I’m the baby girl Bukowski, I think, because I write like
a wounded animal. I snarl when he says, “THE TYPEWRITER
IS YOUR MACHINE GUN.” I have a fistful of boys and they’re
all telling me “Your prose is like a hit of acid,” and
“You’re the only horror writer with the face of a nouvelle vague
movie star,” and “Sorry baby, I’ve got whiskey dick.”
Maybe if I write in black and white I won’t bleed
my color. I’ve got the gaping heart of a blues singer.
“Whiskey and women is all in the world I crave.”
If I keep typing I’ll earn my calluses and not
feel a thing.
I’ll say that he touched me like a dead car battery.
and later find acid fingertips burnt onto my hips.
Quick, kiss me like loneliness is a gift.
I almost believe that
“Giving up is its own kind of art form.”
Because I disdain the Burroughs girls,
with their smudged eyeliner and
The Ginsberg the Kerouac girls with their
eager eyes. Art is what happens before
the performance. I closed the door,
because I want quiet like an unfiltered tap.
I want tired eyes and dull hunger and lipstick
rubbed off on the back of my hands.
I say I’m the baby girl Bukowski, but
the door keeps opening. The book
spits out its teeth.
THE MACHINE GUN FIRES
WHEN I SLAM THE KEYS
BUT THE RATS STILL POUR IN
I still sleep in pools of muddy water,
and when I wake the dirt blooms
as I emerge gasping.
Marshall Chess of Chess Records explaining the original liner notes of Electric Mud, featuring Muddy Waters getting his hair processed. Perhaps the single most BAD ASS liner notes in the history of music.
The air conditioner wasn’t working last night and I found myself stuck in hot dreams, warm reams tearing open underneath my fingers. It’s like through the heat the implications of everything I’ve done wrong, or will go wrong, come seeping through the pores.
I still don’t know how to live with another human being and “be myself.” I am afraid that if I peel back the curtains, or move a piece of furniture, or decide to make dinner, then my presence will cause the entire apartment to come crashing down. So in that sense I never feel like I truly own anything, I am only owned. I am a thing to be placed inside, but not allowed to touch. If I assert myself or make a decision, then that will be used as ammunition against THE SELF the thing I’ve been trying to create peeled back. Heat blown through.
Better to crawl inside of my skin, displaced, If I change nothing, want nothing, then I cannot be destroyed.
Today, I think I’m going to buy a desk.
In an attempt to assert myself over space, because space is only a vehicle through which people move. Not an owner, not the thing I must bend to.
I want to learn to be a person, not a broken object that’s placed on the top shelf.
The heat coursed through me, wave after wave. The broken air conditioner is the new nightmare machine. I imagine chains on my wrists and feet, my throat, binding me to the wall. I imagine kicking the roof down and letting moonlight through, pouring through the steel cuffs, bursting in my throat. A new kind of disease.
And when I think of other people, and how they loved me, I think of violence - I think of how in my stories I made them into demons and monsters. Lux wasn’t the first person I constructed a mythology for, there was the screeching dragging demon with schizophrenia, the house that I haunted, scratching against. There was Stranger, the violent artist with bug eyes, dead black charred skin tongue pressing to lose my virginity.
They were always demons pushing me into their circle of influence, the succubus, the telepathic filipino kid, mad foam.
But when I think of Robert, I think of a crab sitting in the dark, on a rock as the tide comes in. And it’s too dark to see, but his eyes are glowing when the moon hits them, when he turns his head toward the water. People pass by him unknowing, running up and down the beach, laughing, oblivious to his presence. And I think, if only they could see inside him, the universe, glowing heat, they’d never want to leave. If you saw the inside, he’d be brighter than the sun.
And I think of him as a bridge and there are holes in the bridge, someplaces where people have stomped them down, others decaying, rotting and falling through. And I lay next to one of the holes in the center of him, so that I can see the water rushing underneath. The sun shines down on us, through the bridge scaffolding. The trees sing to him.
And there’s no violence, just stillness. Here.
Most of these days I sleep on the floor, in front of the computer screen, next to Robert with his chronic insomnia, fading in and out of my consciousness, midst video game noises and Twitch streams,. The familiar ache in my back reminds me of pulling blankets over my head back in Seattle, feet not daring to touch the ground. It reminds me of soft storms and lack of light, paleness, arms heavy clutching at nightmares.
It reminds me of my dreams, that for the first time in my life, matched with my reality. I’d lean up against the wall, looking sideways, and he’d laugh. And it was just like that. No extrapolation of emotion, no grand staircase, banister of gold. No heavy milk, what does this mean?
It was just like that.
There is no separation of the body from the mind. Tell a girl how worthless she is all her life, deride her, harass her, shove her nose into the carpet, press your hot cigarette between the slats of her ribs, hate her, sink her, tell her she’ll never know how to love, and that will permeate the structure of her body. She will know ugliness has worked its way through the neuroses of her head and gone straight to her bones. She will know no matter how many times people say she is beautiful there is corruption in the hypostasis, in the lower structure of her features, in her pinched nerves and sunken cheekbones and skinny ridged fingers.
That girl grew wild like the azaleas. Dig her up and put her in your garden and she’d die. Sit with her, do not touch her, and she’d twist to the light.
I’ve just learned about this fascinating new entertainment device it’s called the ceiling in a dark room.