Stealing Lines:

post-gender stories of an audio-erotic

by Judyth Hill

Know is the New Yes: North Beach, SF, 5/07


I’m in bed.  Reading. There are so many books in this place. 

I start them compulsively, leave them on bath-edge, windowsills, arms of armchairs, split open on the counters. 

I never turn down corners of pages; I leave my place unmarked. I get excited over one; then seduced by another; I want to read them all at the same time.

Hirschman’s books. Damn. Cool.

Anyway, bed.

I’m waiting for Jack. Half wondering how he’ll come back; how toasted, excited, so much

he can’t wait to tell me, reeking of cigarettes, booze; buzzed on talk and coffee and


I have Carmina Burana on. Loud.

He’s ex-Boho genius/maniac poet turned mountain-man…but serious: hermit, scholar

and totally fricking brilliant. 

When he is, as he would say.

Libra man: need I say more?

But he’s happy here, very. Me too. I like it, like us, now that we have figured out how to

have the complicated, intoxicat(ed)ingly, entirely absorbing, often hilarious, way good

sex I figured we would.

He’s older than me by 10 years, and still in love and pain with his ex after 16 years.

It’s an odd problem – like having a bad habit you forgot to kick, but don’t really jones for. 

Plus the quirk of the body & age & timing.

My desire makes him panicky, then irritable, then judgmental, then something worse.

Then he’s sorry, then it starts over; definitely a play-G37 on the love juke thing. 

We’d done this part already & nearly did it again.

Our first night was so bad: I wanted to leave every other minute. Would decide to, then

undecide, that addictive give-it-a-chance-thing.

We fought. 

I fight with him, all the way, yell back. I feel heat rising up my entire body & lose it. That’s

how I know this is a for-real something: I’ve never raised my voice at a man in my life. I

saved that for my sister.

I locked myself in the bathroom, ran a bath & cried. Soaked & wept & strategized and

cried some more. I didn’t even care about the state of my eyes, way past swollen. 

He knocked once; I didn’t answer. I had a severe case of mega-NO on.

I came to bed, turned my back, huddled as far as I could away from him, and curled up

tight, knees to chest.

I was utterly furious, sad, scared, and hating him, this town, this trap, and it being night

and me not sure of the how of exit.

I felt him kiss my neck and shoulder, very slowly, each kiss very separate and full of the

sorrow of our fight.

He pulled down the strap of my nightgown, touching so inquiringly my skin newly

bathed, damp and warm, moist between my breasts. He wrapped himself round me, and

his size against me fit.

I didn’t move, could barely breathe. I felt him, the pulse of grow and need, and my own,

what, awe, maybe, and maybe something like everything.

He reached under the wornsoft silk of my nightgown and cupped my breasts together in

his hand, gently, kindly, as if weighing them, caressing my nipples as they hardened,

without my permission, into his palms. 

My Jack, my way-too-edgy love, crazy smart, always showing me the flipside of every

thought and pretty much sure to go thermonuclear on all cant and pre-ordained drivel. 

I didn’t move. I understood.

I kept my eyes closed. I knew what we were doing. 

What we would have to do, until we didn’t. And it would be up to him when that could


He wanted to talk, but for once, knew not to.

I was paying complete and total attention. I had to. 

He moved his hands down long my ribs, down my sides, held my hips, drawing me in

close; I felt him throb up against my thighs, wanted to turn to him, wanted him, I did.

But I got it: I needed to stay still. This had somewhere it absolutely had to go.

Take the A train baby, take it downtown.

He slipped his hand between my legs, widening them – so eager to part, so carefully still

– then, he’s hard, pressing insistent against my wetness, and all of me in that want of

him, of this. 

He reached down and as if we had really had the whole of our lives to love this way and

did, helped himself to all of me. Pressing up and inside, and I couldn’t breath and didn’t

need to.

Slowly. Slowly, in the forever he made for us, I settled down and back and into and on

him, testing this, rolling a bit over on my belly, to feel this, his filling me, and the full on

of him alongside my body. 

He held us tightly together inside our odd new quiet, one arm slung over the curve of my

hip, wrapping ‘cross me, stroking my breasts, kissing my neck, my skin, my hair, with a

tenderness he had saved since his heart was last whole, opening me, entering me past

all thought, all language, all but this way our bodies together could talk, and tell this


We who had spent a year talking, talking talking.

I felt, a kind of cloud, a shared weather; felt him, his velvet hardness, the silky wet we

now were, his ardent pleasure in the texture of my skin, the scent of my body and how

that was for him, the way he could utterly envelop himself in the absorb of what he

loves. What woman doesn’t want this and this most of all from her lover? The absolute

then and there of it.

Inside me that well-known storm was coming, I felt the shift, tilt and tense, the

downward flush and ache for him, for this. 

Oh Jack, I thought, Oh shite, baby. But I said nothing.

He did not speak a word to me then, couldn’t: this is the spell. 

Some long-ago agreement, a consent for silence and pleasure to braid into one, so that

we can. 

Moving so slowly he arced up inside me, pulling out, long and slow, my body becoming

shoreline to something he has practiced finding, this sailor and mapmaker, a diviner of

something much more difficult to ascertain and plot than me – though I do try to be

obscure, I swear it. That night in his arms, Jack inside me, I was simple, wanted only

pretty much one thing, and that was him, and him inside me, and his hands over my

breasts, lips on my skin, a whispering into my hair, inhaling the fragrance of this, and us,

in the lock and tender, pull and let go.

The way this man can really read, and the story we were together telling, lost, found,

finally in this salt place, of our own heat, salt, pure fiction come to true and told, and

sailed into, by what, what? Silence and touch and he had to write this one, but I’ll write

one too, and that will be later, but that night, our first night, it was Jack’s story, and I had

only to listen and know the feel and full and the way I could come and come and come

with this man, who was willing, in the odd crisscross of dark, to give himself entirely as if

I was page and poem, open waters and horizon, both.

Being a genius and patient, I held the core of myself to him, and let it be shaken and

revised and shudder down all storm glorious rain of womanlove, what, what relief, and

that was our frontloaded first.

Later, I said, “I love you Jack.” Stealing my line, he said, “I know.”

“When I do”, I said, stealing his.

Judyth Hill is a lifelong poet, teacher, Storyista, editor, and passionate Literary Arts Activist; She authored the internationally acclaimed poem, Wage Peace, and has nine published books of poetry, including Dazzling Wobble and Presence of Angels. She was educated at Sarah Lawrence College and is a recipient of numerous literary grants. She is the current President of PEN San Miguel. Judyth conducts poetry, memoir, and ecstatic goddess workshops, and hosts culinary and writing adventures around the globe. IG: @judythhill Twitter: @judyth_hill FB: @judyth.hill

Preview image by K. Haskell, an interdisciplinary visual artist, draftsperson, and illustrator.