Appendixitis (excerpt from Breathing Room: attic-rhymes & relics

February 4, 2007

In the process of hand selecting some of the best poems from my last four collections for the second volume of rhyming verse and archival material for the Breathing Room project, I came across this old favorite from 2001).  Re-typing all three and a half pages was a bitch, but so was the girl.  I can still remember reading this at an open mic at a lesbian bar on Allen St. (Joey’s on Allen) on a Tuesday during the winter of 2001/2002.  The girls loved it.  If you live in Buffalo, you might be able to figure out who this free-form rant was pointed at.  Let’s just say it’s an Oldies but goody.  Feel free to post your guesses below.


The way I felt for you, the time we spent together, your body of work, and you yourself, my darling, are a footnote 1.


1)We spent three weeks together. Well, physically. All told, I knew you for four weeks, and I was impressed. You had a beautiful figure, a picturesque face, boundless libido, and an intelligence that betrayed your maturity (or lack of it). Your pretentious reading voice and condescending poetry were amusing to me. It attracted an appalled me, because until I met you, I never believed in disclosing the intimate details of my relationships with other people. That seems to be the only thing you write about, your little ‘fictions’. Self-important monologues about your sexual misadventures disguised as legitimate writing. I thought you’d make a suitable companion (maybe a power couple); we could type together, take turns in free hand (but God knows there was some of that), and share all of our favorite authors (you with your structured Nabakov and me with my meticulous and perverted Nicholson Baker). How was I to know that the 21 pages of prose that you ran into the ground were the sum total of your creativity? Writing never was your calling, was it? Just another phase to meet interesting people whose names you could drop in the company of friends in the hopes of making yourself look more important. Name droppers always did bother the shit out of me. I just ignored it during the first blush of our romance. Can you classify a 3-week sting, though? Break it into segments and analyze it? I’d like to think so. Yes. Let’s start with your propositioning me via email after that reading. How fitting that our relationship began and ended inside of a word processing program. Maybe we were just better on paper. You were in a relationship for a year with this clown that you glommed onto at work and wondered if I wanted to have sex? It was forward, I’ll give you that. I respected your honesty. You cheated on the first man you gave it to with me, and left him and his engagement ring in a heartbeat. 20 is a bit late to surrender a flower, but then again, who am I to say? It set a few warning bells off when we got involved. You were in college, you had a late start, and you wanted to whore things up a bit; see as many men as you possibly could at once. Itold you after you broke up with him that you could take as much time to recover/cope as you desired, and you dismissed the idea, jumping head first into us. It was a wonderful first week. We couldn’t get enough of each other. Sleep and work were the only variables to interrupt that sprawling week of getting to know you. You were almost as good in bed as you perceived yourself to be, too. But I remember that your ex had a thing for pillows, so I suppose (next to that competition), that anybody would look like Cleopatra. I dropped every friend, speaking engagement and obligation I had just to see you, and you did the same. Not that you actually do much. Sure, you’ve got three pretty jobs with pretty pay and pretty hours, but they add up to about 15 hours in, don’t they? And but of course there was the overblown beauty school that you were attending your last semester at. You slept with your (married) English Professor, so you didn’t really need to attend every class. He was married, if I remember. I got to meet your friends and do the things you wanted to do, I got to watch you sing Karaoke at a dive bar and shake your tits at the crowd, blowing kisses at the drunks. I didn’t min. I thought it was cute. Always in need of an audience, darling. Daddy was a musician, so I guess that’s how he raised you. I’d venture that you blew your way into radio so you could be sort of a musical person yourself. There are a lot of barnacles in circles of creativity (who have none), like for example Sandra Bernhard, Bette Midler, Traci Lords or Ethan Hawke. They do a lot of things, but they don’t seem to do much of anything. Rather, they havea lot of projects, but none of them have any substance. Mostly women. Is that a coincidence? Should I cite that? Your friends all played up to your behavior; they allowed you to be the Karaoke superstar that you know you are at all times, whether we were at your house, out having coffee, or anywhere else. You hung on me like I was a set of monkey bars on a playground whenever we went out, as if I was going to float away on you. I was happy for a while there, and I just may have. And you like to talk. Especially afterwards. You could blather on about yourself indefinitely. There were times, in conversation, when I noticed that it didn’t matter if I was responding to what you were saying, or even listening. That’s pretty amusing in retrospect. You were like that space shuttle launch you were so high and mighty about going to for your job, loudly blustering away on a set course. ‘I met James Cameron’, you dropped over the phone. Good for you, baby! Maybe if you meet enough famous people, you just might evolve into someone who…meets famous people. Is that what you saw me as? ‘I met Lenny Kravitz’, is what you told my best friend within five minutes of meeting her. Is that why your rhyme schemes are either terrible and trite, or nonexistent? I wish we had Christmas to spend together. I could buy you a rhyming dictionary. Do you up your popularity when you float about the in-crowd, babe? Then we went out for your Big Birthday Night, so you could have and do everything your heart desired. Actually, that’s how you always wanted things, wasn’t it? We talked about your ex-boyfriend over lamb chops, and how much better your friends liked me rather than him. I didn’t think I need an approval rate up until that point. Most people who have lived one or two dozen years know enough not to babble about ex-lovers during a romantic dinner out, but I guess you were too into your own unique, womanly, quirky creative flux, weren’t you? That’s one of the two thousand annoying things about you that I overlooked. I thought (pompously) that you might become a better writer, that I’d get to be a better writer as a result of our pairing. I was wrong. I’m just a bit more cynical. I was an idiot for getting involved with someone five years younger than me. Call it a character flaw, if you know what that is. Go look it up between your dark room work, your radio do spots, your hectic speaking engagement every 2 months schedule. Whoops! I forgot. You slept with the co-host at one of the open mics. For the sake of teaching him a lesson, right? And you despise your firend Erica for doing the same things you do, for latching onto local ‘talent’. Forget going through the looking glass, try looking at the looking glass, gorgeous. The second week, though, I went out for drinks with someone and you were certain that I’d behave myself. I did. I’m a one-woman man, fo the most part, and you’re a one woman-woman. As for guys, though, well, you really couldn’t care about fidelity. You’re too busy lying to everyone in a five mile radius to ‘fess up for even something so inconsequential as where you went after school. I was nervous about cheating after hearing your torrid stories, but I trusted you. I didn’t want to be one of those controlling boyfriends who show up at your doorstep if you don’t call them back instantaneously, I tried really hard with you. Tried not to do all of the things that usually destroy a good starting relationship scenario. And it still didn’t work. But it’s not my fault. You’re wrecked in the head. I could tell at your family birthday party, when I noticed, coincidentally, that every woman in the family had a big mouth and nothing interesting to say with it. And a short fuse. I was hoping you were the recessive gene. Wrong again. You’re the dominant one. Aside from your violent fantasies that I refused to play along with in bed. I may be experimental, but I’ll only go so far. Maybe it’s a do thing, I don’t know and really couldn’t care. Such nice parents and you still turned out the way you did. I know Catholic girls end up being the biggest freaks to walk the earth, so I’m sure it’s got something to do with that. Maybe it’s one of those high school reminiscent popularity things that I never quite got, where you wish you were one of the cheerleaders, or the main star during the school play. I like figuring lovers out. I can’t believe I bought a Britney Spears CD because of you, you bitch! And speaking of love, who drops the L-bomb after two weeks with anyone? You told me you loved me, and it made me a bit nervous. You also told me some time before that, bragging really, about how well you lied to your parents and your friends on a regular basis because it was easier than having to face a momentary conflict, but you didn’t really say it in such a way. Honesty was a big stumbling block for you. You were too busy being fabulous to let me see the really vicious side of you until you couldn’t hold her back anymore. It was nice for a day or three after you told me you loved me. Displaced emotions, perhaps? I went along with it, though, even though I didn’t feel it. And then when I put up some resistence, didn’t give you everything under the sun for one split second, and it was over. The moment I emailed and complained about your inconsistencies, your capacity to make plans and break them at the last minute, you tweaked. Went from lady to bitch in about 2.5 seconds. And I just figured, if that’s the way she’s going to act during our first fight, then it might as well be the last, too. You were proud of all the guys you ruined in your wake. It’s not going to happen with me. I’ve had better, and I’ve had worse, and three weeks just isn’t enough time in to inflict any damage. I’m over you after three days, princess. You’re a ghost of a memory. Like dead radio air. The really poetic (or so we’re told) pause between stanzas in a beat poem. Or the haze in the background from a black and white photograph. It does take a severe effort to pen your little tell-alls, though. I was always better at footnotes.


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