The subtitle of my book Borg Like Me is “& Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems.” To give you some idea of the eros part, here is a short excerpt from a piece that I wrote several years ago that I will be publishing for the first time. It’s called “The Lemon Song” and it’s about an older teenage girl who lived in the house next to my grandparents in Florida when I was maybe 13. She turned me onto a darker sound of rock n’ roll and awakened in me a life-long fascination with the seductive powers of music and the impossible smoothness of a woman’s thighs.
Sharon had silky jet-black hair and tan skin that tautly smoothed itself over a long, lean body. She always smelled of oils, perfume, and suntan lotion. Unguents of desire. She clearly enjoyed the sexual jitters she generated in me whenever she paraded around their house or backyard in her bathing suit. One day, she and I were in the house alone. I’d gone over there to see Bobby and had timidly wandered into her room to say hi. As usual, she was playing music and I nervously asked if I could look through her modest stack of LPs. I knew she listened to a lot of rock music I’d never heard (or even heard of) and was curious to know more. I couldn’t really relate to The Doors or the Mothers of Invention (that would come later), but I was immediately taken with Led Zeppelin, and she, probably for lack of anything better to do, began to introduce me to them and their music. We ended up sitting on her bed, precariously pretzel-bent around fanned-out record jackets, band photos, and music magazines. Led Zeppelin II rattled noisily from the tiny speakers of her cheap stereo console, which was basically a hinged portable on spindly wooden legs. At one point, she rearranged herself on the bed to get more comfortable and unceremoniously stretched her legs straight out in front of me. She had on jean shorts and a bathing suit halter top. From where I leaned on one elbow, her thighs were suddenly right in front of my face, mere inches away. I was awestruck by them, seeing a part of a woman’s body this close for the first time. I was so close I could clearly make out the peach-fuzzy hairs on her upper thighs, smell her suntan lotion. The texture of her skin, the caramel color of it, the shapeliness of her legs — it was all unfathomable to me and made me suddenly feel desperate and funny-headed. I tried to imagine how soft her inner thighs might actually feel. And I could not get over those tiny body hairs, how they seemed to wick up the sunlight in the room, creating an almost imperceptible halo around her, an aura of sensual glory.
As we sat there, me swimming inside of my forbidden revelry, “The Lemon Song” came on. It sounded so unashamedly sexual, bump and grind nasty. My God, were they actually talking about juice running down legs, as I stared helplessly into the endless pair in front of me. Suddenly, I felt seriously altered, like I could actually feel, for the first time in my life, my sexuality as a presence, as a directable power. And I realized that same power could be encoded in music, that a lot of music was actually an expression of this power, an invocation of it. In that moment, I caught my first intoxicating whiff of the sexual voodoo of rock n’ roll. Like some Sunday morning TV preacher, I remember thinking “Do they actually play this on the radio? How can this be allowed on the radio?,” like there was some inherent danger to organized society in this music and the feelings it aroused in me.’
Maybe Sharon could sense my growing… confidence because when the side was over, she basically told me to scram…
Read the rest of “The Lemon Song” and more stories of love, lust, and loss, in Borg Like Me. And you can read even more in The Eros Part, a separate PDF bundle of some of my writings on love and sex, available for an $85 pledge (or just add $35 to any pledge above $50). See the right column of my KS page for details.