i want to drown in the past and call it the best decision of my life
all of the missing plastic is in the garage. when you ask to write inside of my writing. when you drop me off in the k-mart parking lot and say you will be back later. the mini-mall is close by a horse farm. at birthday parties he would pull me on his lap. i wanted to be on the swings. no one was watching. lift the window and let the snow come into the room. play in the snow. make angels in the snow. now i am walking home from dance class on the main road. i am seven. you were late picking me up. i am wearing close to nothing and every step feels like his lap. the best possible place to be now is the ocean. this problem we have. let's call it the weight of the world. the sigh of the sea.* i am wearing my Swarovski crystals. i cost 99 dollars. i am floating in my black babyphat sweater like an olive in your martini. i am at the mall. i am watching cheerleaders at the mall. look at that brat. look at that mall brat. i want to drown in the past and call it the best decision of my life.
*These 2 highlighted lines are from the work of Eleni Zaharopoulos.
but you leave anyhow
in the basement i watched you snort coke. what were the starter jackets doing on our small shoulders. when the moon is full above mom's toyota and we are talking about life. i admire your fingernails and blushing cheeks. can you imagine what it might be like if i took you behind this day and said 'let's start over?". there aren't any second chances. rain will come through the moon roof. i want the world to stay in one tab so i don't have to keep clicking over. my hands are developing carpal tunnel. when he beat his wife she would run across the street barefoot crying. we would call the police. i walked around barefoot because i wanted to feel the earth and i wasn't worried about glass. i didn't need to run. how many times can we watch all seven seasons of Sopranos on my bed. i want to be like Adriana. missing for two years. but really dead.i want to get my nails done. i want them to be so long that when i stick my hand out the car window on the highway i can reach back to before you left. it's raining. i am barefoot in my yard. i am wearing my italian american for you. i am tan and glowing. and saying fuck you. the moon tells you not to. but you leave anyhow.
also how it feels to have the middle name that means immaculate
like the glow of sun that hits the coffee maker
i am also a hot substance basking in you.
i find it real disney magic
the way our fluids mix together
inside my body, not yours.
we are always inside my body.
watch the moon now take over
and the cold water run down my back
in the midnight showers, huddled inside
a light purple plastic princess pool.
no petals left on the dying rose
When you come over we can play
Beauty and The Beast and you
can be Beauty, duh
because I love having hair on my face
and roaring at you when you wander
into the west wing without my permission
Please tell me I am just kidding about this, crumbs from my sandwich falling in between my breasts
Some are born into money. Others work for it. I am what they call an expectation. The traffic drones, where drones is a noun. The MoMa has an excellent view of the city. The windows are perfect frames for four story delis. Know that it might be possible to fall in love with anything that gives you enough attention. "So many people are dying from tornadoes and I'm just sitting here eating potatoes." When it's hot outside skin is hot, the traffic of blood right below the surface becomes tense and bottle necks into her nipples when he says something sweet, waiting for the red school house of his mouth to alleviate suffering. If we can't save the people from natural disaster, at least we can save one another from feeling alone. My father sounds like an old man on the phone. I know this because I use to listen up to him and now I listen down. I was fifteen sitting in the back of his eggplant colored Dodge caravan when I told him that I knew I was smarter then a lot of adults. I know this because now I am an adult and no one uses cordless phones anymore at home. The scar across your nose is deep and I've seen it fill with rain water on a depressing sunday morning after the local 12 news. Imagine immersion into a swimming pool of gold coins, suffocating the flow to the nipples, creating double shadows of loneliness against prismatic hearts. I wouldn't mind wrapping my legs about your neck and then talking about failure some time after over orange berry tea. Face painted children, red, sliver war stripes running in thick green dreamlands. the playground of normalcy and the sand box of eccentricity. The hours of McDonald's happy meal toys and french fries stuck like dead ants to the floor of the car. I will conceive our first child in a gas station on a road trip to LA when I've been out of work. Your skin will be tan by then. We won't have been able to make it to the hotel. We'll name him Shell. Please tell me I am just kidding about this, crumbs from my sandwich falling in between my breasts.
When he is away Jenny piles blankets next to her to fill the void. Eventually she will buy a body pillow. On this particular night, he has checked himself into a psych ward of a New York City hospital. He calls Jenny from a rotary phone to say “I love you” because he does. She will sit in her work meeting the next day in Kansas City and listen to both men and women degrade her accomplishments. She will think of him while she does this. She always thinks of him, because, that is what love is. It is an obsession, neurosis, and a mental illness. It is far worse in the first five years, and then it turns to dependency: who will pick me up on a cold day when my car dies, who will be there after my parents die.
Jenny won't necessarily think about what it means that she thinks about him so often. She will continue to drive her Toyota, drink green colored protein shakes made in her kitchen when she manages to follow a recipe correctly. She will know the exact minute when he stops thinking of her, or, missing her, and then she will know that it is over, and most likely, that it was over before it began. She will feel sad and lonely and crippled and super, super suicidal, but eventually, she won't.
Jenny can't spend too much time wondering how he possibly got himself to New York City, or how this might compare to the time he got himself to New Mexico over night, and ended up not in a hospital, but an elderly woman's basement. Jenny often sits in her bed and reaches behind her to feel the cold steel of the gun that he bought for her to keep her “safe” when he is away. This was a birthday present. She remembers him sitting on a guitar stool with her on top of him, a delicately wrapped box in her white, frail hands. She had on a red sweater with white deer stitched around the collar and blue corduroy pants. Jenny felt excitement about what might be in the box.
“This is wrapped quite well.” she smiled
“Yes mom helped me” he replied
When she opened it, Jenny felt at least 45 seconds of intense fear, and then she felt his dry lips on her left cheek. She then turned and returned the kiss, the gun almost falling to the floor by her feet.
Jenny is an active member of the YMCA in her neighborhood. Every saturday she puts on a blue sports bikini and a red swim cap and descends into the pool. She likes the way that the chlorine fills up her pores and knots her dirty blonde hair when she finally removes the cap. She likes the way the pool is consistent, always there in it's Olympic size glory whenever she needs to dive in, feel the water against her skin, let it swim into the lonely muscles of her body. After swimming, she usually buys a red ICEE from a nearby convenience store. She remembers in the Summer that he came with her swimming, and then vanished away into the locker room while she hadn't noticed. Three weeks later he came home with $40,000 dollars, a plea bargain, and a new configuration of facial hair.Jenny's family doesn't ask any questions anymore. Jenny doesn't ask them either. She is numbly happy not thinking, or asking, or wondering. She is happy letting her body mechanically travel the routines of her day, and even partially excited about the arrivals and departures that may occur at any given moment. She took to heart when someone once told her that for every person on earth there is a different way of living. She proudly believes she is living exponentially differently than every person she has ever known.
All poems by Laura-Marie Marciano excerpted from Mall Brat