A Rescue Plan for the Woman who Lays in Bed Whining

Tyra would not get out of bed on her thirtieth birthday
or let me celebrate with her in any way
although she left the door open so I could let myself in
she tucked the blankets into all her edges
including her feet, with only her face bare
stubborn and grimacing

I tried to untuck her for a tickle into laughter
but she had armed herself against that favored tactic
I told her I would buy anything she wanted
or that she could buy it herself
because she was so much more successful than me
–nothing.

Then I huffed up my frustration and almost turned away
I muttered, Well, you’ll have to give up
And keep me company anyways
Because all of the idiots are going to do stupid things
And start dying off around this age

She didn’t say she didn’t care or cry or moan
so I looked over at her to find my reward
that she was grinning, so that was what worked
she slowly dressed and let me take her out
for dinner and dessert

now I refuse to answer my boyfriend
because I am thirty and unlike Tyra
spend almost all my time sleeping
so he prompts me with the baby voice
he uses to represent our puppy
a voice I could never argue with

and says, I have one hero, my mommy!
Oh really, Grendel. Why is that? Mommy hasn’t ever
accomplished anything but giving you belly rubs
and making you dog food omelets.
Not true, mommy! You saved me three times!
Really?
Yes.

The time there was a price on my head
You saved me from the Russians in Lynn
Who kept me in a cage and lied about my heritage
as if being a purebred would make me worth more than I already am
you saw past my knotted hair, bad breeding and ill manners
and paid an exorbitant price for me, always saying I was worth every penny

then at the dog park, when that scary dog put me in his mouth
and shook me while I screamed and bled
and all the other pet owners stood stunned
you ran past them, punched that dog in the mouth
and rushed me off to the hospital
where you held my paw and sang me songs

and then when our house burned down
you picked me up before you even put your shoes on
and carried me out snuggling my nose into your jacket
to protect me from smoke inhalation
and cooed to me so I wouldn’t be frightened
and rubbed my feet so they wouldn’t be as cold
as your own feet were getting, bare against the snow

you have done way more for me
mommy, than Tyra could ever have dreamed
of doing good for anyone by the time she was thirty
so how is she more successful than you, again?
I don’t know, I answered, but I’m feeling hungry
so I got up smiling, and dressed slowly for our dinner party

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This is how people get hurt

Those strobe lights shouldn’t be allowed

in such a small room

because it replaces the calm wave

that I rode in on

and we shouldnt be allowed to drink

three skullcaps worth of soju

but we always do

 

and you shouldnt have said

that I couldn’t leave the room

however grinningly

with whatever intentions

nevermind

our longstanding friendship

 

But the next morning,

when i asked if I broke the skin

you lied, pull your sleeve down

and said that I didn’t, just because

you didn’t want to hurt

my feelings

My Stoop Faces the Street

We sat on the stoop so long

we attracted a party

and you wanted to talk

about meaningful, deep things

what Sylvia Plath really means

in this poem, or that

and he wanted to talk about history

 

and i said “Wait a minute, guys,

let’s turn this back to me”

by the time the first guy left

i was just practicing for

my next interview; the next great thing

and still singing Johnny Cash

so long as it was my favorite song by him

 

but by the time it was just me and him

my old, gay, playwright of a neighbor

i was talking about my nightmares

and what i really need

and we talked so much about

my mother that

i cried, but we kept on singing

Chinese for Breakfast

The two white clad men are always smiling

in the bakery window when I walk past them

at five o’ clock in the morning

they must be friends, joking as they bake the bread

and roll the croissants into crescents

they must be good, gentle men

 

My belly is already complaining

about the chinese food I rolled out of bed and ate

or else I’d walk right in and order something

Instead, I think about what i’m wearing

I want to look good tonight for the party in Boston

 

The Least Successful Person at the Party

What kind of woman do I want to be?
Do I want to be the brunette with two babies on her knee
taking all her time to coo and feed her party of three?
Do I want to be the reporter for the boston globe
asking the other guests to regale her with their stories
before they chastise her, “Don’t you already know
who won that superbowl?” “Oh, yes,” she admits,
“I could ask the coach myself, I suppose
but I like to hear you tell it.”
do I want to be the Disney executive
represented only by her mother’s
diamond Mickey Mouse necklace?
Or do I want to be myself in the kitchen
wearing someone else’s Sicilian apron
asking the hostess, “Please, let me
do something, give that to me, I can stir it.”

Invitations

Four traumas over (and over and over)

In all different shades and variations

Violence, sex, miscarriage

You name it

I watch the destruction happen

Again

Far away I hear your voices

Buried in the white static of it

 whispers, kisses, invitations

Yes, I say, I’m coming

“I didnt know he was your ex husband.” “Yeah, but it’s cool. We were only married for like, a minute. We were both under the influence. It really wasn’t legit.”

It’s not my fault i pretended i didn’t know how to swim
and wrapped my legs around my ex husband
he was nice enough, he let me do it
even though, now, of course, he has a girlfriend.
im not the one who invited him
im just the one who likes to drink.

anyways, its ok, nothing happened
thats the whole reason i even married him
he lets me be a tease
then makes sure i get home
where i really need to be