The slightest hunched back, the kindest green eyes. A gap toothed smile and tragedy written in the corners.

She didn’t think it would be like this. She wasn’t sure, ever, what she thought it would be like, but not this. There was a time where all her dreams were of pansies and princes, but it was always soft around the edges, always unclear, always something seen from far away and too high up.

Then there were the cars and the carnivores, ripping pieces of her meat free every time she let it show, all red blood and right away. Who can say what would be different if she’d known how to fight?

Kids came and with them were the vague idea of flight, of being balloon light and untied. Years went by, and by, and by, some of them holding only the question, why and why and why.

 

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A dirty pussy and a white leather chair are natural enemies. The streak of copper red left behind sells her secrets for less than she’d have liked, but it’s too late. It’s always too late these days.

She tries to tell herself it doesn’t matter, that she didn’t like him that much anyway, that she never wanted to see him again. She walks down an early morning street in the snow and knows that she’ll wake up with a head ready to burst like an overripe melon. She thinks about regretting it, all of it, but what good would that do?

Flashes of last night’s mistakes run by as she walks. That last drink, that first kiss, everything that followed. She’s forever wondering if other girls make these mistakes, if these mistakes could be avoided, if being somehow less could change all of this.

She knows she’ll never know.

 

Look underneath the house when I’m gone. Look underneath the house, but only when I’m gone, and when am I ever not gone?

Look under the house, crawl into the tiniest spaces you can find, under the house, and try as hard as you can to see something that has meaning to you. I want to guarantee you it’s there, I want to paint pretty pictures of what it might be, tantalize you with the mystery of what I’ve hidden under the house for you, just for you and not really for anyone else at all. I can’t do that, but I want to. I want to always promise you whatever you want to believe in.

I want you to look under the house after I leave, and I want you to see what I’ve left behind. I want what I’ve left behind to be everything I wanted you to give me. I want to give you all those things I so desperately needed from you, I want to leave you a pile of understanding. If I could only give you a piece of what I was hoping for every time you gave me nothing, it would be enough. The foundation would buckle and your knees might give, looking at all the pieces of everything I had to go without for so long.

I want you to have all of those things. I want you to never be rid of them. I want you to look at them under the house and know that you have to pull them into the light, and display them on the highest and brightest shelves you have. I want to fill your rooms with these pieces of wholes that were never all that big to begin with, and I want you to look at them every day. I want you to have so many examples of what I needed from you that you have no room for anything else, and no time for anything else, and no energy for anything else.

I want everything in your world and mind to be how easy it would have been to give some of this. To give me some of this somewhere along the way. I want you to always know that giving just a tiny bit of what was needed could have lightened your burden considerably, but it has gone beyond too late now.

I want you to never dream again without my miniscule desire being what wakes you. I want you to be covered in night sweats and consumed by regret when the bits and pieces of need fall on your head from the overloaded shelf.

I want the end to never be the end, for you.

So look under the house when I’m gone.

She knew herself before she knew herself. She stood among them so certain, even as they all questioned every inch of her, every word. There were no seconds between meeting her and knowing her, between knowing her and needing her. There was nothing between the skin of her and the heart of her.

She taught you how to throw a punch.

She taught you how to sing a note,

She taught you how to see yourself.

She taught you how to know your value in the face of all devaluations. How to know your name as everyone mispronounced it. How to remember the rhythms of your blood when they held their hands over your ears, your eyes.

She taught you what to remember, and what to forget.

Gold once tarnished remains gold,

and the golden are rarely tarnished –

their names remain smiling in the blood of those stuck in their presence,

a present, surely

a gift wrapped in ribbon not meant to be rope,

tying us to this shakiest of all ground.

they never mean this to be a prison

but the prism of them is trap enough for every eye

dumb enough to see them clearly.

It’s been so long since I wrote anything of meaning that it’s tempting to get lost in some idea of where to start and what to say, but let’s instead do this:

Start with the rage. It’s always the right place. It’s always the most important place, the truest place, the purest.

We live in a country where all the right thinking folk were unable to stop the speeding train of intense, surreal fuckery. They couldn’t even slow it down. We have a reality television caricature as a president, we have plots unfolding that would be deemed too absurd for an episode of Twin Peaks or the X-Files or a cheap Skinemax film. Everyone the president touches is fucked, and no one fucks back. A doddering old man wandering our airstrips, our monuments, other countries, our collective consciousness, with no idea who he is or what he’s about, and not a single one of us can stop him.

I don’t know. Who ever truly dreamed we would be ruled by what amounts to little more than an orange pile of saliva and semen?