Ashley Keyser is a poet and fellow child-hater living in the cozy Midwestern state of Ukraine. She spends her time stroking the faces of total strangers with her icy, trembling fingers, while hissing, We cannot know his legendary head/with eyes like ripening fruit. Read all about Ashley’s surreal experiences in Ukraine at her blog, beets & the bluestocking. Since she is writing for my blog, does that mean I’m famous? I paid her four imaginary dollars per very real word.
O reader, how can I connect with you? Even in real life, the life that should feel real, but doesn’t, I struggle. Whenever I cup the faces of my casual acquaintances between my palms, my eyes probing the depths of their souls, they shrink back, as if human touch burns them! Even if I dare to run my fingers gently through their hair, they can’t seem to respond to my loving energy. Rejection has embittered me. Unable to taste the sweet fruits of life, I choke on the nausea and horror of existence.
Last night, as I sipped meditatively from a cardboard box of wine, scribbling poetry with my own blood, I considered my plight. A tremulous sigh escaped my wine-purpled lips as I wondered in despair: Is there any way to truly suck at the teat of humanity and drink the milk of our shared experience?
Alas, many forms of human interaction really are just so, so stupid. For example, games. Even the idea of games fill me again with nausea and horror. For this I blame my mother, who made my little brother and me play this game called Cranium for hours when we were kids. Cranium is the most obnoxious game ever! It’s like your frenemy from college who makes you listen to her play ukulele while she poetry-slams at you in French: Cranium screams, “Look at how creative I am!!!” Playing this game is a dizzying whirlwind of doodling, pantomime, molding Play-Doh into whimsical shapes, making animal noises, and other very self-consciously creative activities. This made me, as an aspiring creative person, very anxious and insecure about my own creativity. Also, I hate poetry slams.
I do not, however, hate Bananagrams. Actually I love Bananagrams, and for many reasons. One is that its name is a type of wordplay about wordplay, which is kind of a Borges-esque mindfuck, and two is that its Scrabble-like letter tiles come in a bag shaped like a banana. But the best thing about Bananagrams is that it involves togetherness, yet zero teamwork. The words I make are dependent on no one else’s words. I can just sit quietly and make words while my friends sit quietly and make words, and our words connect only with themselves. In this way, Bananagrams is a metaphor for all language, a stream of empty signifiers pointing only to other empty signifiers. Bananagrams is my favorite game.
Spin-the-bottle is also my favorite game. I love anything that sanctions my touching people, especially people whom I only kind-of know, especially with my mouth. Recently I introduced Spin-the-bottle to a roomful of gay men, and by the end of it, they all wanted to kiss me, even though I do not have a penis! I take this as a victory not only for myself, but for all womankind.
And now comes my master plan for hardcore human connection: What if we combined Spin-the-Bottle with Bananagrams into one perfect, orgiastic game of kissing and wordplay? As I settled into a boxed-wine-inspired haze, I entertained vague fantasies of limbs snaking through letter tiles to intertwine—the tiles, spelled out in forms of an erotic lexicon (for example, “teat”), go flying as bodies sprawl against each other.
But at what point in Bananagrams could we introduce kissing? Perhaps one could use it as a tactic to slow down opponents; no one can concentrate with a mouth FULL OF MY TONGUE. Or perhaps whoever comes up with the most words gets to choose whom to kiss (potentially unfair, seeing as I would obviously get all the kisses).
I’m still not totally sure how this will work. What do you think, reader? In my arranging and re-arranging of words, have you, too, felt the tremors of desire? Perhaps in the soft breath of wind through your hair, you’ll feel my caresses. Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere with my Banagrams waiting for you.