On Performing

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There are things one learns. The pads of the fingertips, for example. That each one matters at every depth and that a mark should be left but not much. One learns how to press them into flesh. To roll them up to leave the nails off. To squeeze the teeth down with lips along the ridge. To knead. To slap soundly with a cupped hand. To not pull the skin too far to the side; that it will dimple. That smaller things will complicate their force. That a body is stronger than what is manmade, that the cushions collapse at the back, that brass-railed beds will break, that wall fixtures don’t hold human weight but two palms impressing on another’s forearms make a sturdy base. That eyeliner amplifies age. That the bluer the vein the more the sperm burns, that it digs in the skin and breaks the membranes. That sweating will soothe it. One learns to prime by leading with the heel of the hand in short movements and arc out. To prime over everything. To ask first and question later. To spit from the right side of the mouth to adjust the thickness. To roll it from the back of the tongue and over the top before a downward plunge. To breathe. To breathe in great big breaths before it. To go slack to ask for the air back. That any movement of the mouth on the teeth looks menacing from the top. That toes are collective and fingers are not; that they take different treatments from the tongue. Raw on the knees is okay but not on the face. That it looks bad. That blood drawn on the back is the best place. That fucking the ass is never the same pushing in as pulling away. That a kiss should stick. Cuts mark harder as they travel south, that they fade out fastest on the underside. That throats are best grabbed when the lungs expand; friction best slickened with spit. That everything starts with the eyes and how they meet. That hits shouldn’t strike sideways. Hair should be moved through curled hands in thick centered grips at the base. Molars are dull and incisors will nick at the foreskin. Tilting the chin down can get more length in. Two hands are better than one. A body with bruises will take more and one without scars will quit. That ‘taking more’ is a measure of worth. That the scream rings different when it’s meant. That sex is a performance. That by extension there is a chance to outlast, to sear sickly into memory, to be revived in the private actions of an audience again and again, that it will be done as a unit or not at all, that to reach it there are rules. That they are fixed. That they are the rules of Improv, that it is understood by the bodies involved that any action will be impulsively met and incited in form with Yes, and—.

 

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