Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
 
Stepping onto the spray of pebbles
making our way onto the grounds
I considered to myself
And to myself alone
This will be a pleasant evening
with all parties involved behaving
as they should
Or something else entirely.
Something low.
Bellies down.

We gathered before
a small card table and
made our way unsteadily
Weaving up the incline
like skiers intertwining
down the molehills
to the properties.
Up is down.
Not good.

You moved to the right
Sprinkling pleasantries in one direction
and into one direction only.
Close and physical.
Like a sprite always looking up in quiet confidences
But a bit too early.
I wondered
Did the companion notice?
Can this companion see the play?

When too many seconds pass
And it’s time to head to the right
Where I am strolling
Disturbingly care free
Unattached and
No sign of attaching
You shakily try a few words
Yet offer no enticements
for that **** costs
It’s expensive
So you hoard and bestow sparingly
To well considered targets

Knowing this
And that there will be no payout
My body has told you that much
You return back to the companion
again and again
Softly stepping And considering
with your magical archetype-wielding
Hustle and shake down.
A threadbare con under the moon
And blackened sky.
I am left alone.

I had looked into your eyes at some point
and wondered
What are you? Peering deeply.
Are you a daemon?
I felt badly. To wonder
And certainly not for the first time
That this extended moment
sitting side by side
On stools
In the Mexican night
Was with some kind of creature
Not human
Not kind
A predator
You said so yourself
With pretty eyes
And harmless canines.

We sat and waited for the companion
Who showed up with a bottle of wine
And we sauntered back to your rental
The senile dogs entered and retreated immediately
into the darkness
to face the walls
immobile yet somehow agitated
A bad sign.
Spirits are here.
The dogs are aware.
You have said that they could be
corrupted by being pure souls.
A force that’s
bent upon the destruction of
All Souls
However if you asked me
The devil gets his due.

God that’s funny.

You withdrew to get them sorted
In the darkened rooms
Especially that dusky mauve poodle
A miniature with a frazzled dying coat
And questionable eyes
Blindness?

You and the companion dug into your chicken
Ravenous and American style.
I, horrified ate a bland soup of corn
Out came notes and pens and post-its
And the data was exchanged across
the central kitchen prep-table with the white quartz top.
You paused and turned to your right
Facing me and my spoon
And speaking under your breath to your shoulder
Confirming with your angels
and channeling guides
That the real estate numbers looked good
In what wasn’t any language
that I’m familiar with
But they validated your inquiry
As they should
And perhaps you scribbled a notation
Or a mathematical calculation
Perhaps not

The companion saw none of this
Apparently hearing no little squawks or soft babble
Too busy grinding into her meal
and her resentment.
This is not going well at all.
My soup is bad
My company is bad
I must change this immediately.

But
The companion has a word for me
Instead
You are too nice
You have made yourself too available
You will get hurt by bad people in this town
You with that sweet smile
Warm hands
huggable shoulders
kissable face
and laughing eyes and all those euros in your
Change purse!
They will mean you harm.
I know about these things.

I chose not mention the man that drew my portrait that day
Although it did look like a rock
And yes the one that arrived at our lunch unannounced and uninvited
That did not go over well either.

But you
You have your daemon
You are safe
And protected
And loved
Touching fingers
And make offerings at her altar
by way of undeveloped but
prime
real estate
Giving the devil her due.
Tell me about the Ace of Wands!
Tell me about the Ace of Wands!

This has been poorly imagined I admit:
The sunny penthouse
Open to the breeze
which presses and sways
through the sliding glass doors

Upturned champagne bottles
set in buckets of melting ice
A crystalline view of the Pacific
Or dusky Vegas lights

Strewn silken sheets
A **** carpet you can grab on to
The myriad of variations under a rising Moon

Yet Leather and Ecstasy are no where to be seen.
And though I wasn’t thinking of Sardinia
or of the Amalfi
That is a great idea

ROMP
noun
1. a spell of rough, energetic play.
2. a farce.

Eventually
(An earth-sign cusp is slow no matter how much air)
Eventually
creeping into my mind’s eye
(Thank you Time)
was my dodging of the slow-moving bullet
Alas, the lumpy bed in Hollywood awaits
with serviceable sheets
Encased in variations on a theme of
brown everything
A soul death in faux wood paneling
Someone else’s earring on a
grubby carpet floor
that offers you
burns for your back that won’t heal so fast
if that’s what you want
There’s the opening of the door
on the purring refrigerator
to look at cold nothing
And think nothing
Cystitis is on its way
And yes,
Too much dust

Don’t get me wrong
I have no real issues with dust
I have stood
Alone in the semi darkness before
In such a living room
Staring at this luminous particulate
On album covers
and in the glare of backlit windows
Floating in a beam from
a ceramic thrift store table-lamp

I was on my way to find the bathroom
Where a pair of pink ******* lay
drying
in wait for
me

Bachelor dust
Is old
I can write my name with my finger
in that which rests
upon the turntable’s hinged cover
In case you don’t remember
What they call me

As I’ve said
I’ve got nothing against it
Ask the dust
Go ahead
Ask it
Resting quite comfortably
on the bookshelves
If there are bookshelves
As if it had
something to do.
I ask it why?

my invading molecules subdivide
and grow more comfortable

Dust?
Why do I smell the stench of
chaste virgins and ***?
The intoxicating odor of foxed letters from an epistolary exchange regarding:
One Fair Maiden and the Devilish Pursuits to  Compromise Her Virtue?
The Opinions and Observations of Fallen Fruit
Here: The woman and her only true
possession
And Here: The sticky absconder who smells of fish.
They meet.
She blinks.

The dust replies
It’s a simple plan:
The Dear Lady is to be led
Astray
by pretty words and unspoken indiscretions
her dowry in the end, useless
She’ll be banished to the counties
To be a governess
or the
Bored companion
of the only living relative who will
Admit her services
Unpaid in silver coins
He is Blind and his Cook has left
Dyspeptic
Disagreeable
Cheap
and Mean.

She is Ruined.
Perhaps she will escape
to Italy
and die
Alone
in the sunshine.

The dust tells me another story
The same century still
This time, a miscreant princeling
surrounded by Trifles
Picking up one bob and then another
Preoccupied by uselessness
Perhaps a strawberry
Perhaps more claret and his mistress’s left breast
Tonight will be the scullery maid
Who will lose more in the end
Than she could ever possibly imagine
Tossed out of the kitchens
to Providence.
God bless Her.

The dust tells me
It’s mercantile, my dear
It’s all transactional
But look at me
I’m here for a time but am easily
Agitated and
Airborne
Aeolian driven
Ever blossoming fugitive clouds of swirling devils
Interstellar Reflection Nebulae
As you can see
I’m never in one place
So I say keep it movin’.
Jul 1 · 402
Lorena
Is it the possibility of
Some unforeseen yet magical
disappearance or
Of it being
Loped off
That makes one so very aware?
Erections must give great reassurance
Yes!
It is I
I am here
I am still here

Freud says that women want one
That they look down and see barren flatness and one fine line
instead of a mounting glory
A majestic rod
But I think perhaps
Freud is more afraid of losing his
Would that make him a woman?
I think not.
She is not on the right side
of the minus sign.

It must be a perpetual
Existential terror
The possible fate of Bobbitt
the Marine
Having one’s sliced off and
Thrown over the roof into the tall grass
Where the cops won’t go
unless the dogs go first
It’s so easy to do
Look it’s Mr. No *****.

One must understand this
From a very early age
And what of the consequences?
Shall we build effigies everywhere
Living spaces and statues
And talk about them all the time
And never learn
how to get the stream into the bowl?
Well look who’s here everybody!:
It’s Nice Try Huncke (drink)
It’s It seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time Huncke (drink)
It’s I wasn’t anywhere near there Huncke (drink)
It’s Yeah So What? Huncke (drink)
It’s I didn’t do anything Huncke (drink)
It’s You got the wrong cat Huncke (drink)
It’s This belongs to me Huncke (drink)
It’s I bought that downtown Huncke (drink)
It’s I don’t know what your talking about Huncke (drink)
It’s Really, You Don’t Say? Huh! Huncke (drink)
It’s I’m not carrying nothing Huncke (drink)
It’s I’m clean Huncke (drink)
It’s I’ve been clean for a long time now Huncke (drink)
It’s I wasn’t even uptown Huncke (drink)
It’s I never use that stuff Huncke (drink)
It’s That’s Stuff will **** ya Huncke (drink)
It’s What I do? Huncke (drink)
It’s Nah I don’t know him Huncke (drink)
It’s You can’t keep me here on that Huncke (drink)
It’s We were just talking Huncke (drink)
It’s He disappeared? Really? Huncke (drink)
It’s I’ll give you an An A for Effort for that There Huncke (drink)
It’s That Just Might have Worked Huncke (drink)
It’s There’s Nothing in my Pockets You Can Search Me Huncke (drink)
It’s What are you talking about? Huncke (drink)
It’s I don’t know him Huncke (drink)
It’s I’m just a poet Huncke (drink)


Can replace “drink” with “puff and pass” but no ****** you will die...
Jun 24 · 85
The Crystal Ball
Time doesn’t exist here.

Have your plate
But please don’t touch anything on it.

You’re doing
your deed
You’re doing
what you feel
to be your role here
by Design

An Activation
of a certain characteristic of your’s
Where You feel like You have this
tendency to kind of
become radioactive
as well!

Tell Me!
What do you see
when you don’t see
What I see
when I look at you?

I don’t know what that’s alluding to.

Someone’s doing some digging
They’re really,
They’re looking into,
I’m hearing,
the Crystal Ball
But it’s not just like
Ha ha ha,
so interesting

I’m seeing
The Crystal Ball
has even its own ways
of stalking, right?

If we think about
a Crystal Ball
It’s like
Ok
We
We
We
Peer into
the Crystal Ball
We look through the glass

Places
and
Time
I don’t know what that’s alluding to

But it’s like
Even
The Crystal Ball
Ha ha
Has an agenda of its own
that is not really
part of the storyline!

It’s like
it’s so weird
I’m seeing
a Crystal Ball
as a character in like a movie
Or something?

Everyone thinks
Oh they just look into
the Crystal Ball
and that’s all they see
But
it’s like
The Crystal Ball
Has it’s own police report
That it doesn’t file.
Jun 21 · 963
Brooklyn 1
Remember when this used to be a bodega where you could by an egg a few cigarettes and some *******?
I only bought **** there
a couple of times
I really went in there for milk or coffee
or an Entenmann’s raspberry danish in the big long rectangle.
I don’t remember the brand I smoked then
but they didn’t sell them.

The guy next door in my building had a thing for rich girls with flash cars
who would buy him clothes and other such presents
He was from the OC
and what he was doing in Brooklyn
I don’t even know
He got involved with some local
Columbians
Through the corner bodega
And of course proceeded
to date one of their women.
The OC Romeo.
Lady Lover.
Irresistible.
Pink Lacrosse shirt.
Turned up collar.
Leisure slacks.

I had to tell him once to not slap his thigh at me
When I passed him
on that corner
Posing with his newfound buddies.
And to give me back my cassette.
He tells me he left it out on the window sill
And it rained and got wet.
I said give it back anyway.

Not too long after he was gone.
Both he and his yuppie roommate
I heard he moved back to Newport Beach.
I wondered why he ran
Cuz I know he ran
Fast
I had some crazy neighbors in Hollywood
who disappeared
into the Russian night.
Someone spotted them a year later.
Playing with the wrong people.
Taking liberties.
Conning a con.
Your life really is not worth
very much
in those circles
so you’d better be quick on your feet.
Apr 23 · 662
Untitled Tragedy
I’ve cried a lot over you
It was a nasty break up

When I left I said
We’re through
And
I’m never coming back

It’s been 18 years now
And I’ve seen and heard things about you
In the meantime

And I have to say
With no ill intent
That you have really let yourself go
I wasn’t prepared for this in coming back
It’s ironic because it’s why I left you

When I washed my hands of you
I consoled myself
With thinking
In fact
Knowing
That you were a *****
Who gave it up too easily
Or a monster like Frankenstein’s
Electrified on a table
Not quite dead
But not quite alive

A friend once said that you were
Always nicely coiffed
But walked about
With a long trail
of **** smeared toilet paper stuck
to the bottom of your superb shoe
Scraping under and behind
And unbeknownst to you

I’ve walked and walked
Everywhere
With a book
So as not to look
Crazy
And I’ve sat waiting
For you to appear
Suddenly

I’ve sniffed the air
For you
On this street and on that
Stalking you really
But you were gone.
I sat in that park for a long time

Washington Square
With my little book
After
One short story or two I closed the book
I left
There’s nothing here.
You’re gone.

The first time you made me stop
in my tracks completely
I was bewildered on First Avenue
heading south
It was long ago
Now I realize that it
was
a premonition
I was suddenly lost
I stared at the sign that read
K-I-E-V in neon to my left
I told myself
“You know where you are”
“You know exactly where are you are”
And in any event, keep heading south
“You know where you are.”

Upon my return
all these years later
it happened again on Canal
I stared hard at elderly Chinese couples
Hoping for eye contact
which I never got
Looking for an answer
An explanation
Their strategy for survival
Is this Co-Existence or a Time Loop gone WRONG?
How many of us are actually ghosts?
An old boyfriend told me once that they don’t like you.
And neither do the Poles.

“Is this the real life?”

I forgot until quite recently that
Not so long
afterwards
in Astor Place
I thought about you again
I thought that you must have moved over one block
West
But that’s just not possible.
It really is you.
This is you.

So casting you to the side
as I have done
As I had done
Will it help me at all?
Has it helped me at all!

Now I wonder if you are
a captive monster
rendered impotent
by steel and concrete?
Or a jammed low frequency
that dulls the mind
which Science won’t render mute?
Was it a healing potion
The perfect ratio
of
**** and **** and rage
That was
The Most Holy of Trinities?
Spurned and now this

If we made it again
A perfect batch
Could it re-start your heart and keep it
beating?
Like the Doctor in the stormy moonlight?

Do the tides help at all?
I don’t miss you if that’s what you’re thinking.
Laying around
about the dorm room
Bored
Looking for quick
Stupid cash
We came upon a listing
My roommate and I
in the local paper
Artist models needed
No experience necessary
That was key

The guy on the phone was chirpy
He lived
Close by in Oakland
He gave us directions to where
He would pick the two of us up
We
Would take the bus
He would be in a station wagon
Beige

He met us sure enough
Old
Old as the ******* sea
Formal suit and tie
Maybe a hat
We drove back to the apartment
And entered
First my roommate
And then myself

A ****** yellowed set of rooms
Where we will be heading to the right
To the kitchen
I’ve noticed the battered ***** *****
Mattress
Also
To the right
Stains and an attached clamp lamp
A single stark bulb

We were greeted by an even chirpier young lady
She was like a baby Joan Jett
All rocker black and leather
Sleek hair slicked back
She seemed somehow to like
really really old men

She took over and reached
for the plastic folder
She handed it to us
“You need to look at this before we go on
This is what we do”

Obediently, we cracked it open
and peered inside
Bent over we studied
Sticky plastic pages
Of brightly faced girls
Page
After
Page
Smiling with awkward innocence
No bright eyes nor youthful effanescance
No desire
Nothing wet
Except their palms with thoughts of escape
And 100 dollars

I only remember the girls whose makeup faded around the neck to betray
the true color of their flesh
Not flushed at all with sticky expectation
They left no impression in their nakedness
Ghosts
Shades
They should have been in class or doing something else

But our Joan!
Joan was a star.
Her photos were full of sass and delight
She was more than happy
to show you her ******
Over and over and over
She said
Actually
it’s a club
The guys pay a monthly fee
And they come here and shoot
In the apartment or maybe outside
They cannot touch.
There is no *******.
Mostly they shoot
Me.

Alone.
A Pixie Star.
This was were that old man’s money was.

I don’t remember what she told us
What she used to do before
this had to be a moment
A rather short moment
She would move along because
This kink was overstuffed with
impotence
and ineptitude.
Kink that might be easier to deal
With
On a properly lit stage
Or a quiet motel room with the shades drawn
Cash up front.

But for now
She was the enterprise.
And what would he do without her?
We three giggled and guffawed
in the little kitchenette.
We weren’t game for the arrangement.
She knew that.
But she liked to talk.
Men like that are pathetic.

Seriously why would we do this?
All those faces in the book!
Four on a page
Excitedly, we thought that we recognized
One or two
I know her!
Look I know her! I’ve seen her
in the Poli-Sci Building!
I’m sure we did not know any of them.

The mattress.
I could not fathom what happened on that thing.
I don’t want to know.
I had to look the other way as we left.
Did he perform
Abortions?
With hangers and kitchenware
Can ******* be that messy?
Just opening your legs?

We said goodbye to her!
She was wonderful.
She would sparkle forever.
Joan Jett!
Piling back into this hoarder’s
station wagon amongst
the musty boxes and newspapers
strewn all over the backseat with us
He drove
to the bus stop
A waste of his time
Disgruntled
Failure

He asked
How should this ad read
so that
this doesn’t happen again?
We offered no suggestions.
It had been fun
However idiotic.
I don’t remember
how long it was that
we kept our bus trip
secret.
Feb 19 · 1.9k
Opening No. 5
My art
is the way
I re-establish
the bonds that unite me
to the universe. -A.M.

Before she fell
They were
Hated
She, for her sudden rise
And he
in turn
for his shaggy, loping omnipotence
The sure-footed authority

She was the little Visionary
and he, the Blue Chip
So very messy
The Tall and The Small

If you were sitting at the bar
Somewhere around Mercer Street
And those two came in
“Ugh”
Went off inside all the heads
in their line of sight
A palpable mental groan
As they hung up their coats
And waved at various tables
Making their way like penguins

Again, it will all end badly, we thought
Nursing our drinks.
Tonight

Piling out of the last bar
brawling on slick cobblestones
under the yellowish streetlights
of Prince or West Broadway
Arguing about nothing and everything
“I will out run you Old Man!”
You could hear it bouncing off the sidewalk
Whispering around corners
“You will be surpassed!”
I too look to eternity,
he states full of drink and exasperation
I step and step again. I am walking there.
I am not a bird.
“You will be surpassed!”

Blood and more blood
A face planted with busted lips
Flattened
Your body crushed into the earth
Over and over
Having fallen
Waiting for burial, entombed in flora
Welcomed
Reclaimed
To be disappeared
But not just yet.

What had you unleashed Mija?
What did you already know?

I’ve got a devil inside of me! SHE GOT LOVE!
I’ve got a devil inside of me! SHE GOT LOVE!

In editorial spreads
we saw flared American jeans in Rome
You said that they understood you there
And in Cuba
We understood you very well right here,
you know.
It’s not so hard.

The doorman said he heard someone cry out
And then a soft thud a moment later
From the deli’s rooftop next door

“ICARUS DOWN” read The Post

How easily we lost our envy
after those 34 floors
Earthbound
Strait shot

It was all foretold in the telling
Now folded into a history of sorts
That of a primordial Fertility
And not a thousand chalklines drawn around a singular corpse
Nor unforeseen ramifications of deals
made in feathers
puddles and mud
The reunion of force fields
Folding you back within my arms
Where you belong
What an excellent day for an exorcism.

I’ve got a devil inside of me! SHE GOT LOVE!
Jan 6 · 2.6k
Genie in a Bottle
Dina?
Deanna?
Deena?

What was her name?
A diminutive of something
Or a shortening.
And I don’t even think that I am close

I miss you.

a small concrete table
white
a group of girls
Smoking and smoking and smoking
Trading lipgloss
I don’t remember what we talked about

But I do remember that the meds made you so
Hungry
“Are you gonna eat that?”

That’s how it begins in such places
Passing off a cig
Or trading processed food
Or just giving it away.

Have a lie down
or hand over the pill stored in your cheek
for someone
needier.

You said after your second plateful of anything
Make sure you let me know if I start getting fat

I tried not to follow you around
We had breakfast
Cigarette breaks
lunch and dinner
I could have sat with you all day and night

But I let you roam like a yearling
talking too much to too many people
Spinning around in the hallways
The skinny girl
on the floor doing a striptease on her back
in the streaming sunlight
I could tell
That you got paid for this at some point
Even the imaginary boa scared these boys

You loved to talk about God
I, however, do not

You loved a ****** ******
They were your favorite
and would reminisce with the junkies
Always sitting close-by
You claimed that you could make a man cry
By what you could do to his body
I can only imagine
what you’ve done so far
At your age
and you have a kid

I know
that you’re frightened
to be alone
with your mother
She’s so small
You wouldn’t want to hurt her

And I see her
that one time
with candies and soda
that you made her bring from
the 99 cent store to share
with all these people that don’t like you
that she is
a tiny thing
Yes
anyone could crush her
I see your point.

Deena
Dina
Deana

I can’t remember your name

You’d wake me for breakfast
Or, I you
You said the voices never stop in your head
Not just voices but other strange noises too
You acted like it was
a drag
But in fact you were **** scared

I can hear sounds too I offered
Bells
And Strings
Faint Voices calling my name
Offering succinct advice
Can’t everyone?
Leaning against a wall
with you at my feet
I saw your head snap
To the right
I said
Don’t worry
I heard that too
And you were so relieved
You grasped my feet in gratitude

You said that you are three.
Dread is the bad one
a male
And another
a ****** female who’s name
I can’t remember either
I suggested that there were more
Perhaps.
I met the ***** and I did not like her
at all
In anger I returned your sweatshirt
And you said
You know she’s terrible
I told you that
Take back the shirt
It’s cold

The men here don’t understand
our
Relationship
They assume that it’s lovey
Their minds are blown by
Companionship in difficult circumstances
Holding hands might help you through
You never know until you try

You loved to have arguments over the Bible
I would make a lot of noise to shut it down
I cannot listen to that
You would talk on that phone on the wall
With the father of your child
About god
You missed your boy’s
first day
of kindergarten
You called him on that phone to make sure that he got the plastic truck
or some such toy in your absence

I wonder when you gave up your life
When an injection of Ativan in your ***
and a night
In an darkened empty room
Bound
became an ideal resolution.
You couldn’t figure out
why you had a lump on your head
And I explained that
it was the result of
banging it repeatedly
against the wall.
Side effects of Lorazepam include:
Little recall

You seemed to have a plan.
Visiting and writing up the coast
The Dean Moriarty of Hospitals
But what about your kid?
The doctors say you can’t leave until you’re well
I couldn’t even tell what’s wrong exactly
Or what he’s really trying to tell you
Other than too much too soon
But that’s every girl in LA
Isn’t it?
You said that
It
Emerged at age 24.

I think about your son.
I can’t believe that you have one.
And your mother
Who adopted you.
What did she in fact bring home?

Deanna.
Dina.

When they called to say that my car was here
That I could go
You covered my neck
With kisses
And said Thank You Thank You
I Don’t Know
What I Would Have Done Without You

What is your name?

Dee.
D.
Just the letter.
I remember
Thank you.
Dec 2018 · 587
Opening No. 4
It was an unknowing spot
In the fight between good and evil
As many such places are
The walls won’t keep you safe
Or protect you
There are no talismans at work
The humours
Swirl

One night upon descending the stairs
My heel
Caught my hem
My hands both full
A cigarette in one and wine in the other
I began to fall
It would have been a tumble
I was leaning severely to the left
No balance likely
one foot in the air
Going nowhere good

At the foot of the stairs
Yes
There was a dreadful man
His arms opening wide
His legs spread
Ready to catch my calamity
I tried to prepare
An impossibility about to occur
And how would it end?
Me on the floor, wine stained and puddled
In the arms of


And yet
I felt a push on my side
Straightening me out
Pushing me over
Up and down
Tip top
I lowered my foot, set free by my dress
And with both hands still fully occupied
Stepped down the stairs in quiet saucy triumph
He was awful
That night I knew that there were indeed angels.

As for evil and
Stairs
Years later the winds began to change
I sat above on the second floor with
a wine glass and a full bladder
I decided it’s time
Watch your step
I was slow
Cautious
Looking straight into the darkness
And despite just two steps down
total
I fell

The arc of red wine
Flew across the gallery hitting the north wall
Already hung
Yes wine on the wall
Between the paintings
Me on the floor
But the glass still in hand

I began to think
That there is something here.
Unseen.
Something’s around.
Dec 2018 · 548
Opening No. 3
After the incident
we gathered in the reception area
Stalling
Making small talk
Vaguely excited and vaguely bored

We were leaning into
Little gala tables
Covered in white linen
Raised for conversation or
Fashionable idleness

Why look who’s here!
You were slipping by
Like a noblewoman
Floating in her day-dress
so the human machinations didn't show

Why it’s been thirty years if not a day!
It’s not like you were exactly moved
My friend, your friend
barely roused you
Are you plastic?
A formally once-was?
You looked at me as if your eyes were
Marbles
Made of glass and somewhat pretty,
Just for decoration
It was hard to say in such darkness
Your darkness in particular
It may have been the suit.

I know that they’ve fêted you here before.
A king returns!
Is it the magma chamber
for your imminence?
Or a mere
Alcove?

The face doesn’t really move
Much anymore
Forever frozen in a slight smugness
Your mouth that strikes me as
somewhat meta
if that’s at all possible
And it seems to be
A bit rude
A noirish marvel
A dark star

Funny you never once looked at me really
Never said Hello
Nor Good Evening
And the things that
I could have said
Do you remember how you tried to drill a hole into a poured concrete floor
with a cheap tool
while we laughed about dentistry
as opposed to *** practices
How I tried to find a cherry picker
through the yellow pages
on a Saturday afternoon
How you quizzed me about my practice and how I played dumb
How your dealer ate my dinner when I was looking to the right

But I remained silent
bemused more than disgusted
It has been a long time and
Why would that
forgotten phospherence
be me?

I wanted to say
Did you know
that that penthouse after-party
at the
Marmont
was one of the saddest nights of my life?
I leaned over the balcony and stared at the Marlborough Man
puffing rings onto Sunset Blvd.
Desperate.
How has it come to this I asked
shocked myself
This has all gone so wrong.
I looked down upon the street
watching the rings echo
and cars swerving off to nowhere

No amount of drink can fix this night
and they killed the joint without me
being boys.
One is now dead by hanging.
I’d have preferred the other.

But here you are.
Silent
with absent eyes
after all these years
I never opened my mouth
I couldn’t seem to configure the lips precisely
I don’t know why
Perhaps they refused to comply
despite my feathery efforts.
No need.
Dec 2018 · 2.2k
Opening No. 2
It was a bright spring day out by the pool
We’d gathered together amidst lawn chairs
To watch

A somewhat portly
Man centered in the water
Swirling like Esther
Incanting
We sipped our ****** wine and smiled cautiously but amused no less.

From the far northern edges came a little
Light haired boy dressed like an angel
Or perhaps the son
Of Poseidon
I think the whole point of this had something to do with Poseidon
Or some other god of the sea
That remained unclear for
Me at least

Needless to say, this was a pool
A little pool with green astroturf surrounding
Piquant with chlorine
Not churning and grey.
Again, to the north stood the child
His son no doubt
Who must have been told simply and repeatedly
Just go to Daddy in the pool
Stand by the side
And he will pick you up
Hold onto your trident
Ok!?

But upon making his move to
Daddy
the child
Misstepped
Stumbled
Fell
And in so doing began to wail
Leaving his otherwise stoic father
Perplexed and annoyed
Astonished
His eyes squinting out the sun
His performance ending before it ever began

Three women rushed to the little wails
The mother scooped her child into her arms
Cradling the tears to her *******
Her attendants ran for vanilla ice cream
The boy now sated
Was resplendent in calm satisfaction

Father left the pool
Make-up running down his wet face
The child ate his ice cream from the bowl
steadfast in his concentration
and seeming innocence
The mother held her little man
The man in charge
We stood up and left for more ****** wine
Perhaps the Pinot.
Dec 2018 · 9.8k
THE WHORE WAR CANTOS
I.

One night at the Troubadour I spotted this extraordinary girl.

So I asked who she was.

‘A professional,’

That was my introduction that on a scale of one to ten

there were women who were fifteens—beautiful, bright, witty, and

oh, by the way, they worked.

Once I became aware,

I saw these women everywhere.

And I came to learn that most of them were connected to Alex



II.

She had a printer engrave a calling card

that featured a bird of paradise

borrowed from a Tiffany silver pattern

and,
under it,

Alex’s Aviary,

Beautiful and Exotic birds.



A few were women you’d see lunching at Le Dôme:

pampered arm pieces with expensive tastes

and a hint of a delicious but remote sexuality.

Many more were fresh-faced, athletic, tanned, freckled

the quintessential California girl

That you’d take for sorority queens or future BMW owners.





III.

The mechanism of Alex’s sudden notoriety is byzantine,

as these things always are.

One of her girls took up with a rotter,

the couple had a fight,

he went to the police,

the police had an undercover detective visit

(who just happened to be an attractive woman)

and ask to work for her,

she all but embraced her

—and by April of 1988 the district attorney had enough evidence

to charge her with two counts of pandering

and one of pimping.

For Alex, who is fifty-six

and has a heart condition and diabetes,

the stakes may be high.

A conviction carries the guarantee of incarceration.

For the forces of law and order,

the stakes may be higher.

Alex has let it be known that she will subpoena

every cop she’s ever met to testify at her trial.

And the revelations this might produce

—perhaps that Alex compromised policemen

by making girls available to them,

—perhaps that Alex had a deal with the police to provide information

in exchange for their blind eye to her activities

—could be hugely embarrassing to the police and the district attorney.

For Alex’s socially correct clients and friends,

for the socially correct wives of her clients and friends

and for a handful of movie and television executives

who have no idea they are dating or

married to former Alex girls,

the stakes are highest of all.



IV.

Alex’s black book is said to be a catalogue of
Le Tout Los Angeles.

In her head are the ****** secrets

of many of the city’s most important men,

to say nothing of visiting businessmen and Arab princes.

If she decides to warble,

either at her trial or in a book,

her song will shatter more than glass.





V.

A decade ago, I went to lunch at Ma Maison,

There were supposed to have been ten people there,

but only four came.

One of them was a short woman

who called me a few days later and invited me to lunch.

When I arrived, the table was set for two.

I didn’t know who Alex was or what she did,

but she knew the important facts of my situation:

I was getting divorced from a very wealthy man

and doing the legal work myself

to avail lawyers who wanted to get a big settlement for me.


Occasionally, she said, I get a call for a tall, dark-haired,

slender, flat-chested woman

—and I don’t have any.

It wouldn’t be a frequent thing.

There’d be weekends away, sometimes in Palm Springs,

sometimes in Europe.

The men will be elegant,

you’ll have your own room

—there would be no outward signs of impropriety.

And you’d get $10,000 to $20,000 for a weekend.





VI.

The tall, slender, flat-chested brunette

didn’t think it was right for her.

Alex handed her a business card

and suggested that she think about it.

To her surprise, she did

—for an entire week.

This was 1978, and $20,000 then

was like $40,000 now,

I knew it was hooking,

but Alex had never mentioned ***.



Our whole conversation seemed to be about something else.



VII.

I was born in Manila

to a Spanish-Filipina mother and German father,

and when I was twelve

a Japanese soldier came into our house

with his bayonet pointed at us,

ready to do us in.

He locked us in and set the house on fire.

I haven’t been scared by much since that.



My mother always struck me as goofy,

so I jumped on a bus and ran away,

I got off in Oakland,

saw a help-wanted sign on a parish house,

and went in.

I got $200 a month for taking care of four priests.

I spent all the money on pastries for the parish house.

But I didn’t care.

It felt safe.

And the priests sparked my interest in the domestic arts

—in linen, in crystal.



A new priest arrived.

He was unpleasant,

so on a vacation in Los Angeles I took a pedestrian job,

still a teenager,

married a scientist.

We separated eight years later,

he took our two sons to another state

threatened to keep them if I didn’t agree to a divorce.

Keep them I said and hung up.

It’s not that I don’t have a maternal instinct

—though I don’t,

I just hate to be manipulated.



My second husband,

an alcoholic,

had Frank Sinatra blue eyes, and possibly

—I never knew for sure—

had a big career in the underworld

as a contract killer.

Years before we got serious,

he was going out with a famous L.A. ******,

She and her friends were so elegant

that I started spending time with them in beauty salons.

They were so fancy,

so smart

—and they knew incredible people,

like the millionaire who sat in his suite all day

just writing $5,000 checks to girls.



VIII.

I was a florist.

We got to talking.

She was a madam from England

who wanted to sell her book and go home.

I bought it for $5,000.

My husband thought it was cute.

Now you’re getting your feet wet.

Three months later,

he died.

After eleven years of marriage,

just like that.

And of the names in the book

it turned out

that half of the men were also dead.

When I began the men were old and the women were ugly.



IX.

It was like a lunch party you or I would give,

Great food Alex had cooked herself.

Major giggles with old pals.

And then,

instead of chocolate After Eight,

she served three women After Three



This man has seen a bit of life

beyond Los Angeles,

so I asked him how Alex’s stable

compared with that of Madam Claude,

the legendary Parisian procuress.

Oh, these aren’t at all like Claude’s girls,

A Claude girl was perfectly dressed and multilingual

—you could take her to the opera

and she’d understand it.





He told me that when she was 40

she looked at herself in the mirror

and said

Disgusting.

People over 40

should not have ***.

But She Was Clear That She Never Liked It

even when she was young.

Besides, she saw all the street business

go to the tall,

beautiful girls.

She thought that she never had a chance

competing against them.

Instead,

she would take their money by managing them.





X.

Going to a ****** was not looked down upon then.

It was before the pill;

Girls weren’t giving it away.

Claude specialized in

failed models and actresses,

ones who just missed the cut.

But just because they failed

in those impossible professions

didn’t mean they weren’t beautiful,

fabulous.



Like Avis

in those days,

those girls tried harder.

Her place was off the Champs,

just above a branch of the Rothschild bank, where I had an account.

Once I met her,

I was constantly making withdrawals and heading upstairs.





XI.

We took the lift

and Claude greeted us at the door.

My impression was that of the director

of an haute couture house,

very subdued,

beige and gray, very little makeup.

She took us into a lounge and made us drinks,

Whiskey,

Cognac.

There was no maid.

We made small talk for 15 minutes.

How was the weekend?

What’s the weather like in Deauville?

Then she made the segue. ‘I understand you’d like to see some jeunes filles?’

She always used ‘jeunes filles.’

This was Claude’s polite way of saying 18 to 25.

She left and soon returned

with two very tall

jeunes filles,

One was blonde.

This is Eva from Austria.

She’s here studying painting.

And a brunette,

very different,

but also very fine.

This is Claudia from Germany.

She’s a dancer.

She took the girls back into the apartment and returned by herself.

I gave my English guest first choice.

He picked the blonde.

And wasn’t disappointed.

Each bedroom had its own bidet.

There was some nice

polite conversation, and then



It was slightly formal,

but it was high-quality.

He paid Claude

200 francs,

not to the girls

In 1965, 200 francs was about $40.

Pretty girls on Rue Saint-Denis

could be had for 40 francs

so you can see the premium.

Still, it wasn’t out of reach for mere mortals.

You didn’t have to be J. Paul Getty.





XII.

A lot of them

were models at

Christian Dior

or other couture houses.

She liked Scandinavians.

That was the look then

—cold, tall, perfect.

It was cheap for the quality.

They all used her.

The best people wanted

the best women.

Elementary supply and demand.



XIII.

She had a camp number tattooed on her wrist. I saw it.

She showed it to me and Rubi.

She was proud she had survived.

We talked about the camp for hours.

It was even more fascinating than the girls.



She was Jewish

I’m certain of that.

She was horrified at the Jewish collaborators

at the camp who herded

their fellow Jews

into the gas chambers.

That was the greatest betrayal in her life.



XIV.

She was this sad,

lonely little woman.

Later, Patrick told me who she was.

I was bowled over.

It was like meeting Al Capone.

I met two of the girls

who worked for her.

One was what you would expect

Tall

Blonde

Model.

But the other looked like a Rat

Then one night

she came out

all dressed up,

I didn’t even recognize her.

She was even better than the first girl.

Claude liked to transform women like that.

That was her art.

It was very odd,

my cousin told me.

There was not much furniture

and an awful lot of telephones.

“Allô oui,”



XV.

I had so many lunches

with Claude at Ma Maison

She was vicious.

One day,

Margaux Hemingway,

at the height of her beauty, walked by.

Une bonne

—the French for maid

was how Claude cut her dead.

She reduced

the entire world

to rich men wanting *** and

poor women wanting money.

She’d love to page through Vogue and see someone

and say,

When I met her

she was called

Marlene

and she had a hideous nose

and now she’s a princess.

Or she’d see someone and say

Let’s see if she kisses me or not.

It was like

I made her,

and I can destroy her.

She was obsessed

with “fixing” people

—with Saint Laurent clothes,

with Cartier watches,

with Winston jewels,

with Vuitton luggage,

with plastic surgeons.



XVI.

Her prison number was

888

which was good luck in China

but not in California.

‘Ocho ocho ocho,’ she liked to repeat

Even in jail, she was always working,

always recruiting stunning women.

She had a beautiful Mexican cellmate

and gave her Robert Evans’s number

as the first person she should call

when she was released.



XVII.

Never have *** on the first date.



XVIII.

There will always be prostitution,

The prostitution of misery.

And the prostitution of bourgeois luxury.

They will both go on forever.



“Allô oui,”



It was so exciting to hear a millionaire

or a head of state ask,

in a little boy’s voice,

for the one thing

that only you could provide

It's not how beautiful you are, it's how you relate

--it's mostly dialogue.



She was tiny, blond, perfectly coiffed and Chanel-clad.

The French Woman: The Arab Prince, the Japanese Diplomat, the Greek Tycoon, the C.I.A. Bureau Chief — She Possessed Them All!



XIX.

She was like a slave driver in the American South

Once she took a *******,

the makeover put the girl in debt,

because Claude paid all the bills to

Dior,

Vuitton,

to the hairdressers,

to the doctors,

and the girls had to work to pay them off.

It was ****** indentured servitude.



My Swans.



It reached the point

where if you walked into a room

in London

or Rome

as much as Paris

because the girls were transportable,

and saw a girl who was

better-dressed,

better-looking,

and more distinguished than the others

you presumed

it was a girl from Claude.

It was, without doubt,

the finest *** operation ever run in the history of mankind.



**.

The girl had to be

exactly what was needed

so I had to teach her everything she didn’t know.

I played a little the role of Pygmalion.

There were basic things that absolutely had to be done.

It consisted

at the start

of the physical aspect

“surgical intervention”

to give this way of being

that was different from other girls.

Often they had to be transformed

into dream creatures

because at the start

they were not at all



Often I had to teach them how to dress.

Often they needed help

to repair

what nature had given them

which was not so beautiful.

At first they had to be tall,

with pretty gestures,

good manners.

I had lots of noses done,

chins,

teeth,

*******.

There was a lot to do.



Eight times out of ten

I had to teach them how to behave in society.

There were official dinners, suppers, weekends,

and they needed to have conversation.

I insisted they learn to speak English,

read

certain books.

I interrogated them on what they read.

It wasn’t easy.

Each time something wasn’t working,

I was obliged to say so.



You were very demanding?

I was ferocious.



It’s difficult

to teach a girl how to walk into Maxim’s

without looking

ill at ease

when they’ve never been there,

to go into an airport,

to go to the Ritz,

or the Crillon

or the Dorchester.

To find yourself

in front of a king,

three princes,

four ministers,

and five ambassadors at an official dinner.

There were the wives of those people!

Day after day

one had to explain,

explain again,

start again.

It took about two years.

There would always be a man

who would then say of her,

‘But she’s absolutely exceptional. What is that girl doing here?’ ”





XXI.

A New York publisher who visited

the Palace Hotel

in Saint Moritz

in the early seventies told me,

I met a whole bunch of them there.

They were lovely.

The johns wanted everyone to know who they were.

I remember it being said

Giovanni’s Madame Claude girl is going to be there.

You asked them where they came from and they all said

Neuilly.

Claude liked girls from good families.

More to the point she had invented their backgrounds.



I have known,

because of what I did,

some exceptional and fascinating men.

I’ve known some exceptional women too,

but that was less interesting

because I made them myself.



Ah, this question of the handbag.

You would be amazed by how much dust accumulates.

Or how often women’s shoe heels are scuffed.





XXII.

She would examine their teeth and finally she would make them undress.



That was a difficult moment

When they arrived they were very shy,

a bit frightened.

At the beginning when I take a look,

it’s a question of seeing if the silhouette

and the gestures are pretty.

Then there was a disagreeable moment.

I said,

I’m sorry about this unpleasantness,

but I have to ask you to get undressed,

because I can’t talk about you unless I see you.

Believe me, I was embarrassed,

just as they were,

but it had to be done,

not out of voyeurism, not at all

—I don’t like les dames horizontales.



It was very funny

because there were always two reactions.

A young girl,

very sure of herself,

very beautiful,

très bien,

would say

Yes,

Get up, and get undressed.

There was nothing to hide, everything was perfect.



There were those who

would start timidly

to take off their dress

and I would say

I knew already.

The rest is not sadism, but nearly.

I knew what I was going to find.

I would say,

Maybe you should take off your bra,

and I knew it wasn’t going to be

beautiful.

Because otherwise she would have taken it off easily.

No problem.

There were damages that could be mended.

There were some ******* that could be redone,

some not

Sometimes it can be deceptive,

you know,

you see a pretty girl,

a pretty face,

all elegant and slim,

well dressed,

and when you see her naked

it is a catastrophe.



I could judge their physical qualities,

I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated,

but I didn’t know how she was in bed.

So I had some boys,

good friends,

who told me exactly.

I would ring them up and say,

There’s a new one.

And afterwards they’d ring back and say,

Not bad,

Could be better, or

Nulle.



Or,

on the contrary,

She’s perfect.

And I would sometimes have to tell the girls

what they didn’t know.

A pleasant assignment?

No.

They paid.



XXIII.

Often at the beginning

they had an ami de coeur

in other words,

oh,

a journalist, a photographer, a type like that,

someone in the cinema,

an actor, not very well known.

As time went by

It became difficult

because they didn’t have a lot of time for him.

The fact of physically changing,

becoming prettier,

changing mentally to live with millionaires,

produced a certain imbalance

between them

and the little boyfriend

who had not evolved

and had stayed in his milieu.

At the end of a certain time

she would say,

I’m so much better than him. Why am I with this boy?

And they would break up by themselves.



Remember,

this was instant elevation.

For most of them it was a dream existence,

provided they liked the ***,

and those that didn’t never lasted long.

A lot of the clients were young,

and didn’t treat them like tarts but like someone from their own class.

They would buy you presents,

take you on trips.



XXIV.

For me, *** was something very accessoire

I think after a certain age

there are certain spectacles one should not give to others

Now I have a penchant for solitude.

Love, it’s a complete destroyer,

It’s impossible,

a horror,

l’angoisse.

It’s the only time in my life I was jealous.

I’m not a jealous person, but I was épouvantable.

He was jealous too.

We broke plates over each other’s heads;

we became jealous about each other’s pasts.

I said one day

It’s finished.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say:

Break my legs,

give me scarlet fever,

an attack of TB, but never that.

Not that.



XXV.

I called her into my office

Let us not exaggerate,

I sent her away.

She came back looking for employment,

but was fired again, this time for drugs.

She made menacing phone calls.

Then she arrived at the Rue de Boulainvilliers with a gun.

She shot three bullets

I was dressed in the fashion of Courrèges at this moment

He did very padded things.

I had a padded dress with a little jacket on top.

The bullet

—merci, Monsieur Courrèges

—stuck in the padding.

I was thrown forward onto the telephone.

I had one thought which went through my head:

I will die like Kennedy.

I turned round and put my hand up in a reflex.

The second bullet went through my hand.

I have two dead fingers.

It’s most useful for removing bottle tops.

In the corridor I was saved from the third bullet

because she was very tall

and I am quite petite, so it passed over my head.



XXVI.

There were men

who could decapitate,

****, and bomb their rivals

who would be frightened of me.

I would ask them how was the girl,

and they’d say

Not bad

and then

But I’m not complaining.

I was a little sadistic to them sometimes.

Some women have known powerful men because they’re their lover.

But I’ve known them all.

I had them all

here.



She will take many state secrets with her.



XXVI.

I don’t like ugly people

probably because when I was young

I wasn’t beautiful at all.

I was ugly and I suffered for it,

although not to the point of obsession.

Now that I’m an old woman,

I’m not so bad.

And that’s why

I’ve always been surrounded by people

Who

were

beautiful.

And the best way to have beautiful people around me

was to make them.

I made them very pretty.





XXVII.

I wouldn’t call what Alex gives you

‘advice,’

She spares you Nothing.

She makes a list of what she wants done,

and she really gets into it

I mean, she wants you to get your arms waxed.

She gives you names of people who do good facials.

She tells you what to buy at Neiman Marcus.

She’s put off by anything flashy,

and if you don’t dress conservatively, she’s got no problem telling you,

in front of an audience,

You look like a cheap *****!

I used to wear what I wanted when I went out

then change in the car into a frumpy sweater

when I went to give her the money she’d always go,

Oh, you look beautiful!



Marry your boyfriend,

It’s better than going to prison.

When you go out with her,

she’ll buy you a present; she’s incredibly generous that way.

And she’ll always tell you to save money and get out.

It’s frustrating to her when girls call at the end of the month

and say they need rent money.

She wants to see you do well.





We had a schedule, with cards that indicated a client’s name,

what he liked,

the names of the girls he’d seen,

and how long he’d been with them.

And I only hired girls who had another career

—if my clients had a choice between drop-dead-gorgeous

and beautiful-and-interesting,

they’d tend to take beautiful-and-interesting.

These men wanted to talk.

If they spent two hours with a girl,

they usually spent only five or ten minutes in bed.



I get the feeling that in Los Angeles, men are more concerned with looks.



XXVIII.

That was my big idea

Not to expand the book by aggressive marketing

but to make sure that nobody

mistook my girls for run-of-the-mill hookers.

And I kept my roster fresh.

This was not a business where you peddle your ***,

get exploited,

and then are cast off.

I screen clients. I’ve never sent girls to weirdos.

I let the men know:

no violence,

no costumes,

no fudge-packing.

And I talked to my girls. I’d tell them:

Two and a half years and you’re burned out.

Save your money.

This is like a hangar

—you come in, refuel, and take off.

It’s not a vacation, it’s not a goof.

This buys the singing lessons,

the dancing lessons,

the glossies.

This is to help you pay for what your parents couldn’t provide.

It’s an honorable way station—a lot of stars did this.



XXIX.

To say someone was a Claude girl is an honour, not a slur.



Une femme terrible.

She despised men and women alike.

Men were wallets. Women were holes.



By the 80s,

if you were a brunette,

the sky was the limit.

The Saudis

They’d call for half a dozen of Alex’s finest,

ignore them all evening while they

chatted,

ate,

and played cards,

and then, around midnight,

take the women inside for a fast few minutes of ***.



They’d order women up like pizza.



Since my second husband died,

I only met one man who was right for me,

He was a sheikh.

I visited him in Europe

twenty-eight times

in the five years I knew him

and I never slept with him.

He’d say

I think you fly all the way here just to tease me,

but he introduced me

by phone

to all his powerful friends.

When I was in Los Angeles, he called me twice a day.

That’s why I never went out

he would have been disappointed.



***.

Listen to me

This is a woman’s business.

When a woman does it, it’s fun

there’s a giggle in it

when a man’s involved,

he’s ******,

he’s a ****.

He may know how to keep girls in line,

and he may make money,

but he doesn’t know what I do.

I tell guys: You’re getting a nice girl.

She’s young,

She’s pleasant,

She can do things

she can certainly make love.

She’s not a rocket scientist, but she’s everything else.



The world’s richest and most powerful men, the announcer teased.

An income “in the millions,” said the arresting officer.

Pina Colapinto

A petite call girl,

who once slid between the sheets of royalty,

a green-eyed blonde helped the police get the indictment.

They really dolled her up

She looks great.

Never!

What I told her was: ‘Wash that ******.’





XXXI.

Madam Alex died at 7 p.m.

Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,

where she had been in intensive care after recent open heart surgery

We all held her hand when they took her off the life support

This was the passing of a legend.

Because she was the mother superior of prostitution.

She was one of the richest women on earth.

The world came to her.

She never had to leave the house.

She was like Hugh Hefner in that way.


It's like losing a friend

In all the years we played cat and mouse,

she never once tried to corrupt me.

We had a lot of fun.


To those who knew her

she was as constant

as she was colorful

always ready with a good tidbit of gossip

and a gourmet lunch for two.

She entertained, even after her conviction on pandering charges,

from the comfy depths of her blue four-poster bed at her home near Doheny Drive,

surrounded by knickknacks and meowing cats,

which she fed fresh shrimp from blue china plates.



XXXII.

She stole my business,

my books,

my girls,

my guys.

I had a good run.

My creatures.

Make Mommy happy

Oh! He is the most enchanting cat that I have ever known.



She was, how can I say it,

classy.

When she first hired me

she thought I was too young to take her case.

I was 43.

I'm going to give you some gray hairs by the time this is over.

She was right.





XXXIII.

I was fond of Heidi

But she has a streak that is so vindictive.



If there is pure evil, it is Madame Alex.





XXXIV.

I was born and raised in L.A.

My dad was a famous pediatrician.

When he died, they donated a bench to him at the Griffith Park Observatory.



I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings

pretty early,

and I think that she met some people

who sort of took all her potential

and gave it a sharp turn



She knew nothing.

She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.



Alex and I had a very intense relationship;

I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated,

so she was abusive and loving at the same time.



Look, I know Madam Alex was great at what she did

but it's like this:

What took her years to build,

I built in one.

The high end is the high end,

and no one has a higher end than me.

In this business, no one steals clients.

There's just better service.



XXXV.

You were not allowed to have long hair

You were not allowed to be too pretty

You were not allowed to wear too much makeup or be too glamorous

Because someone would fall in love with you and take you away.

And then she loses the business



XXXVI.

I was pursued because

come on

in our lifetime,

we will never see another girl of my age

who lived the way I did,

who did what I did so quickly,

I made so many enemies.

Some people had been in this line of business

for their whole lives, 30 or 40 years,

and I came in and cornered the market.

Men don't like that.

Women don't like that.

No one liked it.



I had this spiritual awakening watching an Oprah Winfrey video.

I was doing this 500-hour drug class

and one day the teacher showed us this video,

called something like Make It Happen.

Usually in class I would bring a notebook

and write a letter to my brother or my journal,

but all of a sudden this grabbed my attention

and I understood everything she said.

It hit me and it changed me a lot.

It made me feel,

Accept yourself for who you are.

I saw a deeper meaning in it

but who knows, I might have just been getting my period that day!



XXXVII.

Hello, Gina!

You movie star!

Yes you are!

Gina G!

Hello my friend,

Hello my friend,

Hello my movie star,

Ruby! Ruby Boobie!

Braaawk!

Except so many women say,

Come on, Heidi

you gotta do the brothel for us; don't let us down.

It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort,

and I'll make it really nice,

like the Beverly Hills Hotel

It'll feel private; you'll have your own bungalow.

The only problem out here is the climate—it's so brutal.

Charles Manson was captured a half hour from Pahrump.



I said, Joe! What are you doing?

You gotta get, like,

a garter belt and encase it in something

and write,

This belonged to Suzette Whatever,

who entertained the Flying Tigers during World War II.

Get, like, some weird tools and write,

These were the first abortion tools in the brothel,

you know what I mean?

Just make some **** up!

So I came out here to do some research

And then I realized,

What am I doing?

I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone.

I can do this.

When I was doing my research, in three months

I saw land go from 30 thousand an acre

to 50 thousand an acre,

and then it was going for 70K!

It's urban sprawl

—we're only one hour from Las Vegas.

Out here the casinos are only going to get bigger,

prostitution is legal, it's only getting better.





XXXVIII.

The truth is

deep down inside,

I just can't do business with him

He's the type of guy who buys Cup o' Noodles soup for three cents

and makes his hookers buy it back from him for $5.

It's not my style at all.

Who wants to be 75 and facing federal charges?

It was different at my age when I

at least...come on, I lived really well.

I was 22,

25 at the time?

It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want

to deal with all that *******

—the girls and blah blah blah.

But the money was really good.



I would've told someone they were out of their ******* mind

if they'd said in five years I'd be living with all these animals like this.

It's hard-core; how I live;

It's totally a nonfunctional atmosphere for me

It's hard to get anything done because

It’s so time-consuming.

I feel like they're good luck though....

I do feel that if I ever get rid of them,

I will be jinxed and cursed the rest of my life

and nothing I do will ever work again.



Guys kind of are a hindrance to me

Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything.

But a man is not a priority in my life.

I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.



XXXIX.

I started a babysitting circle when I wasn't much older than 9

And soon all the parents in the neighborhood

wanted me to watch over their children.

Even then I had an innate business sense.

I started farming out my friends

to meet the demand.

My mother showered me with love and my father,

a pediatrician,

would ask me at the dinner table,

What did you learn today?

I ran my neighborhood.

I just pick up a hustle really easily,

I was a waitress and I met an older guy who looked like Santa Claus.



Alex was a 5' 3" bald-headed Filipina

in a transparent muu muu.

We hit it off.

I didn't know at the time that I was there to pay off the guy's gambling debt.

It's in and out,

over and out.

Do you think some big-time producer

or actor is going to go to the clubs and hustle?



Columbia Pictures executive says:

I haven’t done anything that should cause any concern.

Jeez, it's like the Nixon enemies list.

I hope I'm on it.

If I'm not, it means I must not be big enough

for people to gossip about me.



That's right ladies and gentlemen.

I am an alleged madam and that is a $25 *****!

If you live out here,

you've got to hate people.

You've got to be pretty antisocial

How you gonna come out here with only 86 people?

That's Fred.

He's digging to China.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

It's coming along here.

Yeah, it is.

I wanted to buy that lot there, but I guess it's gone?

That's mine, man! That's all me.

Really?

I thought there was a lot between us.

No. We're neighbors.



He's a cute guy

He's entertaining.

See, I kind of did do something shady to him.

I thought my property went all the way back

and butted up against his.

But there was one lot between us right there.

He said he was buying it,

but I saw the 'For Sale' sign still up there,

So I went and called the broker and said,

I'm an all-cash buyer.

So I really bought it out from under him.

But he's got plenty of room, and I need the space for my parrots.

Pahrump will always be Pahrump, but Crystal is going to be nice

All you need are four or five fancy houses and it'll flush everyone out

and it'll be a nice area.

They're all kind of weird here, but these people will go.

Like this guy here,

someone needs to **** him.

I was just saying to my dad that these parrots are born to a really ******-up world

He goes, Heidi, no, no; the world is a beautiful garden.

It's just, people are destroying it.

I’m looking into green building options

I don't want anything polluting,

I want a huge auditorium,

but it'll be like a jungle where my birds can really fly!

Where they can really do what they're supposed to do.

There were over 300 birds in there!

That lady,

She ran the exotic-birds department for the Tropicana Hotel,

which is a huge job.

She called me once at 3:30 in the morning

Come over here and help me feed this baby!

Some baby parrot.

And I ran over there in my pajamas

—I knew there was something else wrong

and she was like

Get me my oxygen!

Get me this, get me that.

I called my dad; he was like,

I don't know, honey, you better call the paramedics.

They ended up getting a helicopter.

And they were taking her away

in the wind with her IV and blood and everything

and she goes, Heidi, you take care of my birds.

And she dies the next day.

She was just a super-duper person.



XL.

I relate to the lifestyle she had before,

Now, I'm just a citizen.

I'm clean,

I'm sober,

I'm married,

I work at Wal-Mart.

I'm proud to say I know her. I look into her eyes

and we relate.





I got out in 2000,

so I've been sending her money for seven years

She was…whatever.

Girlfriend?

Yeah, maybe.

But ***, I tried like two times,

and I'm just not gay.

She gets out in about eight or nine months

and I told her I would get her a house.

But nowhere near me.

I didn't touch her,

but I'd be, like...

a funny story:

I told her,

Don't you ever ******* think

about contacting me in the real world.

I'm not a lesbian.

Then about two years ago, I got an e-mail from her,

or she called me and said, 'Google my name.'

So I Googled her name,

and she has this huge company.

Huge!

She won, like, Woman of the Year awards.

So I called her and I go,

Not bad.

She goes, 'Well, I did all that because you called me a loser.'

I go, '****, I should've called you more names

you probably would've found the cure for cancer by now.



XLI.

No person shall be employed by the licensee

who has ever been convicted of

a felony involving moral turpitude

But I qualify,

I mean, big deal, so I'm a convicted felon.

Being in the *** industry, you can't be so squeaky-clean.

You've got to be hustling.

Nighttime is really enchanting here

It's like a whole 'nother world out here, it really is

I’m so far removed from my social life and old surroundings.

Who was it, Oscar Wilde, I think, who said

people can adjust to anything.

I was perfectly adjusted in the penitentiary,

and I was perfectly adjusted to living in a château in France.



We had done those drug addiction shows together

Dr. Drew.

Afterward we were friendly

and he'd call me every now and then.

He'd act like he had his stuff together.

But it was all a lie.

Everything is a lie.

I brought him to a Humane Society event at Paramount Studios last year.

He was just such a mess.

So out of it.

He stole money from my purse.

He's such a drug addict because he's so afraid of being fat.

He liked horse ****, though. He did like horse ****.

This one woman that would have *** with a horse on the internet,

He told me that’s his favorite actress.

Better than Meryl Streep.



XLII.

The cops could see

why these women were taking over trade.

Girls with these looks charged upwards of $500 an hour.

The Russians had undercut them with a bargain rate of $150 an hour.

One thing they are not is lazy.

In the USSR

they grew up with no religion, no morality.

Prostitution is not considered a bad thing.

In fact, it’s considered a great way to make money.

That’s why it’s exploding here.

What we saw was just a tip of the iceberg.

These girls didn’t come over here expecting to be nannies.

They knew exactly what they wanted and what they were getting into.

The madam who organized this raid

was making $4 million a year,

laundered through Russian-owned banks in New York City

These are brutal people.

They are all backstabbers.

They’re entrepreneurs.

They’re looking at $10,000 a month for turning tricks.

For them, that’s the American dream.



XLIII.

If you’re not into something,

don’t be into it

But,

if you want to take some whipped cream,

put it between your toes,

have your dog licking it up and,

at the same time,

have your girlfriend poke you in the eye,

then that’s fine.

That’s a little weird but we shouldn’t judge.



She was my best friend then

and I consider her one of my best friends now,

because when I was going through Riker’s

and everyone abandoned me,

including my boyfriend,

I was hysterical,

crying,

and she was the one that was there.

And, when somebody needed to step up to the plate,

that’s who did, and I have an immense amount of

loyalty, respect, and love for her.

And if she’s going to prison for eight years

—that’s what she’s sentenced for

—I’ll go there,

and I’ll go there every week,

for eight years.

That’s the type of person I am.
Dec 2018 · 453
Diagonal XXII
SO much depends upon a red wheel barrow
So MUCH depends upon a red wheelbarrow
So much DEPENDS upon a red wheelbarrow
So much depends UPON a red wheelbarrow
So much depends upon A red wheelbarrow
So much depends upon a RED wheel barrow
So much depends upon a red WHEEL barrow
So much depends upon a red wheel BARROW
Dec 2018 · 72
Lady-in-Waiting
I do not think that I can make
my eyes look the way that I used to
No matter what I do
A simple smoky eye means that I am unhappy
I show
The red cape
The stilettos
The cropped trousers
Those wonderful aviators
I thank god each day for my cheekbones and yet still they talk

To be quite honest, I feel nothing
I don’t know why exactly

Those ladies walking the through Bergdorfs silently crying
Those tissues stuffed into Chanel purses
I never would be one of those
They are excessive and boring
So here I am
Alone
I do not understand this country
But I must admit that I have been so very lucky
Do you know how good I look in white?
Not everyone can but I do

When we are with the Europeans
it is I who they want to see
My dresses
My shoulders
My beautiful table settings
They understand me
Not him

You should see the gown that came today
The fabric
The stitching
The detail
You would not believe it
To be honest, really, I am a queen
Sometimes even I cannot believe it

I do wish sometimes
that he would have a little something
Like an accident you know?
Maybe quickly, perhaps slowly
I don’t know
I have to protect my son

I go to the kitchen and think sometimes
when I’m with our chef
I wonder?
Could I?
Do I have the strength?
What would I wear afterwards?

He will die soon and then I will be free.
So today I can smile and wait.
Everything will be fine.
Our chef is French and he understands me.
My intentions.
Dec 2018 · 106
Closed Circle
There is such a thing
as
the Hollywood Blonde
They all seem to know one another
Each one thinks that
They
Alone
are the most sublime
The most inspirational
The Musiest

Like Water Nymphs
They form their group instinctively
The Hollywood Blonde
And if you are a Brunette, say
Or Chinese
I know one and she has the most magnificent *******
Nevertheless
Irregardless
the facts
The husband and the house
The hotels and private jets
Know
Know that those Hollywood Blondes will do a lot of stuff
Without you dear one
“Sorry” they will shrug
They swim
And dine
And gather together
Luminously
And will let you know
after The Fact
Even movies
Or just returning phone calls

Why do they form the horde?
Perhaps they really are genetically special.
Why do they pride themselves in their isolation?
A mystery still.
Courtesan?
Geisha?
Cheerleader?
Mystery Side-Piece?
Wife?
Ex-wife?
Widow?
Oh yes.
Is it an unknowable path that they are on?
A hero’s quest in a bottle of peroxide?
Applied every three weeks.
I’d like to think so.
I wish that they would share what they know.

But we already know.
A mind is not necessary
although helpful
Chic? No. You can wear anything.
A steady, warrantied beauty?
No
No just hair
the color of wheat
Or a corn tortilla
It’s never spun gold
No matter
What you’ve read.

36
18
33
Are Barbie’s measurements
Can you imagine the pressure.
When the lines appear and it’s over?
Nov 2018 · 2.8k
Opening No. 1
I’d thrown back my head and let out  
that cackle
But I didn’t realize that that candelabra
The lit one
was so close
And my head went
Bosh!
Sponto jumped up
Arms raised and ready
Ready to clobber me
And Hilary
To my left looked at me and screamed
Immobile except for her face stretched by
distress and fear

I’d watched that horrendous
De Niro version of Frankenstein that afternoon
And everyone was screaming at the monster
I remembered those scenes now
And I understood
I stamped out my burning head quickly
Before I got hit
I learned a lesson that day.
The spot of hair, you know
Never did grow back right.
We had a very happy conversation about family matters.

Mom, Dad. I’m OK.
They’ve been really honest with me
but they’re perfectly willing to die for what they’re doing.
And I want to get out of here
but the only way I’m going to
is if we do it their way.
And I just hope that you’ll do what they say
Dad
and just do it quickly.
I really am alright.
I just hope I can get back to everybody really soon.

My little girl.

Catherine and Randy gave impeccable dinner parties.

I am an Establishment person.

I am being held as a Prisoner of War
and not as anything else.
I mean I am being treated
in accordance with
international codes of war.
I’m not left alone, and I’m not just shoved off somewhere.
I mean, I am fine.

Also, since I am an example
and it’s really important
that everybody understand that
you know,
I am an example and a warning.

And so people should stop acting like I’m dead.

Mom should get out of her black dress,
that doesn’t help at all.
and just hurry.
Bye.

Patty honey I want you to know
that your father is doing everything in his power.
Millions of people all over the world are praying for you
I know it’s been a long time sweetheart
but keep up your courage
and you keep praying
pretty soon god will touch their hearts
and they’ll send you home.


Mom, Dad.
I've been hearing reports about the food program.
So far it sounds like you and your advisors
have managed to turn it into a real disaster.
Anyway, it certainly didn't sound like the kind of food
our family is used to eating.

I called him a couple of weeks ago and said,
Hey, Randy, let's play tennis.
We haven't played tennis in months
and he said
Gosh. I just can't. I'm busy.
I know he's got a lot on his mind,
But, I think he's pretty obsessed with this.


Mom, Dad.
Tell the poor and oppressed people of this nation
what the corporate state is about to do.
Warn Black and poor people
that they are about to be murdered
down to the last man, woman and child.
Tell the people,
Dad
that the removal of expendable excess,
the removal of unneeded people
has already started.

I have chosen to stay and fight.
I have been given the name Tania
after a comrade who fought alongside Che in Bolivia.
It is in the spirit of Tania that I say,
'Patria o Muerte, Venceremos.'

She was one of the prettiest young women south of the Mason‐Dixon line.

Q. Okay. As a matter of fact, when you got to 1827 Golden Gate, or this apartment on
Golden Gate, you were not being held in that closet all the time, were you?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. You were?
A. Yes.
Q. Was there a previous closet in which you were held?
A. Yes.

DEATH TO THE FASCIST INSECT THAT PREYS UPON THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE

She is a winsome beauty and her sweetness of manner has endeared her to all who know her

Whatever happened to the real men in this world? Men like Clark Gable? No one would have carried off my daughter if there had been a real man there.

She was somewhat of a revolutionary savant.
We kidnapped a freak.
I think that she was spectacular.
At that point, it was against her will to go home.

Q. And you moved in a car, I take it?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you blindfolded?
A. Yes.
Q. And whose car was it, do you know?
A. I don’t know. I was put into a garbage can that was ******* and put in the trunk of the car.
Q. And then, was the garbage can taken into the apartment on Golden Gate when you arrived?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you in it?
A. Yes.
Q. And you were placed in a closet immediately, is that correct?
A. Yes.

I. She’s an amoral person
thought that the rules did not apply to her.
She lied to nuns at school
about her mother having cancer
in order to get out of an exam
engaged in ****** activity
at an early age
and experimented with drugs
such as LSD.

II. Velcro Theory defined the aimless, lost souls
such persons, he said, who float around
in an empty moral space
and then find stuck to them
the first random ideology they bump into.

III. She is a celebrity prisoner of war
but the other thing
is that listening to her voice
is kind of hypnotizing
and not at all unpleasant
she speaks in this whisper
the well-enunciated voice
that someone called
the rich girl’s voice
The eerie voice of an heiress
and it's hard not to admire her composure
considering the ordeal she just went through.

We didn't know whether we were looking at a live girl or a robot.

Greetings to the people.
This is Tania.
Gabi crouched low with her *** to the ground.
Perfect love and perfect hate reflected in stone cold eyes.
To shoot first and make sure the pig is dead before splitting.
I died in that fire on 54th Street,
but out of the ashes I was reborn.
I know what I have to do.

Catherine was mentally and physically exhausted after the kidnapping. No wonder she developed a drinking problem.

Q. Okay. And is it true, Miss Hearst,
that you in the presence of Thomas Mathews ejected a live round from the M-I
that you had near you
and inserted that in the clip,
and put the clip back in the weapon?
A. I don't recall, it is possible.
Q. It is possible you may have.
And did you, in fact, also at that time
load a couple of live rounds
into the chamber of a revolver, a pistol?
A. I don't recall.
Q. Did you give Bill Harris a pistol
in the presence a Tomas Mathews?
A. I don't recall.
Q. You don't recall?
A. No.

I’ll think of it all tomorrow—I can stand it then.

I think this has been extremely ******* her
She's what the kids call ‘spaced out.’
Her religion holds her together.
And when you talk to her,
you see reality escapes her.
All she can say is that people are
‘persecuting’ Patty.
That's the word she uses,
‘persecution.’
We all love Patty,
and God knows she's had a terrible time,
but the whole complexity of the situation
seems to escape Catherine.

You're being told this
so you'll understand why I was kidnapped.
The S.L.A. has declared
war against the Government
I'm telling you now why this happened
so that you'll know
so that you'll have
something to use,
the knowledge
to try to get me out of here.
Bye.

I’m the happiest mother in the whole world.

I hope that you'll make sure that they don't do anything else like that Oakland business.

Q. Do you recall you spoke those words, Miss Hearst?
A. Can I see the transcript?

I don't believe Patty's legal problems are that serious. After all, she's primarily a kidnap victim. She never went off and did anything of her own free will.

From the moment I was kidnapped,
they consistently attempted to
discredit the revolutionaries.
After the first communique was received,
the pigs reacted by hauling out the stress machines.
The machines indicated I was being tortured
and kept awake 24 hours a day.
I guess that all the pigs expected me
to keep my mouth shut,
but I was furious.
They put away their trickology for a while.
If you believe the media,
you'd think I was totally weird.
According to them, I never mean anything.

Catherine, while still blond and attractive, has aged around the corners of the eyes.

Greetings to the people,
this is Tania.
Our actions of April 15
forced the Corporate State
to help finance the revolution.
As for being brainwashed,
the idea is ridiculous beyond belief.
I am a soldier in the People's Army.

I am Tania and We are not fooling around.

What could have been a tremendous instrument for change—Patty's kidnapping—has failed, and their old attitudes toward life—I guess it's called ‘conservatism’—are back

The kids who went to public schools
were not the kind of people
we should have close associations with.
As a result, I spent twelve years
almost totally surrounded by young people
who were busily developing
ruling class aspirations.

She has nowhere to go,
as resulted in only a change of captors.
But at least now,
as long as society is her
captor,
she does not have to worry about being killed.
Freedom may be a more awesome
alternative
-- you are not here to decide that.
We have a framework,
the SLA predicted this trial.
If we can't break the chain
at some point in their predictions,
there are going to be other Patricia Hearsts,
the blueprint is plain,
it works

A year and a half after her kidnapping,
she's in the safe arms of the law.
So, what does she do?
Patty gives the revolutionary salute,
even when she's in handcuffs.
And when she's booked,
she's asked her occupation
and what does she say?
Urban guerilla.

Bailey, I just –
I don't know him,
you know,
like he just kind of drifts in
and you know,
says blah, blah, blah
and I just go,
oh,
okay.

It was never true that our objective was to reconvert her.

You can almost see how Patty couldn’t relate to her—you know, trying to be so self-righteous and so upright.

Well, I always knew
that the Lord was in my life,
kind of on my shoulder.
I started to stray off
I always knew His hand
was there to bring me back.
I got to the house,
put my bags down in the entry,
went right to the kitchen
and the first thought on my heart was
I need to hear Jesus.
I picked up that Bible
and started in Matthew 1:1.
For that whole five days
I read and cried
and read and cried.

In short order, she returned to being the Patty Hearst of Hillsborough, California, the heiress herself.

It's kind of fun because back then,
there's nothing else to do but paint your nails.
It's really exciting.
I have been crocheting now.
At least, my mother came in and she asked –
she had asked me,
about my hair,
you know,
like
can I change it back?
She asked if there was a beauty parlor.

Her eyes are,
for the most part,
downcast,
as if she were sharing a secret with
herself.

She’s such a devoted, old-fashioned Southern lady, that we just died watching her facade break. That hysteria wasn’t just grief that Patty was gone—it was guilt, you know, ‘What have I done wrong?’

I'm being treated in accordance
with the Geneva Convention
and one of the conditions being
that I am not being tried
for crimes which I'm not responsible for.
I'm here because
I'm a member of a ruling class family,
and I think you can begin to see the analogy.

She writes these dramatic
love letters to her boyfriend saying,
"I want to keep up the fight for the revolution."
And she wants to overthrow the government in America,
which she spells A-M-E-R-I-K-K-K-A.

Q. And you were reading a paper, were you not, when they were in the store?
A. Yes.
Q. And you looked up from that paper, did you not, and you saw that William Harris was being held on the ground by someone and being detained, isn’t that true?
A. Yes.
Q. And you picked up an automatic weapon and shot in the direction of Mel’s Sporting Goods Store?

OBJECTION

I have a really nice brown pantsuit.
Al got it.
He has really good taste.

Trish Tobin
is telling her
that she is about to head off to Switzerland
to go skiing for three weeks.
I mean,
so what you have
in this compressed circumstance
is the old life skiing in Switzerland
for three weeks,
and Patty is saying,
I've got a life now.
I've got a new life.

The Hearsts are really ramping up for this one.
He is a bright guy,
but in terms of just his manner and his dress,
you couldn't help but be struck by
how square he was.

Q: I've become conscious and can never go back to the life we had before." Do you recall saying those words?
A: I don’t recall seeing a transcript of that tape.

I have chosen to stay and fight.

She is still an uncommonly handsome woman, prettier in fact than any of her daughters.

It’s a miracle she survived at all.
The ordeal nearly killed me,
Mrs. Hearst once admitted and,
asked what sustained her,
she answers instantly: My religion.
Yet her victory over despair
sometimes seems more apparent than real.
After her divorce, she moved to Beverly Hills,
where she supported Catholic causes
and joined the Beverly Hills Garden Club.

I just want to tell you like, my politics are real different from way back when.
Obviously, right.

Q. Is it not true that you ejected
from your automatic weapon
a live round and placed into it
an additional clip?
A. I did not have an automatic weapon.
Q. You did not?
A. No.
Q. What type of weapon did you have?
A. It was an M-I carbine.

She’s a victim of thought control by terrorists. And all I can do is hope and pray that God will bring her home again.

She was de-programmed and de-radicalized,
returned to the persona
more similar to what she was
She was essentially brainwashed
by her side team and her lawyers.
By the time she walked into the courtroom,
nail polish,
nice pair of shoes,
very well dressed,
it was impressive.

I'm terribly happy. More happy than predacious.
Do you have any notion what you'll say to her when you see her?
I'll tell her I love her.
Are there questions that you want to ask her?
No questions in my mind.


I want to see my parents, and my sisters... I'm really happy to be going home.
Oct 2018 · 3.0k
Cigarette Break
It was like camp
But I spent the first night
On a thin plastic mattress with ****** sheets freezing
Instead of encircling a campfire
Singing cowboy songs of the West
And little dogs

My first activity was not making a bow and arrow or a target but instead I was
sitting after breakfast
on a concrete bench
in the Sun
Trying to fill myself with that allusive happiness.
That was my plan.

On the next occasion in the open
I did not get a compass
nor a map
but I sat with a table of girls
And spoke up without being asked
They started to show off their pale pinkish arms
I was at the cutters’ table
Smoker’s edition
Layers upon layers of
Rippling Scar tissue
at the elbows in particular
It is thick.
Bleeding and healing
To be sliced open again
For crusting over.
They were cheerful
Despite hallucinations and panic attacks,
Lost children or tomorrow
Scuttling along a murky seabed that did not want them but
Here’s a cigarette

I did not make a sundial or find my canoe
Or make shoes out of leaves
but let the morning sun stick around
while the smoke issuing from their chatty mouths pinched my nose
I would take their smoking breaks with them.
I claimed two for myself and once lit,
slyly handed them over
As I listened to the chatter and laughed
I feel a faint yellow heat
From up over there.

We didn’t at first hover around each other
Talking about nothing like high school
Girls with braces and dorky pajamas
Or bend over from the top bunk to say
one more thing before lights out
At first I never added more than a informed observation about lipgloss or
a roll over the eyes over the next dumbbell talking about nothing that existed
But I was tolerated
And as their numbers diminished
only to be refreshed again
my comfort grew
I made “friends”
We laughed and co-conspired
Over pills, soda and what’s that on your tray?

There were movies on the tv
But no westerns
With horses trekking through the tall grasses
Nor
Smoke arising in the distance
Imitating a life that we were imitating as well
Yes we were!
Just a slightly different tale about
Endless treks and wandering

On the weekends
The rules relaxed and the counselors,
Had there been any,
Would have been preoccupied with private intrigues and how to make pineapple cocktails
And we, left to our own devises,
Would saunter in and around each other
Braiding hair and reading magazines.

There was a telephone.

When it was time to get into the car to go back home by way of the freeway
I didn’t have a hat that I had painted myself with only three colors
Nor feathers
or a blue ribbon for starting fires
We all said our good-byes
Even the mean one called me by my name
And we shot off like the explosive plumes of fireworks
into a dimming sky.
Sep 2018 · 955
Hand Me Toto
It’s a bit like shock therapy
When you’d come to.
It was the Depression, sure,
And I was barely clothed and fed
But I woke up refreshed
Realigned and adjusted.
A clean sweep!
Surrounded by my loving family.
Back.
So this is the way things are;
The way things were,
Before
But it’s not so bad in comparison.

That over there was a disaster
The so-called
“Loss of consciousness”
Was I in a coma?
With witch’s feet
And those dancing trolls
A road leading where and why?
There are no other roads, so who cares the color?

It was a horror story, not a morality play
They were so presumptuous,
What I needed!
They told me that I had killed someone,
a complete stranger
and
That’s when it all got worse.

Bluebirds fly
Yes I suppose they do!
You are right!
I got my wish in a sick kind of way
I went beyond a “rainbow”
as it were

It was bad.
I liked those gorgeous orange woozy poppies
but so what,
I was asleep anyway.
Do you see what I mean?
Chased by monkeys and
people who don’t really like me.
Not really.
Not any more than anywhere else.
Despite what they say.
Anyway, everyone clearly had their own agenda.
It was a matter of convenience and opportunities.
What was mine again?
Oh yeah.
For it to stop.

The Wizard was a Kansas Man
He said so himself
And when I showed up
Well he decided to clear out
I guess we were two Kansans too many

Stay with us Dorothy!
We love you!
All of us!
We don’t want you to go!
Doesn’t that sound a bit odd?

So I came back with this bit about
Well “if I ever look
for my heart’s desire
again
I will look no further
than my own backyard
Because if it isn’t there
(It gets good!)
I never really lost it
To begin with!”
Can you believe that?
I also relentlessly repeated
HOME
Euphemistically speaking
and the word
LIKE
Which isn’t really a total and complete
lie

And somehow it worked
It came to an end
I can’t really explain why but
It could have been a Jim Jones situation.

But do you think that I believed any of it?
I escaped
And now I think that I know how to do it.
And I can do it again.
But to someplace
Else.
Sep 2018 · 5.4k
Solo Cup
Teetering on her baby legs
A newborn with a Solo cup
bombastic red with a few
undulating ribs
Held firmly in her hand
Is this her first or her third?
Somnambulant yet eager
And just a little out of place
In a foreign territory
On newly contested lands
She stumbles through a raucous crowd
Or was it just white noise?
She’s lost her companions
Somewhere
Although they could very well be close at hand

In the distance she can make out
Laughing faces
Bodies moving to and fro
Spilling forward, little messes
Throwing back cheap libation

She passes through a room and out the door
Into the out-of-doors
Someone following her unbeknownst
Watching her cautious, curious steps
And when she turns and sees the blur standing
She greets it
“Hail Fellow!”

Bouncing from variable to variable
Frequency to frequency
Confident and in command
Of a seemingly controlled chaos
He approaches smiling and holds out his hand
Anonymous

Having drawn her attention from the stars
That she could not find above
Leaning against the garage’s eastern wall
She takes it awkwardly
Tentative she smiles back reassured
Wobbling she returns standing alongside him
Or was she in front?
Purposeful and en route
Emboldened by his presence
And how the way was parted before her
Just by his being there.
By being so close.
She felt vaguely special
it showed in her half-smile
Cloaked in bangs
She held head just a little bit higher

The co-conspiratorial glances
Met by boys eyes
And shes
Went unseen by the girl with the
Solo cup
One of tens upon tens upon tens
A coven would have known
It’s better not to

However.

She was shown a seat to rest
And her cup refilled
She takes a sip and smiles again
She takes another and then a gulp
That spills
He takes the cup away
And places it on the low table
Suggests she go to the restroom upstairs and get herself
Sorted

Embarrassed she is relieved for direction
Someone knows what’s going on
And his caring
Taking the time
His kind eyes
She’s usually alone
She waddles up the stairs to find
a toilet and a mirror
God she thinks
I look a mess
She tries to fix it
The hair
The eyes
The lips
The dress
The stomach
The *******
The thighs

She shrugs her shoulders at her reflection
Exhales and steps out again
To find him standing there
waiting for more.

She wants another cup.
She’s missing her cup.
I’ll get you the cup he says
In just a second.
Come.
Sep 2018 · 1.1k
Insomnia
At three or so I would awaken
Out of a fragile sleep
to the clang of pots and bowls
Cabinets, silver spoons and a measuring cup
Pancakes fried in a skillet
Buckwheat from a box
I don’t know how long I lay there
Listening
And I wondered whom else in the house can hear
I was closest to the door that led to you
Just one door that separates
Were the others in this darkened house staring at the wall or ceiling? Counting?
Afraid, just a little.
Thinking about the morning
when it comes

After your feeding,  
the kitchen
would be cleaned to its former glory
Spotless
And into the bathroom
Right next to my ears
You would step softly and close that door behind you
Turning on the sink’s faucet
And then the shower
Taking the laxatives
And wait
I wait

We all wait in this house for you to finish
It goes on and on
And then you turn off the water
Go back to bed
And maybe then I can sleep
Again.
A capsule for depression
A tablet for anxiety
Driving to the pharmacy
I pass where we had our last meal?
No this was the next to last.
The restaurant is gone as usual
You nearly slipped
As we eased you back into the car
But I had you
And so did the valet
You were never going to fall
Although there was panic in your eyes
And a bit of spoilt anger

That last dinner
On the seashore
The swirling lights on the beach
I have no appetite
Again
And you look at me strangely
A doctor still
I delight in your holding the wine glass like a two-handled sippy cup
I sat and stared at the colors flashing far off in the distance
Swirling round and round
Blue and then yellow and red
I wasn’t present
I knew what was coming
You’re moving ever slower
Your pain is immense
You lay your head down on the kitchen table but never groan
The Navy taught you that well
But it doesn’t help me
I hear you practicing your leg drills
To keep your muscles working
Thump
thump
thump upon the kitchen floor
But this time
A prolonged silence of defeat,
Or hopelessness
Or acceptance
You stopped after four or five
And I never heard those sounds again
Because what was the point really
It’s over

One morning behind you
walking slowly through the dining room
I see our reflection in the mirror
I think
It’s time
It’s time for you to go

This is indeed our last meal.
And I could not eat.
Sep 2018 · 5.4k
Revenge of the Creature
How can I be myself if you are my vampire?
I can never sleep at night.
The windows won’t stay closed.
You come and go as you please when
I am in my pajamas, such as they are
A tee shirt and underpants
You are always trying to mesmerize me
But it is you who is really
Always you

Who can blame you?
It must be complete torture to look at me
And feel me
But never possess me
If you could only eat me.

If you were my Siamese twin I would **** you
Can you imagine?
I would hack you off with no qualms
Or saw slowly, it doesn’t much matter
Even if I bled out
You are a quagmire.

An existence always with you
You knowing me better than I know myself
Listening to my thoughts
Stealing everything and thinking it’s yours
I am not you
And you are not me
We are not a we
I am not the key to your survival
You, a peculiar abscess
That faces me and holds a conversation
That wants to do this or that
The endless talking.

The windows closed
The heavy curtains drawn
Me in my underwear
I’d watch you while you slept
Thinking about crosses and solutions
I bent down to her ear and said
Thank you for all you’ve done
Not just for
NY
But for the World
She looked at me expressionless from her chair
I don’t think that she understood nor cared
Then I handed her a little
Bag
Containing two lipsticks
And two pencils
I think she threw the pencils on the floor and
Wondered aloud
Why was everyone giving her pencils?

She did not notice that of the two that I gave her
one was stamped in gold
With the one word
Hustler
And on the other, two
Strictly
Business
I made no suggestions nor references
I didn’t smirk
I must have appeared a bit sweet
A treacly aberration

It doesn’t matter
I had selected two perfect reds in LA
One a bit more blue
and one
a classic vampish carmine
Blood red can be a challenge even against
pale
pale
Skin.

Standing in the lift
Fully attuned
she caught me
not merely looking into her eyes
But seeing what I saw
A death’s head?
I hate when I’m caught doing that

Under the fluorescent light
She was dog rough
Pasty with sad sunken eyes
I was thrown, but by what exactly
Her magpie distress?
Her etheric calamity?
Her puffy, aging face?

We sat and spoke for a while later that night
She did not recognize me at all and apologized
maybe it was the next day
that the three of us had lunch
Everyone in good spirits
The mandrake’s screams
Forgotten with smiles and a wink
Memory bamboozled and
Make-up duly applied
She took out the lipstick
And redrew the lines
She liked the shining black case
with the little black ribbon for a pull

She told our companion sitting on a stoop
smoking cigarettes
I like your friend and
I wondered does she realize
that we already know one another?
Four girls sit cross-legged
On cold pitted concrete
It’s always cold here
Their rear-ends frozen
Bare ankles growing sore
Pouring over textbooks
Finishing today’s homework or
Tomorrow’s.

Hope there’s no pop quiz.
They nod
In unison
I didn’t study
Neither did I
The other two stare
At their books nonplussed
Their papers scattered, a ruler and a pen

Out of the library and into the cold arrives
The fifth
She looks about and sees
A grey curl
A long head
A heavy tail
It’s soft, someone thought, as she saw the raised leg

Which came down fierce like lightning,
A defiant, queerly polished white saddle-shoe
One of two strange shoes
That looked like no one else’s but why?
Flattened the entirety into the cold, cold concrete
The meteorite that destroyed a species of one.
Conjoined twins, now dead

There’s no way we can repair it
Can’t even peel it away
The custodian will have to scrap it off with a blade and wash it down

We laughed
All but one.
Sep 2018 · 441
The Black Cloud
My darkness
Is unbearable
I lay underneath the covers
Curled up and blinking

Why
Do I feel so wretched?
Always?
If I had the strength I would change this terrycloth robe
Wash it maybe
Look out the window and not have it burn my eyes

Instead I lay here
I push the blankets away and
Look up at the pimpled paint job on the ceiling
The crackalure of antique white
I loathe that color
It pierces my soul with
Bland forbearance

What am I to do?
Nothing.
Survive.
Take a pill. Talk about it.

The phone rings as it does
My maid enters
There’s someone on the line
There’s a problem
It’s always the same

A rather large stegosaurus ravaging
the South Seas
A rich magnate with bombs and a timer
Laocoön’s prophecy coming true
It’s just too much

She holds the phone extended
with her hand on her hip
waiting impatiently
I know that she has work to do
and that I am no help, stalling
There are dishes and laundry
She wants to wash these sheets
I crawl out and put on my tights
My belt
My cape

She hands me
my multivitamin and my smoothie
as I leave
but I’ll be back
and will slip like a python
into the new ironed sheets
before the evening darkness
Which awaits patiently for me
And I will stay there
Until that phone rings again
Sep 2018 · 2.3k
Fantasy Bad Boyfriend
Have you ever had a fantasy boyfriend?
The kind that thinks that you’re
A couple
Despite the fact that
You don’t have their cell number
Nor their name,
often
You never had *** or traded spit
They don’t know where you live
They, in fact, know nothing about you

A little laughter shared
Perhaps
A momentary giggle waiting
for the bathroom door to open
And bam! Like Zeus.
Without your ever knowing, you are a team.
A team that never engages
but together none the less. Solid.
Ride or Die.
Then one day
You have an ugly break up.
You never saw it coming
What did you do, you wonder?
He won’t speak to me!
He’s mad. Filled with resentment.
His eyes are on fire. I am hated.
He will show up the next time we see one another
with a woman
And that’s when you finally know for certain
You just had a Fantasy Boyfriend
How did you rupture?
It’s an eerie realization.
Like understanding in an instant
that neither are you the ventriloquist
nor the dummy
But somehow
you
go back into the box.

Better still, have you ever encountered the sub-species
Fantasy Bad Boyfriend?
Or Fantasy Abusive Bad Boyfriend?
They are perhaps the worst of the lot, naturally.
They don’t call.
They date other women.
They sit in their living rooms assured that you’re waiting at their front door.
In the rain.
With flowers.
Over and over the bell, ring though it might
It pleads on your behalf.
And yet they will not answer
And I was not standing there.
I was at the beach
watching the rain fall upon on the water.

You never called
so when they
disappear
For
Days
And return unannounced
You’re just now finding out that
there are serious cracks in your relationship.
They used you
They played with your heart
They apologize for the treatment of which you are so very undeserving
They never wanted you.

Yet you never spoke.
Never popped over with
Flowers
Nor cookies!
Never sat in your car waiting
You were out town the entire
Time.
You two did see a movie once.
That is true.

But now you’re over.
And he’s moved on.
And suggests with his absence?
that you do the same.
You can tell.

Some days your paths cross.
He stands still as Jesus
At the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.
With his wife and new baby
Or
Dog.
She looks at you with suspect eyes while you think about the tomatoes.
Someone wags their tail and hopefully they will quickly move along
en famille.
You hold your tomato plants and shudder.
You walk over to the double blossom peppermint tulips.
Tight little babies ready to unfurl.
The ones you never gave him.
Euphrosyne: You can just stay here
And if I give you the white strips
You can just lay down
And use the white strips
And by the time they release you
Your teeth will look so good
I mean no offense but
You’d be using you’re time wisely.
They will look so
Much better.
Here, I have two boxes.

Aglaea: I think there’s yoga too
You can really firm up doing that
I really think you should stay and
Take the yoga
I’m serious.
You can also journal
And do color therapy
I know you know your colors
Obviously!
So you should think about
Sharing what you know
With the less
Fortunate
It shows
Gratitude
And I know that you’re Grateful.

Thalia: While you’re here we’ll get you all
New stuff
I know this guy
And he can do it
He’ll redo your whole place
And I bet it could be an editorial
And you need flowers.
We’ve got to get that sorted
Why don’t you do a vision board?
There are
Magazines here right?
You can use them. Well some of them.
Vogue maybe? They do have Vogue right?
And when you’re out we’ll
Deal with the hair and stuff like that.
In the meantime
Find out if there’s a manicurist in here.
You feet are busted.
Sep 2018 · 5.4k
Planet X is the Devil
Pluto says
Keep your hug

Pluto says
Dwarf Planet my ***

Pluto says
Sticks and Stones *******

Pluto says
I know what I am
I don’t care
For your “opinion”

Captured by the Kuiper Belt! Please.
Or one my favorites,
A cold rock!

You called me a trans-Neptunian object?
I have five moons!
An 11 year old girl tried to name me.
She won £5 but I’ve had many names.
I am fond of Hiro.
But I’ve also liked Minerva.
I am hardly a minor planet.

In 2006 they tried to make a verb out of me
To "pluto" is to "demote or devalue someone or something.”
*******!
So passive aggressive and insulting.

I am not carrying that around with me
My orbit is 248 years.
At a 17 degree angle thank you very much
To pay my respects to that egomaniac Sun.
Why would I care what you think?
Perhaps I am envied because I am so far away.
I don’t think that I am far away at all.
It’s relative, no?
Yes, I am removed
from that Versailles situation over there
and all that *******.
That horrible planet
You know the one that I mean.
The one that’s crawling with “things”
They’re not even you.
Disgusting.

I am awash with molten ices and
I even sport a plasma tail.
I spin in nitrogen gases
On my own path
Alone
With my FIVE moons!
Just us!

They claim that there are other
Dwarf Planets here and there
And even go so far as to suggest
That I am the puniest amongst them
But with my five and five more still
That’s 10 to 8
And you already know what I can do.
Sep 2018 · 97
Toothless and Useless
Toothless and Useless
Were not the only ones
There was also Ruthless
But we call her Ruth

Toothless and Useless
Happen to be very old
Toothless a bit ornery
And Useless
Well one understands
That she never was what one would call
Helpful

One can never know when they are born
Or even on the block
face to face
What deal you have struck to be sure
Only time will tell
And some sweetening if one must

Toothless has been with us forever it seems
She is obstinate and mercurial
She doesn’t care what you say
She cannot be persuaded
Not even with a slap
I have asked that she be sold
But they say that I am unkind and did not know her in her younger fetching days

Fetching? Look at her.
Her lips fold in upon themselves
Her skin slack and oily
Her eyes yellow
We had spectacles made for her
For what reason I do not know
What I do know is that she cannot hurt me

When I was young she had a reputation for snapping at the children
Even an adult or two
A shriek would fly out of a linen cupboard or behind a bedroom door.
She would wipe her lips after the bite

We didn’t remove her teeth
They fell out on their own
But it didn’t seem to stop her
Not with a whip or after sitting in the dark, cold hole
She is ours until she dies

Useless is as ancient as the earth under her crooked feet
She cannot sew
Nor cook
Nor clean
Nor breed
Again I ask
For an explanation
But I know we cannot sell her
She is as part of us
Like blood and bones

If it were up to me they would both be dead and gone
But Ruth has an eye on me
She stands in the kitchen in quiet innocence
She throws about seeds with a serene smile
She knows that I will alas do nothing
But attempt to avoid a bite or ask a question to a curious face that has no answer.
They are safe and I am off to Boston.
I’d have liked to have heard
those tinkling bells
through the ether
while at the kitchen sink
behind me
from another room
As I have before

I wish that you would haunt me,
That I would see the motion of a darkened blur
out of the corner of my eye
Or hear your feet upon the hallway floor boards

I remember when as of late
I would pass by and you’d reach out
to stretch or say don’t go
I’d hold your hand and say
I’m coming right back

Now I look at my bed to find you
I touch the blankets and the other tumbled bedclothes
Here and Here
But you’re gone
Just sleek emptiness

I remember this well from before
Of standing in dark closets
breathing in and out
stale papers and linen over-crisp
the scent of solitude and
Memory
Of what never happened and never will.

Where are you?
I would cry how is there no trace left?
No butterfly a-lights or pennies appear on sidewalks that I roam
No hummingbird flitters before me to dash away
No breeze rustles through
the palm tree fronds
as if to say
hello, I am here always

You’re not in the bathroom or in a chair
I can’t hear you cry for me in the dark
Or touch my face at two a.m.
I hope that you still love me
I hope I never hurt you and that’s why you’re
Gone.
Aug 2018 · 2.0k
Darkness
For the first time
I dislike the days growing longer
I wait impatiently for darkness
To descend upon me
In the soft sweet night
Now I wait
I look out the window
But it’s not here yet
Where is it? Why must I wait?
This is taking forever
I’m impatient and cross
I’ve had enough of
This light
Aug 2018 · 927
Egyptian Wedding Ring
An ad in the LA Times
Pictured a jewelry store in Beverly Hills
Somewhere off Wilshire
A golden band modeled after an Egyptian original
Mother wanted it and so we went
We sat on tuffets of crushed velvet and
She bought it
replacing her wedding band
Which I never did find.
It was pretty but
what other significance this meant
regarding her husband she did not tell

She was struck walking on an off-ramp
on the 10.
Heading east?
How did she get there?
I asked her in the hospital
On the gurney she shook her head
And said she didn’t know.
That’s Alzheimer’s for you.
The ring is gone.

Father took his off well before she passed
and left it on the top of his dresser.
Aug 2018 · 337
What if
What if the town of Mayberry wasn’t
Exactly “white”?
Some of it would be of course
But what if most was “not quite?”
And whom?
They all look the same.
The same arms.
The same hands.
Creamy, milky blanched and not exactly pink even in soapy dishwater.

It does explain why there aren’t really any children.
That would give one away
That tawny skin
That curious hair and inky eyes

Aunt Bea, her nose is a little wide perhaps and yet...
Well Sheriff Andy sure can sing and his hair has just the slightest suggestion of a wave.
Otis’s lips are full and plump.
His face is round not square.
He is the most unassuming and
gentlemanly of criminals.
He locks himself up at night when it’s called for.
Sshhh
Is this why everyone is so frozen?
Not one foot put wrong even
in a solemn country way?

The secret getting out?
People wouldn’t understand.
And they’re out there far off by a stream
There could be trouble
And who’s who?
And who’s what?

We sit and watch the glow of quiet spectacle.
The pantomime of the solicitude.
The church raffle.
The apple pie.
The charade where no one knows the answer
If you were uninitiated maybe you would never know.
Imagine the stillness.

Now Opie you stay out of the sun!
But Pa!
I mean it. Now go do as you’re told and get ready for supper.
Oh alright.

They sit quietly around the table
Drinking iced tea and smiling
Nothing’s moving.
You sure know how make a fine piece of
Pie Aunt Bea!
Oh Andy!
No elbows on the table.
Why yes Sir.
Why no Ma’am.

Look, my hair is blond
And my eyes are a funny golden brown
I have a lot of freckles and when it rains
my hair does not know what to do
I wear it in a long braid down my back, tight
Someday I’ll meet a nice blond man and he’ll take me away from here.
I’ll stay out of the sun most days and our children
will be perfect.
Hello? (Hands waving to no one)
Hey!
I’m back!
I got a little delayed (pointing at my watch that I don’t wear)
I know it’s been awhile
I got here as fast as I could
There was no one at the airport

Hello?
It’s me!
You would not believe what happened!
I mean really!
Have I got a tale to tell!


Hello!
Hi everybody!
Hello?
I just got back. I gotta lay down.

So what’s everybody doing?
Aug 2018 · 2.2k
Facing the canvas
Naples yellow
Prussian blue
Burnt umber
Cadmium Red Deep
Napthol Red
Quinacridone
Phtalocionine Blue and Green
Portrait Pink Light
Yellow Oxide
Raw Sienna

Can you make a painting without these?
Aug 2018 · 6.5k
After School Activities
A movie star died a day or two ago
She was 97.
She would to say hello to my mother
At evening musicals full of teenaged boys
that I lusted after years ago
She would wave and smile with sparkling eyes
I’d look at mother
“Why?”
Amused, she would say softly
“I don’t know!”
We would giggle together
A rare event

Mother was no chorine
nor wardrobe mistress
She did not peak in the 50s
She did not dance with her husband
under the moon at the Bel Air Bay Club
Her daughter did not write a pop song that oddly charted
She did not struggle to remain in the public’s imagination
They had nothing in common but perhaps a lovely face and a skill at survival
Mom could make her husband move her closer to Johnny on the dance floor.
Whichever direction, Dad obliged.

They locked down that school today
Warned by a rifle in a photo
Of an unstable football pro

These women are dead now
so none’s the wiser
“When you’re a victim of bullying, an option is revenge." said the alumna.
“Just a precaution,” replied the school.

Mother would have been 97 this year as well.
Maybe they’ve met again,
two streaks of illuminated emptiness
Engaging with reservations
Over fitting in and going insane
Over the low self-regard in a champion
or
Being lost at sea.
Aug 2018 · 12.4k
Class of 1981
Crinoline filaments
Rolling over and over
Mid-flight the ochre velvet ribbons sailed to the left
Instead of to the right
Two feet retreating
But with one shoe on

Memory returns
For a few seconds of
the calamity
At that private house in Paris
She’d tumbled down the central staircase
Sailing with legs overhead
until she stopped miraculously with her ***
at the shining leather toes of the footman.
He kept his head up.
She wore a beautiful dress.
Her hair was quite precise and she hoped that that would be a sufficient enough apology towards an empty silence.

But this isn’t that.
I shoved her.
And she went willingly. They all do.
We’re roughly a group of fifty-three.

Gathering in the last few years
Whispering over drinks
of tumors
And vascular difficulties
Of pills and appointments and forgetfulness
They never mentioned that
In those climate controlled rooms with
Blackboards covered in Latin and Trigonometry
Of the body’s failure.
Now there’s no longer any mention made of the kids
or whether or not that husband was worth the bother

Did we notice atop
The balance beam not a peep was mentioned
About the moment when you can no longer walk or stand?
That the brain asks please but the body will not comply?
How cool the marbled floor feels against your cheek while you lay for hours in your own feces?
One can rest comfortably knowing at long last that that wallpaper was the right choice.
Kept one really engaged while waiting and waiting for someone.
And that is just the beginning, right?

Perhaps some assumed that the end would come with a daily circle reviewing the contents of their chamber ***
Grimacing and worn
While they recline in white nightclothes
Something akin to what they saw on the BBC

Perhaps a startled disquiet at the rebuke of their intent and gamely stares from a premiere specialist in Switzerland
an expert in alternative therapies
for what someone dared call
terminal
Anyway, this is quicker.

So we’ve come together
As sisters
And when the time is right I get the call
We go onto the roof
There’s an elevator now because
Otherwise that wouldn’t work
And one by one
In small batches
They are dispatched
It doesn’t take as long as you would think
We are confident and have agency
We were taught that we could do anything
And they are right.

The ones with a lot of metal can be a bit tricky
They have balance issues
But are always chic and always polite
There was a time when we were forced to be together when we clearly did not want to.
We never thought as one.
Some families are better than others.
But everything is different now

One day it will be my turn and
I wonder who will deliver me?
And what shall I wear?
Will I try to see where I’m going or will I rest comfortably in my finale.

I adore the way the wind catches the cloth.
How the crystalline beads are removed around the neck and handed over
so as not to add to any distraction
Or delay
The pinky coral mouthed “Thank you” and
And the sweet eyes that once were bright and shining say their
Goodbyes
Rippling
twirling
looping
interweaving
cascading
Down.

— The End —