There are two dark spots on my chest. Right below my clavicles. Little dots the color of wine. “Wine” is a graceful way to describe this. “Plum” sounds succulent. “Eggplant” is a little quirky. But these are holes in my chest, here, that we are describing. Dark spots, little dots – as in two round wounds like tiny, baby bullet holes. They are not Graceful or Succulent, but raw – maybe a little obscene like an open mouth. They are the remnants of my “dermal anchors” (remember  those from way back?). Piercings.
Piercings that sat in little tunnels under the skin, the tiny flat tops round and shiny like buttons on a robot. The size of watch batteries. Reflective. Chips of diamonds in the right light. I was almost bionic.
I miss them now, looking at the red dots in the mirror – “eggplant” should do just fine – and knowing that some small part of me is absent. The dark part of me – reflected in little titanium badges buried in the skin. The part that loves the tiny brilliant electric fleck of pain there right before a new tendril of jewelry is born for me.
I reference this because I want to. Because I like it. Because I feel lots of warm-fuzzies when I walk into my tattoo parlor and can’t stop smiling – hearing that frantic buzz of the guns vibrating off the walls. The sound almost feels like it’s in your teeth. I’ll be there again on Tuesday. Not soon enough.
I reference this because everything I’ve read about L. Anderson Cooper’s new book, Burning the Middle Ground, points very sharp fingers with much emphatic urgency towards the dark themes embraced in this supernatural story of suspense and scheme. I reference these little holes left in my chest because bizarre darkness is something I appreciate – however it be expressed.
Telling a character-driven tale in a bizarrely-twisted small-town America, Cooper will bring the dark fantasy of Burning the Middle Ground to Carmichael’s Bookstore tonight for a special reading and discussion at the Frankfort Avenue store starting at 7pm. Cooper, a Louisvillian and professor at the University of Louisville, weaves a haunting thriller of murder, religious conspiracy and mind-control with his new release – referenced in the same vein as Stephen King. Available via BlackWyrm Publishing, Burning the Middle Ground is in-store at Carmichael's for $15.95 in paperback or on e-book. I, of course, must always recommend hard copies.
Hard copies because paper is visceral, soft like skin cells – tissue. I reference that because skin is full of nerve-endings and the nerves jolt, electricity, under the needle when a piercing is fresh. My reference to darkness. Something that I love in those sharp doses. Hard copies because, maybe, books could feel pain. And that’s appealing. And a little twisted. Dark.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue. For more information, visit the event page  or call the Frankfort Avenue store at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Amazon www.amazon.com