The rough hemp noose gives another inch. Your bruised trachea crackles. Smells old and strong. Dipped and cured in some furious nutritive. You know the taste. The local intoxicant of kerosene and turpentine. It grows wild on the outskirts. Not even. The fraction of. The numbest hollow of breath. The muscles in your lungs tighten at instinct. Force them apart. Leave a gap and tighten. Your handler whoever they are tonight or today. You can’t tell how many days or hours has past. Hesitates with a private knowledge. The low necrotic murmur of his laugh. Private enough for you. Tightens in your bowels. You know this knowledge of the grasp, the subtle trust of the fingers. The flicker of gloved fingertips that stay to long across the skin that says they know. The flexible skin along the back of your throat hungered pulled and buckled. But buckles the rope to the strangle collar. Its weight makes you buckle your knees. Don’t buckle them. Pull your back straight. But the luscious breath like dark lurid wine. The pressure like wet rust, like a gentle tourniquet. The sigh trapped deep in the throat cannot rise. You couldn’t force it out. Once you saw a street performer swallow a shard of a broken vodka bottle and then spit a shower of black diamonds high into the air. They did not land anywhere. The spinning shrieks of light danced over the night blaze. Lost in some impossible orbit. Once an hour or less they jerk it free from your palette. Soak it again and shove it further in. Don’t cry when the bucket is nudged between your knees. Only relax. The wide rounded object pushed as far as it will go. You’ve always wondered the limits of this abstract space. Not blunt but expertly. Turned and twisted past its limits. A soothing command is whispered against your thigh. Flex shoulders apart. Feel the straps spring back. The tension in the leather and canvas straight jacket is show and substance. When you first heard the heavy clasps jangle across the concrete floor. It got you what you needed for the rest. The rising heat against the bone. The elastic in the fabric does the work. Force your hips apart. You are the inkblots for submission. The yank of the industrial rubber band in every intimate direction. It scares you, what they’ve thought of. Works the hunger pull of its furious sumpter. The muscles along the inner fissures of the thighs. You want to kneel, and then when allowed the leash to, want to stand again. Want to put your weight anywhere except under or over the knees or ankles. You are a country of ache, a structural agony point, a pain architecture. He’s already threatened to lift you. Turned the cranks that groaned and shrieked above you. Tightened your harness. Watched you ankles scrabble for purchase. They’re already crooked, already hobbled with the weighted straps. On tiptoe like a stress position ballerina. One toenail snaps. You screamed then. Felt the hot liquid spray your thighs. He enjoyed it. You felt his hot breath smooth against your stomach heavy. He muttered your name. A thousand intonations of it. Combined with every foul appeal. But he held you up. With one hand on the back of your collar. And after your own shrieks you heard him. His slow greedy gasps. The underfur of a whimper. He slid the palms of his gloves. Not the back. Not the backhand you’ve become accustomed to. Across your ass. Beat you with with an incredible force. Told you not to do that again. Scolded you. As if you had tried. Placed you back solidly on the block. Pull the pain towards them. The handcuffs come last. Electrical tape under the burn. Wrapped in razor wire fine as spun silver. You can feel the inject points but nothing past them. You’ve got the wrists. But lost your fingers from the joints all the way down. Only sense them trembling against the backs of your thighs. They feel cold. Wax as corpses. Through the misshaped joints curdled like perverse bones. Once you saw a bird flap its wings broken from the inside out falling terrified into a live electrical wire. It’s neck had been jerked at an angle. A handler had simply broke its neck, then wings, then throw it up. Up to the base of the the neck. Where it throbs patient as a fresh pulse. The man with his hands on you presses a thin blade against your throat. The dull side. Taunts you to try. He’s tracing a pattern. You trace it across the roof of your mouth. You lose it in the calligraphy. It is one of the many sacred names. That become profane when pronounced in derision. In the smoke the man blows on your face. He’s smoking a thick cigar dipped in tar. He hovers the big cherry over your exposed cock. Teases it just above and below your balls. Over the length of trembling tissues. He touches it once. You shriek. Only don’t feel the orifice shriek. But flex and groan with need. This millimeter opening out. And for a moment believe he would really do it to you. Reliving the crushed spine. Once you saw a film of the spine crushed in against itself. Of the crooked edges tangled in a traffic jam around the nerve. Breaking the skin one by furious one. To expose the soft yellow nerve tissue. Glue plaque and gristle. Around the bottle neck of the leather hood that covers you from your skull to the collar. You’ve already forgotten what is past it. What is left outside this tunnel vision of survival. The deprivation and the give. The tightening and expanding. The constant tremor in gravity. A last drop hits your thigh. You mistake it for what it is. I’m sorry for this, he tells you. As though informing without remorse. Then he pushes the block out from under you.
Genelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, an abuse survivor, over 30, and proud. They earned their BA in English from California State University Sacramento (2009), and their MFA in Writing and Poetics graduate of Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m Press, 2011), with a new chapbook pending publication. Their work has been published or pending publication in over 50 publications. They are currently at work on their first full length work. They are a volunteer submission reader at Tule Review, and they hosted Red Night Poetry. They plan to run their own literary publication in the future.