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Swallow Myself

I’m doing it. Swallowing myself. I know the act is simple, I’ve been eating since before I was alive. And I know I need to do this, because when inspiration strikes I’m pretty sure swallowing myself is the greatest possible act of self-love I can do (on the verge of starting only a small part of me wonders if the opposite is true). Fully inspired and no way around it now; there’s no way to know what’ll happen either. But if this is love like I think it is, then I’ve just got to have faith.
I shower using soap made from bee’s wax, with no added perfumes, and drip dry in front of a portable heater, standing next to it, and squatting like a Sumo, as it blows hot air onto me. I don’t oil myself with extra-virgin olive oil or starve myself for any number of days. Nothing is done to increase my appetite, because I know that my appetite for myself is insatiable.

I lay on clean, white cotton sheets next to the portable heater, feeling quite lazy. Beyond that I just keep urging myself to go. Go. So here I go, right on my bed. Feet up. Neck stretching.

I start by cupping both feet in my hands and stuffing both sets of toes into my mouth. Pushing on my heels I shove more in. Lingering for a moment, I salivate all over my toes, with both feet stuffed in about halfway and spit dripping onto my bed. I run my tongue along my high arches, try and suck my feet in a little more, and bite.

"Ahhhhhh!" I scream and bite together with my teeth sinking past the skin around the knuckles of my toes. My body goes into shock. I don’t know what to think. I’m sweating all over. So I bite harder and begin working my jaw, fighting the panic just to notice what’s falling into the back of my throat.

Fuck, it sucks. Tears stream down my face, with spit and trickles of blood hanging off my chin. Chewing whole toes I taste the blood and skin and first pieces of crunched up toenails and fully chewed toe bones from my big toe on down to the smallest little piggy.

Shoulda shaved. Damn it. Shoulda shaved clean. Because skin tastes smooth and bittersweet while the natural packaging of hair is all texture and no flavor. I gnaw and suck the masticated bits of toes down after the necessary twenty-two chews, pulling after them more flesh and bone into my mouth.

I groan and whimper in a high pitch with my mouth full, while chewing, and blink my eyes to clean out the tears. The high pitch whimper both expresses my pain and propels me. I push my heel bones again and shove more feet into my mouth, beyond the toes. With the body’s natural painkillers reaching my feet, relief comes, and my groans drop notches in pitch until I wish my arches weren’t so high because then I’d have some meat to chew along with the skin and hair and blood and bones of my feet.

Once I can feel something other than pain, I have to wipe my chin with my forearm because the blood and spit tickle as they dangling there. Wiggling my shoulders I shove my heels beyond the opening of my mouth.

Sliding down my throat among the chunks of stuff are the enzymes in my saliva breaking down the simple sugars in my blood, taking care of the easy digestive work in advance of the hard part.

Chewing feet bones at the back of my mouth by rolling my jaw, I shiver on the hard break of bones and delight in the sweet taste of marrow that follows. Shiver to delight. My slow rolling jaw consumes all thirty-four bones in my feet. Then, used to the reward cycle my heel bones and ankles reach the back of my mouth.

Joints are difficult because the bone ends are strongest. And the bone forming the heel, a granite-hard peg that is pounded in a lifetime of walking, is the toughest yet. I get after it by rocking back and forth, groaning, and jabbing my teeth into the bone ends. My body rocks. I get my teeth around the whole heel and apply pressure, by squeezing hard, hoping to pop the fucker open. Bobbing my head the bone doesn’t do shit, as my teeth shift in their cradles. With my teeth ready to buckle and break, I ease up. And soak the bones with more saliva to soften them up. I glance blows on the end of the bone. By quickly grinding the bones with my teeth I can soon enough taste the calcium in the flecks, and after a fleck chips off, the inside tastes chalkier than the part I had soaked with saliva. So the heel goes down like this— fleck after fleck after fleck.

With the continual reposition of my head, I fleck away my heel, ankle, and lower end of my tibia. Once finished, I remember that I suffer from Achilles Tendonitis on my right leg. In regular life the inflammation makes jogging and some exercises painful, but here, for eating, the ailing tendon of once-tough sinew is more chewable.

My first taste of real flesh is my calves. And it’d be way more enjoyable if I wasn’t catching hairs on the tip of my tongue. As futile as it is, I still manage to blow out a few short leg hairs during the continual suction of myself into my mouth. Tingling with joy over the fluid filled muscle, I eat up my shins and calves noticing nothing other than the juicy flesh reward.

With confidence driving me I approach the big bones and tough tendons around my knees with fury. I turn my brain off and let my appetite pull me through. The knee is a simple joint relying on a high degree of balance making it somehow both strong and delicate. I don’t give a shit about balance and counterbalance and the ensuing delicacy. I unhinge myself, backed by strong teeth now, unwavering in their cradles and propelled by a mighty jaw. Ferocious teeth to bone sounds echo deep into my head. Beyond me I don’t know or care what it’s like. But the fast calcium-hardened teeth clashing with the calcium-hardened bone makes a sound that drowns out thought because it emanates so. In heavy waves my mind goes blank from the eclipsing noise from my knees as the teeth on bone impact washes everything out. For my internal clock and memory, the destruction is instantaneous and soundless. That’s what it’s like eating knees.

I move on to crunching the formidable femurs and desiring the marrow inside. Each femur is eighteen to twenty inches long and at its narrowest point one-and-a-half inches in diameter. This is a bone worthy of my mouth. Big and hardy and taking some wherewithal, I decide to tackle the girth with method. Slow, methodical clamping and crunching work well at breaking off an inch of bone, chewing the calcium-hardened skeleton and letting the marrow wash over my tongue, down the back of my throat. The breaking of the bone is exciting. The wash of marrow over my tongue, creeping down the back of my throat, is sublime. Every time. Each time I want it again.

When I reach the top of my femurs, the ends lay loose in the ball-and-socket joint of my hip. Both ends of my femur bones dangle— toys for my tongue— as I keep them in my mouth and munch them so they’re even. While still chewing, I press the tangled ends of veins and arteries and nerves and muscle and ligaments back into my hips. They’re the discarded ends of the old network of tubes and wires and fiber bands that used to run down my legs. I shove them back into myself by pressing them with my forearms as my hands hold the femurs.

There are plenty of options to consider while I gnaw past the femurs into the flesh of my taint, ass, and the pretzel-shaped ischium bones at the base of my pelvis. Because my torso contains about two-thirds of my body weight, I wonder if I can handle it. But then again, I know now that I’ve gotten a taste of myself I can eat me even if I weighed a hundred pounds more.

Now that it looks like I am performing the arousal stage of fellatio on myself the idea of eating myself seems all the more ludicrous. The texture changes as my legs turn into torso since the function of the body parts changes too. I am no longer eating the long limbs of a biped made to scavenge miles of territory on foot, but the wide body of a regular red meat eater who drives everywhere and uses a toilet. The bone surrounded by muscle structure of my legs transitions into my torso of flesh with a mass of muscle and organs encapsulated by my ribs.

A good chunk of my lower buttocks disappears— gone in a juicy chomp (I kinda jumped ahead of myself just to get at it). Through all the transitions and thought I just keep gnawing back and forth only beginning to marvel in the massive volume of my innards.

I eat my hands with my arms held tight to my sides and hands cupped around the base of my torso. I hesitated to give up something that helped me get so far, but they needed to go. Pain doesn’t exist anymore. I’m so inside of myself and this process that pain and the difficulty of doing it are nothing compared to my body. The only thing in the way is me, and that’s going, eventually. The light crunchy hand bones are delightful and my hands are slightly meaty which makes for nice texture following my legs.

In my torso organs come and go, they are here and then they’re gone. The nerves and the blood that oozes tie the tastes together and I lap everything up in a continual sucking and chewing motion. I savor the flavors, momentarily, as they pass by.

My colon is gone in a pungent, taste-filled gargantuan gulp that after I swallow I wish I would’ve done it in two or three bites.

I curiously bite into a testicle and taste its gaminess. I swallow nut number two with the entire drooping Scrotum since the portable heater is still making my sack hang slack.

I eat my dick. When eating I am flaccid. Having spent enough time with my penis I know it is neither flesh nor bone, but pure sinew. I also know how long sinew takes to chew. And in a flaccid state, with my mouth stretched and what have you, I just open up and, um, swallow.

Past the colon and prostate I nip into my bladder which explodes in a palette-cleansing wash.

At my kidneys I slow down and take some extra bites and chews, working the fibrous filters into something palatable.

At each side of my lower torso, I clamp my teeth over the high arch of my hip bone and snap it off.

My liver is so unique that I roll my neck around and smash my face into it. The soft flesh gives and cakes the outside of my mouth. Then when I bite I hold the bitten off piece against the roof of my mouth and smash it all around with my tongue, puree it into oblivion and keep going.

The fat clumping around my waist is just internal snot— thin and stretchy and adhering to my tongue until I scrape my tongue against my teeth to get it off so it can slide, begrudgingly, down my throat.

For the pancreas and all its juices I chew in a freeze-frame speed, keeping the enzymes and other digestive aides swooshing around my mouth until swallowing.

Disintegrating a vertebra in one bite is uneventful. I kind of thought this before I bit into my sacrum— the three vertebrae below the thirty-third, like a triangle down there between what was once my hips. Way back in the day, like Cleopatra time, those three supposedly held some special powers over the rest of the body, and according to my chiropractor are very important still. Right. Here nothing is sacred and nothing is spared, so of course I ate my sacrum too.

Eating into my stomach the highly concentrated hydrochloric acid dries my mouth out, and I eat the fresh stomach lining as well as the one sitting in my stomach waiting to be digested. I get a large amount of protein from my regenerative stomach lining. It falls off about once a week and my body sucks the pure protein out of the discarded flesh and breaks down the protein for the essential amino acids contained within. In a case of overdoing it, I eat both the in-use and discarded linings figuring I’ll be over-proteined. I can live with this.

The effects of my life are only partially apparent to me. My liver isn’t pickled or petrified and my lungs aren’t black (though somewhat congested). With my teeth plowing through the collection of tiny spongy sacks that make up the larger spongy sack of my lungs I do find a spiral of asbestos though, and spit it out.

My back, home of my largest muscles, is easy. Getting into the muscle (any muscle, they’re all the same) I just find the direction the grain of fiber runs. The muscle simply tears away, shreds. Excited at my progress I shred too much of my back muscle off and can’t fit all of it into my mouth so I keep the extra fibers dangling from my overextended jaw for a second or two until I can work the threads of muscle inside me and suck them down.

I masticate extra on my heart thinking that it’d regenerate itself as I ate it, but that’s romanticism and this is eating. It is gone too, and tastes okay.

The fleeting tastes of my torso bouillabaisse end when I lift my unburdened shoulders off the bed with my tongue and munch up them to the base of my neck, crunching hard on my shoulder blades. I am numb with joy, and forget to note how the snap-crackle-pop of my shoulder tastes to see if it is at all like the tendonitis in my leg. I want to note the texture and flavor, but I get caught in the momentum.

My frenzy carries me right up to my clavicles, two bones I’d really looked forward to, where I take an extra moment to yank them around with my head, and growl and chew ferociously, for effect.

My spinal cord is eaten along with my vertebrae. I’d have bet eating most of my spinal cord and central nervous system’d make me a quadriplegic, but I didn’t have any plegics left to quad. Or quads left to plegic. All I have left is my head and neck.

All I have left is my head and neck. All I have left is my head and neck. I can’t get used to it, or grasp what that actually means as I suck my spinal chord at the base of my neck while crunching up the vertebrae leading to my brain. All I have left is my head and neck. My tongue and mouth were transformed way back when, so now they must be transmogrified into muscles and structures more shaped by desire than the act. The pituitary, brainstem, and network of nerves are the aim of my bending, twisting, striving, and elongated tongue.

Gnawing my chin with my upper teeth, I think I’ll shiver when I eat all that fucking hair— but in the same thought am not sure if I can shiver without shoulders. All I have left is my head and neck. Really. No shit. It’s still possible that I’ll stop eating after the motor-skills portion of my brain is gone. Half a brain left, with no motor skills, I’d truly be done. Real funny right? Now that I’ve almost reached my goal, I’m fucking around, happy that I can be myself— finally.

So, I bite the inside of my mouth and chew my cheeks and all the flesh below them away, allowing my jaw to swing loose when needed. I chew through the remnants of the base of my spinal cord and into my brain stem. The nerve fibers collecting in my brainstem could’ve been difficult, but I sensed the electricity of the brain beyond, drawing me in, making me need more. I had a brainstem, but I ate it without thinking too much about it.

With all else eaten and enjoyed, the brain is the trophy. Soft and easy to chew and served in a sweet sauce that keeps it suspended in the cranium. I eat my brain, and despite the singularity of its flavor I am happy to have eaten all the rest first.

Now that it’s gone, I swivel my tongue round the inside of my cranium, probably rolling my head bones all over my bed, licking up all the juices and sucking the nectar from my sutures and licking through the tiny bones of the ear and eyes and nose. My tongue works hard, with sexual delight, at making sure no fluid remains except saliva. And by the time my sensual tongue finishes gliding over the inside of my cranium, the inner bones of my head must all be dripping with saliva from my frenzy.

Must’ve looked cool, except my eyes are gone, and I can no longer see. I’d expect to say that my eyes were delicious. And that my cheeks were a chewy-delight. But not only is my appetite for myself still tremendous, it makes no difference as to what part of me I am eating.

My tongue inserts itself between my glistening cranium and my scalp to separate the skin and hair from the bone. When finished I crunch away the cranium. Bit by bit, crunch by crunch, until this is what remains: my mandible, my facial bones from the top of my teeth to the bottom of my eye sockets, my palette, my lips, my tongue, and my teeth. And laying out flat above them all, a carpet of hair is stuck in my scalp.

Flitting with my tongue I fold up my scalp so that all the dry texture of hair is on the inside. Once folded, I make a nice, tight hair-roll with my tongue. Then I swallow. Gagging despite the fact that the back of my throat isn’t here, the swallow lingers after the tasteless hair-roll disappears. With much sucking of my lips and pushing of my tongue the hair, not soon enough, is gone.

Then I eat the bones below my eyes with my mandible, and poke through my palette with my tongue. Chewing off my lips, I then pluck out each tooth and they drop in, giving off a tinge of metallic aftertaste from my fillings. After that, with my massive tongue I simply break my jaw in half, at the front. My tongue, all muscle and flexing now, pokes right through my jaw, and then snaps the two sides of the now broken jaw so it is in quarters, and I swallow them in large pieces without the ability to chew.

And so I am left with only my tongue lying on top of God knows what my body put out. Whatever my body put out is of no importance; nothing is as important as what I’m doing. Being human, with an infinite craving for myself, and with myself almost gone, I miss me more than anything, and wish there was another me to eat. That’s just how I am. Right now I know nothing is as important as my uneaten tongue.

So I, just a tongue, lay here for a moment, the longest pause in the process of swallowing myself. To finish off the ultimate epileptic process, or epilliptical process, I just roll my tongue up and finish.

For a time I am gone.

And then I am not gone. I am here.


Gregory Rossi

Gregory Rossi is currently finishing his first novel.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 03-JAN 04

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