Wednesday, January 12, 2011

nee Darla

It’s two fourteen in the afternoon as I walk into a coffee shop. I order a small coffee and sit in front of the windows to look at people.
            I stare at a man wearing a suit, his face is pointed west as he waits for a bus. He doesn’t see me. It doesn’t matter. I’m waiting for nightfall.
            I’m thinking about buying a small farm of bunnies. Maybe ostriches. I’ve always had a thing for emus. I’m not sure which would make the best winter coats. I don’t want to fail in whatever I do, though. I care too much about succeeding.
In high school I had a 3.9 GPA. I kissed ass, sucked dick, cheated, and graduated second in my class. My parents were proud, except my father, who was dead.
I finish writing my daily expenses in a pocket notebook. I have spent one dollar thirteen cents on bad coffee and forty nine cents on a twinkie.
            Last week in the personals a man seeking a woman wanted her to peel the skin off of his back with a pair of unsterilized tweezers. He wanted to bind a book in his own leather. I could have been that woman but I was too late in reaching him. I will now remember to keep all my newspaper clippings organized.
            In my head I’m humming the theme to The Brady Bunch. I feel the woman sitting near me is also in my head.
In my head she swims in brains and vaginal fluid. This woman’s wearing sunglasses, but in my head she has green, red rimmed eyes that burn sockets behind my own. This woman’s head fills my own head and there is no space for my own air flatulence to privately expel.
I don’t mind because she looks like Alice the housekeeper.
I leave the coffee shop and walk through a crowded business district, filled with consumers carrying plastic shopping bags.
It’s three twenty two and I’m wearing red shoes. They are too long for my feet and I have to press my balls in them to keep centered. There is pressure on my toes as I walk through a stranger’s foot grooves. The underside of the leather is torn away from toenails and constant steps.
In a drugstore I could purchase a candy bar for seventy one cents. I’m saving my coins and crumpled bill for a specific cup of coffee. I casually steal a roll of breath mints. Near pharmaceutical counters under fluorescent lights are rush hour lines waiting for a recognized modern life and fresher vitamin pills. The costumers can smell the dirt on me. I don’t mind.
I’m in the subway traveling out of the city. I stare at my reflection in the lights coming off the dark and notice the way old acne scars make me ugly. My small hands travel up legs and pause on my tummy. I scratch my head with the razors under my fingernails, tearing away blood and dandruff.
It’s five fifty four. I’m two stops from the end of the line.
At the moment I am sexually frustrated and think about saving for a prostitute. With her tongue inside me I will blow her head with a shotgun. Her scalp will wear my pelvis like a hat.
I walk off the train and look over the safety rail of the platform. It is growing dark. I have wasted daylight like I waste all daylight.
I walk twelve blocks west and four blocks north. I stop in a diner. I order a coffee and drink it in the back so I can keep my wired eyes on incoming costumers. I leave my porcelain cup to relieve myself in their facilities.
I wash my hands several times in apprehension for the busy night. In my back pocket is a sewing kit. The larger pockets of my jacket carry plastic bags.
I have been ready for tonight now for weeks. I have been following the obituaries. I know whose grandmother has died and I know what religion she was. She was Protestant. Her name was Carlton, nee Marlowe. I always thought Virginia was a pretty name.
I walk south for seventy four minutes. It is nine forty eight. I will move at one eighteen. I swing in a public playground. The tire in front of me rocks from wind.
I kick empty soda cans and old cigarette butts. At the bottom of the tunnel slide is a condom wrapper, sticky with pre-ejaculatory fluid, an existence created only for rebelling against established failure. The sky will not rain tonight, the forecast says morning.
I go to the cemetery and walk through the open gate. I rummage through a grounds keeper’s things. I find a shovel and grandmother’s new grave. I disturb the earth and six feet in I open the coffin. It is three eleven as I clip off grandmother’s face with sewing scissors and keep it in plastic grocery bags. 
I climb on top of her and dig my thighs around her back. We are comfortable. I look into her empty face and tell her how my day went. I tell her about blisters on the underside of my fingernails from superglue and what I wanted to do with my life when I was fifteen. We spend long hours discussing current politics and what it feels like to be in love.
This grandmother would have made wonderful cookies. Had she lived longer than last week she could have baked several pies and left them on windowsills, dirt and grime filling around crusts.
I leave her and fill in her grave with disturbed earth and flowers from surrounding burials.

--Susie Swanton's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the cream city review and The North Central Review. She performed in the entry of The Encyclopedia Show Chicago which featured slices of John Wayne Gacy's brain.

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