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this waking up every thirty minutes won’t do anymore.
been having dreams so far-fetched lately,my mind won’t even wait for the punch line.
burglar posing as a florist to get in the front door. (he remembers me from high school. falls asleep in the entryway.)rear-ended and sideswiped by a cop car. sent to jail for impeding a chase. dart throwing contests at work (safeway) that end in surprise wedding ceremonies a leaking ceiling, flooded bedroom. three feet of water and the cat talking from my desk.
i used to have to pay for this illogical kind of trip.
adventures with my dead great-grandmother. (she was my partner in crime)
when i'd visit, we would sit at opposite ends of the dinner table sharing secret smiles.
"done!" i would shout, running to throw my dishes in the sink.
after my mother had cringed at the sound of clattering china you would let out a big ol’ yawn. "think i might go lie down for a bit."
you'd hobble away. yawning with half-closed eyes until you turned that corner, then spring up, smiling and shaking your fists in victory. you’d grab my hands and waltz with me down the hall.
together, on the kitchen floor, we built lego towers that threatened to touch the sky. they always came out sideways, and much too precarious, falling when i tried to climb their uneven ledges. "mo chuisle," you'd murmur, shaking your head at my quivering lip, "we were never meant to reach the stars." and then, very carefully, you crawled over the shrapnel of our carefree afternoon and pulled me into your lap. you raised my chin with bony knuckles, pressed soft and cool fingertips to my eyelids. pulled me in closer, and whispered the story of babylon softly in my ear.
you fell asleep waiting up for me. must have heard tinkerbell in your dreams, because you woke up at the last moment and caught my reflection sneaking in through the window.
"girl," you whispered, "is he still?"
"still what?" i questioned.
your only answer was teeth biting tightly on a bottom lip to suppress a giddy smile; you clapped your hands together and walked down the hall.
i’ve never told you, but that night i followed after you and sat just outside the door. listening to you hum foreign lullabies and painstakingly rip the stitches from your own shadow.
the next morning i found you at the table with your hands buried in the sewing box. i begged you to give in, to come back home. after coffee you finally agreed, "three days in neverland. not a one more."
when the logistics of you, flying, and how came up you only smiled. "don't worry," you said. "i have the answer."
that night you came into my room, grabbed a tea cup from its shelf. "watch," you said, and pried apart the wrinkles of your skin. years of stolen pixie dust tumbled into the saucer.
"tinkerbell never knew," you laughed.
standing on the window ledge with our backs pressed hard against the glass you clutched at my hand, whispering your fears outloud that this was just some old woman's crazy dream.
i could not convince you otherwise. it was only when the wind carried peter's laughed from the stars above that your shallow breaths deepened.
still though, you protested. "girl, it's been too long. i've forgotten how to fly. let me go back inside and sleep."
"do you believe in fairies?" i asked.
you closed your eyes tightly and sighed. took my hand, "before i think this through," you said.
the lost boys knew my name well, like they once had yours. it was only peter who seemed to remember you. he titled his head sidweways, as if he'd recognise you only obscured.
you patted his head, remembering those long summer nights spent making love to barrie. smiled.
~ ~ ~
you taught us tiger lilly's dance, for she had left years ago and the boys quickly forgot her ancient secrets.
we painted our faces red and screamed until just before sunrise. returned home in time to hear hook's footstpes above our heads.
"codfish," you spat.
oh, how we laughed.
it was during those tentative first years of the new millenium that my mother started pushing me into airplanes heading for the east coast.
winter holiday. spring break. summer; that time, when i came back it was with jeans three inches too short and a sports bra borrowed from my whiskey-drinkin' cousin.
you snuck into my red-faced household, where sex ed. was a book from borders. handed me a box of tampons and a bottle of mace.
"oh, you'll thank me," you chuckled.
(his eyes burned. my legs ached.
this is not what you really meant,
[NOTE: yesterday's as well as the next few are part of the same "series". just taking a break from neverland.]
do you know what the first thing my mom said was after grandma told us about your broken hip?
"i've seen it at work a thousand time- once the hip goes, well, unfortunately, it's all downhill from here."
(the day before thanksgiving you slipped and fell in the courtyard gardening. with the phone left laying useless on the kitchen counter, you were stuck there listening desperately for footsteps. it took hours.)
they (your daughters,
daughters) took away your car, your house, your freedom. put you in an "assisted living" apartment with people who had never even
by the third day, you'd read the cell phone manual enough times that text messaging seemed manageable.
my phone buzzed-
"this place proves sartre correct."
(hell is other people.)
"be ready by ten,"
we spent all afternoon at the mall. came home, painted our toenails and the metal of your walker the most brilliant shade of green.
a sudden and ominous realization by our fifth game of rummy- talk about death had changed. suddenly it was "when" not "if".
~ ~ ~
the day before easter you broke your other hip. "goddammit."
you asked your doctor, "this is it, ain't it?"
except for a cousin on my mother's side, you were the only one who knew what happened that november night in vegas.
"no. no," you said when i told you. "this is what i warned you about. why, girl, why?"
but like you did for pappy, i fell for brown eyes and an infecious smile.
~ ~ ~
(reading all these, i am just left sitting here thinking that, god, we were like mirrors somedays. looking glass fucked and fun house distorted.
and that yeah, maybe that's the reason i've always loved the way you'd group us together.
"girls like us," you said.)
in may your godson from winconsin called me saying, "fern wants me to bring a box of firecrackers when i come out next month. can't you just go buy her some?"
"they're illegal here," i laughed. asked him, "could you bring two instead?"
you didn't get to see them the way we planned, and like you, i'm not sure how i feel about ghosts or the (viewing) logistics of heaven, but just so you know: i set them off in the place we talked about, thought about you the whole time.
(and yeah, they scared the shit out of ruth.)
[NOTE: g-grandmother series over for now. ran out. back to the now.]
"hey hey lover," you coon, "why the lonely eyes?"
and the both of us know that my answers never been honest, always comes out "nothing". but jacob, in the dark like this, covered in mosquito bites and sweating through my undershirt, baby, i'm feeling annoymous.
it spills out: "dumped," i laugh, throw my cup into the fire and send sparks flying. "by my husband, by my school, by my job, by my family."
you scoot closer, hold the pipe to my lips and the flame to its end. i inhale slowly, exhale slower. "jacob, quiero que me abracen un poquito."
[i just want to be held a little.]
"I'VE HAD THIS CAT TEN YEARS!"- HAIKU STORY.
a pirate-eyed cat
sits watching your from my chest
purrs, "don't fuck this up."
she stretches her claws,
tears up the arm of the couch.
"your heart could be next."
you stand. step closer.
one hiss and loud meow later,
i wake. look at you.
"hey baby," you coon,
sliding your hand up my leg.
"bedroom? i've missed you."
upstairs to go fuck-
you slam the door. "accident."
she shits in your shoes.
pants 'round ankles, but
always ruining the mood.
"how about a dog?"
ha. haha. three month fling-
but a bitch ain't one."
[LUDACRIS I AIN'T, BOY]
GRENIER- THE LEGACY LIVES ON
there's too much caffeine in my system anymore for my words to come out straight. orderly. like you. like you want them.
for years, lecturing me on ABAB rhyme schemes; guiding me away from the methods of my grandfather as if i'll avoid his lifestyle in turn.
"freestyle, an excuse for the talentless, the misguided, who were called 'writers' from birth and never bothered to look around an investigate the truth of it.
a game to be played with the lights off. a secret held close to your chest. freestyle: butchered into bitesize pieces of inspiration but
I'M SO BEHIND.
so there's this girl i know, keeping herself pale all summer because her secrets blend in as long as she stays closet-skeleton white. rocks bikini-tops and board shorts, because above her knees it's all roadmaps and warnings:
upsidedown anarchy sign, prominent even under those miles of stars, criss-crossed and winding. petals for punches. smiley faces and Latin. "hunc tu caveto"- beware this (wo)man!
only natural then, the way the boy's brows raised when she stripped in the back of the boat. girl just shrugged, "cheaper than tattoos and with a hell of a lot more meaning."
100 WORDS AT MY FRIEND'S EXPENSE
the old phrase- to get caught with your pants down, this was not his problem... exactly. it was more his problem... inexactly. that is to say, it was almost his promblem precisely.
come puberty, his problem was a single mother in a two bedroom single bathroom house.
perhaps the bigger problem was a rule about locking doors, and how it wasn't allowed.
or maybe it was the lack of privacy, or a faucet that never ran loud enough, or even the constant hard-on.
but the kid's biggest problem was definetely that no, his mother never did believe in knocking.
JACOB AND MARYJANE, PART DEUX
the next week it was me who followed you home, waiting meek and nervous on your front porch.
"ish!" you laughed, hazel eyes flashing in surprise. "back for round two?"
"mhmm." (the truth, boy- i've known you for years. know your scent is all you leave behind in any relationship. this is what i need,
are what i need.)
always the gentleman, you gave me one last chance. "yer sure?"
i shrugged, letting it spill out with an honesty foreign to me, "you make me want to forget his name."
grinning, you opened the door wider. "come in, darlin'."
Walked into a bar so far south Luci-boy's picture was hanging on the wall. Man behind the counter just laughed when I called for the ususal.
"Darlin, what are you even doin here?"
A boy slid himself too familiar into the space beside me. Ordered a glass of lemonade and whiskey, straight up.
"My favorite," I laughed, but he just drizzeled lemon over my lips.
"Good girls don't drink in public," he drawled.
We talked about Tallahassee and what caves we'd been to in texas. He followed me out to my car, asked for a lift.
"Anywhere you're goin'."
THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE IN MY BRAIN.
meeting at the mall, broken down car, taxi to the bus stop, but missed it anyway.
instead of friends and movies
- now stuck walking down the street for miles tripping over rocks and snake skins, thinking. complaining to myself louder and louder:
this desert sun is frying me in my skin. cooking up my guts lest they be served raw. forgotten on the stove til i reduce reduce reduce; my flavors played out- simple, pure, and complex.
all like a bad interpretation of myself because god decided to play chef again and forgot to turn off the burner.
[I'M NOT THAT INTERESTING. OR LOGICAL.]
in the checkout line:
the touch, your hand, to my shoulder is tentative. so light, hurried, it's barely there. i almost missed it; would have passed it off as butterflies if it was not for your voice. familiar familiar.
the cashier's eyes dart back and forth between us. my friend rolls her eyes. yours shakes his head.
"can we talk?" you ask.
and it is so unlike you, the uncertaincy so foreign in your tone, that i want to shout "imposter!" want to pull him from your body with my touch, give into your pleading eyes,
but no. stop.
he said, "there are worse things than being dead, yaknow?"
the trees turned to listen, roots groaning under centuries of growth, but like always, he didn't follow through.
put the blame on me- that his secret had been shouted to the universe. (by him, yes, "but baby! you forced the subject!")
god only know how i miss these details.
the wind grabbed ahold of me. pulled me by my hair to meet the desert.
"punishment or rescue!?" i shouted.
but met by silence until sundown. then- heard him before i saw him, coyoteboy singing lullabies to the moon.
the memories came like whirlwind familiar. too fast for details, but just everything everything all at once.
"i know you!" i shouted, trying like desperate to convince the both of us over the gnashing of his teeth.
"when? when?" he growled. always impatient, his character flaw.
"eons ago. maybe longer."
boy brushed the hair out of my eyes, stared into them and oh! his- luminescent grey, sparkling with stolen diamonds and burning burning endless, giving away his primordial pit kinship.
"step back before you fall," he murmered.
stammered, "you remember then?"
"oh," he laughed, tacking my hand, "i remember everything."
this unblemished white-paper kind of purity left me more than a decade ago. that kind of childhood drama, childhood bullshit that makes you choose: grow up hard, or so soft you'll loose yourself.
falling through cracks and sidewalk grates into the (sewer) system where your only companions are smiling at you with a mouth full of rows and rows of sharp white teeth, while they're inviting you to relax, sleep, come inside and "forget, child, forget."
holding firework sparklers between their claws, playing
hypnotists, but either way spending hours trying to force your world....
STREAM: PURITY II
into a pretty new box with ribbons and untouched wrapping paper. DON'T MIND DON'T MIND THE RE-TAPED EDGES! IT WAS JUST IDLE CURIOSITY!
sounding more and more every day now like the schizophrenic father my mother kept hidden in the closet growing up and called a monster when the drugs wore off and his groans would echo around the house for days and PARENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL YOU MONSTERS DON'T EXIST
but "NO. NO. NO! real life will teach her someday they do! so why not now, why not now?"
and you dated men whose eyes never smiled...
STREAM: PURITY III
who called me "the kid" talking to their phones no matter how many times i shouted my name. and once in his face and then with a hand clamped too tight and a giants hand that covered both ways i had of breathing.
kicking and clawing and fighting with FEFI-FO-FUM in a glass house with everything so breakable breakable, but no windows anytime you did not want privacy.
and so i grew up breakable breakable and you came home and shouted at him. screamed at the giant til he grabbed his keys and shoved them in his pocket...
STREAM: PURITY IV
and shoved them in his pocket but they were full, of golden eggs, and he threw them at your feet and sneered- "broke it, bought it."
and "OUT!OUT!OUT!" you threw them back so hard they dented the wall and would have cracked open his head, but he was a giant; so that egg broke instead.
you crawled on your knees all night picking up rubies and i held that flashlight like such a good girl so you let me sleep in your room.
in the morning we drank coffee and orange juice before we drove to the store.....
STREAM: PURITY V
and i sat in the front seat with everything laying down and played with the radio until you said "okey, okey!" and then, "okey, okey, we're here."
"here" was you talking with bank men wearing glasses that kept falling off their noses, so they pushed them up and looked at the eggs and looked at each other and said "ohmy, ohmy."
and their noses were scratched red like rudolphs, but you said "shh, shh" and he said, "shh, shh" and handed me a lollipop and you shoved dollar bricks into my backpack all careful like you were building a little house for us....
STREAM: PURITY VI
to live in, but then it was too heavy, so you carried it to the car while i asked "why? why? why?" about the money and the eggs and the way only giants know where to buy golden chickens.
"they just do" you said. and then, "mommy has a headache" and then "worthless, worthless."
so i held your hand and said "shh, shh" like you said. and "don't you smile!" like grandma said. and you didn't because you always were better than me at that game.
then you said "buckle up!" and we drove for five hours or something, only i fell asleep.....
STREAM: PURITY VII
after two. so you whispered "wake up sleepyhead" and then "wake up" and then, "jesus crust" before you just picked me up and carried me into that mall.
you bought me a brand new dress. purple and white like our favorite colors. and then you said "favorites!" too loud so that every looked at you and i said "indoor voices."
but it was an outside kind of day, you said, so we ate chicken noodle soup at the park and bought bright pink smoothies from some guy and you didn't even get mad when i spilt it on my dress.
i was not meant to write 100 words every day!
dead computer means i just typed up the last 20 days from a notebook. my eyes and my ass are unequally thrilled.
work work, broken cars, trying to pay for school, trying to get over people, get with people. there's no time.
july was about not giving a shit about anything long-term. i hung out with old friends, read more books, and found out that better bands than those on the radio played less than three miles away.
at this point i'm just typing.
watching the words, as always.
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