from Brides
by Laura Mullen

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These “Brides” are part of the third in my trilogy of hybrid texts playing with “low” or foundational genres. The book I am completing works through the "Romance" in order to explore and expand structuring definitions of sexuality and love. (The first two books in the trilogy—The Tales of Horror and Murmur—worked with the gothic and the murder mystery.) Inclusive of experimental fiction and non-fiction as well as poetry, the trilogy as a whole examines the descriptions and definitions of our relationships, and the narrative structures we want and (or) need to repeat. At once critical and creative, each text is rooted in a specific entertainment and interested in the history of a kind of reading-for-pleasure; the project is overtly feminist and the books involve a questioning of literary history and hierarchies.


"He buried himself within her."

Bride of the Dream of the Perfect Day

As if good weather meant, no, were wedded bliss: a series of standard phrases or married words, conjugal felicity for instance (for instance for instance). Dark clouds can swirl like dirty tissue in an overflowing toilet somewhere else for all she cares but here and now Fine is the only forecast. There's a spot of blue the BDPD always looks to, willing that bright bit to stretch from horizon to horizon, with maybe a few brushed-on wisps of cirrus for ornament, purely decorative, maybe a bit symbolic (fecundity, etc)—why not? Into every rain a little life and so on, oops, I mean…but not today, not on her day. So out it goes, bad weather, along with spills, miscalculations, iffy temper and anyone who can't—as she puts it—get with the program. Packed off in a box labeled "Just for today" or "Once." So much of what comprises the world as we know it must be heavily, sometimes clumsily, packed up and hefted off-stage "Just for today": her special day. Luckily it's not far to the wings where wars and typhoons are contained and every kind of disaster (from the assassination of a major political figure to a chipped nail) is stacked helter-skelter—we can stagger off there, if we've had one too many, to toss our cookies on the lot. The number of lives lost yesterday in that marketplace bombing and the overthrow of an elected government are back here somewhere with global warning oops warming, under the fear that the divorced parents will make a scene or just refuse to be photographed. It's not that she doesn't understand that the green stain from the unbound stems of her garden bouquet on the hand-beaded duchess satin of her dress is of less moment than not just genocide but even the fender bender that may or may not have given her Aunt a mild case of whiplash on her way to the church: her heart—as she puts it—is in the right place. It's just that everything seems to be a sign, today, or these facts so many claim checks someone else can turn in later, right? For today a dazzling compress should keep those in her flawless blue circle blind to everything but her beauty and happiness. Not here and not now she admonishes the lack of potable water in the refugee camps and her nephew sneaking off to the cloakroom again complaining there's no way to get through this without…. Portents: droopy roses mean there were abuses of detainees, cracked stemware and stained tablecloths are pretty much a confession that the number of civilian deaths was much higher than we thought. That line of green spots down her white skirt is just another way of admitting that, if the pre-nup negotiations didn't kill all affection between the parties involved, both were left distrustful and lawyered up. And the rain, for the storm announces itself (a turning wad of white in the Gulf), means not just that this coalition is unstable and destructive, but that it was always based on a lie, everything, the whole long engagement.

Bride of Some Operation Names A-L

Abilene, Able Warrior, Airborne Dragon, All American Tiger, Alljah, Antica Babilonia, Arctic Sunrise, Ardennes, Arrowhead Blizzard, Arrowhead Ripper, Arrowhead Strike III, 9 and 10, Badlands, Backbreaker, Bastille, Baton Rouge, Bayonet Lightning, Beastmaster, Black Eagle, Black Shark, Black Typhoon, Block Party and Block Party II, Bold Action, Bone Breaker, Boothill, Bowie, Bruins, Bulldog, Bulldog Mammoth, Cajun Mousetrap II and III, Catalyst, Centaur Fast Gas, Centaur Rodeo, Centaur Showdown, Centaur Strike II and III, Chamberlain, Checkmate, China Shop, Chokehold, Church, Clear Area, Clear Decision, Clean Sweep, Cobra Strike, Cobra Sweep, Cobweb, Combined Justice, Commando Eagle, Constant Solidarity, Constitution Hammer, Dagger, Danger Fortitude, Dawn, Dealer, Desert Farewell, Desert Scorpion, Desert Snowplow, Desert Thrust, Destroyer Strike, Devil Clinch, Devil Siphon, Dirty Harry, Dragon Fire and Dragon Fire East, Dragon Hammer, Dragon Victory, Dragons Breath, Duke Fortitude, Duke Fury, Duliyah Sunrise, Eagle Claw XI, Eagle Curtain, Eagle Ares, Eagle Dive I, Eagle Liberty 3, Eagles, Eagle Shiloh III, Eagle Sweep, Eagle Venture IV, Enduring Freedom, Falconer, Falcon Freedom, Falcon Fury, Falcon Sweep, Final Strike, Gator Inn, Gimlet Crusader, Gimlet Silent Sniper, Gladiator, Glad Tidings of Benevolence II, Glory Light, Great Lakes, Grizzly Forced Entry, Guardian Tiger IV, Guardian Torch, Haifa Street, Hickory View, Hermes, Hurricane & Hurricane II, Industrial Revolution, Industrial Sweep, Iraqi Freedom, Iron Arrow II, Iron Blitz, Iron Bullet, Iron Fist II, Iron Force, Iron Fury and Iron Fury II, Iron Grip, Iron Hammer, Iron Harvest, Iron Justice, Iron Reaper, Iron Roundup II, Iron Saber, Iron Triangle, Ithaca, Ivy Blizzard, Ivy Cyclone, Ivy Cyclone II, Ivy Lancer Fury, Ivy Needle, Iron Promise, Iron Resolve, Ivy Serpent, Jaws V, Justice League, Keystone Sweep, Lightning, Lightning Blitz, Lightning Hammer and Lightning Hammer II, Lion, Lion Hunt and Lion Hunt II. Lions, Lions Roar, Longhorn, Longstreet….

Be Creative Bride

With a whirr and a thunk she edges forward, already beginning to spin and to seem—as eyes and arms start to replicate and stack—more than a little monstrous: spider-like. Urged to express her real self, expensively, to celebrate, in the phrase, her unique style, the BCB's head swells to contain all the "bright ideas" she's sure she'll be able to improve on and essentially duplicate. It has to be different, she wants it to be different, but it can't be too different: my wedding, she says looking everywhere but at the groom she's wrapped in the tensile sticky give of You don't trust me do you or You don't care or Can't you see that I'm doing all this for us for us. She writhes and spins, dealing out the myriad charts and samples, hissing her mantra: What do you think what do you think what do you… The knife-blade descends on the stem of the green jade flower; in the airless and sterile room women hurry to finish the gem-crusted gown she swears she'll be able to carry off. Did she mention she has to lose a few pounds because she's going to be brought in on a bower of bois dentelle blossoms lifted by whooping cranes? The trainer is marvelous! Doesn't that sound just…meanwhile the mad search for the exclusive videographer's number, scrawled in lipstick on a vanished color swatch. Fuchsia? Peach? What about green—that bright virescent shade, what's its name, darling, alluring and poisonous? What do you really think punctuates each description of what some would regard as innovations, varied with Oh it's going to be such a complete disaster and God it's got to be perfect. Choose choose choose is the chorus turning her until her many eyes glitter like a diamond bandage, her countless arms blur into a sort of ruff, and her blooming head (gaping mouth, undulant scribble of hair) grows wider and wilder. Would you marry it marry it marry it asks the poet. How will we ever pay for…—but what do you think—it's my wedding. Sometimes she'll even press her immobilized groom—desperate! Under those spreading white skirts, so we've heard, a crowd of pedicurists kneel to attend to the multitude of feet meant to dance her (still twirling) to florists and caterers and department stores and—dance lessons! Meanwhile the high-pitched whine of her drill-like rotations: she's insisting just now his tuxedo be made of millerbird feathers and oh, copper; she's commissioning an ice sculpture (think Vietnam memorial!) for her seating chart—but all that could change, she assures us, in an instant. Don't you think that's just…? I do! At this point her special vows consist of a list of the places she's registered; but that's just a start. It's my wedding she explains…and it has to be original—surely we see that? Absolutely we say, it will be, and so you, really, we feel we at this point must reassure her. Really? Oh we think so no we really really really think we think we do so so we do and then—we start to whirl ourselves not so that she stops just so that she seems to stop—don't we don't I don't you…

Dithery Bride of the Word Choice (Revised Bride)

Abandon or jilt? Leave her to her own devices! We request no the pleasure of your company is requested to share our joy no to celebrate…. Discard relinquish swear off—frenzied and zealous. Request the honor of your presence and the favor of a reply if you will worship with or witness. Kindly. We'll have to pull the trigger on the color of the ink in the next few weeks. Numbers spelled out. Honored to have you share in the joy of. She hesitates. The DBWC or RB is born and raised and lives excited to precarious stasis in those instants that teeter on the edge of irrevocable decision. Yes no no yes. Electrified by the bright buzzing shimmer of her selection's importance. "If," she says, and again, "if." And then "or." Then "this no this." Her free will flutters wildly tearing its wings on the bars of the cage of recorded etiquette. What I wanted drifts of fluff. And be our guest and afterward at the reception. In thought. Leave undone and also excess. Fate? Often issued in the form of a personal note. Flowers and birds bows and spangles flounces and ornate beadwork appear in the air around her and vanish white on white on white and her long silk train yet pours from the limo as she nears the altar still uncertain who it was exactly she finally settled on to face. The pleasure of. Carelessness. That. Which. Back and forth because it matters is material. "There are circumstances when the bride very much wants to include the name of the deceased parent. This is acceptable, as long as the invitation does not appear to have been issued by the deceased." Quit disregard cease dismiss. At half past surrender please RSVP.

Bride of Some Operation Names M-W

Machete Harvest, Mandarin Squeeze, Marne, Marne Avalanche, Marne Grand Slam, Marne Piledriver, Marne Rugged, Marne Torch, Market Sweep, Matador, Moon River Dragon, Mutual Security, Mustang Flex, Mustang Socko. National Unity, New Dawn, New Market, Northern Delay, Northern Fury, Northern Lights, O.K. Corral, Olympus, Open Window, Option North, Outer Banks, Outlaw Destroyer, Overcoat, Panther Backroads, Panther Squeeze, Passage, Pegasus Bridge, Peninsula Strike, Phantom Fury, Phantom Linebacker, Phantom Phoenix, Phantom Strike, Phantom Thunder, Planet X, Plymouth Rock, Polar Black Diamond, Polar Charade, Polar Dive and Polar Dive II, Polar Scrum, Polar Tempest, Powder River, Predator, Punisher III, Purple Haze, Quickstrike, Quicksweep, Raging Bull and Raging Bull II, Ramadan Roundup, Rapier Thrust, Rat Trap, Red Bull and Red Bull II, Red Dawn, Relentless Hunt, Resolute Sword, Restore Peace VI, Restoring Rights, Rifles Blitz, Rifles Fury, Rifle Sweep, Ripper Sweep, Rising Force, River Blitz, River Falcon, River Gate, River Walk, Roaring Tiger, Rock Bottom, Rock Drill, Rocketman, Rocketman III, Rock Hammer, Rock Reaper, Rock Slide, Rogue Stomp, Rogue Thunder, Saber, Saber Guardian, Safety and Security, Sand Storm, San Juan, Santa, Scorpion, Scorpion Sting, Scrimmage, Seahorse, Shadyville, Showdown, Sidewinder, Silverado, Sledgehammer, Slim Shady, Soda Mountain, Soprano Squeeze Play, SOUK, Spring Break, Steel Curtain, Sunset, Spartan Scorpion, Spider Web, Spring Cleanup, Strategic Separation, Stampede 3, Striker Hurricane, Striker Tornado, Suicide Kings, Swarmer, Swashbuckle, Sweeny, Tangerine Pinch, Tangerine Squeeze, Telic, Thunderstruck, Tiger Care, Tiger Clean Sweep, Tiger Fury, Tiger Hammer, Tigers, Tobruk, Together Forward, Tombstone Piledriver, Trailblazer, Trifecta, Triple Play, True Grit, Turki Bowl and Turki Bowl II, Tuwaitha Sunrise, Tyr, Unforgiven, Unified Fist, Unified Front, Vacant City, Vanguard Thunder, Vigilant Resolve, Viking Snatch, Vipers Bite, Warhorse Whirlwind, Warrior, Warrior Resolve, Warriors Rage, White House, White Rockets, White Shield, William Wallace, Wolfhound Fury II, Wolfhound Power, Wolfpack Crunch, Wolf Stalk II, Wolverine, Wolverine Feast, Wonderland, Woodshed, Woodstock…

Bride of the Occupation (Jewel in the Crown)

'I never guessed you'd be so…possessive. Not after you had what you wanted from me, anyway."

His mouth came down on hers once more, forceful, possessive, unyielding. This time there was no trace of gentleness in the lips that ravaged hers
She kissed him, desperate to make him see that he had her, no matter what. Within seconds, he took over the kiss, grasping her head to hold her still as his mouth plundered and ravaged and yes, devoured hers
As his mouth plundered hers with a hunger that answered her own
He muffled her words with a kiss, a long, hungry one that reduced her to pudding
Then he took her lips with his, his blood fired with the need to plunder her honeyed mouth
To plunder that lush, supple mouth…plunder that seductive mouth
Silencing her as he buried his tongue in the sweet hot warmth of her mouth the way he wanted to bury himself in another part of her
The need to brand her with his mouth
He kissed her, plundering first her mouth, then her ear and the hollow of her throat
He ravaged her mouth with heady thrusts of his tongue, and when that no longer satisfied him, he swept his hands down her neck to shove her gown free of her shoulders so he could strafe her bared flesh with urgent, openmouthed caresses
He pleasured her with everything he possessed until he thought he'd burst with the need to bury something other than his tongue inside her
She seemed perfectly eager to be ravished
Then his mouth seized hers…plundering
If [he] had governed India anywhere as competently as he governed her body, no wonder everyone lauded his actions
He ravaged her mouth