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KM Hanslik Jul 2018
Keep your eyes soft and your dreams
up on the highest shelf so you won't take them down too early;
keep everything that you spill in the dark locked
behind your teeth during the day, don't bring it out before dusk;
like secrets we drip over sidewalk cracks
from cotton-candy sticky fingers and leave our names
dissolved under each other's tongues, the warmth of you is keeping me company
as I try to crawl out of my blood again, they told you to leave
a bread-crumb trail in case your heart becomes too watered down by just visiting
to even remember the vacation at all; you carry
kisses on the knuckles of amputated arms,
driving through parking lots with your seatbelts on,
collections of constellations growing
in the bruises on the insides of your thighs, reminders
of salt & the whites of your eyes;

I'll always carry you around
like scuffed knees and the last time I told you "I'm okay",
I wanna press my fingers into you until your skin is melded
with fire and scraps of things that I could never be,
I hope steel rods grow out of your bones and I hope you gather
bruises before you gather dust,
we are all a little lost and lonely but that never stopped
the accumulation of well-spent nights
coughing up new ways to spell my name
(it sounded foreign before you)
leave this on repeat,
we're going in again.
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.
Cindra Carr Jul 2011
She broke my heart again
It failed as she skipped out of reach
It’s okay
Little things can go unnoticed
How big can a heart really be?
She gave it a kick as she stumbled over it
That paled in comparison when she stepped on it
I gift wrapped my heart
I even sang a little tune as I tied the bow
She had that look though
A little moue of surprise and a stutter
My heart dropped and I leaned back
Bracing myself always feels like it should help
But, then she broke it
Kicked it
Stepped on it
Scuffed it for sure
It got a little blurry
I knew as soon as she said
“We can still be friends right?”

cc062911
ryn Jan 2015
.
     ...is a fragile little thing,
     that most tend to overlook.
     Small word with a **** big meaning.
     Some may uphold it; some may
     conveniently have it mistook...

Trust...
     ...is in the grasp of the unknown
     stranger,
     that helps you up when you've fallen
     down.

Trust...
     ...is the pact between you and the cab
     driver,
     as he takes you to where you want to
     be, across town.

Trust...
     ...the bough on which your swing does
     sit.
     Pray that it doesn't break as you enjoy
     its joyous ride.

Trust...
     ...your cook, hoping in your food he
     doesn't spit...
     Especially when you've provided
     feedback that scuffed his pride.

Trust...
     ...lays exposed when the keys to your
     house you surrender,
     to your neighbour who'd keep an eye
     while you're away on a retreat.

Trust...
     ...exists latent in the open palm of your
     caregiver...
     As a child you'd take his hand so he'd
     ferry you safely across the street.

Trust...
     ...is the unspoken oath that I had thought
     we both held sacred...
     When I spilled the contents, my heart
     couldn't bear much longer.

Trust...
     ...meant nothing when you took it all for
     granted,
     when you weakened and succumbed...
     ...and then shared with another...
Months of stale, cigarette smoke
and spilt **** water pleasantly
offset the stench of cheap cologne
and ratty, abused furniture.
    
Fictitious stories occupy this tiny, dim
apartment, birthed on the lips of
rebellious juveniles whose tongues
pierce the ears of our elders.

In a forsaken corner, Jeremy lounges
awkwardly on a grubby-plaid sofa that
suitably complements his button-down shirt.  
I join him.

Behind his right ear rests a lonely cigarette, while
another sits snug between his lips, set ablaze
by the 1968 Slim Model Zippo he inherited from
his beloved grandfather.

His transparent sense of self-worth emanates
from his grubby, grease-stained hands, scuffed boots,
blotchy-checkered flannels, and faded blue jeans
that are completely obliterated with holes.

I look into his pale blue eyes, the depth of which
often goes unrecognized.  Jeremy is a soft-hearted,
pudgy youngster with the kind of chunky cheeks
that all grandparents love to torture.  

But his marred, acne-ridden face betrays the transition
that has been forced upon him.  Slowly, his trademark
grin appears across his face – subtle, mischievous, and
typically without reason.  But this time it appears justified.

Jeremy takes a moment’s break from his cigarette to drop two
hits of acid.  A new drug for him, he hopes to find relief from
his seething anxiety, evidenced now by the wide expansion of his
chest as he takes another, more lengthy and powerful pull from his cigarette.

The mundane chatter that fills the room continues, a seeming
necessity to offset any potential awkward silence. I feel as if
this noise is closing in around us.  But just as suddenly as I
feel overwhelmed by this sensation, the noise stops.

I look around, noticing everyone’s eyes staring in my
direction.  Jeremy is still next to me, now giggling
like a little school girl.
I begin to feel sick.

Jeremy swiftly leans forward, giving his
cigarette a premature but honorable
death, eliminating its glow as he smashes
the cherry into tiny bits against the ashtray.

As he sits back against the couch, I can see that
his eyes are now indifferent. Foreign.  With a perplexed
and fascinated stare, he watches the pearly-white smoke
slowly slither upwards towards the ceiling.

There’s no question in my mind that his
soul has fled. Jeremy sinks further into the
couch, turning his vacant eyes in my direction.
I want to *****.

His high-pitched giggle has now subsided into a
low whimper.  Gradually extending his left arm into
the air, he tilts it from side-to-side, examining it as if
an infant discovering his genitals for the first time.  

Bike wheels appear in the corners of the room.
Entertained, his eyes rapidly zigzag from the
corners of the walls to his hands. He asks me
if I can see the wheels. I don’t respond.

Intervals of psychotic emotion begin to cycle. Jeremy’s eyes
fill with tears as he tries to understand the hallucinations
engulfing him.  The expression on his face betrays the reality that
he has stepped onto the never-ending theme-park ride from hell.  

Together we leave and walk to the bus station, Jeremy
walking slowly and whimsically. The bus arrives,
and I hand him a few crumpled, single-dollar
bills as I attempt to instruct him where to get off.  

All I can envision is his mother’s first reaction to her son’s arrival.  
Would she collapse at her son’s knees, crying like a mother whose boy
has come home from war?  Would he forever be an awkward guest
at the dinner table? Would she disown him?  Would he become a feral child?






I no longer know what day it is. I am surrounded by lockers
and students, trapped in a tunnel of shadowy walls.  As I stand
alone, I find myself entranced by the blinding, January sunlight
that floods through the double doors a mile away.

My vision is unexpectedly blocked by a figure
standing in front of me. Clothed in little but jeans
and a bright, white t-shirt, Jeremy stares at me, his eyes
mirroring the emptiness I now feel.  

“Do you have a lighter?”  My hands pointlessly search my pockets for
what I already know is not there. “No, man. Sorry.” A look of confusion
spreads over his face, and I suddenly cannot help but notice the sick irony
of the scene in front of me - Jeremy flooded in light as if born again.  

My thoughts linger here too long, and just as swiftly as Jeremy
appeared, he is a mile away sauntering out through those double
doors. Estranged, I continue to stand here, hoping with
futility that this isn’t the last time I have looked upon him.
Year: 1995
William Waterway Jan 2015
From padded window seat inside café
cup of tea warms my hands
cold winds shuffle sidewalk leaves
Two tables away sit two men
one in October years
the other May
Soiled clothes, old scuffed shoes, beat up weathered
faces, bloodshot eyes, ***** hair disheveled
The older begins reading to the younger
from newspaper wrinkled by other hands
“Rain and wind coming in tonight from the west,
tomorrow - clearing, with temps in high 30s
toward evening - dropping to low 30s
Saturday, sunny, high 30s”
The young man’s grizzled chiseled face
seemingly stoic
flinched stiff with the words

“Sunday, low 20s, snow mixed with sleet”
Amy Jun 2014
This is my gift to you
words
a form so lacking in all
stability, security
that we chew them and spit them out
so they’re done
over
intangible.

You may throw them away from the
back of your throat
to the tip of your tongue
in one wave
one simple wave of movement and then we can all forget
the silly things I’ve said
admitted
denied
and will not be caught out by
sources that say otherwise.

This is my gift to you:
One free ticket to forget me
what a prize
to be hypnotized  
People pay a lot for that ****.
You see, when I make awkward eye contact
with my morning mirror
and delve into my makeup bag
for assistance in eye liner
my fingers always find that pit
and slip into a ring that’s been tossed to the bottom
rings entwined with rings entwined with poor judgement.
They sit and wait in their scuffed coats,
like waiting for a bus
waiting to remind me
remember that time?

This is my gift to you.
A present that says
‘I am not permanent’
because believe me, I’m not.
But if I have to wake up to
break ups bound in highly unreactive gold
then at least let me free you of these chains too.
It’s just such a shame that they suit you.
The Wicca Man Sep 2012
I wrote a poem on a bus
but to hear it you must
climb to the top
of the bouncing metal stairs.
  
Slither snake-like
past the rail
and sit
on the rainbow nylon bench.
  
I'll be there
at the top of the bus,
reciting my rhyme,
written as we ride along,
past shops and houses
with musty nets
and peeling paint
on dingy doors.
  
There's the old woman who
lives in a house no bigger than a shoe box
who had so many children she didn't know what to do!
But they've all grown and flown now and she's all alone
with no-one to talk to but herself.
  
Look at that kid: grimy smile and mischievous eyes,
skateboard-scuffed knees,
darting out from the roadside.
Screech!
As we stop and angry words.
The kid glances back and tosses a vee
leaving just his smile behind.
  
The bus lurches on
at a snail's pace and stops at a stop
for a giggle-girl-gang
to chatter up the stairs
with a clatter of feet and voices:  
weekends and boyfriends,
music and laughter.

The bus trundles and sways
past shops all shuttered,
old folks gathered by doorways
talking about people
dead and forgotten ...
except by them.
  
Into the town now:
a river of road-rage
as our bus ambles onward
toward car-parks and markets
and rat-racing shoppers
  
And stops by a brown pigeon-stained temple
of public philanthropy,
a gift from a long-dead civic leader
and now proud home
to dogeared tomes of PC persuasion.
  
Our bus, like some Trojan horse,
disgorges its riders
who spatter and scatter
like rays of dawn light
to shop till they drop.
  
So, just me and you seated
atop the steel stairway
and you say to me sharply,
“So where's your poem then?”
I look at you strangely:
“It's happened around you,” I tell you quite curtly.
I write this some years ago and just recently rediscovered it. It's a very different style from my more recent work but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless ... Your comments appreciated.
L B Mar 2017
This is a three-part, longer narrative poem, seen
as old photographs that follow the main character, My Aunt, Lillian Goldrick, across two decades.  It was written 30 years ago*
______

“Hey Kid!”     Part I

Photographs aren’t fair
stopping the soul where it’s not
in rectangular guffaws
surrounded by serrated edges, pickets, teeth?
to fence and stab in yellow, soft-covered booklets
with designated floppy phrase
“Your memories”

Happier than she could ever be...

A black and white day at Salisbury Beach, NH
hung over his hammock
Private pin-up girl
tilts her head against silver sheen of shoulder
Hair, dark chignon
except for a few wispy curls about her face
freed by wind
bleached by sun

Stopped

...for three decades
Legs slightly bent—long extended
that could stop trains, stop traffic

Stopped

Modest bathing suit, probably peach
cannot hide (not that she would)
the undeniable
And if there were question left
you could look at her smile—and love her
posed by he message scrawled in sand:

“Hey Kid!”

What kid? Where?
In the foreground?
In the camera’s eye?

In the background—
a Ferris wheel, a billboard
and  r-i-g-h-t  there—Can’t you see it?
Look again—behind her eyes
You can barely see it, but it’s there.
Remember?

The Depression
Only ten years before
It was April
Stroke, heart attack
Both of them gone, a year apart!
The priest came
Last Rites for mortally stricken
Candles, crucifix, the Catholic containment
of holy water that dams the tears

Kneeling around the bed
they said the Rosary

——————————

After VJ Day he came
to the house on the corner
of Commonwealth Ave.
She knew he was coming
but she could not be ready today
nor tomorrow
nor next week—or ever...

“Lill! Will ya come to the door?
She’ll be ready in a minute.
Hey Lill! Hurry up, will ya!
They’re waitin’ fer us!”

Upstairs in the dark hallway
her door clicks shut....
________


"Hey Kid"    Part II


The clock at Joe Rianni’s read 20 minutes to 12...

Crowd from the Phillip’s Theater—gone
though laughter lingers
in a Friday mood
in high-backed booths
where only an hour ago swinging free
were high-heeled shoes
legs crossed at knees....

Now on tables abandoned
deserted fields of French
fries lie cold in salt flurries

Only female straws wear lipstick
as do Luckys bent in ashtrays
Males, uniformly flattened
as powder burned, as mortar might
shells, casings—the evidence of war
Among explosions of tickled giggles
one was taken broadside...

listing     toward      stars
_______

...The clock read 20 minutes to 12

when she walked in--
And Rhea stopped swabbing black mica counters
long enough to absorb late-customer hate
and envy that such beauty can arouse
In voice hoarse and weighted like a trucker’s

“Whadaya have, Lill?”

“coffee”

The small answer settled at the soda fountain
and slowly struck a match...
She was falling from the slant
of her black felt hat
dripping off the point of pheasant feather
Gray gabardine suit
tailored from angle of shoulder
to dart diagonally
toward such a waist!
Turned to skirt hips
that arched and dove toward slit—
then seams that run the round of calf

that seem to flow
to ankles of naught—
...and all that seems

Black     high-heeled     above it

Coffee— cold, stale
Gray glassed-in stare
searches air and random walls
of coat hooks, menus, mirrors...
while lips ****** exiled words— replies

Dragging a demon from her Camel
slowly     purposefully
she exhaled a burly arm of smoke
that rose and laid its hand
against the ceiled atmosphere of embossed tin
Then leaning over her shoulder
in roiling emission of shrugs and sneers—

“Lill—There’s no way outa here!”
________


“Hey Kid!”    Part III

After kneeling backwards on their chairs
after nuns, catechism recited
After—
Five of them scuffed through leaves and litter
along the curbing
spotting cars that counted—
Bugs, beach wagons, flying bathtubs
A slower way home of hunting
shiny chestnuts and muddy finds
rare match book covers
and bottle caps that win ya things!

One breaks from bunch
and trials off to where
dimes turn to candies!
...at a dingy luncheonette...Joe Rianni’s
____

Here—behind smeary wall of glass
pleasure leers while holding back
those grimy fingers, lips that long
for jelly fish, gum drops, lollies
holding back the company
of Baby Ruth, and Mary Jane
O Henry or Bazooka Joe!
For less money but the same salivation
there were colored dots to chew and ****
from strips of paper that last forever!
For a little more, plus the sweet struggle
of desire denied
a kid could be proud owner
of a pea shooter or trading cards!
While in the mouth
were golden imaginings—
the chocolate foil of coins
and the candied pretense of cigarette adulthood
_____

Rhea didn’t see her in the line...

Only grownups with wallets and purses
Only grownups get waited on...
...because Rhea was a Gypsy!
Kids could tell!
by her big red lips and hair to match
by the nasty way she chased them out—
“****** kids!”
Only grownups get waited on....
_______

And the clock read 20 minutes to 12

While a child waits—
time stirs in a ceiling fan
   There’s a drift in attention
      along deepening endless walls
         toward a line of sleepy booths
              carved with

“I was here—in such and such a year”

Her aunt—at the last stool—like always
Their names too close
Confused too often

A little girl wonders
about the sight behind the sightless stare
loafers, ankle socks, the ‘40s hair
the gathered skirt that gathers ashes
as they fall from cigarette
held in yellowed fingertips
Tremors crimp the smoke that climbs—

              ...a strobing pillar

“Whataya want, girly?”

              ...the only movement

“Hey! What’s it gonna be!”

              ...in a shot—

“HEY KID!”

              Snapped
There are photos that go with this. I'll try to post them together on Facebook.
emily mikkelsen Jul 2017
you were like warm alcohol
blurry bed sheets,
comforting.
you were like scuffed sidewalk chalk
multi-colored nostalgia,
dusty.
you were like good morning kisses
but i don't wear that perfume.
Zach Lee Apr 2014
Dear Nike,

No better felling then when I get that new shoe smell
Fresher than a spring breeze
Like a wizard making a new spell
I reach out and grab my Nikes
Pull them on my feet
They are
Comfy as a the softest cloud
Smooth as the purest silk
Magnificent as a majestic eagle spreading its wings to fly off into a deep red sunset
They make me feel relaxed as  sitting in the shade on a warm summer day

When I wear you
I feel as strong as the Rock lifting a thousand pounds
faster than Usain Bolt shattering a world record and hearing fans cream his name
All the pressure off
It's just my Nikes and I

I'm a blur with my nikes
Fast as a cheetah sprinting after a desperately bounding antelope
Can't even see me

People try to keep up
All they do is trip up
When they glance up from the cold hard ground thick mud covering their face
All they see are my beautiful piercing green Nikes

Running down the court
Legs pumping
Muscles flexing
So much sweat pouring off my face its like a raging river
I taste the sourness of salt in my mouth
Next thing you know
It's all over
The buzzer roars
Everyones jumps on their feet
All eyes locked on the ball flying through the air
Fans screaming like angry banshees so loud it could make you deaf
Swoosh
And it's all over

There's a reason Nike means victory
It's because no one can even compete
Before the battle is started they've already been beat

People who don't wear them
Just haven't realized
that the shoes they wear are inferior
Do their shoes give them the power to jump one thousand feet
Sprint at the speed of light
Make exery shot they take
No

On the torn up field
On the scuffed up court
It doesn't matter

When I wear my Nikes
They make me fly
Around the world
Through white wispy clouds surrounded by beautiful baby blue sky
Across the endless oceans full of green and turquoise churning water and silver jumping fish
Through fields full of long dark green grass
Feeling the wind blow through my face like an angry hurricane
Its like I'm in the flashing streets Hong kong
Nike shoe game is just too strong

Love, Zach
Kate Browning May 2012
He crinkled the daily
paper and thought out
loud, "You're my
best friend."

She scuffed her
kitten heels, prodding
for more. Far inside she
told herself to take it lightly.

He knew she knew
that he knew it was
temporary. Acting as if
she made him happy.

She sunk deep in
the velvet green
couch. Cons and pros
of being the leaver or the left.

He stared past Valentine
cards and the spot on
the carpet, where they
laughed and spilled tomato soup.

Their faces drooped and became
that soup. Sodium and protein
soaking into the ground
every which-way.

She resided and sat
up out of their yard-sale
bought couch. She set her
mind on staying by his side.

He toppled over on
the yard tools he never
touched. Now next to his
side was the Earth's crust.

She was left in the air
and he laid in muck.
His voice played over in her
head, "You're my best friend."
Marc Hawkins Sep 2017
AB
The crew of ****** all hide their own secret loneliness. At every port the deserted dance halls beckon, and there they dance with familiar ghosts. At twelve midnight sharp the spirits disappear along with the tuxedoed band and the music dies leaving red white and blue tinsel, miniature plastic flags, and balloons that glide and bounce to a solitary, prolonged note.
The sailors cease spinning and their arms drop to their sides. They drown in bottles of *** in search of solace. They rarely find barely a taste. And so, in frustration they fight and draw first and last bloods. Now, in scuffed shoes and torn clothes, with damaged pride, they stagger arm in arm back to ship.
The water laps and licks it’s tongue like a cat at cream and the crew whisper breath rings in the chilly air.
Master Chief Petty matron mother waits on deck, rolling pin in hand, kicking backsides into cabins.
The ship bobs and dips in rhythm to sailors heaving snoring chests, and there they sleep, fly catching open mouthed, hugging their pillows in desert island dreams.

Copyright Marc Hawkins 2009
EJ Aghassi Nov 2014
you think you know someone
you never really do, fool

you think you need somebody
and feel they need you too

you try and want something
someone's crazy enough to want you

you slave and slave and slave away
to force fantasy into truth

all who you would you reach out to
become increasingly obtuse

all thoughts that rattle around
are now familiar abuse

and all that beauty you breathe in
a sweet darkened velvet noose
I think a whole lot
Amanda Evett Nov 2010
Knobby knees and coffee shops
Have been married since before time
Was.
Hipsters with their progressive politics
And symbolic lyrics and
Witty banter
Deem themselves worthy of macchiatos
On Tuesday mornings.
And the tiny tables creak with
Liberal arts degrees and sugar and
Cream.
Tibetan prayer flags slip out of pockets
Onto a floor scuffed by Converse
And bare, raw feet.

And if you, too need salvation in the form
Of caffeine and dreams,
Come on in-
Even if your hair is straight and perhaps
You don’t have a clue
About ethnocentric ideas of beauty-
Open the door, order your addiction,
Sink in.
Your knobby knees will fit just right.
In left footed underwear,
Left on the floor,
My legs can't find the way out, my palms hardened from the mans work;
Dark and *****, the floor is full of ash,
From a fire we had in front of a fight,
That was lit from the fire in your naked belly,
And the golden spark of guilt in your darkened eyes.
And there is a threadbare mattress that was once clothed,
By our bodies and our sweat, and sleep,
And on the wall in the night, as you vehemently slept,
A thousand decisions were written on the peeling paint,
In calligraphic cursive writing, 'A medieval love affair',
As the heart drew breath in doubting love across the air.
Bare legged jeans, double ending tshirt and a naked bra,
An imprint left on your floor; a lack of interest,
Makeup left in a leather bag,
primal ******, a primary requirement of admittance,
A threadbare rug holds the handprints of many girls before,
Raw knees scuffed the richly spiced darkened stained wool.
Walking away with a left footed boot and a right handed eye,
Casting a backwards look from behind a blue glassed veneer,
Left with a scuffed heel and Viennese waltz dancing in my ears,
The last doorknob I ever touched, wonderland being left to the Cheshire Cat.
Drink me.
Eat me.
Swallow me.
And as I fall he demands,
He said,
'Where are you going?'
'Down the rabbit hole"
Wyatt Jul 2018
I see the classist
who fuels the masses.
Community, dreams
buried under taxes.
Who decides what passes
and what won't go?
You cling to morals,
yet you strike so low.
Distant pipe dreams,
we reach for the jaw
that binds us, blinds us
under authoritarian law.

******* under our noses,
but they're still raised.
Scoffed, but scuffed.
Wrought, but tough.
Why do we wallow
in the dirt
yet we still look above?
"Pick a side,
you can't wait in the middle.
Can't overlook,
you're apart of the visual."
We're panicked in the wake of this.
"You're either the talk of the show
or the mistake that makes the art ugly."
In hate the people unite,
separated as we ignite.
It's unforgivable.
Classism will be the death of us all, it's unforgivable.
Tiffany Norman Oct 2014
Moths float out from behind
an opened, warped door.
I push my face into your clothes,
hung heavy like pearls
in an antique shop.
Stale and familiar,
the scent follows me
like a lost little bee.
It buzzes even after I leave.

Hopscotch down the hallway
to find dead crickets
in the bathtub.
Scuffed wallpaper camouflages
a cobweb. Metallic vines
curve around bursts of petals.
I’m certain you chose this pattern,
but I don't know.

Memories are few.
I fill in the holes with honey
and arrowheads.
Indian feathers and
an old brooch.
Piles of pie.
Did you love to bake pie?

Games of bridge
on that old, scratched table top
with a musty deck of Bicycle cards.
Each deck a photo album
of your face.

Your raisined face.
I remember holding it in my hands.
“This aint a walk for old womans.”
And out the door I go.
Empty handed and independent.
Laura Ingram Feb 2012
My candle-wick spine ignited a beeswax incased body, somehow still managing to get stung.  I wore a white dress, hand shakes too hard to give you one, lily-colored legal pads, the only way for me to cross the pond writing about a nineteenth century girl who already had. The best means of escaping this world is finding those to create your own.  You were tall as August, blue like Bone-China, a place for girls who don’t know theirs, I spent my whole I-never-had-a-childhood digging for it.  You kissed my bleeding barbed wire fingers, cutting open the underbelly of don’t-call-yourself-a-cow, whispered into my split hair, your words the consistently of one, my life sentence, I always write too many, punctuated by question-mark curls. The sun-burnt beads of my back, my mother’s whispered she-doesn’t-have-a prayer as she brushes my hair that smells like sobbing, the you-can’t-be-counted on rosary slung around I-saved-your-neck.
You pocketed crumpled-paper fists, firsts drafts, said you got my letter, eyes like Egypt, starveling sand.  Lissa Who is crazy and taught me to paint them like Cleopatra, pen and ink my favorite art form. You can never have too much sky, and I watched it turn to tea, cloudy, steam-colored storm soaking through your shirt. Who doesn’t love colored Kleenex? I stand in the same way rain falls, your fragment smirk, small and slanted, a poem piece, you helped to pick up all mine.  I carved off my cold-colored skin, knowing good and well how much you wanted to get under it, with a bone handled blade, picking the locked you-could-fit-in-keyhole of my rib-cage, only weeks ago stopped up with sugar-free gum. I wait, sick of being obsessed with mine, and I kiss shut-your-mouth, coffee and cigarettes, the first thing I had in days, in what felt like 365. Exclamation points have finally made mine, a steel-toed sister, her scar-colored strength a secret, the ability to keep them. The way you held me like I was crying made me want to. My body bulging yet angular, a broken bone. An-apple-a-day the thickest part of please-smush-the-spider legs, spinning silk story threads of the last I’d read, of the first I was afraid to; ours. A thousand cracks in your sunbleached skin, four write angles all I had left, always appreciative for the sidewalk even though I can’t anymore, writing fairy-tales I know by heart because you’d stomped on mine, a lemonade puddle you were supposed to step over, the metallic aftertaste of a girl who is said to have none. The music too loud, my top too low, a hummingbird in my throat, Ariadne’s string arms lead you through a labyrinth of raised bone bars, those none of the bird sort can break. My skin trembles and my lips crawl, plunging into the it’s-too-late November I’ve-reached-my-second Wind, sleeping under the stars I saw, we walked inside each other’s footprints, because I didn’t want to sink in the snow, even though you left me in a people-drift after the first fall.  The hospital has two skinny-kids-can’t-climb trees planted in an ounce of suitcase smelling earth, hard-packed, branch upon branch of bleached you’ll-break your bones. The needle-knife allows me not bleed, blue-willow plot veins, painful in their prominence, story-book boats, driven by sticks. The china doll your mother always told you not to touch, I hope my breaking upon impact has left one that lasts. They shoved a tube up my nobody-knows, I’m-stuck  fingers down my throat, acidically eating myself alive, hungry enough to swallow me whole, one don’t-stall to another, Do You Have a Scrunchy, where you can go to cry and no one will hear you. Where you can go to cry because you wish someone could.  I pulled pre-prose sheets over my head, determined to suffocate I-hate-myself, waking up without air in an attempt to be lighter than it. You said I love you, I love you little girl, even though I’m not anyone’s, not anymore. I didn’t let you carry my books but maybe you can read a few I’ve written.  Lissa Who is Crazy left me by the red clowns, the laughing face of all the things I can’t. The slipping-pencil school bus, a sweat coat under the three I wore, hiding as much you’re-not-fat as I could, shape-shifting twig-log legs exposed.  The slipper belongs to the girl like glass, more breakable than any could be.  The smeared graphite sighs of the moon, labored breaths that took mine away, a crushed and cratered venire, silver-screened don’t-slam-the-door, locked knee knobs won’t let me open up, no matter how many times you knock. Linking leaden arms, so like their patten-leather ones, too scuffed to wear to school. Sorrysorrydon’tknownotgoodenough, a need to feel at home the only reason I ran away from it in the first place.  FeatherHeliumFlossThread, Opening you-can-knots of worms, fighting brittle nail and broken tooth against a boy who reads between I’m fine lines, Braille deciphered by the only one who wasn’t blind.  I broke into please-take-a-bite size pieces, are-you-alright-angles and elbows, both of his jabbing me in the I-can-see-your ribs.  A charcoal coating for the girl who can’t keep herself warm, who continually gets grilled. I-take-French-braids by Lissa Who is Crazy, summer’s best-selling brand of blonde. Hallway-waves wiping me out on each I’m -not-sure.   All I want is to overcome mine, more afraid of losing control than of losing myself to control, to the siren singing, swimming, strumming I’m-not-a-puppet strings, guitar he-picks-on-me. Whispersecret space for girls like me who think they take up too much, screaming through our fingers, banging our heads into my-back’s-against-the-wall-flowers, wilted, wearing crowns of he-gave-me-a-rose thorns, an arm cross yet another I expected myself to bear, nails digging into my palms, refusing to reach for your outstretched two.  Corpse-colored filters placed on photographs of fly wings, rotting flesh is beautiful to those who don’t have an ounce left. I acquired a toothbrush, the tool of the meticulous, determined to be completely clean, turning on all the water so no one would hear the sloshing of that which I was trying to drown in, to drown out, silent sob-songs I composed of passed notes after I learned to play the scales. Walls like crust, crumbling, wedding cake corners topped off with linoleum roses, shoulder-blades slicing off a sliver. She’s-like-my-little sister to bounce atop I’m-always-on my knees, surely the best location to beg pardon for my lack of one. Her plastic spoon snaps under the weight of wanting to lose some.  Show Me How says more than either of us are willing to, makes me worry that I already have.  She threads her broken-crayon fingers through the gaps in mine, colors, those that I use to cover my arms, deflecting the light with the products of its tearing, the light that makes my eyes burn, blur, water, cry.  Disorder found in its antithesis; I stack you’ll-write-books according to size, and the smallest one is always at the top. My chattering teeth crammed in, the choir concert crowd. They put Lissa Who is Crazy in the black box, a place for poems, maybe because I never let her read the twenty-seven in my notebook. She doesn’t come to stroke my straw-hair, a scared-crow girl complete with stuffing.   the ambulance coming to carry my hand-bags of bones; everything is too heavy once you start thinking you are.
Expressive er..THING. themes of unrequited love and anorexia nervosa. FUN.
david badgerow Oct 2011
It was daytime:

I was seperating siamese twins
at the waist
Like a government
trying to quell a rebellion;

I was reconfiguring
scarred old wooden toys
for Santa;
shining scuffed shoes--
pennyloafers with nickels
in the slots.

It was daytime:

I was decapitating
red-haired stepchildren
who had grown
sour from neglect;
removing brilliant succubi attached
to a wholesome family's
soul.

I was snacking on a
nerds rope,
washing babies mouths out
with soap,
slapping pink cheeked
toddlers on their feet.
click clack, sound of the track
busted lighter, jilted firefighter
****** mosquito bleeding blighter
coffee cup, record stuck
panicked post boom stuck in a rut
had you'd never seen her, been her
watched her fly by
is it a plane, wonder bush, brick lane spy
fallen tree, dropped whispers ina wood
shoulda, woulda but never could
pushed by the wind, running around
set off faster, harder, leavin the ground
seen more war than a nu-rave punk
hit the pavement harder than a skool boy drunk
deeper, lower than before
been round the world 3 times over
prayed harder rollin around in clover
teemin, screaming anticipation, panick buy
obsessed with cuckoo, escape with a sigh
darker, lighter, tougher, cornered and lame
call my breath, take my name
shame, dusted, glory be no more
music drags me back from the shore
vacumn packed, culture vulture sister
pierced hot poker, stoke her, twist her
throwin pieces, jigsaw puzzle in the grass
pull my hair, bit my cheek, slap my ***
shorter, tighter loved a whole lot longer
pushed behind, throw back 80's stronger
straightened, heated from a blue rinse dude
i am sitting her 3 minutes from rude
throw me away from here, take a stand
eating raw from inside the hand
ruined, borken levelled tiger print sweater
20 marlboro, 2 strokes and its better
dangermouse, grotbag loved forever
tether me, feed me, clothed in dried leather
Bowie, polka dots, illuminated lights
star brights, fist fights, just rights
scuffed my heels on your broken walk
shut your mouth when you talk
broke you, stalked you, wounded you down
turn away from rain as we run thru town
just like a fire
black crow eating berries from the briar
sacred high, dancing beauty
eyes black and smarting, ****** up cutie
batman, she-ra, Holy ****** Cow!
Look at me, **** me
I'm a big girl now
JR Falk Dec 2014
When you first look her in the eyes and admire the way they shine in the moonlight,
look deeper than the iris and drown in her pupil
as it is dark and it is deep, and it is similar to that of the Marianas trench itself.
When you get deep inside her brain, you will see the monsters that man cannot at first glance.
It gets so somber that your heart will get heavy and your palms will sweat,
you will repeatedly want to turn and you will want to run away,
but don’t.
Because these thoughts are not demons after you,
they are attacking her relentlessly and while she does not need a hero,
a helping hand won’t hurt.
She is not helpless, but she is also not safe
and she is afraid, and she is hiding from them.
So when she flinches away from your touch,
be gentle.
Like the breeze she feels when she opens her window on a late August night to feel something other than the stillness of her room
and to remind herself she is not just imagining her existence.
Remember that she has been through her share of nightmares like you, and while some may not be as bad, they are incredibly real to her.
Remember that she needs someone to love just as much as you.
Do not think this is a demand you love her when she has no one else,
just open your mind and your heart because that skinny girl with tired eyes is one of the most beautiful you’ll ever meet
and you will remember her for years to come.
Please, be gentle for she is fragile.
She is cracked, but has been dropped and broken so many times, the pain is not as bad,
the hurt is not such a surprise.
Do not let her be surprised if you stay when she expects you to go, because she will,
she will assume, she will get weak and she will picture you leaving when she needs you most
or she will try to push you away,
but remember her smile and remember her face because every actress is told they have so much to love but that does not mean they are all in bliss.
You’re the polish on her scuffed up shoes,
you’re the sun peeking through her blinds on a cool summer morning,
you’re the reminder that it will all be okay,
So long as you don’t run.
When you meet a girl
with shaky hands and a faint heart,
remember that she can get stronger again.
You are not her crutches, but you are support.
Do not think her life depends on you, because it doesn't.
Never put that on yourself.
You are not a superhero, but you can be her helping hand
If you remember
that it’s alright to stay.

I’m scared, too.
jane taylor May 2016
stepping back into the west
chills reverberate up and down my spine
chiseling open obsolescent padlocks
dangling with dust
on ancient treasure chests

pallid colors in the attic release
a blossoming familiarity
faint hints of retrospections float on faded paper
granting me access to roads
where no map is needed

as i peruse the streets
my heart flows coalescing with the vicinity
caressing each detail i transform to fluid
and fuse with the past
through fresh strokes of watercolored memories

recollections flash before my eyes
revealing antiquated stories
though thought forgotten
an etched history endeavors to define me
renewing itself as i turn each corner

i shudder at some remembrances while encompassing others
through synchronicity realization hits
that I am all of it
yet none of it
at the same time

familiar faces paint meaning onto me
no longer do they know me
yet they airbrush vestiges of yesteryear
and coat me with connotations
i allow them to think i am whatever they imagine

i morph into their canvas temporarily
then break free in multi-dimensionality
they don't hear me with a new listening
no longer invested in their projections
once sharp triggers now appear in soft focus

an auspicious mist lies around the edges
of my former life
it is as if i never left
yet traces of the east lie sandpapered in me
a maturation commingles with my former self

flushing out on my skin
tethering newfound emotions
a gentle gratitude for home territory
nestles softly
inward

i listen to the clicks
of my scuffed cowboy boots
on acquainted yet somehow distant sidewalks
the echoes layering multiple impressions
glimmering with the utter beauty of this terrain

as I wander through the majestic rocky mountains
drinking in the quaking aspen's crimson edges
interfacing the evergreens
hushed whispers of autumn loftily rest
juxtaposed neatly against futures waiting to unfurl in the wind

an amalgamation of intimate sights and scents
dance in open wounds
dazzling
homesickness cured
a wholeness returned

as winter's crystal dawn blooms
i realize the depth of my growth
for in leaving here and returning
i cherish the west
my home

©2016 janetaylor
nivek Aug 2016
My eyes never tire of green
its the friendliest colour to me.
A deep appreciation,
Memories of green scuffed knees.
(memories from a lost youth)

Shoe leather for brake pads
we scuffed to a stop.
"Their" cried Derek "It's their"
Tumbling down hill scratching
and ripping through
bramble thicket we gave
chase.
Into the newly plowed field
splurging treacle like, through
mud that tried to **** off your
feet.
We stopped in shock
as a gust of wind lifted the
bright red balloon, with its
unread message waving to at us;
as the wind carried it on to
where?
Derek screamed words you can't
say to an adult when your only
ten.

Defeated we splurged back to our bikes.
Danny C Apr 2013
You laid on the right side of the bed
toward the wall, tightly tucked between
scuffed paint and my bony shoulders.

You drove from St. Louis, a full eight hours
to spend a cheap night's sleep next to me
(if  you can even call that sleeping).

We got drunk and peeled off every stitch
of clothing we were wearing.
It was probably our worst idea so far.

I didn't sleep a minute
in this crowded twin sized bed,
made for a single body.

You woke up and kissed me –
my neck, my shoulder, my chest
from the inside of the bed where
maybe you felt safe
between a scuffed wall
and a sharp shoulder bone.

Now I look to the inside, toward the wall,
scuffs like scars, the wear and tear,
and remember the indent your body made:

fetal – curled and slightly sinking, wrapped
in a rumpled, thick flannel blanket
I had kicked my way out of hours before.

But it's all over now. You left
weeks ago with no plans to return.
I knew that, and it's my fault
for looking so defeated now,
a single indent in this twin sized bed.
Inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZbY-Bktp1I
amber Dec 2018
I feel like an old shoe:
worn down,
falling apart,

but comfortable.
s u r r e a l Jun 2016
i thought you were a painting at first,
with the way those dyed eyes matched mine,
with lips as full as a novel and as red as lower worlds,
made me think you were a painting--of something most divine.

i thought you were a painting at first,
with the way those small hands rose as mine did,
with the way those lips tasted of cookie dough and warm sugar,
with the way those eyes never seemed to leave me for naught,
and abandon me in lakes.

i thought you were a painting at first,
when i approached and eels ignited my mind--
with the thought--the picture-- the painting of you, O dear,
and set my mind within seas--clouds--of gladiolus's.

i thought you were a painting at first,
with that ever-always smile,
for do you not bleed at the mouth,
with that kryptonic sunshine?

i thought you were a painting at first, my love,
when my hand touched your sadistic smirk,
knowing i couldn't truly reach you,
and the heathers over-lapse me.

i thought you were a painting at first,
when my cheek touched your cool one,
and stained it with cherry pop blush,
for i know it's your favorite,
as you wear it to bed, all-while.

i thought you were a painting at first,
when i froze and my mind sung eulogies,
at my death at your satin feet,
for your beauty reaches past heaven.

i thought you were a painting at first,
when my smile synced with yours,
when they poked our eyes,
when they wrinkled our noses,
and when the sun shone still--even though ours were enough.

i thought you were painting at first,
until our lips met 'neath blue light,
and the shivers i bled,
fueled our world a-night.

for, dear, i thought you were a painting at first,
when i could see my heart beat--pace as yours,
and the moon and sun morphed--into entity,
and made us water lilies birthed with ravens.

i thought you were a painting at first,
when God told me,
'for you are the most beautiful person i have birthed from my lungs,
and spoke my heart to,
for you--and your painting here--are the only things that dance to my world.'

i thought you were a painting at first, my love,
when i bleed into pots and saw you doing the same,
now i know when my time is scuffed 'neath the barren sand,
your blood--our resin--stains lots.

lots.

lots.

for i know you're a stunning painting, O love,
for you lock many hearts.
i'd hope to own thrice of many,
so you could master theft over, and over, and over again.

i know you're a wondrous painting, O dear,
when people beg you to pose,
so they could see that beauty too, O love,
and kiss it a wish.

i know you're a masterpiece, love--
sweeter than melted butter,
and the finest of berries,
for you're worth--worshiped--much more than,
such mundane things.

i know you're a vintage classic, O wonder,
when my eyes turn blinding stars,
and fill up night skies.

for i knew you were a--

masterpiece...

master... piece...

master...   piece...

master.

for i knew you were a human, O master,
when my eyes gloss over in drunken clarity,
and my lips spill cider;
my hand becomes water at your touch,
for the pool knows no words,

to bask in my beauty.
So caught up within our beauty we don't see the world 'round us.
Paula Swanson Jun 2010
Every year it was brought down from the garage rafters.  Green metal frame and
springs, green canvas with white fringe and a little green pillow.  It was laid out, hosed
off and erected.  Grandpa couldn't have done it without us grand kids.  He said so.  It
was placed in a spot of honor.  Just a couple of feet from the picnic table and in a spot
that was always in the afternoon shade.  A folding T.V. tray was placed next to it to
hold cold drinks and snacks.  Within a few days, the grass under the frame would be
brown and dead.  The grass at the sides of the hammock would just be plain gone.  
Scuffed away by feet, as we kids sat on the edge and swayed side to side.

After mowing the lawn, washing the car, or doing any other chores needed, Grandpa
would go inside and put on his "Hammock clothes".  This consisted of a pair of Bermuda
shorts and a ribbed tank style Tee.  White socks and brown sandals completed the
outfit.  Once dressed appropriately, he would head for the hammock.  The first "sit" of
the summer season was always a bit touchy.  One had to get use to the hang of it.

There he would stand, next to the hammock.  Cold drink in his one hand, the T.V. tray
forgotten.  His slightly bald head and stick thin legs already slightly sun burned.  Slowly,
he would start to lower himself.  Reaching back with his free hand to grab the edge of
the hammock.

Note**  of course us kids, grandma and mom would all be spying out of the corner of
our eyes to watch this ritual.

Then came the "Grandpa Sit".  Grandpa would rock slightly forward and back on his
feet.  1-2-3 and ....SIT!  A few wobbles.  A couple sloshes of his lemonade.  All of us
yelling  "Whooooaaaaaa".  He would sit there on the edge of the hammock, holding
himself steady with one hand on the edge.  His feet firmly planted on the grass and his
other hand holding his cold drink high aloft.

Now, the sandals needed to be taken off.  One of us grand kids would run over and
help take them off.  Tickling his feet as we did so.

So far, no damage to life or limb.

Ah, but he was not yet fully on the hammock yet.

Now came the "Swing and lie down" move.

Slowly, grandpa would reach behind himself and grasp the far edge of the canvas.  
drink in his other hand still held aloft.  O.K.....1-2-3...SWING the legs up and quickly lie
back.  Let the hammock come to a stop.

Where's Grandpa?

On the ground on the other side of the hammock soaked in lemonade.

Summer was officially started!
Grace Tahiti Dec 2012
Ten years old again,
In a tree ten feet high again,
In scuffed shorts with tangled hair,
And with the boys I longed to be.

Sanctimonious girls in dresses and frills,
Boredom and constraint personified,
Stare up in incredulity
As I heave myself over mossy branches.

“Girls don’t climb trees.”
I do. I roll in mud, play racing games,
Never brush my hair.
“You’d be pretty if only you tried.”

You’d feel alive if only you tried.
The wind on my bare arms,
Dirt beneath fingernails,
Scrapes on my shins
Red and out of place
Like smudged lipstick
On children’s faces.

I’m not you. I’m me.
Boxes serve to keep us in,
Deliver us neatly packaged
To a society which cannot cope
With fluidity,
Individuality,
Uncertainty.
Boo!

She says those two misguided words:
“Make over”.
Impossible. One cannot start afresh.
This is the result of every waking moment,
Of every word heard and spoken,
Each memory joyous and painful,
A piece of art nineteen years in the making.
Not to be destroyed in one act of disguise.

Yet curiosity is my mistress.
She leads me to boundaries
I never knew existed.
Up goliath trees,
Into foreign beds,
To the brink of reality
In mind-bending worlds
Of parallels.

Like a mannequin, devoid of identity
I give my image to you
And you place yours jarringly
Onto my reticent body.

The obliging cheers
At my transformation
Into an eloquent femininity
Feel hollow and worthless.
I have done nothing of merit.

I totter like a toddler
Uncomfortable in my own skin.
I’m on stage, an act,
A project. Not a person.

How bizarre it feels
To wear a stranger’s façade
Of dresses and frills,
When you know you belong
To a different world
Of dirt, and treetops,
And freedom.
CK Baker Apr 2019
tight are the waxers
with gelatin scrub
their alcove smiles paired
on a check-board slate
dive jackets
and coveralls
mark the blue persuaders
stuffed lockers
and lattice straps
for a cold
pilgrim's stare

cork boots
and poly rot
rest in the C block
rank and file
mask a heavily
worn charade
windows wide
and curtains
thread bare
greasers
and **** rats
pardoned
on principle

chain link and
tether held
firm in the grasp
bead bites and
castle tops
slip in the **** steam
chants and speakers
blast from the back wall
elements stacked wide
for tainted leaners

strummers and pickers
held high on the jimmy jack
a chilled base breeze
at the ****** hole
rogues and hatters
stir at the mixer
an imitation face
closing in on the feast

maiden hands clasp
hard at the inseam
scuffed heals shuffle
on the peripheral scene
a cloaked man scurries
(chilled in his double sock)
moonshine
and mickeys
turned up in the jar

light streams blind
the paranoid eyes
laggards peeled
from the wretched
framework
veneer shattered
on a point strip groove
an overwhelming trauma
from slaughter
harbor
Leigh Apr 2015
The nettle stings, scrapes, scratches, and scuffed shoes were
far removed from us; the last worry as we cut,
crisscrossing to create a crawl space
through a wall of flesh-hungry growth -
at first - to gain access to more flesh-hungry growth

The discipline - for me - was an exhorted departure but the
product was worth every scab; an open space where we
could be: undisturbed, unfettered, unchained, and with
a live canopy we were free to create more, build more,
care more and leave a sliver of our growth

Perhaps more than a sliver. Perhaps it has become my
definition of what it meant to be young and to find a fit;
connect with the other forgers - akin to a close-knit
military unit - collecting driftwood, desks, drawers, drapes,
and designated seats to burn or to use as decor

And decorated it was. Spectacularly so! Swings hanging
from the sturdiest branches, discarded rugs coated
with muck, leaves, and filth dragged in to line our atrium,
a place for every member and a code:
"Nobody but us"

Simple society solidified with barbaric politics.
A system preaching tribal nonsense can't last long.
Mostly the damage was done when things got less simple;
when we grew and outgrew and the fences were put up.
The homes and the simple society were moved in shortly after
.



A group of friends that hung around together when we were younger used to spend our summer months hollowing out nettle and bramble infested areas of land to create secret bases to hang out in. It is by far my favourite period of my childhood. The amount of work some people put in was incredible. The outcome - even more so. Eventually, the main bit of land was sold and there were apartments built. I think it's a shame that suburbs are becoming so built up that kids struggle to find a place of their own. I really appreciate those days when things were more simple.


.
kirk Dec 2018
When you decide to wash the car, make sure of your stability
Don't lose your footing, or any form of your own credibility
Some driveways are a dangerous place, they can be a liability
Knees get grazed through carelessness, but that's your responsibility

You've slipped down the embankment, you wasn't banking on a stumble
Coming into contact with the concrete, giving you good cause to grumble
Is it possible that your garden, has got loose parts that crumble
Or was it due to clumsiness, that made you fall and tumble

Water splashing on the car, but it wasn't that translucent
You ended up with ****** knees, from your unruly movement
Bucket dropping did not help, with your clean car improvement
I can't say that your actions, didn't cause us some amusement

We had a laugh at your expense, because your knees got scuffed
Spilling water on the path, is when your legs we're stuffed
You didn't look too happy, so I guess you wasn't chuffed
Because you fell, it'll be some time before the car gets buffed

One thing I will mention, we would not have seen you fall
If you didn't have that camera, that you wanted to install
But it has served it's purpose, cos we have seen it all
You was not completely focused, and you wasn't on the ball

Security has now been viewed, splashed water not in stealth
Is it worth the hassle, when you clean the car yourself
You don't want to trip and fall, and damage your leg health
Take it to the car wash, cos it doesn't cost much wealth

Your unfortunate leg scrapping, we hope it was not deep
But we nearly ****** ourselves, when you fell in a heap
We laughed at your misfortune, it almost made us weep
Cleaning cars come at a price, when it's done on the cheep  

Some Ideas are valid, and most of them go far
Set backs are not wanted, make sure that your on par
Be aware of your surroundings, if your washing the car
Trips around the garden could result, in a blooded scar
Based on a true story
Kelly Zhang Jul 2010
you asked what I thought of you
point-blank, blunt
Bewildered, I examined the birthmark on your arm
scuffed sneakers and your eyes
the new old ones I liked: you had gotten rid of the colored contacts two months ago,
day we met.
mouth open, I searched for a word and was astounded at the difficulty
smiling and I closed my lips, you seemed confused
I took your hand as the subway doors opened and dragged you into the city
we ran up the stairs, his hand was warm like the cigarette night air
I’ll show him what I think of him, we ate burgers on the street corner;
he spilled mayo down his shirt and we threw lettuce and laughter at each other.
6.29.10
Madds Nov 2013
Preach your colourful knowledge of me,
From a jaw that could hold nothing more than a faint whisper of insincerity
And a flailing bird tangled on your tongue.
But when the rainbow bursts;
Don't attempt to rain materialism down on me
Stuff your grocery store heart shaped chocolates up your nose.
And stop dreaming up all the sadness I stand for.
I am not your fixer-upper-er.
I am whole, trust me,
The serpent rejoins once cut
And heals.
I am a serpent, rainbow and colourless.
Materialistic seduction...
Give me a minute while I puke fluro ***** on your shoe,
You are the needy one and I remain whole...  
Scuffed and cracked
I am healing, alone.
But I am whole.  
Mixing strings of blues, greens and pinks
Into one strand,
There are scars.
I don't know. Ha ha ha I'm tired.
Dennis Oliver Oct 2012
It was well said of him,
“The clothes bespoke the man”.
Yes, he stumbled in the mud.
Yes, his reputation soon was stuck within the stinking sludge
and, granted, it was all of his own making.
But surely you remember how he'd been so impressive.
Once I said, “You're spotless as a manikin”
and shared a hearty laugh with him.
Be we also had some serious conversations,
discussing what he meant by “loveliness”.

That was all before the storm that hit us
with the force of filth from continents and generations.
It reminded us, again:
not every love is innocent;
the finest gentlemen are capable of
(some say inclined to) monstrous crimes.
After, no one spoke of him.
He tried to hide behind his usual accoutrements:
the matching tie and handkerchief;
silk shirts;
his feathered hat and crimson mackintosh;
the smell of musk.


But he was tainted, spotted once the news was out.
As the headlines had it:
“Gilded Lily Withers – Roots Exposed”;
“If clothes have made this man, they're now irreparably torn.”
“Patent leather ******* now well scuffed.”
God knows what his publishers had to put upon his jacket
to sell off the remainders.

Yet even from the darkness of his prison,
he seemed to think he could rely upon
the persuasiveness of beautiful adornments
- “Always envied; often copied; never matched” (his line) -
trusting it would make him seem attractive once again, even clean.

He died the 23rd of May, 2007.
They say that night he'd tied his shirt a special way,
with a feminine flamboyance,
but it failed to impress as he intended.
In some dark hall (we don't know how) they caught him,
stripped him to the bare essentials,
leaving him undressed and cut, an ochre ugliness.
What were his final thoughts,
when all that he had left was soiled and bleeding?
What we he really needing?

Still, I'm glad I knew him,
Still call him friend, and miss him.
This does not relate to the current the controversy re. Jimmy Savile - but seems relevant to it. It is NOT intended to minimise the damage JS might have done to women (if the accusations are true). I'd appreciate critiques, since this is going to press soon.
He touched our hands
But unconcernedly this famous man
And would not look us in the eye
For fear of contact or what might be worse, connection
And we could hardly blame him, for after all
He had each day been singled out for close inspection
By ones like us, in awe of his celebrity
Circled in the shade of his perfection
Hoping for the star-dust sprinkle of acuity
Or sparkling eyes, admission to his inner cult and clan

He wore blue jeans
And scuffed sneakers as a badge of proof
Of his coolness and unconcern
While we his audience with concealed attention
Enviously eyed his hairy confidence, unconsciously
Imitating in each phrase that low convention
Made small adjustments to our store-bought suits and ties
And nodded several times in bright pretension
Made small amendments to our smiles and lies
Flicked photo-phones in pursuit of custom and routine

He gave a speech
A flippant interview, this famous creature
A well tossed phrase, a rounded cliche
Poured forth like brandy in a glass, convivial
Or apple cider-ed vinegar in pewter mugs
A sardonically French-accented phrase habitual
Well humored, heavy lidded with testosterone
At interlocutor women with the pens and pads
Delivered in a low and purring monotone
For all the world as lovers, each to each

He stretched a smile
A modulated shift of teeth and beard
"Genius? Not I"  with deprecation
"My shallow intellect, so poor and so ephemeral"
Delivered in a tone that mocked inclusion
While we assumed an elegance, unintentional
A nonchalance that shields the wide charades
Unmoving in our breathless, but conventional
Genuflection to the the notion that pervades                                                      
Our addictive appetite now sated. For a while.                              
                                                                ­                                  
He kissed their cheeks
And stroked their arms, with sensuous ambivalence
But absently, as if he cared so little
In his farewell. 'A bientot' he said and 'Au revoir'
And slipped away amongst the moving Milan crowds
Creative and creator, irredeemably a star
With, in his wake the smiling scriveners staring
At his retreating back in Stark excitement
In the middle of the circling and squaring, at
The alpha-wolfic effigy. The Shepherd and his sheep.
I've ever been interested in the relationship between celebrity and ordinariness. How the lamps of the individual appear dimmer in the presence of the luminosity of others, more celebrated. Some weeks ago I was able to see this effect on me when I was in close proximity with a star of the design community (some clues to the individuals identity may appear within the verse, if anyone is interested). I was dismayed to learn that I responded in the same manner as those I had previously observed. This sour-**** little offering is the outcome.
tabitha Nov 2015
i am reminded again of why i hate hospitals,
                                        especially when there alone.

maybe it's the scuffed floor or ugly upholstery of the chairs,
             or the doctors half-attention,
             or the way everybody stares,
             or the way i try not to....
             or  the way that one guy just needs to ask me what book i'm reading.
"it's... well, it's a book about these writers who are deceived into isolation
    and they write all  these stories of life and desperation"                              
              (he doesn't actually care)
              i hide in my hair.
              at least we tried to have a conversation....
              and then we just sit there,
              until she calls the next patient.
              i hope i'm next.

i am reminded again of why i hate hospitals,
                                       especially when there alone.

maybe it's the stale air up against the smell of warm blankets,
             or being fully clothed but feeling totally naked,
             or being wheeled around to some other location,
             or that being wheeled around kind of feels like
             a ****** up vacation....
             (you just get to lay there)
             ((and be numb))
but i think it's the way she rubbed that gel **** all over my tummy
                                                                     and that when i say tummy,
                                                                     i don't feel like a woman i feel like
                                                                     a baby
             and the way those plasticky tools let her see right through me
             and the way men just do not know what to do when
             women are bleeding
the nurse named jeff asks me, "oooh, which palahniuk?"
  "it's... well, it's the one about twelve writers who fall into the clutches of
      this crazy guy who locks them all up! this story's about guts n stuff,"
              "nice," he weirdly smirks,
and thankfully gets back to work.
jeff touches my arm a little too much,
and i didn't really want him to have my blood,
and maybe that's just vain stuff
but the conversation was... good enough...

and i am reminded again of why i hate hospitals,
                                            especially­ when there alone.

only got mister palahniuk*
trapped in a purple book,
this paper-bound blood work,
to keep me company.
i lay back with the iv drip next to my bed
as i sweetly surrender to his gory head....
this book, it's called haunted.


*i wish i had chuck's guts ~ literally and figuratively,
he has no ****** and incredible creative bravery.
i was going to call this poem "stuck in a hospital (yuck) with Palahniuk" but then realized that it sounded like a poem about Dr. Suess having to share hospital rooms with Chuck Palahniuk, which is hilarious and something i will save for an entirely different, much more eccentric piece.

— The End —