Body Chess / by Laurence Fuller

Artwork by Heidi Yardley - Poem by Laurence Fuller



Notebooks of a self I used to be, exultations of a person I no longer recognize. Near misses running between past lives, I adore you before the door closed and you were gone that night. Drifting spirit of Nordic dreams, I saw you in the background of the life I could be living if I gave myself the chance. You don’t trust me and why should you, but it seems we’ve been speaking inside each other for years.

What were you doing with her that dark primal wicked essence, carnal desire that’s not like you, gentry bow courtiers of the past, line up and bow by ghost light, not just one, but many bow after you. I should be standing there beside you when the cameras flash. I have gemstones of the mind beside you see me calling out to you, rest in my arms and talk of violent love we won’t scratch each other with, just play games of unrequited possession.

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Drowning in bathtubs of hot red wine, sinking in luxury. She lay awake in disruptive questioning the integrity of all this promise that she had, for you there was a young hope to be a part of savage chess games in the dark.

Trying to put my bad days behind but you pull it out of me. There in that bliss divide, silence waits us both out, silent tone reaching labyrinth rocks, I’d give you what you want if you let me, so closed off to the impossibility that I might not be playing chess tonight, am I suppose to second guess the gossip you might tell your friends? 


She turned over now with antique patterns bleeding down her skin, marked with tradition and tightened by the wrenching tools of a carpenter her grandfather knew. Don’t come too close unless you mean it, I can’t take another drifter in, I’m done with boys. Come back a man and I’ll let you in. 


I want to meet him where he’s at and in perfect harmony we are together now. She knew who I was before I met you, reputation is inescapable. Now I’m present in conversations I had no idea about and so were you. I told her about you too, she tries to hold me down so she saw it as a challenge, don’t expect her to wait with open arms for your arrival. 

I knew I was interested in you from the day I met you, we were pulled by circumstance to two very different beds that night, all these rules and regulations, hold us back with hesitation. The heart led you to destruction before, you opened up and he was gone, just wanted the chase and once he got his prey onto some new pursuit, some new fancy, keep them at bay just enough.


Let me in that abstract darkness you crumpled over with comfort in shades of antique furnishings, your grandmothers ring that never comes off leaves an indentation round your fingers. Her ghost sits in stiff dark corners watching that fabric pulled over your expressions, hiding the real you for someone with an honest gaze, give me reassurance this is right, that silence waits for you to speak, not me. That silence in the slight reflections of us on glazed wooden floors that creak with our own substantial movements. 

You think you want some young bad man to pull around, but there’s more to you than badly written magazines of other people’s regurgitated words. Get away from the window, the outside world slaps checkered maps against glass pains for us to navigate. I’ll protect you, stay here I’ll hold open the back door let the cotton moths out.

Wicked looks and I’m suppose to know what it means, pretend to be someone else and I’m suppose to see the real you beneath. I suppose I am the same, I talk of danger and discomfort because I want you lying next to me. I’m striped blank and backlit, painting my face better in the dark.

Who are you lying graceful on my couch, heavy breathing, part lips brushing up against the side of red wine cups. She wants me too, but she’s so shy it will hurt so much should this guy not get back, it has to be perfect or all those plans of who I am will fall to pieces, I’ll think what I want, you no longer pass with satisfaction in the sanctity of my little world. Reputation is my comfort among this little circle I’m blessed and constant in good graces, out a little wider the world doesn’t know who I am and never will. I like it that way, holding back the best of me, this patterned canvas will conceal my heart and show just enough of what I want. 

Lovers come and go but friends are forever, that’s what they tell you until that crystal candelabra swings in your favor, then they’re gone. They charming flash their teeth in and everyone comes rushing to the savior that promises all their lacking. Trust the honorable scruffy rug you lay out with pillows and dream of being cherished. I want to fall asleep in your arms but its too dangerous tonight, there’s a lot of tension here, you can feel it too. Too much a stake I break for the drifter in me consuming Casanova.


You want to play this game enough to pull me to the edges of the carpet stained with that same couch that’s been sitting there for years, the dusty furnishings of absence, feel the absence of me then when I’m there again you won’t take me for granted. I’ll let you think that I’ll come back just enough that you don’t chase her, let that line I tied fly to its tightened ending, see how far you run before it snaps.