Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Pressure to break the cycle.
Pressure to be nothing like my mother.
Nothing like my grandmother.
They're not role models.
They didn't even try.
My sisters and nieces and nephews certainly have a lot to be proud of,
But, that's different, that gets competitive.
And if I turn out a loser like our mother, it kind of brings the whole team down.
It's all on me.
It's my turn.
Not really. I'm in my own little Chicago cocoon. I don't have to report back.
But, I kind of want to. Eventually. I want to stumble in with the rotting Buffalo carcass draped over my bare back. I want to show them my kill. I want my kill to be the deadest, most biggest, bestest kill ever.
Isn't that ridiculous?
Doesn't this all sound just a touch angry?
Just tell me. I can take it. I've been on edge. My rage has been on my edges, my sweetness has been a tad folded over if you know what I mean. Well, grandma was sweet. So sweet she wasn't anything other than sweet. And still. And good. I don't even know what she loved, what she obsessed over, what stirred her up? What woke her up? What did she read besides the bible? What did she listen to except her husband on the keyboard? Who is/was she? Anything? Any failures? Tell me? Too late. She's gone. Left nothing. A recipe for potato salad and some antique dolls.
It was a different time. There's no need to be nasty. If she was born today, in this city, with these people.
Life raft says I should just focus on one thing. My problem is I let too many things fester in on me at once. I have an uncanny ability to go from-- wow that cable bill sure does goes up-- to wow my family is embarrassed of my life, and I'm a terrible artist chasing a rabbit down a jobless, childless, lifeless hole.
He says first of all, this is your family. This four. Life Raft, Toasty, Chi--Chi, and Meow-Meow. And do you remember when your mother picked your old kitty up by the tail and threw him out the window? Yes. Of course. And would you ever even think of doing anything like that? Nope. Never. See? That's one thing you're doing different. That's enough for tonight. I promise you are not your mother.
I should marry him.
You know, I've had a hard time admitting to the world how difficult it is adjusting to post Neo--Futurist life. And you'd think I'd feel fortunate and lucky to have my life raft still carrying the torch. And I do, cerebrally. But, it also stings. Digs. Triggers my jealous streak. Where does that come from? Only child syndrome? Niece with a large rack syndrome? Past life regression? I've always had an ugly jealous rage. (My niece is seven months older than me, we sort of grew up "together.")
My last run, my last show, was amazing. But, the last seven months were not. We're coming up on the one year anniversary of the incident. And I can feel it living in me. I've been meaning to tell you about it. Rationally. Objectively. Detailed. Wise. Reflective. To bed. Perspective.
But, you know those work related incidents between you and the bad guy? Those situations where of course this is happening, this guy is like this, he's in a position of power, he always treats me like this, like I am a child? I can brush this off. I can go home and kiss my family. And then eleven months later you're still talking to him in the shower. Screaming and crying into the foggy windows all the things you should have said.
I really need to let it go.
But, the incident dominoed a whole series of events that changed the company forever. For good, yes. But, for exhausted deep still healing wounds.
And then there's the blog. The little girl. That family. That room full of those people. Sadly that's the root. They are the root. Those humans. That's a shame. I would so be over that stupid blog had the incident not occurred.
But, you do understand that those crazy things I say are not literal. They're very long extended twisted metaphors that I am proud of. And I know what I'm doing. And
I have to let it go.
But, you know there's a lot to work with there. It's a story. I'm going to try to tell it in a calm sort of both sides Anne Lamott way. As soon as I'm up for it.
I have a few theory papers to write this week.
You know, speaking of blogs. A talented woman I used to work with just started a blog. You should check it out. She recently experienced a series of life turned up side down kinds of things, and so she's writing about it with humor, sass, and heart. She's a single mom in Evanston, two kids. But, even if you're a newlywed in Ravenswood with cats, you can still relate and enjoy. Cause its a strong woman writing.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The brat with the blog.
That spoiled d--bag who "reviews" Chicago theatre at the advanced age of 8.
Look her up, she's out there. And I hate her.
Actually I love her.
Because she's a child.
I hate her parents.
Actually you can't look her up.
I'm using a fake name.
But, she seems to review these prime time Neo--Futurist shows.
And I'm in two of them this season.
So, we'll probably cross paths.
If I was the creator of these shows I'd write a letter to the parents.
Please don't review this show on your blog.
I think what you're doing to your child is manipulative and abusive.
Please don't bring your daughter to see this show.
Please don't see this show.
Personally I don't want you in the building.
I hope you burn in hell you sick bastards.
But, I'm not the creator of these shows. So, I can't write that letter. And, I should be doing other things. Like co--writing these shows for example.
So, I'll just have to be a mature adult about this.
But, I'm still very angry for the record. I'm not letting this go. This child is not cute. She is not smart. She is not special. She's a girl. A normal girl. A normal ass girl who is worshiped by her mediocre local Chicago actor parents.
Don't get me started.
I hate these people. When I eventually run into these snakes, I will not be shy. I'll tell them to their face how much I hate them.
And it will take a considerable amount of restraint on my part to resist tying them to chairs and forcing them to watch me rape their daughter in the ass with a rusty pipe.
Skin & Toast
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Stamping his foot,
Drooling on your shoes.
Licking his lips.
Asking you in snorts and grunts what you could possibly be made of.
That's not pleasant.
I'd rather be watching u--porn and drinking scotch than hanging out with wild animals.
But, it makes for a good story later.
The buffalo is a conversation starter.
And you get the feeling there's a prize at the end.
Some kind of cookie once you get back to camp.
I don't mean to complain.
That's not it at all.
But sometimes complaining is how we learn.
Everyone says the first buffalo is the hardest.
The first buffalo breaks you in,
Once you're broken you can start to get positive feedback.
I respond to that.
I like a nurturing approach.
Just putting that out there for all the roaming beasts to sniff out.
I'll sleep under the sky with you,
In the dirt and the snakes,
But, I'm going to need a blanket.
~Skin & Toast
PS: Whatever you do, don't run.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
I'm getting all my work done,
And I'm not pregnant,
Not to worry.
I don't know exactly what I'm writing, but I am writing, Its supposed to be fiction, so I just change the names, or at least my name.
It is all a challenge, its a challenge to write things longer than one page, its a challenge to write things that are meant to be read, not heard, not driven between bleeding center down spots.
But, I think I'm doing a pretty good job.
I think anything that meets a deadline is a job well done.
And then I have days where anything other than being buried alive is a job well done.
And that's just the workshop, then there's theory, and magazine production, and the assistant ship.
So, its a full plate.
But, the alternative is slinging half cooked eggs to white people's flat strollers, and I will not stand for that.
This is nothing new,
This is the same old eye on the prize.
Its getting cold in this place.
I've already had two packages of alka seltzer plus.
The sensitive place behind my eye teeth, in the ridges of my soft palette, tell me its going to be a long winter.
I'll take it.
I'll take it all.
I'll take the hair pulling, and the chapped lips, and the 1000 pages a night, and the attached files, and the pipes bursting, and the wet socks, I'll take it.
And then someday we'll walk a cobblestone street in the south of France for no reason at all, and we wont be impressed by the architecture, and we wont pay any never mind to the chocolate, or the art.
We'll just walk back to our hotel, and they'll be expecting us, and open the door for us, and we'll laugh all the way up the stairs, and we'll strip down to our socks, and twist our limbs around the silk and flannel bedding, and listen to people arguing outside our window, and fall asleep warm in each other's arms, cozy with age, and fine wine.
Skin & Toast
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Certainly has a lot of clicks.
There is certainly something that could be getting done every minute of every every.
I see that.
So, I just choose the critical 75%.
And then I go to bed.
Just like the old days.
Like a girl.
As though she possibly actually just did a good job.
What do ya know.
And there's a lovely little Cuban sandwich place right behind the building.
They have free Internet and hot mustards over tangy pickles.
Doesn't get much better than that.
Please, hang on till December. That's it. You have one job to do.
But, between you, and I, and the stack of reading by my file cabinet night stand, I will not stop the rush of my hours for fear that I will break against the rocks of them.
So, I will buy them cool shots of spicy elixir. I will look at them deeply as I pull the pulp from my lime.
Because I love them like a hawk. Assuming of course that a hawk loves with aching reckless wild majestic spans of rosie checkered ticker paper euphoria. But, I've never shared a ledge with a hawk, so I can't say for sure.
But, believe me when I tell you how proud of you I am. My heart.
Its you, and this, and us. Its the luke warm cup of chef Boyardee at 3 in the am.
Its the one litter plastic shack of club soda fizz at 3 and 25 in the morning, on Thursday.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
"A Love, a Wind
We made a long and slow love. A wind came up and the windows trembled slightly, the sugar set fragilely ajar by the wind.
I liked Pauline's body and she said that she liked mine, too, and we couldn't think of anything to say.
The wind suddenly stopped and Pauline said,
"It's the wind.""
~In Watermelon Sugar, by Richard Brautigan
Aunt Tif let me borrow this book. I had never heard of it. Its so cool. Its like prose poetry or something. And it just made a sharp turn for the juicy. Right here, just now, at The Grind cafe and writer's studio, at 4pm on a Thursday. Hello world, is there a line for the bathroom? Cause I might need some public alone time if you know what I mean.
Skin & Toast & changes of underpants!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
That's how crazy it is to suddenly not be a Neo--Futurist.
I know I'm always a Neo--Futurist.
Just like I'm always a cherub.
Except this isn't a summer program at all.
Its different. Its different because the audition process is so rigorous. And the start date is so riveting. And then you stay as long as you want. I've seen two years, I've seen 18 years. Its up to you. Its not like a contract is negotiated every fiscal fuck up. When you kind of want to move on, you just say something. You just put in your last six months, and that's that. I've seen this before with other alums. Its goes like this; machine, machine, machine, machine, machine, machine, machine, get off the conveyor belt. Bye. See you at film fest. Have fun purchasing your condominium.
I don't know of any Neo--Futurists on their death beds. We haven't gotten there yet I guess. Someone who was 25 in 1987 probably still has a lot of years left. Well, I think one guy died of aids. But, nobody liked him, right? He was the dude who stole a bunch of money out of the rolling banks, right?
Good lord, what will they say about me?
But, I think my point is that, on your death bed, those years spent creating performance art above a funeral home, those are the best years of your life. Right? Has to be, right? Give me a break?
The people. The community. It hurts.
There's so many, I don't have a scarecrow, all of them most of all.
I guess someday you raise children, and that they say is amazing. And BORING! Gawd, another child hungry poverty stricken sensitive heterosexual female artist with a bad childhood bites the dust! Puts her ovaries on the period tracker and ruins everybodys good time! Meanwhile there's a homeless youth epidemic!
Oh, I know, but those wicker park onesies are so cute dangling from those graffiti stained windows next to yogurt boutiques, tattoo parlors, and taco deconstructions. How could you not want a baby with a Mohawk?
Its came up already, "my background." Its came up already in these initial meets and greets. They know. Its hard to talk about. I wanted a clean start, I think. I like things to be even Steven.
But, I'm always a Neo--Futurist.
Skin & Toast
Thursday, August 2, 2012
That's right, you guessed it. Yours truly.
Wow, what a moment.
Of course this kind of thing is purely chance, sure. But, isn't everything? Isn't it all luck, and chance, and one small step out of bounce? One one thousandth of a point?
Nevertheless, my toes were curling around that beam.
I screamed like a shirtless chipmunk cheeked swimmer high on marijuana cigarettes.
You know how it works;
We go around the circle and propose our plays one by one.
Then we take a moment.
Divide the number rolled slightly into a half.
Pick the half.
That's the first round of picking.
You know all this, right?
The conductor goes around the circle asking ensemble members to pick a play.
He or she picks a play, and its in. period. Circled on our respective loose leaf pages of paper.
That's the juice right there, for a play to be in the menu, it must be championed by one person. And one person only. A little something we call; art ladies and gentleman. Collective art.
First round of picking.
Heavy discussion about all the other plays, the ones that weren't picked on the first round.
Then another round of picking/something we call "throwing out," depending on the number rolled.
And it just so happened, mathematically speaking, that the third play picked last Tuesday night would be the 8,000 Too Much Light Play written by a Neo-Futurist to be performed at the Neo-Futurarium within the trademarked confines of thirty plays in sixty minutes.
There you have it.
T--Balls happened to be the third person to pick on the first round of picking, and for one reason or another he picked my lil' play entitled Shiny Shine Shine.
And then I cried a little.
Because my emotions are on the surface these days.
Because I'm in a transitional time.
~Skin & Toast
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Thank you for recognizing me, thank you for saying nice things. Sorry I was kind of bitchy. Sorry I possibly walked away while you were still talking. Its just that I was slammed on the patio. And that obviously was not my section you were sitting in, I was just dropping off your food, and checking to see if you needed salt/pepper/hot sauce/ketchup. I just didn't have time to chat. And sometimes when I'm busy like that, I sort of forget that I'm a Neo--Futurist. I mean, its stored on a completely different shelf, sealed up tight with the chili peppers and the lemons. And, furthermore, I'd be lying if I said my Neo--Futurist feelings haven't gotten royally complicated, and a bit sad. Nothing permanent, not really, I mean, I wont look back with utter disdain or anything. No, that's not it at all. The opposite. It saved my life. I figured out how to write. I realized I have opinions, and that they can be released from my mouth, and not my pores. I got a class, an eight week class, in which I am the teacher. That's huge. And that's only the beginning. Not to mention the people. The people paralyse me with love. Just love. Pure love. The real thing. The kind that constricts your air passage. Jesus love. Foot washing love. No! Not you! Not the audience. Fuck them! The ensemble. The people doing this with me every week, the blood. The terror. The cheesy love circle before every show. The tours across the country. The bulk containers of potato chips. The dropped lines. The homemade props. I want to kiss their eye lids. My favorites are T--Rex, and Sticky, and Angela. They've also moved on. Angela had a baby and is looking for jobs in Ohio, Sticky went to Montana with her boyfriend, and T--Rex went to Los Angeles to follow the heart of clown. I miss them like a dumb lyric in a pop song. I want to tare my shirt off, and stand in the rain. I think about them all the time, and its so weird that they're so scattered. Its like the end of summer camp. And the newest generation of Neo--Futurists are killing ass nails out of the park, and I had so much love casting them, and now I feel like I'm abandoning them. You know, I have issues. And now I'm about to sit through a whole other casting session, and these people I wont get to work with a lick. So, that's weird. And furthermore, there are things I regret that I couldn't, for one reason or another, accomplish, or even try. Like, I never produced a full length show, and I never took on a leadership role. That seems to be a pattern in my life. I'll work on that. I'm young. I'm 30. I got cast when I was 24. Now I'm 30. I'm young, but I do feel just a little older than I once was. And 11:30pm is so flipping late, such a weird time to call places, and also so unbelievably hard core. Its a lot to let go of, but its also time. As hard as it is, I'm still doing it, confidently, I want to do this. Roosevelt, look out bitch, I'm from the south side!
(Egg head, you suck. If I had the time, I would slander your name. You're lucky I'm a busy person.)
See Mousy Brown Haired Girl Eating With Your Mother Or Aunt, I just didn't have the energy to get into it. But, yes, I am a Neo--Futurist. Yes, you did see me in Too Much Light......Thank you so much, it really makes my day. And thank you so much for supporting live theatre. We couldn't do it without you.
Skin & Toast & Dumps Above Funeral Homes & What I Did In My Twenties
PS: You pay at the counter, bring your number up to the register.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets available on line. Going fast!
And Sunday look for us in the parade, Oh my lanta, what am I gonna wear!? Oh yeah, nothing!
~Skinny toast & Tiny boobs
Sunday, June 17, 2012
I don't have anything to say.
There is a white rod iron bed frame sleeping in a crawl space above a garage, in a suburb, with sprinklers, and kitchen smells. It is very small; the bed, it is a child's bed.
But, I don't have anything to say.
Every once in a while I'll get a whiff of baseball, or be really early for an appointment and kill time at a coffee shop. And I'll kind of ache. For a moment. A thin layer of brown paper around a frozen sausage, peeling, shedding like an under wire bra after ten hours of working retail.
There are a few memories that don't make me curl with nausea, and those, by default, are nice.
But, I don't have a thing to say.
Where I come from you don't ever need a father, for the same reason you don't need a pedicure. Or a Shetland pony.
I didn't have a male teacher until the 10th grade, the same year I kissed the black poet boy on the church steps.
I have always listened to girl powered folk rock. I own two dresses, and zero pairs of shorts. I am not a pretty girl.
I can remember the thrill of escaping him. I can put myself back in that long weekend away, those two nights we allotted him to get the hell out. I can remember coming home to his hurried empty closet, and the ring of grease where his set of knives used to be. I can feel my parent's fate drooping down my shoulders like an ill fitting poncho.
It really doesn't bother me these days.
I love my husband more than I could possibly ever begin to measure. With the breath and width and depth of me.
And he loves all of damaged lil' me, every quilted daddy issue.
And he's so good with our pets.
And he has a silver haired quick witted coach for a pops I adore, law or no law.
Partners till the birds hit their heads.
But, of course I don't need a soul.
My mother raised me better.
Except for those sometimes I do really need you, here, like every morning, and every night.
And when I say need, I mean thank you, and when I say thank you I mean yes, always, of course.
Full circle on the men thing,
In love, and love, and love,
Skin & Toast
Sunday, June 3, 2012
I'm also reminded of all the very complicated creams that can ice those early twenty relationships.
I'm reminded of the nights in the back seat of her boyfriends car, on the floor of her boyfriends dining room, spooning contact highs, and making love to empty sleeping bags. I'm reminded of how much I loved her parents, and how much they did for me, and of how I obviously loved them more than I loved her, in the end anyway.
I'm reminded of the trips to Ikea, I'm reminded of how we set up our play house, and then cocooned into our separate bedrooms and drifted.
I'm reminded of the hurtful things she said, I'm reminded of all the things I didn't say.
I'm happy for her. I am.
I don't know her any more. I haven't met her husband. I'm happy. I wish I could meet her now for the first time.
I carried my laundry this afternoon to the M & M coin Lavanderia. I carried my laundry in her laundry bag. For some reason I did all of her laundry the two years we lived together, every single sock and shirt, when we moved on, her laundry bag just got mixed up into my truck. So, I'm folding my tank tops this afternoon on an orange counter in Ravenswood, and I jog my memory down to the bottom of that bag.
She's probably having her baby right about now.
I say to my self, my cyber space networking self.
I say click click yes indeed, still gooey with vagina juice. Beautiful.
I'm agreeing here, I'm confirming with you that Facebook is weird. That friends are lazy, and the older you get the less energy you have to be nasty. And the older you get the older you are. And you're at that age where everyone is pregnant. And you've never wanted a black homosexual teenager more, but neither of you have real jobs, and you have a strong affinity for drinking till 6am, and sometimes you cross the street to the nice green park while you're waiting for your clothes to dry, and you sit on a bench, and you watch the sunset, and the dogs, and in these 40 minutes to yourself, you think; this is the life.
~Skin & Toast
Friday, May 25, 2012
And and a hole in the floor
Not to mention that yellow film that coats the back door
The food in paper bags
The bugs in the wheat
Diploma tacked up between the cork and the coupons
Looking through a rice paper screen
My posessions on my lap
And my love up on the roof
Adjust the crown and sing with heart
~Skin & Toast
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
As you know,
Life raft has a work space/side project called Dead Squirrel.
Life raft also has a hefty prime project called Analog.
~An exploration of fate, decay, and process, narrated by the motley crew of lost boys from William Golding's classic young adult fiction adventure; Lord of the Flies.
My point is, we created a tumblr in effort to compile mass quantities of images/inspirations.
For your viewing pleasure,
Skin & Toast
Saturday, May 12, 2012
The musicality of Ani Difranco
And the iconography of Katharine Hepburn
Happy mothers day to who ever it was that said "sure" to your "can I sleep here tonight?"
Put The Load Right On Me,
Skin & Toast
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Kurt's sister graduated college with flying honors, so everyone came out, I'm talking like 30 highly educated, white linen pressing red wine connoisseurs draped over the rails of a second floor balcony. It was awesome. I met some characters and got some hugs.
The best part of a graduation ceremony is right after the pomp and circumstance recession, after they've finally called all the names, and saluted all the flags, and rocked all the votes, and the graduates march away-somewhere-you can't quite see where-cause you can't see anything-and then you're left alone with your aunts and your hung over cousins-alone and dehydrated-wondering where your little graduate could possibly be-so you do what you've always done-you find her-you comb the lawn for her-you keep and you herd her.
That's what I'm talking about. That part where everyone is sweaty, and quietly controlling their chaos in heels and pastel neck ties. The exodus of family after family sinking into that Kentucky air lifted turf, nursing the utter confusion. And then the gentle bursts of relief and embrace when they find each other, when they kiss, and pose for the camera, and unzip their nylon, eel black, highly flammable robes.
It's this sparkly combination of saying goodbye forever to one family, while simultaneously coordinating the early dinner at Outback with the other family, the family you've known all your life, forever, the people who find you on the lawn.
Like a wedding, or a christening, or a funeral, huge groups of people congregating with purpose, in common support, a pattern of people never to be formed again. A dorsal fin of shiny faces.
Your favorite cat lady Jesus freak sister in law!
Thursday, May 3, 2012
You have to understand that when I say egg head, I mean egg head.
He is an egg in red tennis shoes.
And the egg has been hollowed out, his first wife blew the yoke down the drain,
And replaced said yoke with baby vomit.
The shell of an egg containing baby vomit in red shoes.
That is the person we're dealing with.
And when I say first wife, I mean mother.
Because he was a nudist in the eighties,
So, they are one in the same of course.
Just wanted to paint that picture before we get too far into this.
Volley Ball Time,
Skin & Toast
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
My real mother will be 70 this August. I've lost track of whether or not the east coast hates her. It's easy for me to forget that they've fostered some sort of routine with her the past 14 years. They have that luxury of time. I'm sixteen when it comes to my mother, and probably the rest of the east coast. I seem to have separated three major events from around that time, and crowned them all as the last time I saw her. Even though I know I've seen her at least a dozen times since. Even shared a bed with her, pretended to be asleep while she kissed my hand--drama queen. One; sixteenth birthday on Longwood Drive, fried chicken and ice cream cake. Two; checking her into the nursing home, stopping for chicken nuggets. Three; visiting her with Debby, brought a cranberry muffin from Java. Debby cried. She was clearly much better, and that ironically, as usual, made a huge mess of things.
But, the Damen bus runs northbound, or southbound, nothing in between. So, we don't really have to worry about any of that right now. And as much as I'd like to rescue a grey hound, I would never risk upsetting matchbox's bladder.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Eat a delicious piece of peperoni pizza, or repeat the Holocaust?
Hang a poster on the wall, or grow a breast between your but cheeks?
Be Mormon, or Amish?
Change the taste of cum to your favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor, or be immune to hangovers?
Be forced into the nunnery, or be vegan?
Only know how to play the guitar, or cry tears of poo every time you're in public?
Find a pubic hair in your burrito, or find out you were adopted?
~This is like the best game. Road trip!
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I think we should live on Damen Avenue for the rest of our lives. Why? Because Emma Casey lives somewhere around Damen Avenue. Emma Casey. Somewhere South Of Foster and West of Ravenswood. I think. She told me the exact location one time, in passing, casually. Emma Casey. Blunt bangs and really good taste in music. She goes to school in New York, a junior, I think, Sarah Lawrence? 21 years old? She lives in New York, but she grew up right around here, and this is where her home is. And she makes all her own clothes. And we know her because she volunteers at the Neo-Futurarium. And we know her father because her father taught at Cherubs, which is where we met. And fell in love. Emma Casey comes home to Ravenswood every winter, and every spring, this is her home.
I grew up on 10909 S. Longwood Dr, Apt #3, Chicago, IL 60643. You grew up on 10002 Forest Grove Dr., Silver Spring, MD 20902. I sent all your letters to Forest Grove Dr, even when you were away at college. Sturdy people lived in your home, the letters were always saved for you. You always had a home. Every spring, and every winter, piles of paper waiting for you, set aside for you.
My situation, my home, was a little different. Soft, always taking new shape. A different set of numbers in the upper left hand corner. Your letters were gold to me. Kept in a locked drawer ten million leagues below, because I just never knew.
One time I got to the end of a hallway in my Longwood Dr. apartment. And even before the walls opened up into bedroom I knew something was wrong. My older sister was sitting in the rocking chair that framed the yellow lace curtains. She was bleary eyed and reading the holy bible. She looked at me, looked at her, blinked twice, and then asked me if I wanted a moment alone. I didn’t. I got ready for school. There were boxes under that bed. And not one ounce of any shred of any fiber can speak to the whereabouts of those long rectangular boxes. Those black shoes, that set of baby teeth. We didn’t last the summer.
I’m not domestic, I don’t need a pitcher of ice tea baking on my patio. I certainly don’t want a pie cooling on my bay window. But, I would like to be myself and you a set of sturdy people. Sturdy enough to keep things, important things in piles, in clear plastic containers, arranged and ordered for the sake of someone special. Oh, let me just give you their address, that way I’ll definitely get it next time I’m home.
We were together seven years before we were married, and that entire time, whenever I asked you where you kept my letters, you said the same thing, not sure, think they all burned in a fire, most of the stuff in the attic was ruined by either fire, or water damage. I didn’t believe you. Someone had to be keeping them in a locked drawer ten million leagues below. Safe.
And then suddenly, just this past Christmas, our first Christmas as next of kin, there they were, in the mail, all stuffed into one large puffy envelope. Thought you guys would want to have these, love mom. She knew exactly where they were the entire time.
We are two sturdy people stacking the years up, and up. Keeping track, and staying put. So for the rest of her life, whenever she visits home, and decides to bike east to the theatre, or north to that cafe. She can look up at our window, and say, I know them.
Love Always, Your biggest fan, & newly wed, Jessica Anne
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I still play that game I made up when I was a little girl. Very little. Like, in the crib little with the snow white wall paper glaring back at me little.
It’s a going to sleep game that started happening to me when I couldn't turn my brain off.
See, what I do is I get nice and wedged over on my side, then I curl my right hand over my left shoulder blade, and tilt my head down to my chest like a chicken. Then I wait for the popping sounds to happen in the middle of my neck. It kind of feels like all the extra oxygen bags that usually hang off the sides of my face are getting sucked down to my spine. Like cough medicine before a spelling test. Its good and bad.
Then I get real heavy and I start to see things. I see dark things like the close up of one of those Jackson drippy pictures, and the insides of dumpsters, and the holes in the ground. And then I also see very white things, like eggs, but not an egg on a counter, the surface of an egg stretched tight to the edges of my brain so nothing else gets in. Also ice. And the little rainbows of thread that you can see on the tops of buttons. But, I’m not choosing these pictures, no, they pop in my brain and hemorrhage, like fire works. The pictures find me, and they’re always either black or white. And I barely have to use any of my thinking, so I go to sleep.
I suppose people like us, us brain hemorrhaging people, us people who think we might be smart, buried in the sand smart, but we can’t find the clues to prove it to other people people-we’re sort of comfortable being kicked out of things, having no where to go exactly. We’re used to it. And sometimes we even look for it.
Personally I feel like a large man in the middle of a river. I love my wife, and I love my truck, and I love the edges of my kitchen table. And I’m so proud of myself, and I could tell her anything, and I do. And I always come home. But, sometimes I just have to take my tackle box down to the middle of the river and pull the mini blinds over my eye balls and think to the world I’m on vacation, but I’m not.
I stand in the middle of the river as a large man casting white strings out over the black water. And I put the girl of myself on a raft so that she can think of nothing. Nobody.
I hated that plaque on the bathroom wall. I was very familiar with that plaque on the bathroom wall on account of all the time I spent in the bathroom, primping and pruning and hating being a girl. Hating blow drying my hair and smearing concealer over my cheeks. Hours and hours. Sitting on the edge of the tub making myself look not bad. Tucking my shirt into the elastics of my underpants. Talking to myself out loud with half of my voice and standing very close to the radiator. It was a ceramic plaque from a board walk in Jersey.
The Smith Family: Jacob Gertrude Ajax Seth. Equipped with adorable water colored cartoon versions of themselves in their pajamas under their covers.
I didn’t understand why it had to hang in the bathroom that was attached to the guest room that was my room, that played my fire works at night.
My last name was Smith! His name is still on my birth certificate. The boys are my blood. But, I didn’t make the plaque. And they wondered why I told the teachers to call me something else.
One Sunday night I came home to my mom and step dad’s apartment, and there was a kitty sleeping on my bed. They had rescued him from the tree outside my window. he was a little baby, and he got scared of the rain. They gave him a bath and put a red ribbon around his neck. I was so happy. But, also sad, because I realized that my mom and step dad did things on the weekends, like save animals. I had been hoping they just laid on the floor all weekend with blankets over their heads. It is always sad to miss out. My conclusion was to love my kitty more than anything, and to call him buddy, no last name. he was all white with a black tail and black eye patch.
Now of course I loved all of the people while I was awake and eating. I still love them. But, there were so many groups of them back then, and I hadn’t yet made my raft, I didn’t quite know how to float on my back in the middle of everything. I got sad when they pulled in the extra chair from the other room. It was closer to the ground and it made me sneeze.
I get very tired when I remember all of this. The images start to fire work my brain, and I curl my body under on account of it doesn’t matter anymore. I like how cool the water is under the sky. I wouldn’t change anything because its none of my business. Those white lines that cast over the river they just land, its OK really. And my outcast roots make me a little sparkly in certain situations. Like when I wear a mini skirt to prom, or combat boots to my own wedding.
And you just sort of relax with your fireworks and your chicken-- and you thank the large man for the way that you are. And you turn everything off. And you gurgle bubbles down the side of your neck. And a million years go by. And then the one large man becomes many large men. Many many faces helping, all changing the direction of the water so that you never have to drift too far before you wash up safe.
Go home and kiss your wife.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I have a distinct memory of sitting in a circle of lawn chairs in the middle of Iowa, on a day so humid you think something’s going to happen. I must have been about nine years old. I must have been wearing pants. On my right I see the forearm of an elderly man in a white button down shirt, he’s lifting a female infant above his head and talking to her in the third person, telling her she’s perfect, and innocent. I remember remembering that he was the one my mother called a racist bastard. I remember thinking at least he’s nice to that baby. Six years later, when I kissed the black boy on the church steps, I remembered the racist man again, and I wondered what color my baby would be someday, and I wondered if any baby of mine could ever make it through Iowa. On my left I see my mother; smoking, ignoring the racist bastard, and the innocent baby. Directly in front of me I see a pair of bare feet, and the pair of bare feet is talking, agreeing with the other voices that Jessica should take a ride on Festus, Jessica is the perfect size for Festus. Then I remember complete darkness; root canal darkness. Then I’m standing on an upside down bucket while the bare foot voice is whistling through her fingers and shouting things like baby, and sweetie, and honey pie, and sugar snap pea, and I’m thinking why don’t they call Festus; Festus. Festus is a mule. A grey mule just my size. He was dying twenty years ago, so I can only imagine he must surely now be dead and gone, burned and scattered over the bigoted daffodils and melting juleps. I rode that dying mule into the ground, I was wearing pants and plastic sandals. He was naked accept for something around his neck, a red string, or a pink shoe lace. The bare foot voice abandoned the left side of Festus and returned to her lawn chair. I was alone with my grey mule, and my country, and the soft places of my body; I was as independent as a white turtle. I liked the weeds of Iowa, I liked that Festus never took me out of ear shot, the babies were louder than the crickets all night. He was like a dog, or a father. Except much different, because his spine was cutting me in half and I liked it. When he finally got tired he just sat down, and waited for me to slide down his spine like frosting out of a plastic bag, he disappeared into the weeds, I taught myself how to walk again. The voices laughed. I felt something in my cotton underpants. Something binding, like chewing gum, or rubber cement. I excused myself to the out house. And because my mother had boyfriends instead of husbands, I knew all about hymens and exactly what was going on. No big deal. I cleaned my thighs with the back of my left hand. I smiled. I returned to the circle and helped myself to a hot dog. I am wild, and slow, a Mona Lisa in a lawn chair. Rest in peace grey mule.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
And in my most confident of puffy chest selves,
She asked me what was wrong
I told her I broke a window
She laughed and said that she had been meaning to get a new window
Three years later
She told me she was leaving
One year later
She was gone
Every time I take my shoes off I remember her
In between the rage and the cold showers
And the fried chicken
I couldn't care less
Except there sometimes seems to be a thumping in the back of my head
Especially when the seasons change
Particularly when I cross a street between the hours of noon and four
I’m talking about my mother
I’m looking at the patches of light on the floor
I’m drinking tap water
Happy enough at my table
Wailing on Wednesdays out my back door
Like a kitty lost
Come back Come back Come back
You little wretch like me,
Skin & Toast
PS: Watch Letterman tonight. Count Animal and his lady of the pink tights have friends appearing as tonight's musical guest. As I would imagine they say in the Merge house; support local music bitches.