* speaking, dying, peeling, drying
Riffing off the Peach scene in ‘Call Me by Your Name’: Jonny Budd explores desire between mouthfuls of fruit
* * * * * *
“Is it better to speak or to die?”
A peach, plucked.
Pinched, in fact, from under the whiskers of a balloon-cheeked fruit-stand-bouncer, who
used his hammy fists to put you on display and to chase me down the street. Tickled, what’s
more, from the callused fingers, gnarled by devotion, belonging just as much to the
rummaged mud as to any human touch.
That’s right – I stole my lust for you, losing to the wind on the way the scarf with which I
would have later wiped you off my hands.
A crime, whose punishment would not be confined to the bitter headache you get when you
lose a scarf like that. For if to come is to speak and to die - and better than both -, let my
confession shiver six feet up, working loose the rope’s threads which lay me in earth.
“Watching him wear my clothes was an unbearable turn-on. And he knew it.”
Some fruit-thieves have as the core of their fetish the fantasy of picking you from your tree,
breaking and entering your home, thrilled by the tear of your nightwear from your pillow.
Cat burglars on an empty stomach.
Me, I admit, I wish I’d have found you a little less flagrantly nude. It’s okay though – the
adrenaline of ripping down the seams of your fishnet casing (you know, the kind all the
cheap peaches wear) fizzed to the brim of my getaway footsteps, pooling up in splashes from
my fugitive pavement.
“all I really wanted was one night with him, just one night – one hour, even – if only to
determine whether I wanted him for another night after that. What I didn’t realise was that
wanting to test desire is nothing more than a ruse to get what we want without admitting
that we want it.”
Press me, I’m ripe and blushing with shame.
Light flicks the peach into a yielding dimple.
You want to dig your nails into me, you say, open up the gates for the blush to topple out of
my cheeks and into my mouth, that way we can both get to it.
“Just two tongues, all the rest was nothing.”
Tipsy off the taste of my shame, I manage to resist sinking into you with my teeth, collapsing
– clunk – on your floor. No, your skin is everywhere, one big sheet skin-tight wrapped
around me. Its shape: however the peel suits it. Today I’m feeling the peel taking my tongue,
knotting it perfectly, draping it monstrously and possessively over my words.
“Had he noticed I was ready not just to yield but to mold into his body?”
You say, with my tongue, that I want the whole of you at once inside my mouth. Peach on
tongue, an anchor snagging and severing any words that have no place in my desire, no space inside my mouth. No longer blushing with shame, some juice set free from skin seeps out my sides in measured purple peached trickles.
“I squelched my doubt with a yet more violent kiss. I did not want passion, I did not want
pleasure... Just the sun, the grass, the occasional sea breeze, and the smell of his body fresh
from his chest, from his neck and his armpits. Just take me and mold me and turn me inside
A splutter chews you out, cutting short the crescendo you had wanted to end with a choke.
My senses are too dazed to see but not to feel you topple down the stairs like a muscle ripple,
with all the tearing we habitually ignore lingering its way to centre stage. A fuzzy shudder-
trail, sticky on the steps.
You bruise but you don’t scab; a scrape is the end of you.
I have to kiss you savagely, to suck out the poison.
“The secret was out of my body. So what if he saw. So what, so what, so what.”
I never knew you were more than a fruit until you had seeped down my arm.
The peach will stain when it plops onto nice white fabric. So what, so what, so what!
I had never noticed how dried apricots aren’t even dry until you had seeped down my arm.
They remain mealy, sticky, messy, no matter how long they are left to sunbathe.
“Shame trailed instant intimacy. Could intimacy endure once indecency was spent and our
bodies had run out of tricks?”
Dried fruit, tearing through mouth, can’t talk.
Please take the reins, choose a metaphor for me while I wipe the juice with my formerly
“The same mouth that was going to eat eggs had been everywhere last night.”
Now you are nowhere, and I think I shall go hungry forever.