I wandered from state to state down wild girl streets, sniffing magnolias in full milk-skin bloom. In humid opening I wounded my body. I rode scratch marks to this city where the homeless threw themselves down on futon cushions, happy to lie in the rain and lunch on midnight apple wine and bread worms. I kissed my lips into garbage cans. I became one of them. I rambled from roof to roof sweating starlight and caressing the sleek black rats that gnawed through brick and silt. What did I care about? Wasnt the scar on my face as much truth as any spoke? I stood near the river for the July 4th fandango of sparklers. I chewed the burnt pretzel dough of Christmas. Whiff of reefer, marrow of decomposing Pampers. Then a day as blue as my eyes came and a herd of sirens clanged up the avenues, stirred up police fire trucks ambulances. As I sat on my kitchen chair on a fire escape I watched buildings die. Blocks away bodies were burning away to soul and in the air voices cried Tell us how to stay alive. Billowing black smoke spiraled up. Enormous dust. A gaping hole in the sky people were falling from.
I found you on the internet. Creamy petals, you named me. Haunting powerful surrealism. We met up close and I skipped rope, each swing, a lash as it hit the floor and you sat at your keyboard, the poem was on its way. 50 times I jumped with my right foot. 30 with my left. You were hammering it out. Later I worked your flesh dough. You ate my nipples. I rested my head on your glutinous stomach. Patty Cake Baker Man. I thought you would breathe sonnets into me. You were just a man's tongue, a pulp I sucked coffee and menthol from. When I surprised you with cookies I found another chat room student. I could shoot you, shoot you both in the neck so youd bleed better. Dante, Poor Tom the blabbering idiot in Will Shakespeares Lear, John Donne, all of them nothing but window dressing. Im pulling down the shelves, scattering manuscripts. Me, psychotic? Who do you think you are? My fathers gold card?
In the bathroom everything hurts, my hands, my hazy barefoot eyes blurring in the toilet paper dispenser. I roll the liquid soap between my palms to warm my fingernails, take out my flask of apricot brandy and swallow. Theres a radiance wrapped around my head like the glistening of Mary the Sainted Mother or the goddess Marilyn Monroe. Then I realize I am Norma Jean. Armpits sweat dead rabbits. Collarbone broken. Im dressed in jeans that a shoehorn must have fit me into, red rattlesnake boots, Im carrying a cattle drivers whip, I slap the dust from my dark blond hair, shake my head and out come its pins. I take more brandy into me, daub it behind my ears. To know Im real. Norma Jean looks sad. I tap the mirror, wave and watch bubbles float up. My fingers on the end of galaxies. I pinch a fold of skin above my belly button, all the babies I didnt let live. My first man rises inside me. I was his dancing girl. He talked a three-tier angel food wedding cake. Afterwards I cleaned myself and he joined me in the bathroom. A dark-haired pale man excruciatingly unhandsome. Dont look at me that way, he said. What way is that? Like you love me. He finished and shook himself. The golden bud of urine on his cock swung. I sat and pulled on my white anklets worn double because my toes shivered, always cold.