Most women crave attention.
You can see it all over their faces as
they walk down the street.
You can see it in the way they ignore you.
The way they play dumb.
Play dumb in sundresses and slouchy bags.
Every last one of us.
I’m at a crowded lake alone.
I’m on the shore under a grove of
droopy Fir trees and I have my legs
and my pink dress and it’s warm.
All afternoon I’ve been needing cheered up.
It’s more than that–I have to somehow stay afloat.
I stare out at the pale gray lake with its buoys
blades of sea grass.
My life could be worse,
I could be in there,
A car rolls by.
A clean shaven man looks at
me from inside of it.
He wants my bloody pussy.
A figure in the passenger’s seat
cranes their neck to see me.
The car parks.
There is a raft up top.
Out climbs a husband and wife,
as evident by a child.
The child looks my way.
I check out the man.
I look away.
I look back.
No doubt they’ve had bad times,
like I’m having now.
They are unhappy too, aren’t they?
Stop staring at the family.
I think to myself.
You do not belong.
You are not allowed to do this.
Look away. Don’t look at the man.
He only glanced at you, fool.
You know who loves you?
I silently permit the poor wife to kick my ass.
I am a dumb bitch, even if I do look away.
I disgust myself.
*This is a scene I gleaned from my memoir. I’ll deposit it in my Memoir section later. For now I just wanted to share it with you.
Our quiet, peaceful life as we had known it was done for. Lisa had a large family and we moved in with them up in Lacey, Washington. I don’t remember the names of most the people in the house, except for Michael Hamm. Michael was Lisa’s twenty-something nephew. He gave me cigarettes, otherwise I found him a fool.
We lived in the Hamm’s backyard in a fifth-wheel trailer. I had only my big blue bin and a diary where I chronologized how miserable I was living in Washington with the evil step-mother and her self-righteous family. I slept out on the couch in the front part of the trailer. I would sleep, cry, complain about wanting to go back to California, and on a good day, I did so while sun-bathing on a blanket out on the lawn. It was the summertime and I had virtually nothing else to do but mope around. I couldn’t tell you what my dad and Lisa were up to. As usual I was left to my own devices. There was a wall between Lisa and I. And there was a rope around both my dad’s neck and her wrist. As far as Lisa was concerned I was a disposable child, that had already been made clear. Kids, who needs ’em anyway?
The Hamm’s were very religious. Pentecostal. They went to church at least twice a week. I didn’t want to be involved. Since curtal and temples and dancing in the streets of San Francisco with the Hare Krishnas, religion hadn’t done a thing for me. But I was forced to ride along with my dad and Lisa to church. When we got there I would stay in the car and smoke any refries Lisa had left in the ashtray. Once, the church folk caught wind that I was out in the car and the pastor sent several of their perkiest teenage girls to coax me out. I could’ve punched them all in the face for knocking on the window and waking me up from my sleep. They didn’t understand. I didn’t budge. Seeing their sprightly faces and the way they all clutched on to each other like a bunch of co-dependent idiots reinforced the fact that the inside of that church was the last place I wanted to be. They didn’t understand.
I would sometimes take walks from the fifth-wheel behind the Hamm’s house to a nearby shopping center to use the payphone. I had a calling card that I used to make calls to David and we would talk about what was going on with me and what was going on with him. He told me he’d gone to a party and met a girl named Kristy. Why would he tell me that? I knew her vaguely – she was a cute Mexican girl a grade below me in school. I didn’t wallow over it. I knew David loved me. I knew he loved me and only me. Because that’s what he told me. Repeatedly. Men would do this in my life. Men would lie.
I don’t exactly count the ways
I love summer
It’s been raining and I love that.
It’s been cold and I don’t mind.
It’s warm today and I don’t care.
I think I’ll just stay inside.
I did have a moment today however,
a summer moment.
I sat at my yellow desk between the hour
of seven and eight and was delighted to notice
how the coffee inside my red and pink heart mug
failed to get cold at all. At all, for one full hour
the coffee and cream and sweet remained warm
I watched the sun shining upon it
and I looked to the sun and it brought me back to
another bedroom I had once.
I had that bedroom for just five minutes but I had
it and there was no one else there but me.
And my dreams.
That bedroom too had a window