6.08 / July 2011

Eleven Poems

Walgreens

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“I am hairless! Thank you drugstore!” She walks with a certain kind of pomp. “The yacht is calling,” she says. (Draped with silk and Swarovskis?) “The yacht is a stand-in,” she says. This is the beginning of a journey! (As usual, she wants to know how it will end.) Wondering if she should unravel her coiled braid, she steps into pools of water, no coat to cover, no man to rescue. “I wish there were lily pads,” she says. “Lily pads would make the environment delicate.” Calves wet, she is walking on an absolute poem of land, her legs effulgent. There is a chasm beyond the bend and it reminds her.


Primetime

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Her husband is lying on a bearskin rug. He is motioning with his hand. “Come here! Come tickle me!” She is too happy! She is never angry! (Anger is unlikeable. I was once told that my characters were unlikeable. They were all based on myself.) “But what of the husband?” He is quite nice sometimes. Occasionally, he massages her. “And how do I refrain from television watching?” The woman on TV who looks like the woman in the story says that she is not here to make friends. She is here to be iconic. She is not here to find a husband, she is here to overcome. “How do I know when it is over?” she says. (I want to un-paint her, keep her bare, but she is shingled.)


Hats

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The woman at the park! There are poets reading on a blanket, telling each other what they see. They are pointing out the homeless. (They want only to understand the homeless.) They say, “Gentrification.” (“The novel is dying characters dying.”) The woman buys a Moleskine. She wants to write an essay but she has quit smoking! Her loins are wasted. She tells her husband. “My loins are wasted!” He says he is an aesthete. “Your loins are beautiful! Are you fishing?” Watching fake news out of the corner of his eye. “I can’t get above it,” she says. “And also, my head will never be a hat-wearing head. It is mal-formed.”


Nipped & Tucked

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The woman’s mother used to faint after baths. Her mother’s ex-husband wanted to buy her mother a boob job. Mother told the woman this over lemon drops, in the Caribbean. “Uncoil your hair and let me tell you a story!” her mother said. “Of the day my EKG was abnormal!” Her mother’s heart was broken but she played “guts ball” with it all her life. She did not have a boob job. They would have made her get a pacemaker and Mother did not want to rely on anything but what God gave her. “But what does it feel like to have a broken heart?” (Like galloping?) “Like a void of course.”


Remedies

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“I want to be iconic.” The woman tells her husband this while she is slicing yogurt. “I can’t get above it.” He is on the bearskin rug. He is smoking. She spreads yogurt on him. “How did you learn to spread so well?” he says. “You cover every part. You never miss one part.” (She realizes her hair is in her eyes.) “It’s intuitive!” she says. He tells her there is no such thing. “The strange thing is that time passes,” she says. (The Disneyland commercial is on again. The worst thing for a Californian to realize is that there is no one they would like to go to Disneyland with.) “But it’s okay,” she says. “It passes slowly.”


Those Shoes That Make Your Butt Look Better

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She is dressing in leather, arm in tourniquet, when the wings of the apartment cordon off abruptly. He says, “Go.” She says, “I’m trying.” The binding snaps. Something about breathing is foreign and heavy. It is always on her mind, whether she is breathing right. She has taken up jogging, carrying pounds of seashells inside her pockets, hearing weight makes the time more hellish. Hellish is good, they say. He folds paper furiously on the rug. (She gets news faster on her knees.) She joins him and they make fortune tellers with the paper, the way they used to do as children. The paper tells her she will find a husband. She thinks of her mother, tries to pinpoint the failure age, how she might calculate days of rest.


Shape Contest

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The eaves outside the apartment shudder. “The opera,” she says, “now that’s timeless.” (She sleeps longer deeper when she pretends to love things.) They make sundaes, let chocolate drip, lick fingers, spit out muddy spit onto their own forearms. Make shapes. Have a shape contest. (I want her to make a star, a young girl star!) Thinking harder, she can only imagine the bust of those singers, the way their breasts spilled out. (Like blankets unfolding!) “I want to ride bareback while drinking a lemon drop!” she says. He is masturbating on the rug, his phone tuned to mobile porn.


The Dumbest Thing You Can Do To Your Boobs

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She is reading about the dumbest thing you can do to your boobs. He says, “It must be to let them shrivel.” (The rug is still wet.) They say the best way to start a conversation is to talk about his clothes? (This has never worked for me!) They say compliments are key? “You should eat this pickle,” he says. “You should eat it slowly.” (She likes pickles. They remind her of aging.) She tells him that when she was a girl, she used to eat the pickle skin before the jellied seeds. Used to stand the shelled seeds on the tip of her nose. Used to sleep with seeds beside her pillow for days at a time. “It shouldn’t worry me so much when I say no,” she says. “No,” she says.


Lacuna

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She says she wants to ride over the park, up and over the park! (All mud and hair and broken nails.) They will ride on the bearskin rug! (It is magic, all fur is magic. It is a whole new world, they told her.) They raise their arms like rollercoaster riders, fingers tickling cloud bellies! They lower their arms like skipping girls, grabbing at the trees, uprooting trees, jump roping with the city! The beach is a soap bubble around them. “Why shouldn’t every day be without landscape?” she says. “Why shouldn’t every day be without sea?”


The Morning is a Stretch

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She sees green cables holding up the sun. “How is it they hold?” she says. “How is it they hold the weight?” He is trying to give himself oral on the rug. “It’s yogic,” he says. She is working on a Jell-O mold the size of the sun! She is making tomato aspic, the color of the sun! She is burning between her legs, the burning like the sun! She is touching herself and feels like she is elbow deep in sun! The bear head is turning, craning.


De-Friend

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“This rug is like an island!” he says. (I have to let him speak.) “This rug is like a pit!” He is licking his laptop tearfully. Her father has created a Twitter account for her? It’s the most horrifying thing that has ever happened to her. (They are always trying to help.) There are rappers and porn stars and dirty teen girls following her. She feels like they are really following her in circles around the apartment, around the park, around the city. (But she has always felt this way.) Father says you must make people want you by wanting them. (He wants nothing to do with aging.)


Amanda Montei is a recent graduate of the MFA program at California Institute of the Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Harriet: The Blog, DOGZPLOT, Nighttrain, Nanofiction, Word Riot and others. She blogs intermittently for Ms.Magazine and lives in Los Angeles.