The Whir of the Whirlpool Keeps Making me a Fool

I want a tattoo but I don’t know of anything worthy of being permanently etched on my body, attached to me forever; sometimes that means more than it sounds and sometimes it’s just about tattoos. The rain blots my window. I stare at my tiny Christmas tree and think about pajamas and running down the stairs on Christmas morning. I think about the day when I have a son and I can buy him all the things on his gift list. I think about a daughter and watching her run into her mother’s arms.

Outside, the cars slip and slide down a wet narrow street, honking at each other. I debate going out, staying in, doing laundry, going to sleep early, staying up, writing, reading, drinking, taking Ambien©, pushing over the Christmas tree.

I was there when Odysseus made it home. I was there when Neil walked on the moon. I was there when Jimi lit his guitar on fire. But I wasn’t there when you leaned in and whispered in my ear, “I love you.” I was a thousand miles away in New Orleans, held captive by a voodoo doll.

All I want to do is dress better than you.

The moon hiccups and the tide collapses against the pier. I hear the whirring. I listen to the lovers fight. I sing till my throat accordions and snaps and falls in ribbons. I talk too much. I walk all night. I let the maid make up my mind. I let the trash men sweep me off the street. Colonel Cob. Sergeant Pickle. We are the unenlightened, frightened robots; de-scrambled eggs in our voice boxes. There’s a chalk outline of my heart in a mall parking lot.

There’s a tiny kingdom on an island in a little lake with a lilliputian king. Everybody three feet high. They dress in bright colors. They put tattoos on their bodies. They don’t worry about how poorly they dress or off-key they sing. They know every star is a firefly, and the sky is just one big jar. Their hands reach out for the satellites whizzing by.

I’m bundled up in scarves and miscalculations. I count my change and my cement feet. I lie in bed and to you.

When I write, I write ‘I’ all the time. I’m an ‘I’ maniac. I’m a solipsistic animal. I’m a shinning billboard, a 13-foot mirror. I painted my portrait painted on my ceiling. I’m the hero I never wanted to be. Spinning around the whirlpool, grinning like a fool, just me and the whir. I step into my shoes and assume an identity that isn’t mine I stole from some Tumblr, borrowed from the street, copied from a glossy magazine. I’m hi-def, low-brow, no class piece of sea glass.

Come into my lair, let me put you in stitches. Run your fingers through my hair, lets pretend we don’t care. Let’s get on a plane. We’ll get new names and new addresses and new enemies. And we’ll never have to explain a thing.

I wrote it all down in a poem. The first line went…

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