returns to his room to experience that which is experienced by him who is willing to confront reality and label himself as alive.
 

Graham Haught: Born in Fresno (CA), raised in the sun, read in the shade, lives in the light-shafts of permeability. Age 22. Jason agrees with Margaret. Truly a B.F.M.T.