Everything to Everyone I put myself in stupid places: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, same shoes on for 18 hours. Nobody buckles at the beach. Nobody worries swell will snap them like a wish- bone. One half of me is napping, the other half yell-singing “Father of Mine.” My father didn’t vanish before my anger crawled with aphids, then flowered. Rage didn’t die with him, only changed shape. Who drew me a father without eyes? Was it his father pulled over the night he was born, thrown into the drunk tank slurring not from scotch but from thirst and didn’t the cops laugh in his crinkled face when he asked for a candy bar and didn’t Lee rescue him with the Hundred Grand in her purse and deliver him to his only son? My grandmother wants me to believe Owen only ever loved the track. Not her. Not his child. Dogs. Horses. Paper tickets and the gates spring opening. Hating someone when you’re young is easy and endless. If I say I haven’t grieved this right, can you help me? Who hammered Dad’s blindspot into my teeth like a curb? When I’m on my feet all day, every day, bruised in the hips, unwilling to touch anyone who hasn’t seen me shattered or shattering over this. Nobody gets behind the wheel and asks to fall asleep. But I’m asking. Tell me when to stop. I’D LET THE GEEK GET THE GIRL In the script based on our life story we watch movies about the care & keeping of our worst possible selves. Adulthood. Try it on. See how it fits the same as high school. All the bullies have transplanted faces. Portia de Rossi, up-talking. Sorority party same as slumber party, except now with twice the vodka & no chasers. Not as pretty as the future we’d hoped for, but it’s a future at all which is more than nothing. If I wanted fan mail I’d write a story not built on the backs of better stories. We watch movies because we want handsome problems who won’t let us out of their sight. The truth isn’t glamorous enough to inspire ardor but we’re not here to be loved. We’re here to tell the truth about where everything went wrong. How many times things got worse. Which stupid choices felt like the right ones. Adulthood. Life imitating art imitating other versions of how we could’ve lived beyond ourselves. Our legacy, a cautionary tale. A movie to keep us from re-treading old wounds. People have different ways of putting it, but we’re talking immortality. Why film was invented. No story ends that’s in progress somewhere. Being remembered. Being consumed by a neutral third party. Try to follow. The survivors end up at college, very sensitive to the connection between real life violence & movies, how the two animals feed each other. The escalations of both. For argument’s sake, the entire horror genre was destroyed by sequels. By chase scenes. By corn syrup. By handsome problems who kick ugly as anyone else. By plot holes turned loopholes for the killer to come back with a renewed grudge. Knife imitating heart imitating plight of those doomed to watch themselves die on screen. Not us. There are no rules here. We’ve found out everything we weren’t meant to know, but can’t die once they’ve fed our story the screen. how it started I was pretending you meant / nothing in the way bodies don’t matter unless you’ve decided they’re everything. I won’t say how many I’ve seen sleeping. it’ll hurt. I don’t want anybody to know me from hemlock. I don’t want you close but come sit next to the tub while I shower. hold my soapy hand. it’s not silly I feel dirty when you frown at me. I was pretending to be famous / smarter than the city that grew me up girl in the first place. you can’t breed furrows out of fields. I wasn’t actually important. wore that shirt only once. it’s not silly to be sad today. I’m sorry I’m laughing. it hurts thinking we get nothing from difficult work. I was pretending & never stopped / shoveled full of ways to make me less offensive. funny, the first walk home you couldn’t find your street. we would’ve fallen off the end of America. I wasn’t actually cold, but it snowed. I miss that.
March 12, 2015