Objects of Desire
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Objects of Desire

 Chelsey Clammer
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 Chelsey Clammer
Objects of Desire
by Chelsey Clammer  FollowFollow
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Chelsey Clammer has been published in The Rumpus, Essay Daily, The Water~Stone Review and Black Warrior Review (forthcoming) among many others....read more She is the Managing Editor and Nonfiction Editor for The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review. Clammer is also the Essays Editor for The Nervous Breakdown and Senior Creative Editor of www.insideoutediting.com. Her first collection of essays, BodyHome, was released from Hopewell Publishing in Spring 2015. Her second collection of essays, There Is Nothing Else to See Here, is forthcoming from The Lit Pub, Summer 2015. You can read more of her writing at: www.chelseyclammer.com.
More work by Chelsey Clammer:
Objects of Desire
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A mug full of homemade sangria sat in the cup holder between us, nestled next to the console. Bits of apple bobbed in the blood red liquid, as Rose did not avoid the pot holes.       “Did she fist you, too?” Rose asked, both hands on the steering wheel.       My fingers held on tight to a cigarette, as my arm dangled outside the passenger side window, playing with the air whooshing by. I gripped the mug of sangria, and chugged.
“Dude,” I said after a moment's pause, “she plunged into me without asking.”       “Oh me gawd!” Rose squealed in her east coast accent, the accelerator pushed a bit harder. “The girl made me bleed!”       “Me too!” I gleefully shouted, a bit relieved.       But this is not where the story begins.      
It starts with my second grade teacher, Ms. Gray- not a hottie, but crush worthy. She was sexy in the sense that I wanted to be engulfed by her, by her strong mountain arms. I wanted her to show me the love that I had only previously felt from my mother. And, yeah, I was seven and confusing maternal love with crushed-out-on-my-teacher love (authority figures do it for me). Not so weird. The “learn about sex” book my mother would give me to read in fifth grade said so. Crushes on older females was okay. So was sex among black people, or people in wheelchairs. Cartoons of diversity doing it. The book didn't discriminate against desire.
      As I lie in bed, my hand deciding which large chunk of silicone is the correct width for this moment in time, I realize my crush on Ms. Gray is also not where this story begins. In fact, it begins with a candle. Another crush, although this time it was strangely on a boy. I blame curiosity.
Eight Grade
Some of my friends were already having sex. A girl who was not my friend was pregnant (proof of curiosity expanding in her body). My curiosity led to a candle. Once inside, I felt no flame of desire rise in me. No swelling heat for the boy who was not physically there with me and the candle, even though I tried to insert him in my mind. I was bored.       The penetration did nothing for me.       And yet...

      I lie in bed, my back propped up on three brown pillows.
I have narrowed down my decision to the three largest dildos I own: A blue sphinx, a silver dolphin, and a pink rabbit.

But before this, I am twenty-two and at the supermarket buying cucumbers and condoms. I feel obvious. This, however, is cheaper and somehow less embarrassing than buying a vibrator. I put a packet of gum on the conveyer belt to hopefully distract the cashier from smirking. As I think about this in my pause from figuring out which vibrator I want to use tonight (sphinx vs dolphin vs rabbit), I light a cigarette and remember it wasn't cucumbers but zucchini. The cucumbers looked too big. The zucchini were curved, and that sounded something like potential pleasure.       A great line from a feminist porn- writing workshop I took around the time of the zucchini: “It was like throwing a hot dog down a hallway.”
This does not apply to me and the zucchini.
      Instruments used in an attempt to get off: *     Jumbo-sized black Sharpee *     Jumbo-sized black Sharpee with toilet paper taped to the end of it for padding (I learned my lesson the first time) *     Brush handle *     Family dog's tongue (bestiality never developed) *     Aforementioned candle (peach) *     Pencil (hot dog in a hallway) *     Beer bottle (unwanted foreign object inserted by first girlfriend in a hot tub)
And now we get back to to the story of Kristin's fist, which in a way was a foreign object. I was not prepared for it, it was alien, momentarily unwanted, an unknown object of desire to me until that point, that point when I discovered I wanted it. I want more of that point as I continue to find it, to figure it out for myself tonight (force = mass x acceleration). The sphinx is the skinniest of the three, it's mass now dismissed.       Three years later, my current lover and I discuss the concept of fisting. She has never been fisted, I have never slept with a man. The conversation is not erotic, but technical (we find we have much in common). The two acts are not comparable, unless it's one big penis. She doesn't understand how a fist does not feel like a punch. I explain it depends on the force of the fist. I also explain how the hand is entered first before the fist is made, and then the game is on.       “Did you ever read Where the Red Fern Grows?” I ask.       “Uh. Yeah.”       “Remember the raccoon trap? There's the shiny object at the bottom of the trap. The raccoon has to slide his hand into a small hole to get to it, but he can't pull it out of the trap with the object of his desire gripped in his hand. His fist is too big, and gets stuck. So his hand, and his body are stuck, pumping around inside the trap until he drops what it is he wants.”       My g-spot tingles. The erogenous zone aroused. We have sex for hours. My “learn about sex” book never explained how to feel around for the g-spot, the rough bean-shaped patch of nerves found hanging out on the wall somewhere in there.       I am more of a clit person, though female ejaculation is always fun. Neither my current lover nor I have squirted with anyone but ourselves. She shows me her Hitachi wand. I tell her I like dual action. (It's our differences we share).
      I put out my cigarette and wonder, Silver dolphin or pink rabbit?
Which type of animality do I want to feel tonight? (Answer = Mine).       The jumbo-sized Sharpee made me bleed. Kristin and her fist made me bleed. I jerked off yesterday, my menstrual cycle in full swing. "Shark Week", my friends call it.
The first time my new lover and I had sex, she took her tampon out in the bathroom before we started (nothing comes between us). She tasted metallic. Soft iron.       Julie surprised me with her tampon, surprised me by bringing out the toys on our first of only two fuckings (too much between us). She was the tennis coach at my high school (authority figures do it for me).       Gloria Anzaldua: “Escribo con la tinta de mi sangre.”       I used to only write with a red pen, to see me, my blood on paper; to put all of me in my writing. Now, it's blue, my veins visible on the page. I tap into it. I let it all out. Let it hang in the air, then descend onto the page. I write with my legs spread open.       I read with my legs crossed.
Mall: Tracy, California, circa 1996.
My mother and I go into Walden Books. She buys me the Dean Koontz novel I had to return to the library the day before. I grab the purchased book from her, tell her I immediately want to finish the chapter I was in the middle of when I had to return the book. This is a lie. I want to get to the scene. I must sound so desperate (young girls and their hormones). She is impressed by my love for reading. I sit on a bench in the middle of the mall, legs crossed and squished together in just the right spot. Fluorescent lights yellow the page (283). My mother wanders off. I read, again, the sex scene about Elisabeth's creamy skin. I cross my legs together, tighter. In a few days, I will have the passage memorized. Words living in my skin (ecstasy burns through the brain).
At the mall, reading and re-reading the same page until my mother returns, bored, my underwear have become vaguely moist (not bored). I have always been a voracious reader.       Once, I was at the gym on the leg curl machine. My belly smashed against the rubber padding, lifting seventy pounds with my ankles toward my ass. And as my legs squeezed together, tighter, a surprise orgasm shivered through my body (Lifetime Fitness). I finished my reps, grunting like the men in the free weights area.
I have never found men's asses attractive. They do not sway like a good ass should. I have always wanted muscular arms.
      Cross country practice, freshman year of high school. One runner talks amongst the team about how she hates running with a pad on.
“Feels like a full diaper about to fall.”
Our coach (female) tells her to use a tampon. Reagan says she can never insert it all the way.
“Honey, just think of Eric when you put it in.”       I always thought Reagan had perfect, sexy, muscular arms.       Kate Bornstein: “Don't be anyone you wouldn't want to fuck. Don't fuck anyone you wouldn't want to be.”       Dolphins have orgasms.       My decision sways.       I liked Kristin's taste in books. She was a voracious reader. I lent her a book about a young lesbian in India. She later lent the book to Rose, who was also a voracious reader (desire shared).
Rose's ass swayed like a good ass should. I consider the dolphin, consider its mass, and consider the type of orgasm I want to have tonight. I thus consider the thought of a good ass swaying (Rose). Kristin's arms were not muscular, but strong, mountain strong. There was a tattoo of Frida Kahlo on her left shoulder (art in motion).
      Only straight erotica gets me wet. I tried writing straight erotica in my feminist porn writing workshop. We did yoga at the start of each class. The downward dog always got me ready. My straight erotica always sounded fake (fiction is not my style). I ended up writing about the time I ate a doughnut off a woman's crotch (jeans on) in front of a movie theater crowd.       Food consumed during sex: *     Strawberries *     Whipped Cream I'm not too adventurous when it comes to food.       I wore a handmade shirt in college that said “vaginatarian.”
      High school. First girlfriend.
She was a cowgirl. She didn't have rope when we tried bondage. We used my mother's green elastic exercise bands. I had to hold my body still as they stretched too much (black has the toughest resistance).       A line I wrote in my feminist porn- writing workshop: I get wet. Real wet. When having sex in a hot tub, I raise the water level” (memoir is more my style).       Kristin made me wet, wet with blood, wet with a surprise fist as she wouldn't drop the shiny object of her desire, of my desire.       The dolphin is shiny (silver). The rabbit is shiny (pink). My desire is shiny (wet). My decision is coming.       I am seventeen, and have locked myself in the bathroom stall of a Souper Salad! with the cowgirl (my taste in food is sometimes adventurous). I have lead us in there in hopes of doing something about my vaguely moist underwear.
I am twenty and in the supermarket with my second girlfriend. She sees an eggplant and exclaims,
“I've always wanted to have an eggplant and a girlfriend!”
See: Dorothy Allison's short essay The Lesbian Appetite. Sex with eggplants.
I always liked this girlfriend's taste for words. She and I bought each other eggplant charm necklaces. We never had sex with an eggplant (words stay on the page).       Souper Salad! does not serve eggplant.
      Richard was fifty and only had eight fingers. He said two were bitten off by a shark (fictional appetites is not my style). I was fucking his girlfriend, Carrie. Carrie was married, had a girlfriend, a boyfriend with eight fingers, and a son as old as me. I met Carrie in a psychiatric hospital. She got kicked off the ward for cuddling with me in my bed. I was there because my mind was missing its serotonin (ecstasy burns through the brain).       I have had sex on Ecstasy once. I was bored.       I jerked off while on Ecstasy once. I was not bored. I ended up humping the blue carpet of my grandfather's mountain cabin.       I have never had an orgasm while drunk (present tense is more my style).       I have never had an orgasm while stoned (tensed muscles is more my style).       I let a dude believe I would have sex with him for cocaine. He went into the bedroom. My best friend and I did lines in his bathroom. I took his pocket knife from the sink counter. We ran out of there, laughing maniacally.       I kissed my boss once after we did coke in a bathroom stall (authority figures do it for me). I was her publicist. She organized events. She brought the coke. I forget what her boyfriend did for a living.
      I never actually had sex in a Souper Salad! bathroom stall. The cowgirl and I only made out. Before we could get our clothes off, two soccer moms walked in with three daughters. One stall (occupied), and the girls had to pee, real bad. Impatience pressed on their bladders. They ask what is taking so long. My girlfriend and I finally open the stall door (peach). Our eyes averted, we left the bathroom with our heads down, avoiding the mothers' smirks. The cowgirl in tight Wranglers pressed against the proof she is a girl, but her shaved head making the other girls assume “he” is in the wrong bathroom.
The soccer moms take note of her breasts.
      A queen-sized bed is, in fact, big enough for five women.       An organic farmer with a song for every vegetable melted my vibrator. A pussy does, in fact, get hot. So does boiling a vibrator in water for the purpose of sanitation (the dual-action butterfly did not make it to tonight's competition). The organic farmer taught me which flowers are edible (adventurous food). Nasturtium. I never slept with her. She never paid me back for the vibrator.
      At 4am, I am in my roommate's office, talking with her about writing.
One of her dachshunds (“douche-hound” not the correct pronunciation, as I had believed until a few months ago when a friend corrected me) trots into the room and drops my vibrator on the hard wood floor, looking satisfied. At 4am, I am not awake enough to be embarrassed, and instead grab the silicone pink rabbit and say thank you (sanitation now necessary).       I am seventeen and my dog is whining from the kennel near my foot. The cowgirl and I are having sex on the hard wood floor. When my mother knocks, inquiring what all of the noise is about, specifically what we are doing, I open it, and unthinkingly wipe my chin while saying, “Oh, just hanging out”.       My fourth girlfriend and I smeared red edible body paint in designs around our nipples. As we licked our bodies clean, we broke our vegan diet (insects sacrificing themselves for red desire).       I have always wondered if lesbians could actually claim to be vegans. We eat each other's animality (beastiality never developed).       I bought a shirt in grad school that said “Eat me, I'm organic.”       Words have always turned me on.       To this day, I do not know how to pronounce cunniligus. To this day, I have to Google it to find out how to spell it. Dictionaries fail the English language.       I have always thought linguistics sounds sexual. The study of human speech and as I essentially see it: the tongue forming words.       When I got bored waiting for the cowgirl to come, I used my tongue to spell out the alphabet on her clit. I got her started, precision in its straighforwardness. She always came around S. I only made it to Z once. It was the most fun letter to form. The sideways flicker of a tongue (the shifting of gears).
      I shift the brown pillows behind my back, and reach for the lube (shiny). I think about the cowgirl, then shift memories to that of Kristin, to the feel of her fist pounding into me (acceleration is a change in velocity over a change in time; a = Dv/Dt). I consider the equation of that impact, the impact that impacted my current concept of desire. My brown dreadlocks sweep across my pink puckered nipples as I settle in with the dolphin (silver).       My third girlfriend said she thought my dreads looked like little penises. She thought they felt like ropes. She made me pull them back when we had sex (the current lover pulls them). I didn't see what was wrong with rope. She was a bore in bed. She had lockjaw syndrome, and said she could never go down on me. And for six months, she said she had a yeast infection so I could never go down on her. I bought “us” a vibrator (pink rabbit). I bought it for me. She never used it. Yesterday, it was covered in blood (Shark Week). Today, a dachshund delivered it (sanitation performed this morning).       If a bulimic woman finger bangs a woman with a yeast infection, then later with unwashed hands makes herself puke, can she get a yeast infection in her throat? (desire expanding).       My favorite word in the English language is bangover.       I have injured myself many times from masturbating. Injuries: *     chafing *     IT Band syndrome (overused, tight hips) *     numb feet (not an injury, but still painful) *     assortment of bruises (the arm of the chair is not well padded) *     wall burn on elbow *     punctured bean-shape place of nerves on the wall somewhere in there (unpadded Jumbo-sized black Sharpee)
I had sex with a woman named Kat in an alley once. My back scraped against a brick wall, her bent knees banged against two dumpsters. Yes, sex in an alley with a creature named Kat. I never called her my alleycat (beastiality never developed).
      The cowgirl had a big truck. On the truck there were bumper stickers.
A specific one: “Save a horse, ride a cowboy.”       Different car. This one, a red convertible. Driver: blonde soccer mom type.
Bumper sticker in tiny font says: “If you're going to ride my ass that hard, you might as well pull me hair.”       The girlfriend who thought my hair was like ropes but never pulled it had a nose piercing. She would kiss my forehead, and my hair would get stuck in her white stud. We never spent enough time figuring out if my pubic hair could get snagged on the stud. I imagine I would have liked the feel of the pull.       Pulling on my armpit hair makes the backs of my legs tingle.       I pull on my armpit hair before popping open the lube, and putting it to use.
      This story really begins with my parents' bedroom. It's where my mom told me about sex. It's where, when she told me that “penis + vagina = sex,” I thought of Steve Urkel from “Family Matters.”
Thought of Urkel and his neighbor Lisa lying in bed together, flat on their backs, a quilt covering their young bodies as some tube of his penis lies inside her. Movement is absent. Lisa asks if the sex is over with yet (I have always had a hard time with geometry).       If a intersects with b at point x, there most be something worthy of why?.       I push the brown pillows away and think more of a good ass swaying. Kristin pushed that desire into me, pushed at that previously unknown desire for something to be pushed in me. I think of Kristin, the art of her in motion.       On the subject of pornography: I have never enjoyed faking it. On the subject of faking it: my throat feels scratchy when I breathe in and out too roughly (she never liked the feel of my rough, ropey hair. My throat often felt rough around her).       My head feels light when I'm faking it.       Kristin made me feel grounded, pounded.       And while we shared similar fisting experiences, Rose and I never fucked, never faked it with each other. In her car, I chugged the last of the sangria and thought about how her ass sways like a good ass should (the story begins).       The dolphin sways (desire expands).
*Originally published in THIS zine: http://www.thiszine.org/essay/clammer-objects-of-desire

Also by Chelsey Clammer

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