Thursday, March 24, 2011

Followed by the pound sign.

Sat down to stack of Williams and dug myself out finally.
Funny how the slightest bit of productivity can cure what nails you under.

The always banana guy from my old store came into my now store and I was so happy I scared myself.
He looks the same.
Did I ever tell you I really like people?
Not all people, I hate all people.
But, banana people off the street,
They really get me.
I like standing in lines.
I like being one of five hundred migrating short people crowding in dust to the Buckingham light show.
I like that bridge over the highway that goes to the beach.
I like orientation day.
Name tags.
Bathrooms in public.
I saw one of those Iowa people.
You know how they're aliens?
I went to a poetry reading and he was introduced as an Iowa graduate.
And I was like,
They come here?
They go outside?!
Let me see him, sniff, sniff.
I think his poems were good.
I was too busy sniffing him.
Actually, he was really sweaty.
Really, it looked like someone threw a bucket of water down a hallway, and he didn't know where the bathroom was, so he just splashed around in the suds because his mentor had said to him before he died that he missed the innocence he used to have in his poems before he got poured into workshop.
He read a longer poem about an ice cube, it was meta.
And I was like, somebody get this man a street to walk on, the standards are so high these days.
And we could all stand a bit more potassium in our lives.

Like it, Love it, Gotta have it, just kidding, watching my weight and yours,
Skin and Toast

Friday, March 18, 2011

We Did, We Wanted It So Bad

When we were eighteen.
When the envelopes waved at our heels, when the interviews echoed inside our cheeks.
When we ironed our sweaters the night before,
When we hammered our monologues and eighteen acapella bars into two minute slots over and over again at the top of the Palmer house hotel and slaughter.
When in the hallways of our high school the questions dropped from the ceiling like cans of tomatoes from helicopters. Have you heard?
It was a war.
It was a war, but no one was against you, only the perforated version of yourself that attached to rows of numbers, ranks, lists, waitings.
And the way we wanted it, and the pressure that sat on the fatty pads behind our eyes; it could induce labor.
Because there was no logic to the places we had circled in red.
Because we were children.
Because we belonged to a private school, that not only held us, heated us under lamps of praise, But stirred up inside of us a kind of drive that is usually only found in people who are mentally ill.
To consider, even briefly, that you are chosen. That you, in your fourteen dollar t-shirt, are without even really trying, simply; brilliant. That is insane.
(But, it should be reflected in the minutes that I worked very hard, I worked so hard that sometimes I found myself fighting. I would come home to find foam in my teeth, and blood under my nails. The crazy part of myself, the part that is prone to depression, the part that hangs off of my mattress in a string of puss, still believes that that was my time. Nonsense.)
Did you see me in Tartuffee?
I played Dorine.
Were you there?
I wanted it so bad.
I applied to twelve schools.
Only one of them mattered.
North Carolina.
For one reason, and one reason only; that's where Ted Schneider went the year before, and he was brilliant.
I don't use words like talent anymore, I think it's tacky and undefined, like a pregnant rich girl winning an Oscar.
I've graduated to words like work, and new. Simple words that I can put on my bulletin board and weep to.
And someone said, in a hot blast of jealous breath, that school's second only to Juilliard.
Ted, Carolina, Look at him, We wanted it so bad.
And so,
It was planted, that's my next battle, I painted half of my face blue, I didn't eat, I didn't know what I was doing. I was crazy. I wanted it so bad. I believed I deserved it, like a mouth deserves a set of teeth.
Everyone knew about the size of the envelopes, everyone had done a summer intensive, everyone knew what went on inside an ordinary 8 by 10.
After a while we stopped opening them.
It was too much,
It was just as well,
We wanted it so bad.
I still remember Kaya who wanted Yale.
And Joe who wanted Brown.
So bad.
Go to your room.
And it didn't matter, the envelopes slipped where they pleased, under, between the finger and the nail.
It hurt.
My letters came to my father's house.
I lived in a club on the gold coast.
My ceilings were very high.
He saved them for me in a pile in his suburb, I would read several at once, on the weekends of my choosing.
Carolina took it's sweet time, I waited, like I was waiting for a lung, ridiculous.
He knew.
And then I was on a ten minute break from rehearsal, I was playing Dorine, did you see me?
We rehearsed in corsets, and full skirts over petticoats, and fans around our wrists.
And in the hallway, bent over my back pack, in my corset, on my break, I called my father.
Because it was Friday, I had to confirm that I was coming. I had to call my father on my over sized cell phone, in my corset, on the floor of my high school hallway, the floors were wood boards soaked in wax, like a gymnasium. The ceilings were very high. Before we landed there, it was an elementary school for Catholic boys.
"Coming on the 6:24".
"Great, Jess?"
"I got a letter here from Carolina........."
(Don't move, hallway, teeth, corset).
.........."And, Iiiiiiit'z a small one".

It was as if he was saying "na nay na na nah, haaa, ha, iiiiiit'z a small one!"

Like with his his thumbs in his ears and the rest of his fingers flapping, like that fat kid on the other side of the fence.
Can you picture it?
Me, with the whale bones pressing into my bones, puffing the tears back into my brain.
I had wanted it so bad.

The next thing I remember is Lizzi kneeling into my shoulders.
What's wrong. Nothing. She said,
You are red.
(Like, you are in the sixteenth percentile, or, you don't have a boyfriend, you are red).

Don't move. Don't you dare cry. This is ridiculous.

We must have looked perfectly period, styled, classically trained, captured. Kneeling into each other like that, our skirts billowing into themselves like waves. Our cheeks flushed, resting against each other like elk.

Thank you Lizzi,
Skin and Toast

PS: "We cannot discuss this further."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You Know How

Sometimes you just need a kitchen table surrounded by really old women

With instant Folgers

And diabetic cats

And then the one surviving man can enter through the screen door wearing nothing but rubber boots

And we can all roll our eyes

And pity the mind he lost to the back of the silver wear drawer with the meatballs with the ice cubes with the day job with the gas pump Silly bear

And go back to our sound observations

And perverse calculations


The ladies of the table

The watchers of the lake

Thelma was a pussy

And Louise was a hoe

It only matters from the waist up,

Skin and Toast

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thick Drapes

Waking up in the hotel
With the heater blowing cool air
And the chicken on the night stand
And the Spanish channel on mute
And the socks on my face

It's like prom

Or opening night

It's the plastic stick that shuts open summer


Remember that?

Remember how we used to live?

Like kings in water,
Skin and Toast

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh My God Like

Did I ever tell you that Bloomington is like amazing
Like totally out of sight
I don't know what it is
The bags are made of straw
And the music has no words
And there's pizza in the sewers
And the coffee smells like basements
And when you go out for Chinese food you're really just in some body's house
And then you walk around the campus and it's like
I don't have to go to Paris anymore
Did I tell you that this is where Abraham and Dorothy met their love and life and baby and brain?
Yeah, this is where they started
They're my people
Across the courtyard
We all spent every morning to afternoon together
We sat on tree stumps and scraped china bowls
We helped each other with our perforated edges
It was the quilt of my spring
It was the brace of my break
It was the carpet under my bean bag
I feel them here
The ghost
And youth
Of my people
Scotland nothing
This is my homeland

Swans of song,
Skin and toast

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm done.

I feel finished.
I feel like something has put the plate onto my napkin.
I feel like I wasn't looking at the bus that hit me,
I was across the street drinking Swedish coffee.
But, It's not about me.
It's about the millions and billions of crushed and adored.
I don't have enough quarters to time travel.
I'll have to call Frank Sinatra.
He's known for his generosity.
Next time you see friend boy ask him to tell you the Tom Hanks story.
It will knock you under your cloth cornered meat walls it's so funny.
I like telling stories.
I like listening to stories.
Emily Dickinson has been fictionalized into Amelia Cake
In my manuscript.
She's obsessed with napkins.
She has a kitty.
She eats only clear broth and cigarettes.
Her friend has come into her room and tried on her pajamas,
And rubbed her feet.
And fingered the edges of her journal,
Her train schedule,
Her applications.
They ran plenty of hot water but were afraid to back into it.
They're sensitive.
They never went to New York.
They put all they're promise into one hand crafted wicker chair,
And rocked it all away,
Against the amber vice of their older half sisters.
And the worms lit the room a stale shade of green.
They wanted it so bad.

~Skin and Toast