tonight, i make love with moths under the garish lights on the front porch to the tones of the women of africa. move hips and lips like lovers alone. unabashedly repeat the steps and raise my arms over head. no apology. smile and soak in these ridiculous tones of a changing season.
This morning, I feel like the plain untranslated text of a Camus novel. Every motion an act of simply trying to make the limbs go. I smoked a cigarette, because I wanted one. I made a coffee, and then I drank it. I read and marked student papers, because it needed to be done. I opened my mouth and inhaled air over and over again. I didn't take a shower. I probably won't leave the house today or talk to anyone in person. If I do, then I'll take a shower first. I had a dream last night that some man I didn't recognize, while talking on the phone, wrote with a pen on the back of an envelope: "Do you listen to Lisa Loeb?" I nodded then he said, I thought so. There are many more student papers to read and mark. I will go mark them now.
i'd ask the question:
won't you be my husband?
if your cat pooped in his box
and you were less annoying
i want your fingers
just like whispers of stories
to cover my skin
i'd let you fuck me with them
if you were less a bastard
The Lunar Calendar
She Pins to the Door
Why spend love? Why
a narrative that evaporates
like rubbing alcohol on cotton?
Do I strategize against wound
even as I head full tilt?
If I lie on my back
and breathe the air
the trees in the courtyard
expire into the window
perhaps I may stop forgetting myself,
quit looking for some other
to locate my own body.
What I do find after coming alone
is if I press my ear flat to the bed
I can hear my heartbeat
in the springs of the mattress deeply.
On your own, you write to me.
Mortal and stunningly adequate.
as i sat in a pile on the floor
crumpled like discarded dirty clothes
he didn't offer me contempt
just one open hand
to grab onto
to remember what it feels like to not let go
. . . it's that thing. cold lovers hands under sheets midnights. the inability to remember the name of the cat of your dead best friend. or the last name of your first real boyfriend. that thing. that. thing. like having to sit down at rock concerts . . .
SKETCH OF A HOT AIR BALLOON, ME
i want a life like cathode-ray tubes
all pictures and probability
this is the dizzying move and buzz
the after mouth of sex
like a morning after too much gin
the way i'd rather stab myself in the eye with a pen knife
than stop the under skin movement of mosquitoes
or the pull of your compass
on the direction of my blood
My Dearest Poppy,
I'm so very sorry about the aardvark and setting your sister's dress on fire two Christmases ago. And for the handle bar mustache joke. Remember the game that Jay and I used to play in the basement of your house before you moved into that big thing where your new kids could have more room to play and you'd stopped paying child support because you didn't have the money and I went on scholarship and went to community college instead of university even though I was accepted but couldn't afford the tuition. Pronouncing the names of things backwards and eating chocolate cake with our mouths open. Getting high in your back yard while we claimed to be walking the dog. I'm not sorry. I just feel the pain of it sometimes, stuck in my lower back like an old car accident that won't forget me. Brother and I talk about our penchant for depression. And I'm manic now. Stalking around the apartment alone in my underwear and haunted looks. Curling up under blankets and painting a lot. Pulling all the shades closed. Ripping up pictures of the faces of people I love. I could be dead or alive for all I care. I don't care. Crying and eating and sleeping feel like petty useless tasks. He cured his with a child. So care free and happy and in love now that I've not seen the evidence in dark circles and late night binges with friends in years. As long as she's been alive. Alive. He's a live. I self medicate, instead. Tried to staunch the flow of the way this bile seeps into me with love and work. But it never works. I always feel short. Stop short. Can't figure out just how to keep it going. Feel useless and dried and contagious. The sharp deadly pious breath of mornings. Drink vodka and red wine until. Until. Because there's a predictability to being drunk. I know what that is. What I am when I am. A better understandable loss of control. I shouldn't expect something else. I've never been any good at Septembers.
Your adoring daughter,
i'd call just to tell you that i love you, but i've forgotten how to make words find your ears.
instead, i'd say into his answerphone: i'm being attacked by gigantic spiders and throwing up every half hour, or so. reading really bad lesbian pornography. let's go get some coffees and fuck. i need your fingers in my eyes. and some groceries.
I cradle books like babies. Carry them delicately and alive. I snort at the kid wearing a John Deer t-shirt and wonder how people in this place can be so disastrously behind the times. I'm a pretentious judgemental ass hole sometimes. A word swilling academic. I shop at Anthropologie and pretend at being edgy. I could curl up under the metal tree with my words. Sit there in the grass like dog shit and swear acid words to displace the fault of my duodenum. Even one of the branches on the shiny tree is broken. I'd sit there and shout fuck you. Fuck you. Especially.
look. everyone is sick of hearing about it and talking about it. of turning on the tv and seeing the images. we're a culture, not just a country, built on the ideology of silencing violence -- believe me, it's been on my mind, i just wrote a whole fucking chapter about it for my graduate work. the ways in which social spaces reject violence because it's unpleasant. because it messes with the safe order of things.
but check it. and check it straight. there can't be anything good to come of catastrophe, and i don't wish this harm and injury that won't be healed for any number of years that pass in the individual lives it has touched. but i do know one thing -- i am grateful that finally, finally, there seems to be some wide-spread acknowledgement of some of the topics for which i have and will continue to dedicate my life to in this very real and unfortunate 'natural' disaster.
poverty. racism. the legacy of slavery and oppression, especially in the still impoverished and forgotten lives of so many economically disenfranchised african american southern united states lives.
if there's anything that this country that i live in and this current administration and the power of the people who voted him into office have taught me over and over again in my life -- it's that brown skin will never be afforded privilege and that prejudice and the privilege of white christian idealism will continue to proffer the unfortunate attitude that ideology breeds intolerance. and worse yet, it breeds generations on generations of blindness and silence.
the catastrophe isn't the destruction brought by any weather--it's the violence that has taken place for years and years before. that continues to take place. the won't see significant change in my lifetime. i'll keep trying. one chapter at a time. one student at a time. one white girl teaching white kids who've likely never seen more than a handful of black people in their life time and who have no idea what the word ghetto means, beyond labeling the 'bad part' of their middle class privileged home towns. who think that crime is that one of their psychotic spoiled white class mates compiled a list of the kids he thought made him feel bad about himself and said he might do them harm and so he was kicked out. that's no understanding of living in fear -- that's being spoiled in a world that you already expect to love and care about you.
[okay, i better stop before i fall off the soap box and break the people who already know all this anyway. plus, other people are saying this better than i ever could, anyhow. just check the ny times.]
the tragedy, obviously, is that no one was talking about the real tragedy going on already.
She doesn't dream of dogs. Anymore. Like old email addresses and people in pictures she might think she remembered if she could only figure out how. They don't bark or claw at the fence when she comes. Pink tongues searching her salty skin through the barrier between. She wants blood and guts. Salmon splayed in a memory on her father's sunshine sidewalk. His wrong smile and cherry covered fingertips. The acrid smell of burning turned flesh gone to fire. They nuzzle her. Comfort whimpers through wet dark noses. Instead. These days. No, Asia can't dream of dogs and the cavities where body parts should go. Misplaced emotional disasters. She curls up against the neighbor's fence with her crayola markers. Washable. Draws their forms fiercely. No photographs. No late night phone calls. Only the swell of colors in the sink when she soaks the figures away. Trials of time less well spent and lonely. Down the drain in muddy purple swirls. Not now. No. Asia dreams of tattoos and the world indelible.
crossing the bridge. she divides. not splintered. not split halfwise. she becomes two. this one runs as fast as traffic. screams at the backs of trucks. just as loud as she possibly can. this one watches. soundless. unnerved. constant wails flowing like blood from an opened vein.
fast, fast, the fingers go on chords. down spines. lips and ears and skin turn into music. conversation. always easy and hard pressed. at just the right spots. whether on the backs of frozen envelopes waiting for buses in stranger's hands a million miles away or in a cab back from an expensive dinner bought and paid for by your father or my mother. there's no frequency. for this. nothing to make the resilience of memory cut like knives into the soft places behind knees. of when you punched your fists raw because of me. in spite of me. in the love of me. those fingers raw pressing out chords. no matter what the cost. the lonely sound of hands on strings. the dissonance of certain moments, the pressure, too hard. too long. empty palms sting. like unplayed pianos.
Perhaps I'm the only one, but -- does anyone else read particular blogs inside their heads with certain voices? Like you click open the page and the words spill out into your mind soundling like James Mason? Eddie Izzard. Dylan Moran. Julia Deakin (as Marsha).
Heh. Probably just me then, ennit.
Cornelius prefers Moon Pies to potato chips. He says they keep his fingers cleaner. Cornelius once ate an entire package of hot dogs (Hebrew National) straight from the fridge in one sitting to spite his then girlfriend Rosie who said he had a potbelly the size of Asia. That's just the kind of guy Cornelius is. He's got pride. Rosie, a vegetarian, broke up with him soon afterward citing disgust for his animal consumption, even against Cornelius' protestations that they're not really made from animals but from byproducts. She's just recently moved in with her new boyfriend--a butcher. Cornelius doesn't think too deeply about many things, but if he did, he'd probably think that was pretty funny. He doesn't really get irony. Today, he's decided that if it rains he's going to stay in doors all day and watch television. Cornelius likes the way the shows just keep turning and moving. He hardly has to do anything at all. If it doesn't rain, well, he'll probably just stay inside with his programs anyway. No reason to make things complicated. That's just the kind of guy Cornelius is. He's got determination.