I could be anyone in a red dress walking into Clark’s. Anyone in a ripped, red, satin dress walking up to the bartender without looking at him; hearing him mutter, ‘that’s original’ when I order my whiskey neat. I chase it with the Schlitz he slides in front of me, and finally look up at him and then past him to the reflection in the bar mirror after two more. They don’t see me. I am just part of the furniture here, where dames in red dresses get a raw deal seven nights a week. We get tiresome, I know. But, give me time. I might grow on you.
Her bitterness grew, eating her organs gradually. When her doctor read the
x-rays, he showed her where her heart used to be, reduced, he said, to the
size of a radish.
“Why are things always compared to food?” she asked.
“Maybe,” he suggested to her, “because of what is eating you.”
She went away, pondering how she might grow a new heart. Perhaps it was
something she could bake in the oven or grow in the garden.
I was told to open up
I was asked to show my real face
/don’t you trust me yet/
(no. But I can’t tell you that. You might be dangerous.)
/what is the real you/
[what are you wearing] Really? That?
Lana del Rey is crooning about Summertime from the other room while I have clicked on a poet I never read before, reading about her grief. The two meet somewhere between rooms and I imagine them as performance art. I write something to that effect on Twitter. Ten minutes later I get embarrassed. I delete it.
I show you a picture of an animal in a trap.
/ I don’t get it/
Then why ask to see it? Why ask for transparency without a measure of mercy and understanding in your pockets?
/show me more/
You’re a sadist, aren’t you?
/don’t you trust me?/
I don’t know.
I walked into the place and decided that this was where I belonged for the next two years. It was loud and raucous, and I could not hear my own voice when I ordered a drink from the bartender with hair standing straight up on her head. It was 1985, and one-night stands were in season. Perhaps they were popular and frantic because everyone knew they were on their way out. Like the bees in September.
I met a man who sang at the piano once or twice a weekend. It wasn’t the same as the driving disco beat and crappy singles bar feeling. It was a hint of something smooth and fine, lounge music adding a dirty tone to what I had heard now and then on my folks’ t.v. I was in love.
I had a crush on the man but I was in love with the music. The words. The romance of the piano in the night, speaking to me of longings that were very old. I knew this place. I had known it years before I walked inside.
“Sir? What flight?”
The woman at the desk was brusque and impatient. The line was getting longer by the minute. She didn’t look at or speak to Petra.
“2 adults to Lisbon.”
She prepared their tickets and stamped them, her eyes boring into Roberts’ eyes as they were slid across the counter with immaculately groomed and sharpened red claws. She seemed to notice Petra for the first time and eyed them both close and tight. Robert took the tickets and dipped his hat, turning to walk away with a hand at Petra’s back. “90 minutes.”
He could feel the shape of a target in the middle of his back as they made their way to the gate. They didn’t stop at a lavatory or a café. They walked until they reached the gate, then they sat down.
- It has been a while since we’ve convened on a Monday, hasn’t it? Let’s do this
- First I wanted to tell you that I got a little sick from eating a bitter zucchini.
- Apparently, this is called curcurbit poisoning
- I found the information while looking for ways to curb the flavour of a zucchini that was particularly bitter i.e. like in the way that you make eggplant palatable
- This is very rare, so don’t be scared, just take note if your squash tastes bitter
- You can lose your hair
- You can die from it
Eight walls, a forest floor, and a birthday cake, one owner
You’ll come home to this three-story galvanized ranch. All books included. Brand new blue Persian, one owner and all shots. California rolls and gasping Siamese fighting fish. Mossy enclaves. Crystal blue tributary starting and ending at bookshelving units, burnished and ivy-covered for that oh-so-vintage look. Enjoy waking up each night to ice-cold waltzes and ashy obituaries, once owned by a member of the Women’s glee club of upper Lake Michigan. Cake with flourishes of settees and the rust-belt graces the center of this abode, making no mistake that royalty would pass on the price, if only for the writing on the parlor walls. Translation included at no charge, with hopes of a quick sell. Situated in the county seat of treason and deceit, you’ll find everything you need in these four and one-half rooms, complete with nacho soirees, chicken soup galas, and an abundance of pajamas and repose. Just a mile from treachery and loss-of-innocency, this moveable feast needs only water added and copious time at three-hundred-fifty degrees fahrenheit with the lid off. Tranquil cold-frame. Unbeatable clamour and discordant reverie. Every armoire stuffed with tulle and silk bunting. Gleaming pats-on-the-back, newly acquired. Smiles when you wish them, tucked away in careful , un-alphabetical order, so as not to attract attention. Unobtrusive and dim lighting. Leap-frogs. Casseroles. Double walled coverage from storms.
A thriller starts in the mind. All good crimes do. All crimes do. They start with a thought. Oh I can hear you argue. There are crimes of passion where the person is out of their mind. They don’t know what they are doing and suddenly, someone is dead. But all of that started with a single thought. Who is to say how long a thought is and how much responsibility it holds? And how come at that moment he was completely out of control? Why couldn’t she hold back her inclinations?
Because at some point, some place in time, there was a thought. A thought of something she could not let go of. Like a seed, it was planted. Later, it popped out of the dirt when she thought of it once more. She started looking at it, letting in light, nourishing it with water until it was grown and healthy, overtaking other, more healthy thoughts. She made excuses for not pushing it away. Vines grew and twisted ’round her arteries and synapses. She built a flower box, and made a place for it on the mantel, so she could look at it as she sat in the drawing room.
Overfed and demanding, the thought consumed her.
“Petra can’t be forced to be a witness at my trial. She’s my wife.” Robert took a long drag on the cigarette Margil handed to him from across the table. The guard watched closely from across the room, but allowed the exchange of cigarette and words between Robert and his lawyer during the ten minutes allowed on this prison visit.
“She ain’t your wife Robbie–she’s his wife, ain’t she?” Margil brought him back to the present, then followed the question with a raucous hacking cough. Still, he took another drag off the cigarette, watching his old friend and client. He was exploring every avenue to try and help him but he was running out of options.
“Then drag her in here!” Robert stood quickly, upsetting the folding chair. The guard took a step in his direction but he held his hand up that he was done, setting the chair to rights and sitting back down. He lowered his voice, leaning forward over the table. “Bring her in to testify. Bring her in here first, so we can find out what she’ll say. She knows the truth. She knows that I didn’t kill her aunt Sadie. Hell, I never killed nothin’ but time.”
I was eighteen years old and I was away from home for the first time. I was living with a family in a nearby affluent neighborhood as a nanny, a housekeeper, and chief cook and bottle-washer. I was only thirty minutes from home but it felt like hundreds more. I saw myself as the next Emily Dickinson, giving credence to being alone way too often. On an evening off, I went to a poetry reading at a college nearby, and took a seat a few rows from the back, second seat in.
I watched his face as he spoke with wild passions, my own eyes excited, my nostrils flaring, basking in the glow of electric poetry. I was an innocent, an ingénue. I had never had a boyfriend. But I was engaging in some serious eye contact with a professor at least twice my age and it was not my imagination that he was staring back, this man in a tan corduroy jacket with patches on the elbows. I wore Bass penny loafers with a cloud of Coty Musk perfume about my hair. When he was finished I clapped lustily and looked at the program to see who was reading next. As they started, someone slipped into the seat next to me. It was him.