I MEAN, REALLY.
I've been wearing my jersey so often that I feel like it's gonna fuse to my body, like an exoskeleton. Whatever. Worth it. I wore it, in fact, to a DC United game with dae5885 last night; the dress code at DCU games, apparently, is less "wear DCU gear" than "wear something that shows you have heard of the sport of soccer." MAD arsenal jerseys up in that stadium, let me tell you. and one guy in a Torres LFC jersey. Dude. look at your choices.
Anyway, we got our asses handed to us -- 4-0, our worst loss at home in 11 years -- which dampened my spirits somewhat, but not really. On my way out of the stadium I tripped on the sidewalk and went absolutely ass over cupcakes, and was immediately helped up by crew of boisterous El Salvadoran dudes yelling HALA MADRID and ARE YOU OK MESUT and, best of all, YOU FELL LIKE THE COPA! "At least you didn't get hit by a bus!" said one of them as I dusted myself off.
"Sergioooooo," I said, pumping my fists. SERGIOOOOOOOOO, they yelled back.
UGH, IT WAS GREAT. Dae, thanks for tolerating me yesterday. I know it was not easy.
Poetry Month make-up extravaganza time now. some about lady stuff. some about other stuff.
16. WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?
I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.
THE STRAIGHTFORWARD MERMAID
The straightforward mermaid starts every sentence with “Look . . . ” This comes from being raised in a sea full of hooks. She wants to get points 1, 2, and 3 across, doesn’t want to disappear like a river into the ocean. When she’s feeling despairing, she goes to eddies at the mouth of the river and tries to comb the water apart with her fingers. The straightforward mermaid has already said to five sailors, “Look, I don’t think this is going to work,” before sinking like a sullen stone. She’s supposed to teach Rock Impersonation to the younger mermaids, but every beach field trip devolves into them trying to find shells to match their tail scales. They really love braiding. “Look,” says the straightforward mermaid. “Your high ponytails make you look like fountains, not rocks.” Sometimes she feels like a third gender—preferring primary colors to pastels, the radio to singing. At least she’s all mermaid: never gets tired of swimming, hates the thought of socks.
THE PROBLEM OF FICTION
She always writes poems. This summer
she’s starting a novel. It’s in trouble already.
The characters are easy—a girl
and her friend who is a girl
and the boy down the block with his first car,
an older boy, sixteen, who sometimes
these warm evenings leaves his house to go dancing
in dressy clothes though it’s still light out.
The girl has a brother who has lots of friends,
is good in math, and just plain good which
doesn’t help the story. The story
should have rescues & escapes in it
which means who’s the bad guy; he couldn’t be
the brother or the grandpa or the father either,
or even the boy down the block with his first car.
People in novels have to need something,
she thinks, that it takes about
two hundred pages to get.
She can’t imagine that. Nothing
she needs can be got; if it could
she’d go get it: the answer to nightmares;
a mother who’d be proud of her; doing things
a mother could be proud of; having hips
& knowing how to squeal at the beach laughing
when the boy down the block picked her up & carried her
& threw her in the water. If she’d laughed
squealing he might still take her swimming
& his mother wouldn’t say she’s crazy, she would
not have got her teeth into his shoulder till
well yes she bit him, and the marks
lasted & lasted, his mother said so,
but that couldn’t be in a novel.
She’ll never squeal laughing, she’d never
not bite him, she hates cute girls, she hates
boys who like them. Biting is embarrassing
and wrong & she has no intention of doing it again
but she would if he did if he dared,
and there’s no story if there’s no hope of change.
The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes.
Some would be devoted to acting against consciousness,
Like the flight of a moth which, had it known,
Would have tended nevertheless toward the candle’s flame.
Others would deal with ways to silence anxiety,
The little whisper which, though it is a warning, is ignored.
I would deal separately with satisfaction and pride,
The time when I was among their adherents
Who strut victoriously, unsuspecting.
But all of them would have one subject, desire,
If only my own--but no, not at all; alas,
I was driven because I wanted to be like others.
I was afraid of what was wild and indecent in me.
The history of my stupidity will not be written.
For one thing, it’s late. And the truth is laborious.
Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Pinsky
She wrote, "They were making love
up against a gymnasium wall,"
and another young woman in class,
serious enough to smile, said
"No, that's fucking, they must
have been fucking," to which many
agreed, pleased to have the proper fit
of word with act.
But an older woman, a wife, a mother,
famous in class for confusing grace
with decorum and carriage,
said the F-word would distract
the reader, sensationalize the poem.
"Why can't what they were doing
just as easily be called making love?"
It was an intelligent complaint,
and the class proceeded to debate
what's fucking, what's making love,
and the importance of the context, tact,
the bon mot. I leaned toward those
who favored fucking; they were funnier
and seemed to have more experience
with the happy varieties of their subject.
But then a young man said, now believing
he had permission, "What's the difference,
you fuck 'em and you call it making love;
you tell 'em what they want to hear."
The class jeered, and another man said
"You're the kind of guy who gives fucking
a bad name," and I remembered how fuck
gets dirty as it moves reptilian
out of certain minds, certain mouths.
The young woman whose poem it was,
small-boned and small-voiced,
said she had no objection to fucking,
but these people were making love, it was
her poem and she herself up against
that gymnasium wall, and it felt like love,
and the hell with all of us.
There was silence. The class turned
to me, their teacher, who they hoped
could clarify, perhaps ease things.
I told them I disliked the word fucking
in a poem, but that fucking
might be right in this instance, yet
I was unsure now, I couldn't decide.
A tear formed and moved down
the poet's cheek. I said I was sure
only of "gymnasium," sure it was
the wrong choice, making the act seem
too public, more vulgar than she wished.
How about "boat house?" I asked.
21. A MAN IS ONLY AS GOOD...
A man is only as good
as what he says to a dog
when he has to get up out of bed
in the middle of a wintry night
because some damned dog has been barking;
and he goes and opens the door
in his vest and boxer shorts
and there on the pock-marked wasteground
called a playing field out front
he finds the mutt with one paw
raised in expectation
and an expression that says Thank God
for a minute there I thought
there was no one awake but me
in this goddamned town.
I KNOW A MAN
As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking, --John, I
sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what
can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,
drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.