Hi Y’all I Quit My Job And Now I’m Happy

Of course I’ve got other stuff, I signed all these tax papers today with a family. Isn’t that nice? My employer is a man and his wife, and my job is to take care of their little weirdo who wears his mom’s workout headband under his chin and up to his head with his red visor over it and the occasional clunky white headphones over that.

I am seriously lucky.

And I am not stocking groceries at a back-breaking angle in a place that people confuse for a health foods store.

That’s nice.

Also, I filled out these tax papers today, and I was like what is a Head of Household, really? I have always considered my household to be just me no matter if I had roommates, in tax terms.

But today, my household sounded a lot like me and Ben.

For me, this is the moment where I realized I am in a serious relationship, page 1 of my W4 for 2017.

I can’t wait to tell my therapist.

Microsoft Word, Stop it With that Red Zigzag Under the Word Timescape, Because It’s Real, Because We Imagined It, Watch:

Your Timeline is plotted as coordinates through an interface, so you can travel through it like the city.

You are always being born on the South side. You are always going off to college in Midtown. Your mother is always handing you a sack lunch on the corner of 22nd and Harrison. You are always rolling your eyes. Your uncle is always chasing you around Grandma’s, down a few blocks, with a hair brush, and the hair brush is always yanking tangles that are there because you are always rubbing a purple balloon on your head and lifting it up, and always learning static electricity, and showing your family how your hair can defy gravity.

How long will it take you to walk from post-collegiate adolescence, too much to do and none of it will pay—all the way back to high school theatre rehearsal breaks, piling into Marco’s car, laying across laps in the backseat, listening to Copeland or Death Cab and knowing every word?

And this you who is walking through the interface—is this a you who is watching another you be born always, and another you who is auditioning for Les Miserables, and another you who is making the decision to try her first cigarette?

And this you who is walking—is this a you who is always walking, and always watching another you who is always being born, and who is always getting the part of Fantine, and who is always making the decision to blame the pack of cigarettes on someone else? Could there be another you who is walking to that time you walked through the interface, watching this you, as you watch other yous?

And the you who is walking, is this a you who can stop watching, and can get back in Marco’s car, and lay across your old friends’ laps, and sing, not because you love the song (though you do) but because you love to sing?

And if this you who has stopped watching can get back in the car, then might this you forget the words? Can this you get in first and let Justin lay across the laps, and feel the weight of his head on your leg? Will you now be both always laying across laps, and always feeling Justin’s head in your leg? Will you create a new lifetime of coordinates that you can later walk to at some point, when you have unlocked the travel constraints of a timeline that moves only from past to future?

And this you who is listening, whose past I have seriously misrepresented, I’m sorry, but I only have my own past to draw from as examples. But if there are interfaces that turn timelines into cities, would you show me yours? Could we walk together? Would you walk through mine? What if we had all the time in the world?

Published in Sparkle & Blink 60 by Quiet Lightning

Chelsea On The Bus

Every time the bus approaches a stop, the brakes have come in too late, and Chelsea must grip the front of her seat on either side of her narrow hips, to avoid sliding up the pocket of her seat like a half pipe, and into the large woman with child on her lap, who is sitting next to her.

She smiles every time this almost happens, thinking both that she is on some sort of roller coaster, and that if she were to fall off, the bosom of the mother next to her would catch her, and she and the little boy on the lap would be safe there.

The little boy turns his head, and Chelsea sees a spot of drool on his mother’s shoulder, and she knows the kid has seen this, or at least feels it on his chin. Mama doesn’t acknowledge the saliva, but when the man next to her stands she plops her baby on his seat, directs his legs to dangle, and places his Bob The Builder backpack behind him in the seat.

Then, her magnificent arm sweeps both boy and backpack into the fat of her hips, his hair getting mussed in her armpit. Chelsea finds herself wanting both to shrink to the little boy’s height, and to plump up to Mama size, to have a belly for baby to bounce on, to have a bosom worthy of being called a bosom.

 

* Published with Bay Area Generations

Chelsea On Her Day Off

Chelsea doesn’t do yoga.  But she calls it that to avoid having to explain what it is she does.

First thing after she wakes up, she gets out of bed without turning the light on, and leaves the room.  She decides whether she’s going to have orange juice or go pee.

Either way, she does one and then the other, goes back to bed, and rests without sleeping for about a half hour.  She then dozes off at the last minute, and nods herself awake.  At this point, she gets out of bed and makes a hearty omelette and potatoes.

Once it is finished, she lays on her back on the rug.  She imagines that she shares this feeling with a bullfrog, stretched out on his back in a grassy field, sun shining off his soft belly.   She pretends to access a psychic connection with this bullfrog, and enjoys blinking in the rays of light, and feeling the warmth in her stomach.

She has no routine for the stretches that follow.  She believes in her stomach, and what it wants.  She stretches wherever it feels good.

*Published with Bay Area Generations

Chelsea Drunk, Reaching Over The Side Of The Bed To Her Cat

Cat! Cat Winslet! Come on, come over here!  You’re so pretty!

Chelsea has stretched too far; she slides off the bed.  Cat Winslet walks over, licks Chelsea’s finger, and then walks up onto her stomach, and around in a couple circles.  Chelsea puts her hand on top of Cat’s fur, and it’s so fucking soft.

See, I take good care of you!  I gave you a good home, right?  ‘Cause you just let me know if you need anything, and I’ll be there….in a hurry, ya don’t have to worry

I’m serious, though.  You’re stuck with me.   I’m gonna bury you one day.

Holy shit, you’re gonna be with me for your ever!  I’m gonna bury you.  I’ll do it. I don’t even care about symbolism, but it’ll be the last thing I know for sure I’ll do for you.  I don’t know if you want me to or not, but it’s a promise now.

*Published with Bay Area Generations

Chelsea Walking on the Beach

It’s a shame what dating profiles have done to the phrase: “long walks on the beach,” because someone’s love of long walks on the beach may be real.  And Chelsea walks for no man who finds these walks sweet, for no strong woman, and no effeminate man who dresses better than she, and no lumberjack-wearing city boy, and no Midwest transplant falling in love with every skirt in the produce store, and no down-to-earth guy just looking for a good time, and no half-buzzed head of hair trying to blow your mind, and no mother figure, and no penis, and no vagina.

Chelsea walks because each step is different in the sand. Or she walks because sand. Or she walks because it’s none of your fucking business.

*Published with Bay Area Generations

There Are Six People In This Bed

There are six people in this bed.  Two of us are having sex, and the other four are our parents, who made this moment possible and are trying to look away, pretending the mattress can shake this way of its own accord, and his mom and my mom are ending every sentence with a sigh, and asking about each other’s commute, and children, while my dad’s offering his dad a Coors Light, and talking about fixing this bed- but their conversation stops when they get to children because their heads go straight to the sex they’re all working to ignore, that’s going on right now, with his hand on my neck like we’ve both seen in porn- separately, and never told each other; just, he put his hand on my neck and I liked the feeling of surrendering, especially to someone as kind as my father.  Especially to someone who loves his mother, the sagging lady at the foot of the bed who won’t look at me, I just know it, even though his hand is flat against my cheek, rubbing my teeth against my cheek, my face into the mattress, and he’s turning my ass over and pretending not to look at his father, pretending not to hope his father’s watching, pretending not to hope his father’s proud, because he doesn’t want to think that he wants to be as good as his dad was at giving his mother a baby boy, at twisting up and fucking his mother and when I’m on top I hope this isn’t how my mother did it, letting her nipples slap his cheeks as he rubs her clit, a word neither of us learned from the other people in this bed, who knew full well and didn’t tell us.

*Earlier draft published in When in Drought: A User’s Manual
*Also published in Quiet Lightning’s Sparkle & Blink, in YESYESYES, and in Red Light Lit.