Wormy Little Boy
by Nina Sadur
The man is strong. Hes handsome,
tall, expansive. He has black eyes, a burning mouth. He takes your breath
away, and you can no longer remember who you are. But he cant give
you happiness. Thats just the way hes made. Ive given
it a lot of thought, and figured out why it is that things work this way.
The man comes and blots out the worlds ugliness with his body, like
a hero. Before him everything pales, fades, leaving only the liverish
heat haze of passion. But he cannot, cannot give you happiness. Thats
how hes made. Hes not what he seems. Not at all. Hes
unhandsome, untall, cramped and petty. He arrives and wolfs down everything.
I putter away in the kitchen, denying myself everything, and hell
come and wolf down everything. Or then wont come at all, and Ill
have nothing to live for, no reason to clean this hallway, nobody to wolf
down my salary. Its not that much anyway, seventy roubles, plus
twenty from the Ermolovsky Theater. And no days off. But theres
a trade-off: at the matinee performances kids throw copecks. I bet I make
half a rouble a month that way. Plus of course candy, apples, badges,
buns. Little handkerchiefs. With their names in them. Lyuba Vakheta.
Mitya Mishutin. But no man was ever moved by a little handkerchief.
He is himself a tempter. Because thats how hes made. He was
bitten by an imp of deceit, and he put on masks. Hes sincere in
those masks, he thinks they are his face. But those masks are for us.
Only the beady little eyes are his. The rest: the mask. Thats why
theres never anything good with a man. Thats the way hes
made, thats the way he turned out: he wears masks. And he hides
his little eyes. In fact hes Ham. Hes dumb as dirt. A bollard.
A mercenary. Hes grasping. And thats how you should treat
him too: kick him in the cabbage, know your place, slave. But: he comes,
wolfs down everything, guzzles down everything. Look what a glutton he
is, everything into his great fiery maw: chunks of food, wine, the silverware,
filling himself with dark juices. Hes a rebel. At first he talks
the talk. He breathes into your soul. He gives you those words, those
looks. His touch. His waters run deep. Full of mystery, this dirt. A tragedian.
Calls you to wrack and ruin. But gives up the ghost in a feather bed,
by his wifes side. Shell apply mustard plasters at parting.
And he wont call you before he dies. The old dog.
Men dont grow old. There are only
old people. All men are deceivers, lovers of freedom, tall in their masks,
they walk on their two feet and wolf down everything. They wolf us down
in all our virginity, our future, our bones. They putrefy us with death,
infect us with death. They drink us dry and crumple us like a milk carton.
They have no shame before us. Were a different race from them. They
feel shame only before God. This is what they say: Ive fallen
in love with this woman. Let everything happen for the best. It
wont. No. And they know it, and fuck with us anyway. And they arent
afraid of God. And God knows that man was bitten by an imp of deceit.
Of lust. Of flight. Of freedom. No shackles. Deceit. How on Gods
green earth could that imp have bitten this shit? He should have bitten
a woman. So she could have putrefied the man, robbed him of his virginity,
his future, drunk him dry and left him to grow old alone. So men could
become women, and women men.
Some men have birthmarks. But they too
are masks. Never trust them. But having a man is good for your health!
Dangerous too. A man is a beast. Hes swallowed a scorpion. He can
sting you. He tramples women underfoot, baits them, teaches them things
and then despises them for learning all his vile games so cleverly. Men
lust after our ungrown daughters.
Theyre monstrous. Theyre
senseless. Their heads should be chopped off. At birth. But they can play
on your pity. Because a mask has to have strings, and does.
Because of the dangerous life a man leads,
worms appear in his brain. And they gobble up his wrinkly old brains,
suck dry his gray matter, and the man becomes even more brutish. And when
he lies down, sleeps, the worms peek out of his ears. Out of his left,
a worm! Out of his right, a worm!
Vanity and violence. And the man-bollard
sleeps unmasked, and horrible is his face, and the suckling worms peek
out and squeeeeeak with delight at how delicious he is.