The Jaws of Love

(Another piece from my monologue days.)

I’m a man, I’m an idiot, it follows.  I’m a man, I’m an idiot.

I’m human, that’s the problem.  I’m human, I’m an idiot, it follows.  I’m human, I’m an idiot.  You can’t teach me anything, I won’t learn, I’ll never learn, I can’t learn, I’m an idiot, I’m trapped and you can’t teach me anything.

You ever look into someone’s eyes and been reduced to the size of a pin?  A pin, a pinpoint of light, been reduced to a pinpoint of light?  You ever see someone toss their hair back and it made you fall silent?  You could be talking to someone — “Oh, yes, the third episode with the dwarf was the best” — and they do this –

[imitation of hair-flip]

— and you fall silent.  Because, you know why?  Because Something Important Has Happened.  Or, or, you’re talking to this person, this person, this certain person who makes your heart want to get in your car and turn on some rockabilly and drive somewhere, and you’re hanging on every word this person says, and then this person says something like —

…”that would be nice”…

— and it dislodges this rock, somewhere in the deep stream of your subconscious this rock is dislodged, and you find yourself thinking about things you haven’t thought about in years.  Am I ugly?  Do I need some mints?  How come I never read any Shelley?  Jesus, do I weigh that much?  This rock is dislodged, it sets off an avalanche in your head that wipes out everything else in your brain. 

And you fall silent.  It’s like you’re in church, it’s like you’re worshipping.  Because you are in church.  You are worshipping.  You are having a religious experience.

Why?  Why this person?  Who is this person?  What do you know about this person?  Doesn’t this person have terrible taste in music?  Doesn’t this person smoke?  Isn’t this person ten years older than you?  Isn’t this person not attracted to your sex?  Doesn’t this person think you’re an insignificant blot on an otherwise charming landscape?  Isn’t this person the rudest, clumsiest, most incorrigibly maddeningly frustratingly difficult person you’ve ever met in your lifeWell?  Then why?  Why are you talking to this person?  What is the point?  Why are you bothering?  Why do I find myself in this exact same position right now?!

Because —

[gesture to body]

— this, you see, this, you know what this is, this is flesh.  It’s all I’ve got.  It’s all they gave me.  I didn’t get a book of rules.  I didn’t get a wise old mind that could see into the future and tell me that these feelings would die, that lovemaking would become rote and tiresome, that I would lose interest, that we would get into fights over things like, like white-out!

I didn’t get that mind, my mind doesn’t say those things, my mind says things like YES!  My mind says things like NOW!  My mind says things like DANCE, like, like, KISS, like, like, GRAB THIS PERSON NOW!  GRAB THIS PERSON NOW!

I don’t know what it is, of course I don’t know what it is.  It’s not meant to be known, not by us, not by me, not in this life, not in this world.  It’s a feeling, that’s all, it’s a feeling, you know it when you feel it, it’s like these jaws snapping shut on you, on me, like they’ve shut on me, and I’m trapped, because, because, I’m a man, I’m an idiot, it follows, like I said, these jaws are as big as the fucking universe, and they’ll chew me up and spit me out, and I’ll never learn, I’m trapped, I’m an idiot, and I’m trapped in the jaws of love.

Copyright © 1993 Todd Alcott
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13 Responses to “The Jaws of Love”
  1. Anonymous says:

    The Jaws of Love

    That made a very dreary Valentine’s Day much happier. Because aren’t we all idiots?
    Reading it, and rereading it, and considering its rhythm and structure — from premise to build-up to crescendo to twist and conclusion… well, you’re a damned good writer, Todd Alcott.
    Now where’s the YouTube version?

  2. toliverchap says:

    episode 3 with the dwarf . . . hmmm Twin Peaks? OR were you just going for the comedy “f” in dwarf since dwarves, much like monkeys, are pretty funny as a rule.

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  4. nickfracaro says:

    our neverending monologues

    Hi Todd,

    I remember reading your writing twenty some years ago. You were a neighbor on Pacific Street in Brooklyn.

    It’s nice to have your blog feed now. Movies, career, your child. Circumstance and choice has pulled your mind and body away from the “monologue days.”

    What is this flesh thing all about? “It happens to the best of us.”

    Keep on keepin on.

  5. urbaniak says:

    It was even better with the blackout at the end.

  6. edo_fanatic says:

    Jaws of love….does being involved with someone stall you as a person, having no need to be anything better, or is it in love that we blossom?

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s great to see an earlier work from you after getting bits of info from other postings. Having said that, it leaves me with more questions:

    What IS it about monologs that could be remotely attractive to perform, let alone write? Done badly they can appear to be the bastard spawn of a dramatic soliloqy and comedy routine, both acts requiring some real context to them. Isn’t it easier to at least have someone else on stage to play off of, to nod their head in agreement, laugh, or offer the straight-line once in a while?

    “Jaws of love” – are those the devices firefighters use to cut open sections of severe car wrecks in order to pry people out? If so, can you really be trapped in those, as they are in fact saving you from being trapped in the mangled auto wreck (of love I guess)?

    • Todd says:

      What IS it about monologs that could be remotely attractive to perform, let alone write?

      In my case, it was a necessity. Since I literally knew exactly no one in New York theater, I needed a form of theatrical writing that required no sets, no lights, no sound cues, no tech, no producer, director or actors.

      Also, back in the long-gone 1980s, monologues were a relatively common form of theater. Spalding Gray and Eric Bogosian had hit shows doing monologues and that kind of made it legitimate.

      The firefighters use Jaws of Life to free you from the car wreck.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes true bogasian and gray – which in a way exemplifies both the “done well” side, as well as that potential “bastard spawn” feeling.

        “Jaws of life” / “Jaws of love”, still in either way, some wreckage is always involved.

  8. inkblots3 says:

    Stirring, sir. I’ve personally never seen a monologue performed, but I can imagine this one would make for quite the visceral performance.