“Necessity is the mother of invention…and imagination is its weird uncle.”
–True Leonid Robinson Kraemer
“…I am human, and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does”
I am getting a cheeseburger Dad, you gentleman fellow I deign to say as the likes of us sit in the booth which sparkles. The waitress is from heaven, she is perfectly waitress, her hair is best. I make my hair like that for pretend. Under the table I have no shoes, yet the gentleman fellow dad says to me “Kid do you have your shoes tied,” out of the waitress’s hearing. My instruction from this, is to get ready to run when we have no money for pay for the food. The waitress unravels in her capacity to be my mother, she didn’t know it and would not know it, she floats in a bubble Glenda Good Witch Of The East style, in my mind. We run and she is visible to me only at the tips of her tall swathed beehive hairstyle, framed in the window.
Fortune smiles upon us and I stick my thumb out, his thumb sticks out, we stand by the highway the wind blows our hair upon our foreheads. There may be cows in the fields behind us, crops, strawberry pickers. Nobody gets paid on these flats. Mountains look like this or that ghost story to the west. My gentleman father needs a drink.
We catch a ride with a trucker who snorts white powder, his seats are scraped our of the cavern of his cab, so I gotta sit on hot metal. It makes me agitated, and I pass the time looking out into the black night. I sing a song about a dog who goes to look for a clean puddle of water.
The grocery store is bright, since we’ve been sleeping outside where it’s really dark. The man behind the counter looks like he has a family. My father ceases to be a gentleman and begins to hit the man when he refuses to give my father the cigarettes he paid for. The man says to my father “you should put your daughter in school.” My father breaks many small lines of plastic sunglasses, their opaque eyes spinning through the bright, suspended air like particles of Einstein’s vacant mirrors, which he supposed would be blank if we travelled too fast for the light to allow for our reflections to catch up with us. The familiar light of the squad cars rolls on a tangent as we run about outside the store now, dodging yellow painted lines. I bite the exposed ankle of the nearest officer, in a tender spot where his sock and his slack leg do not meet. I am placed inside a scratchy blanket and wrapped by large men, so that I resemble a four year-old girl impersonating a grey cigar. My arms are pinned, my white face naked, underscored by rotations of red, blue. I am an American cigar.
My adorable mother does not feel like my face is right, there is nothing I can fix about it which pleases her today. She has taken me to the jail phone to speak with our incarcerated family member, so that we can still be a family. Mother cannot get dressed and has lain upon the ground naked, out in the public eye, where the important thing is to get her to come shelter inside of some blanket, or to stop rape from happening to her. Rape is not good and she cries hard when it happens. I hide by the wheels of this car or that one, after hitting a man who does it with the knuckles of my small fists. Mud is in my teeth and makes my mouth gritty. There are ballerinas in New York who leap across a black stage and their dresses are made out of something impossible. My mother will be safe in a dress like the ones they have. A painter named Renoir has made frames containing these types of dancers, and we plan to rent copies of these Renoir paintings when we get a library card, as there is a section of the library in this or that type of town, in which small copies of famous paintings can be borrowed, placed on a kitchen wall in a home we would have, for three weeks until the library would expect the pictures to be returned.
My mother and I have arrived late after a cavalcade of yellow school buses arrived, in Tennessee. A professor from Berekely, California has become interested in eating tofu, and everybody followed him here. There aren’t cheeseburgers. One man keeps Philadelphia Cream Cheese on his shelf in the huge refrigerator, he yells at me for eating it. I sit underneath a wide tree with the silver cream cheese package, my eyes glued to the wide Tennessee sky, the bright green hills. There is one grandpa-shaped man I can talk to in the kitchen, he wears a hat to keep warm. He is my kind friend. The other men and women act like they were just born, overcome by everything, just learning everything newly, or some act as if they are done learning and have no time to wait, they’ve got to stop everything and make sure nobody thinks wrong. The impatient people are bossy, and make sure everybody makes the same long sound while the sun comes up, together. Then they run to fill buckets with soybeans, melt them, turn them into milk, chalky milk. Nobody’s fancy on the outside here, yet the women seem like they adorn the men, perching at their strong shoulders like wide eyed owls, speaking in agreement. I am used to guns going off and screaming, and here all these big looking children are so interested to agree, the air is thicker, even so, with a kind of iron rule of group agreement than it would be if dishes broke, went flying. The sun shines on these big children every day and they don’t get any older, except a few of them who seem old already, and these want to help babies who are brought here to be born. These helpers are the baba yaga ladies. The baba yaga ladies open the big gate to the girls nobody wants, who come from outside of the gate, the girls of Tennessee who will only be allowed to stay in their towns if their babies don’t get seen. These babies show up in the morning when the last stars are visible, while their real mothers recede from them back over the fence. It’s baba yagas for them forevermore, unless their mothers return for them someday.
We have gone to Montana, my mother and my erstwhile father, to live with the Blackfoot Indains. My father’s incarceration was not permanent. The native Blackfoot people say our family can live in the cursed house, on their reservation, where murder happened. The blizzard is howling and I hear the wolves crying their wailing song, so in we go away from that. Even so, I am not afraid of these wolves out beyond our cursed house windows, they tell me about the path the wind takes. Their voices are wise. We walk along in a great line when the snow lets up, the Blackfoot people and my family, we’re adopted now. In a large wood lodge a fire is lit for each direction to be honored, the snow melts from animal skins and the black hair all around me glints in shafts of sun. These people have made us feel at home. We leave them, and I am separated from my brothers, the wolves. I have never come close enough to them to look into their eyes. My voice must have reached them as a mouse might be heard in a hurricane. Maybe they will sniff my footprints in the blank snow, know I’m gone.
When a family member goes bonkers, what do you do, there’s nothing to eat. Mother has gone bonkers and that’s now the main hardest thing, without food. The Blackfoot and the wolves on the road back behind us are starving, too, however much we have been separated. My mother begins to feel that her head is consumed by flames and the two of us actually turn invisible by some trick, as my father ceases to see us, due to his passion for beer. We are left to do chores for a logger in exchange for large quantities of beer, which my father takes with him, diminishing into a frigid horizon.
I ask my mother to carry me, in an attempt to be a child whose feet are sore, when we take leave of the logger.
“I am a tired child whose feet are sore,” I state with clarity.
She is on fire, she cannot listen to me.
In the place called Reno we are found again by my charming father. These two people have something bad between them. They have brought me into a state of life based upon an exchange of their genetic information, compiled, organized differently in me. The underlying patterns implied by this climate of existence require their own form of logic, and beyond that, there’s fate, which may or may not be malleable. What’s known as luck is just around the corner, and maybe this is particularly true for those who stay in Reno.
The gentleman gets a job as a cab driver. He has been in the war in Vietnam, prior to my birth and behaves like a shark in a large tank of water, flexing his skin and ramming himself continuously against invisible barriers. Driving a cab suits his pattern, idling, building steam, short bursts of momentum.
My burning mother becomes a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. That her head is engulfed in flames does not prove to be a hindrance to her in this occupation, she is still able to serve the customers. I’m fed large bowls of tomato salsa, chips.
One night my father slides away into the cold Reno night, while the casinos flash and sputter. Gilligan’s Island t.v. show looks for him in black and white, doesn’t find him on the island. Tiddlywinks plastic game discs look for him, snapping themselves plastically in increments further from the plastic receptacle which it is their goal to land in. All falls out of orbit. Mother’s head is engulfed in flames, Oz The Great And Terrible says that it is possible to get blown off course. My father has become like Superman, except that now we cannot see him where he is out there, a piece of home chained ‘round his neck which makes him stagger, he is weakened in his efforts to reconcile the loss of it.
The grandmother is my mother’s mother, she travels around as she likes in whatever vehicle she can hire, as she has handbags full of money. She burned her children in a fire, including my mother, and broke pieces of their insides when they were too small to ward her off.
My mother was born, and has a mother called the grandmother, just like everybody else does. Mother was born in Japan, stepped out of the atomic bomb cloud in Japan, due to the fact that all of our family were Americans who were somehow involved in the world war 2. Her, mother, the grandmother, seemed to grow by virtue of weird radiation from that bomb, according to my mother. The grandmother left behind her New York bikini swimsuit and assumed her ultimate form of a 550 foot tall madwoman with streaming black hair and a set of white teeth, all for eating children with. Coming back to America made the grandmother small again, according to my mother, usual size for a human. The grandmother still wears a set of chopsticks in her hair. My mother hears the grandmother’s theme music as opera, with bombs falling, this plays loudly when she enters. My mother feels sorry for the bombs we Americans dropped in Japan, just like everybody else does. My mother and I want to have a safe family just like every body else does.
The grandmother arrives and locks mother away in a mental institution, she also pops me into a large sedan, heading for Florida. We stop along the caves of Kentucky. She orders rare steaks at restaurants along the way, I watch her eat bloody meat. Lifeguards at hotel swimming pools throw large fistfuls of bright, copper pennies into the air, the coins sift through the pale blue chlorinated water: I dive for them and win prizes offered to children on vacation, sunscreen, Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, or small flotation devices to aid in swimming. I am close to the lifeguards, feel safe around them.
The grandmother has put me in a closet for some time, now, the grandmother orders that I should pray for forgiveness for trying to murder someone. The people she says I have tried to murder vary, I can’t keep track of them. I am weak, tired from kneeling on the floor, have not seen sunlight in a long time. I sing songs and press my face into the coats hanging around me, in the closet.
The grandmother takes me to the bathroom, stands me in front of the big, lighted mirror and she asks me how I will look to my new, grown-up husband, a man she says she will have meet me. I look. With her lipstick on, I am a doll, which she has placed in poses of her choice. She must once have been a child who played with dolls.
A social worker has come to the front door of the house where the grandmother is keeping me, and two policemen stand on either side. The woman reads a paper and the door swings open for me, I step into the light of day, tucked into a car with the radio on. Goners from there. I ask the social worker for a donut. At this point, I am able to question her on the status of my mother, I want to know if her mind has unraveled into a formless mass of yarn instead of the held-together sweater it once was. My mother has a mind, just as everybody else does. The string of it gets pulled by this or that thing. I recommend that she be taken out of the doctor’s room, as the grandmother’s choice of doctors is suspect. The social worker assures me that the best of care has been taken, in placing my mother out of harm’s way.
Placed under the care of a foster family, I am in a small town and have a record-player for my use. My pajamas are new, my own bedroom has a smoke-alarm near to it, and we meet in our foster family construct to discuss an agreement we’ll have on how to get to safety from the house, should the smoke-alarm ring.
Meanwhile, I occupy myself in fathoming how the war in Vietnam, and Japan’s bombing by the Americans could have gotten started, as my mother and father were so influenced by each of these sad happenstances.
My stay with this family is fleeting, they love me and provide me with a birthday cake with candles on my 6th birthday, give me a wish when I blow out the candles. I have listened to all of their Beachboys albums, and have taken to heart my own role in the evacuation plan we discussed, should the smoke-alarm go off. We say goodbye to each-other and I am taken to another foster-home, not so nice, the new father is a predator for sure.
During this time of change I read what I can concerning the country of France, and its historic involvement in conquest of Indonesia, intersecting with France’s dealings with The United Kingdom and Russia, which later includes Japan’s involvement with the United Kingdom, Russia, and Germany, eventually leading to a big smash-up, later, between America, Vietnam, France, and Japan, among others: my father and mother bob out of all of this like apples in a barrel. I feel my hands are tied behind my back and I am apple-bobbing for the facts which concern my family. Books at this or that home, or church are useful sources, as well as libraries. Time magazines, and the black and white show called “60 Minutes” are also useful sources of historical information.
My first-grade class in this new, foster-family town is presenting a flower play, I am to play the part of a violet, to twirl in a purple skirt. At the foster-home the new predator father and his beat down wife take us from home to church, where everybody prays to god for some kind of forgiveness for what’s going on at night. There are drugs in my food and drink, which make me pass out. The predator father often uses the term “sex-pervert.” I am beaten, yet the retarded son of this man fares worst of all, as he is sent in his near-blindness, with heavy glasses attached to his head by means of a large, elastic strap, out to shovel the excrement of the family’s many guard dogs, who reside in the snow behind the house. Eventually we are all tied to a sled from a rope which trails from the predator’s truck’s back fender, and pulled for fun in and out of the frozen marshes on the outskirts of town, where this man has taken us with all of his long hunting guns.
The social worker has arrived again, she takes me several times around the block in her warm car, we chat about the terms I’ve learned, including “sex-pervert,” and she gives me an update on my mother’s progress. The social worker tells me not to mention her plan, which is to get me out of this home.
In two days I am being photographed for a passport, as I will soon fly to England. The libraries in England must contain a great deal of information concerning both Vietnam and Japan. I will be absent in my role as a twirling violet in the school play, in this cold town.
The Blackfoot grannies told me a crocodile story, here it is: earlier, the crocodile people were numerous in the river, and the river stretched further than the eye could see. They lived and were happy, raising many of their young. One night, a change blew in on the night wind, and the old granny crocodile said to her dearest children: “Humans will come, They will bring anger in their hearts and they will turn this water red with the blood of our people. When this change comes, make sure you do not become distracted by the changes which occur, keep to your own simplicity within your hearts. Follow it. It will lead you on a path of light, to freedom.
When the humans came to the big river, they began to shoot each-other with their guns. Some of the fallen tumbled into the river, whereupon many of the crocodiles ate them. Soon, the humans noticed that their fallen comrades were being eaten, and they turned their guns upon the crocodiles, so that the water ran red with the blood of humans and crocodiles, in a mixture of sorrow which polluted the river. A few of the baby crocodiles remembered what their good granny had told them, however, and these swam free, out of the wreckage, to a new and unpolluted place. These few began again, and great spirit smiled upon their labors in the new waters where they came to dwell.
The secrets you’ve got can turn into movies, it’s okay when that happens. On the airplane to England, with my grown-up cousin, I make the movies in my head. I sit in the Director’s chair and this is what the first film is ( everybody on the airplane could watch this type of film, if a magical stewardess were to give out headsets, as this is a trans-Atlantic flight, and the aircraft comes equipped with those little hanging movie cubes, anyhow):
lobsters have met me on the marble surface of the ocean, fairly near to the atomic plume of a bomb which is being tested, near to The Bikini Islands. Everything is filmed in black and white, due to the early era in which the film is set. The film is grainy, celluloid, clear. These lobsters are man-sized, all stand erect as men would, waving their long, weighted antennae about in the clear air. A tremendous wind has come up. I solemnly bequeath a set of ear-muffs to each lobster, who bows slightly to accept the protective head-gear, each falls slowly into the sea as if in imitation of a Zigfield Follies dancer. I look grave, responsible for protecting the hearing of so many atomically exposed lobsters. The underwritten narrative, in nice black letters, is read by a gentle, older voice, Antoine Saint-Exupery’s voice, a bit sad, inclusive, not without the humor it takes to live. The narrative runs:
“ In this world, it is often customary to apply the term “genius,” to figures in this or that field of expertise, be it Science, in the splitting of the atom, or on military fronts in the strategems which get these, or those humans blown up, depending upon the interest of the day….Yet the children of our world will show you in the blink of an eye an act of genius in the face of such horrors, by, say, putting earmuffs upon the head of a lobster… in order to protect the ears of this innocent creature from the loud sounds of our ceaseless bombardments. Absurd, perhaps, yet thoughtful to the smallest detail in the methods of hope and imagination which must proceed our species, if we hope to foster any future world in which to live.”
Here is the next movie: I am dressed as The Statue Of Liberty, I am a tiny figurine within a snow-globe. The Blackfoot grannies shake me and pass me hand to hand, dollar-bills swirl around me: I begin to light this paper money on fire and the many George Washingtons begin to cry, banners come out of their mouths which read: “sorry for the slaves.” All begin to meld and burn, until the Blackfoot grannies crack the globe and toss me gently onto the snow. Dancers wearing deer antlers surround me, all in six points circulating around me so that from above, I must look like a human snowflake intermingled with deer. Soldiers lift their hands from where they have stood in formation and soon the sky is filled with snowflakes of me, as if I were a replicated communion wafer made out of deer antlers and the Statue Of Liberty. The soldiers open their mouths, close their trembling eyelids—they are only boys, after all, boys and girls who stand in the snow wearing the uniforms of soldiers, even so, armed with guns. The boys and girls catch me on their tongues, my replicated forms are eaten, and each child’s eyes open, each child’s eyes have the same word written in them. This word is all one can see shining from the eyes of these children:
In the next scene, a wolf begins to appear on a barren landscape of snow, the camera holds to the horizon as the shape of the wolf transforms from a far-away dark movement until gradually, one can see the wolf approaching. An old woman’s voice narrates this scene, the words may be shown as underwriting along the snow in black letters. The old woman’s voice speaks as the wolf draws closer:
“ It is less a trick of the eye, than a perceptual illusion of the heart, that, at a certain distance a figure which moves upon the heart’s horizon cannot accurately be perceived as either advancing, or retreating. The emotional landscape of the heart may appear barren, in in the case of some individuals, yet however devoid of recognizable touchstones this or that heart may be, a barometer exists somewhere, which measures the climate of a soul who finds himself either approached by or abandoned of the exertions and interest of another soul. The heart’s barometer measures trust in others. A small amount of faith is also required, in the endeavor of any person to measure the propensity which each soul may have, for advance or retreat within the markers of love’s horizon.”
The wolf has moved close enough to the camera to speak, the wolf begins speaking, in this same, old woman’s voice:
“…Child, humans will talk to you of value, it is a fixation of the world you’ve entered. Listen closely, I will tell you the value of the planet which holds you.”
The wolf writes these words in the snow, in a vertical column:
“ Of these treasures, which your species may be entrusted to keep revenue of, Medicine comprises all three treasures, and also, a fourth. The medicine lies in which manner a species will adopt in the balancing of the exchange which must happen among all of these treasures.
How does your species understand, interact with, appreciate dirt? Can your culture speak dirt’s language, facilitate its conversation with the edibles it grows?
Your species will live, or die depending upon the answers it devises to this simple question.
Ask this of yourself and your kindred: is your relation to the treasures of air and water such, that you will recognize purity and seek it, maintain purity as a standard…however much profit this or that industry seeks to render, at purity’s expense?
Remember: Medicine, however it may seem a science maintained by those accredited to hold its administration, is, at its root, an endeavor of balance. No more. No less.
Listen to our voices now: you will hear the first voices of your species, when your brothers and sisters, the wolves, howl.”
The snow is filled with howling wolves.
Posthumous Shrug, a tall news reporter who wears a light colored trenchcoat and a fedora, comes on screen in the foreground, holding microphone, addressing the camera. Posthumous is half salmon, half man, and fluctuates between the two species in a sporadic fashion. Currently he is in fish form, walks upright like a man, on his resilient tail.
“Good evening, this is Posthumous Shrug reporting for The New York Times on special assignment, here at the wolf sanctuary in Glacier National Park. The sanctuary was donated to the wolves by a macaque monkey, who recently collaborated with an esteemed photographer to publish a manifesto entitled: “The Anti-Selfie: What Our Doppelgangers Can Teach Us,” a book and pictorial essay which jumped to number one on the Times’s bestseller list. All proceeds from the book go to this sanctuary in Glacier National Park, which is rapidly expanding its accommodations to house other endangered creatures…and, well, to open its doors to some creatures which may also have been marginalized. A small band of Pacific Wild Salmon, it seems, has escaped genetic modification by the corporate giant known as Water/Rival, and has taken up residence here, at Glacier. These wild salmon are engaged in what is being called a “water sit-in,” or occupation of a native stream without a permit. Water/Rival bought the rights to occupy all streams on our planet, in a corporate merger with a bottled soda giant, and leading corporations within the fracking industry, after it became evident that the genetically engineered breed of salmon patented by Water/Rival, a fish known as The Water Rival King, was the only salmon breed able to survive in waters contaminated by the chemical process of fracking. To date, the stream within the Glacier sanctuary remains uncontaminated by fracking, however, and these wild salmon maintain it is their last refuge. How they will manage to stave off cost of legal proceedings, and manage to make their way from here to either the Atlantic, or Pacific oceans within the next six months is a mystery well worth solving. “ (Silence, wolves howl.) “This has been Postumous Shrug.”
The flight to England takes a long time. My cousin is a film-maker, we’ll go there, to a house outside of London and travel back and forth, from there to studio locations.
The film she’s making is about King Arthur. He’s looking for a cup from the last supper, it’s one of the Hallows mentioned in the bible. I’m wondering if Arthur thinks it’s okay that his tribe is going to try to get to Bethlehem later on, and crusade for stuff like this cup, and later, that the cup will appear to be filled with crude oil and that wars will be waged over that substance. Eventually, Arthur’s pale silks and wrought linked mail will yield to a pendulum swinging the other way, and a tribe of black garbed men will swing their swords toward what we call the west, spilling blood for their crusade. Crusades are such a bummer.
The English mailboxes look just like American industrial garbage cans, if I had someone to send letters to I would worry that I was throwing them away. I’ve written letters to my mother and taped them to trees, as Rosalind does in a play by William Shakespeare. There’s a lovely ash grove beyond the immense property we live on, it’s good to be alone there. My cousin is a naturalist, and makes her own clothes out of fabric culled from the woods. She’s made my frocks, pants, jerseys, crafted little buttons which still have bits of bark on. I’ve been to school on the first day of first grade, resuming my term following my departure from America, and sat to listen to a teacher explain to a room full of children, that the moon is reflecting the sun’s light. I’ve only just heard this, I’ve come to a crossroads over this bit of science, just like everybody else does: it’s moonlight which has a special place in one’s imagination, which is capable of floating the owl and the pussycat, who:
“went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green boat,”
and there’s the flat rock of the moon reflecting the sun’s light. I’ll decide on incorrect moonlight, privately, then, and not the suffocation of science without magic. Saved my soul, quick as that.
I’ll guess that much of the fabric worn by my peers is culled from petroleum sources, one way or another. It’s easy to imagine labels above each article of clothing a person wears, much as geologic surveys in a textbook indicate strata layers by pop-out labels marked with fresh white arrows, or color-coded: “Polyurethane, polyvinylchloride, nylon, elastic, pleather.” Among this forest of prefabricated compounds, I become a sapling from some lost time, bark peeling from my button beneath my chin. My woven cap of green reeds looks like a bird’s-nest on my head.
We’ve been shooting a lot of film in cathedrals, I do brass-rubbings and listen to the cavernous trash-compacter sounds of delicate organ music hanging over our heads in the stone vaults. The cathedrals are so dark, due to the heavy stone’s blockage of light, that the stained glass windows actually project their tableaus through shafts of light onto what seems to be the dark canvas of the deep, stone darkened gloom; holograms were the thing in old France, who would have known they could pull it off so well.
On a ship between England and France, in the English Channel, I’m dancing in a disco the ship has on some deck, enclosed with mirrors all around. A disco does what a cathedral does, only with plastic and mirrors, distracts, rather than transcends. The cathedrals are the dolls made of real hair, cloth, and china, hand-painted, named. The discos are the barbi doll halls of exaltation, up on their flashy, identical rubber toes. I dance anyhow and suddenly I’m crying, for the Blackfoot grannies, for the wolves in their starving snow, for the Japanese bomb of my mother and her unraveling mind, for the depraved super-hero of my father, in his barefoot hitchhiking hobo oblivion. The singer with her band called “Blondie” sings:
“Once I had a love, and it was a gas,
soon turned out, had a heart of glass
feels like the real thing, only to find
mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind.”
A Talk With God:
“ A bad guy is a good guy, to another bad guy.”
“I am ordering a cheeseburger,” says Twinkletoes to me, God you hear me I don’t have cash for the cheeseburger. I’ve sat myself with my back to the exits of the café, a mistake, God watch out for me. How fast are we going? The waitress is in slowmotion, she’s writing my eulogy for certain and it’ll wrap up nice in her beehive, God you’ve seen she’s not naked so I’ve not got my kid in a strip-joint.. I’ve told Twinkletoes her twat will fall off and a hairy one will grow in its place, be prepared.
Now it’s the road and we’ve cleared the parkinglot fairly, glass on the pavement goddamnit and hand-cuffs coming, Twinkletoes in her bare feet, God you decided on my having this body, this incarnation, hand-cuffs on me now and Twinkletoes receding into their older, institutionalized path, the police parcel her up God, she’s your foundling cigar now, fuck all.
God Twinkletoes has come with her mom Esmirelda to hang on the jailphone, they look to me like two lucky pennies under the lights there. What can be done, Esmirelda thinks her head’s on fire and maybe it is, in another time-space-continuum. Esmirelda has a gap between her teeth which lets in all of the water of the sea, just look at her she’s a mass of turbulent ocean in place of a human being, even her footsteps leave wet marks on the ground. I’m a continual desert, a few solitary scorpions trot through, a snake. We just cancel each-other out. I’ve asked Esmirelda for any treasure she had rolling along her depths, she has parched herself in my dry reaches. Neither of us has given birth to a world together. Twinkletoes is all we got from our collision. God save us all.
I heard Twinkletoes and Esmirelda made it up to Tennessee, working on the farm up there with those guru food Nazis. I am still freezing my butt off on the Blackfoot land, none of the Blackfoot listen to Bob Seeger or have porno magazines, I believe I’m in straight heaven. God would you send me down a box of Fruit Loops cereal, I am out of beer and whatever happens, get me to Reno so Twinkletoes can see a little more of her dad, eyeball to eyeball, so we can all stack up again, Esmirelda the kid and me, all lined up like dominoes ready to flick over as we fall into new clothes, jobs, shoes.
Reno in the summertime makes you want to sit in a movie theater and drink iced rum. Beer works. The movie “Jaws” is out now, I took the kid to it too many times and she sits with her hands over her eyes, like a see-no-evil monkey.
When you got no money, you wait for people who want to go somewhere, then they pay you to take them, and it’s a job. God do you pay your angels to wait for people to get ready to die?
I let this guy who called himself Root Beer Messiah stay at the house, Esmirelda went out to her mexican gig and I got some beer, came back and he stuck his rod in Twinkletoes when nobody was looking, she was just hanging there off the end of it like a mouse on a flagpole. I kicked some of his teeth in, he left town. Root Beer Messiah.
My friend Billy Jack come down from North Dakota somewhere, with all this heavy booze and some inheritance he’d got from his racist folks off an old plantation. Billy Jack can’t keep his mouth shut about anybody who isn’t white, and our asses would get kicked more, if I hadn’t bailed us out, continue to do so. How fast are we going? God I keep having to ask you, if we are in the past or the present. We’ve got ourselves in some shit, now, Twinkletoes and Esmirelda have passed through many plastic beaded curtains while the Darjeeling tea bags bob along in Esmirelda’s ocean, the two of them grasping at whatever looks like flotation or a place to sleep, Twinkletoes likes to drink Darjeeling tea with cream in it. I gotta buy an axe and go kill Esmirelda’s crazy mother otherwise she’ll get to them, stick Esmirelda in the nuthouse for sure.
- I heard Twinkletoes got swallowed by the Leviathan of Esmirelda’s mother, and she got her up in some Kentucky caves, or in Florida, in hotels. I can see Twinkletoes inside your heaven God, up on a barstool watching the jello fountain glasses with the little whipped cream tops, all rotating with other desserts in a cold case. Billy Jack says Twinkletoes can join his harem, and do tricks with other little girls like in a miniature strip club, and I’ve lost my mind enough to imagine that, doped, and obscene like a rabid dog. I been so sick with alcohol poisoning I keep having the same dream, I’m crawling through the bright aisles of a supermarket with my head hanging almost to the floor, and everybody’s screaming like a choir at a Baptist church, handing me big sloshing glasses of cow’s milk, all singing hallelujah as if they’re on a chorus line. Twinkletoes puts on a pair of sunglasses, and God, you say
- “Your Daughter Should Be In School.” Albert Einstein pulls up in a semi-truck and takes me faster than the speed of light, we see Twinkletoes hopping across little atomic explosions off the Bikini Islands, just managing to escape being blown to bits. King Arthur shows up and makes me go out and look for the grail in the snowed-in backyard of a Christian guy with a lot of rifles. I dig straight through until I unearth a birthday cake for Twinkletoes, which I grab and try to escape with, but cathedrals are all around me, big church organs and bells. David Bowie sings: “Run for the shadows, run for the shadows in these golden years” and I’m hitchiking with a bunch of lobsters, Blackfoot indians, farm hippies, waitresses with beehive hairstyles, and a tall fish wearing a trenchcoat and a fedora.
My ma was my people, she gave me sandwiches and kept me going, she always give me some money from her purse. It might be the end of the line now for me, I can’t get my dick up no more, and my teeth are getting loose. I keep thinking about my ma while I’m hanging out my socks to dry. She liked to wear Hawaiian mumus. I don’t know why the human race doesn’t all wear mumus, you never have to get dressed, you just throw one over your head and you’re decent. I got fucked up the ass in a tunnel when I was a kid by a bunch of boys, and my ma never told my dad about it or he would have killed me, she just made me a tuna-fish sandwich and took me to the supermarket, and said pick out anything you want, and I got a gallon of milk and six boxes of Cracker-Jax, all to myself. The mumus she wore were all bright colors. They were always a comfort to me.
Your Beautiful Future
The Virgin Mary looks just like a vagina, if you squint your eyes: try it sometime. Remember that the clitoris is the hooded face, the labia all the blue and red robes. A human eye looks like a vagina if you flip it sideways, vertically, rather than viewing it straight on. A vagina with teeth. I’ve practiced sitting any number of places in the world, to see what assumptions might be formed from varying perspectives: I’ve made an effort to become educated.
Twinkletoes has got a lot of fondness for cheeseburgers, it’s not reasonable. I look at her face and I see all of her expressions, many of them aren’t good. She’s too young for the future we’re headed to, like a scampering monkey at the controls of a space rocket, hurtling toward the atmosphere of Earth, or away from it, pressing buttons which make approach and retreat from home fluctuate. We’re supposed to make the home, that’s clear to me, otherwise she’ll miss knowing what it is and she’ll lack the skill of heading toward it, or safely departing from the wrong home. We lack the technology in our hearts to build this thing, home, and she’s too young to be in charge of it. We’re like some experiment of an artist somewhere, which everybody realizes is a parable of our fucked up culture, later, when the artist dies. We are the dying artist. Twinketoes is our beautiful future.
Don’t pick a husband who makes you kneel and suck his dick, or who goes to jail for acts less than noble. Don’t pick a drunk. Turn into a boy, if you can, and learn to play the guitar and play folk music, so that you never have to wear high-heels to keep a job. Wear heavy eye-liner, which is not tested on animals. Don’t cut your greens when you eat them, it reduces their nutritional value to have their enzymes broken by slicing. Tearing them is better. Don’t trust corporate breakfast cereal companies, their food is genetically modified and contains the same ingredients which the same corporations sell to county governments, in the form of industrial road cleaners for interstate highways. If you decide to turn into a woman, don’t use dioxin-based, bleached tampons, they cause cancer. Don’t ever kill ants, they are sacred and teach us about patience. Don’t get stuck in a suburban town. Read The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, instead of those early reader books they will push on you in 1st grade. Don’t get smart with me, or I’ll beat your ass with a wooden spoon. Tell your gentleman father not to come back anymore, and tell the Christian childcare people no thanks, we’re Jewish. Don’t forget me, I’m sorry about all the peyote we gave you on the road. See you in your beautiful future.
Dawn Robinson graduated from Pacific University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, an MFA program which continues to birth writers of all genres in the manner of Aphrodite’s birthing, scuttling them along the mysterious, twinkling foam of creative commencement. She lives in Northern California, where she enjoys trying to be a better person each day.