Billboard People

Instead of regurgitating facts
why not digest the knowledge
Instead of claiming ideas as your own
shoving them down my throat
like capsules of lead
let them collect around you
and carefully handle the wisdom
grow to understand it
before you accept it
Everything has a label now
most of all, our own persons
are we not all tagged as this
or that?
Who am I if I do not
promote myself to you?
Do I exist at all?
Have I no life if
I am not on display?
Have I got no education if
I don’t wear it like a badge?
Have I got no past if
I don’t carry my albums
in my mouth
spilling them out
on the floor at every change
waiting for you to stop
talking so that I might
do my dance
How old are we anyway?
Still young enough for
Show and Tell?
Are my bones
my breath
my eyes
my body
all lost on you?
Is my presence
not enough?
I forgot my billboard
at home
You forgot my
address
my phone number
You forgot I’m
a person
not a number
Not friend
number 362
but a soul
a spirit
a woman
begging
authenticity
from
you

This is The End

I started running out of things to write. I’ve told you about all the wild things, my wildcard parents, my over-bearing, artistic grandmother, my messy scramble for love, our dirty homes and apartments, all the mistakes we ALL made, and will continue to make…I told you and then I came to the end. I started running out of things to write.

Spring came–and with its newness and promise, I was able to recognize the closing of the first part of my life; my first twenty-eight years. Nothing spectacular happened, nothing dramatic, but it was a slow ease into my twenty-eight spring. And that stillness was something different, something new, there’s maybe even something dramatic about the way the waters calmed and stilled and pooled after years of gushing and cascading.

All the parts have closed in on themselves. The wild things have closed their wings. I think, finally, I am done. I am done telling this story. I was wondering when it was going to end, and how. People always ask me “Is your book finished yet? How do you even end a memoir, cause, like your life is still happening.” Exactly I always say, How do you?

At this stage of my manuscript it looks like this: I should maybe not even call it a manuscript but a project. Projects get messy, this is messy. This is not 303 typed crisp white pages binded and clipped with a title page and dedications. I do not know the title yet and I have a ton of typing to do!!! See, I am a writer, not a typer. I am a writer, not an editor! My project looks like this: something like twenty-four notebooks complied over the past six years filled with long, drawn out and angry dialogue during which I am both teaching myself to write and scribbling all the letters I never did, but apparently really wanted to write to my mother, lovers, and other people too. Oh I let them have it. I didn’t only say nice things about my father either. Didn’t only say nice things about anyone I wrote about except maybe Charles.

So its Spring now and I’m twenty-eight (and a half) and I’m standing out in my boyfriends lawn and he’s just mowed the grass, the air is perfect, the trees are like magic, and I’m not even high on anything. I look at the sky and it’s perfect too. There’s a wiry black dog running around at my feet. My feet are bare, I’m wearing nothing but a long white cotton halterdress with orange blooms, my hair is down and long now, my body is weightless as I realize that the moment is perfect, just me, in the woods, no book even, no coffee, no shoes, a man off in the distance, the promise of sex and comfort, my bareface, my dreams, the lightness I feel in. this. moment.

I notice something over my shoulder. I slowly turn and look, I see The End. I see the chaos that was my past, my history, tromping off like a brigade heading to who knows where, not any longer attached to me, but parting from me. I bid goodbye. I holler and smile. I prepare to let go.

Fiber

I am everywhere
I am sitting on your head
I am raining on your home
I don’t even try
I shower but I
smell
I keep mum but I
shout
I chipper ‘good morning’at your placemate
he mumbles inaudibly in return
I play my music
and I play it loud
the birds seem to
sing to me
a hummingbird stares
treading the air
a breath of hope
like a dragonfly
or a new moon
I sit on the porch and write
I am everywhere
but I wouldn’t dare
my hair clogs your drain
my saliva is yours
your coffee
is my coffee
I fear
I beg
behind my mask
I am an open slice in my flesh
I am addicted to love
and unsure of its meaning
I am attached to you
lecherous and brave
I sink into the corners
come in from under the door
give myself too much power
take myself too high
stare in the mirror
too much or not enough
think too much
think all over your house
spill my selfy-ness
on the counters and floors
Am I cleaning anything up
when I scrub?
Or am I pounding myself
into the fibers that were
just you

Esther

Did I dream her up?
I met her in the vegetable garden. It was sometime near my fifth birthday. I was fingering the dense pumpkin stocks and their broad leaves like wall insulation to the touch–misleadingly soft and cozy. Like a five year old herself.
She appeared there beyond the ripe orange globes.
She stared at me,  reached out to touch the vines.
She was my age. Her eyes spoke to me but her childmouth never moved. I admired her wetsand-colored curls as she told me that we were Identical. That he touched her too. That he came for her when he was done with me, that he came for me when he was done with her. She told me her name was Esther. Before I could respond, he pulled up in his Chevrolet. I crouched down in the path in my Autumn dress. I peeked my eyes above the garden greens as he pointed to the passenger door instructing her to get in. My eyes got big and wet, her dress was caught in the door, they drove down the dirt lane toward Hunter Creek and I shook but it wasn’t cold outside.

Cabin Door

When the cabin door was pulled shut at night I could let out my big breath. I always felt ill at ease when my Dad’s buddies were around and they were always around. Didn’t work. None of ‘em. I wished they would go home to their trailers down the road. And they would for a minute and they would come back and they would invite me and I would say no, talking quietly back to their hot smelly beer breath.

In the day I would go hide by the river and pretend all those things little girls pretend. That they are princesses, mermaids, that they are safe. But when the sun went down Dad said I had to be home at the cabin.

The door of the cabin didn’t lock, exactly. In fact the door handle was a rope with a big fat knot. We had one of those little tiny silver hook locks on the inside of the door and nobody could break that unless they were really, really trying too. No one was out to get us, by any means, but there were a lot of men with wild eyes up there you see. Outlaws. I felt better and safer when the cabin door was shut and my Dad’s friends were locked out for the night.

I wished I had a sister or a brother, big ones, or a mom.

Too Much So Soon

He is alive and well. Warm. He breathes in, he breathes out. He is inside his mind, mulling over manchoices underneath the loud chant of a tractor, a mower, a tiller. He must have 9 hours a day inside his mind. Yet he doesn’t have much to say. He doesn’t let on with me–just asks me out again and again, and again and again. I’m barking up his tree, I’m tugging at my heart, I’m wanting him to choose me, I’ve already chosen him. He is alive and well. I did not know.

I thought he might not exist at all. And then I saw him, standing, breathing, talking. I thought I might have missed him. With my birth, his death. I thought, I am too different for love. I am not chosen. I am pick-eee, but I met him, breathing and talking. Now, now I need him to pick me, to keep me.

If not well it’s back to the drawing board, numb hands, no ink in my pen, well run dry, stiff, deadlove girl. He moves me. Makes me come alive. Takes my breath away. This is. This is it.

 

No Title

For how long
can we
trapeze this love?
Before falling
     f
       a
            l l
               i
                   n
                           g
with I love you’s
and titles.
We run from
those words,
playing hide
and go seek
For surely
those words
lead to
   I don’t love you
             any
                 more.

For how long
can we babystep
this desire?
Knowing All-grown Up
desire is
dumb.

For how long
can you go
without
calling me Yours?
For how long
can I?