…in daily speech, where we don’t stop to consider every word, we all use phrases like ‘the ordinary world,’ ‘ordinary life,’ ‘the ordinary course of events’…But in the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world. –Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Lecture 1996
I’ve got white toast in the toaster and a mojoless rump roast in the oven. Mom’s late for work again and she hasn’t had supper yet. Thank god kids can cook otherwise mom would be nothing but chicken skin. I think she shouldn’t have sex in the afternoon because it makes her want to nap and smoke cigarettes. “I needed it for Chirst’s sake,” she claimed, angrier than before she got some, wild salmon eyed. “Rump a hump ba do.”
“Have more respect,” I said, sick of her cock-a-doodle-do. “I’m not a number you know.”
Dear America, why are you so afraid of 7053? Have you lost your marbles? Have you drunk too many high-fructose Cokes? Gotten use to rape as a weapon of war? Was it the way Rosa P. sat upright in the face of gods and guns? Was it because she believed in you? Looked like me and you? Looked like Aung San Suu Kyi in retrospect?
America, have you lost your cowboy boots and Winnie the Pooh? Have you gone berserk for Cocoa Puffs? I’ve never seen a woman work so hard for gum or cry so hard in the middle of the night because she couldn’t find the reason why. I’ve got a bit of absinthe buried in my closet just in case. Mom hasn’t a goddamn clue. She says she prefers sex to psychotherapy because it doesn’t cost her a cent. I told her it costs her more than she’ll ever know. She called me a cow turd and the jigsaw puzzle was solved.
“Hand me my bra,” she said, freaked out because the one she was wearing snapped. “This is my last goddamn one. Cheap crap.”
I’d address the vulgarity but the bedroom was filled with thats. That blue lavaless lamp. That Life Saver beaded curtain and shit brown rug. That abominable china cabinet filled with mom’s obsession with toiletries. That fractal woman in the mirror ball. I refuse to wear bras or participate in mom’s nuttiness. I love her hair though. She looks like a stranded brown poodle groomed like a schnauzer. I swear she’d win Best In Show.
Dear America, what has turned you into a magnificent beast and a paltry whore at the same time? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Capitan and Tennille?
I have an extra pair of red sneakers and I’ll lend you my Pooh if you’re still afraid. You can snuggle with Mr. Pooh, wrap your arms around his semi-plush neck, and strangle him till you feel better, a tender kiss on the lips if necessary. And, if you don’t feel better after that, you can keep strangling him till you fall asleep. He won’t mind. He’s been with me through worse.
I wonder when the cows will come home, when the crows will roost on the cows, when the night will fall, when the cows will pot fields of golden crows, when the crows will kowtow to the night filled with gold, when the golden night will usher the kowtowing cows to their final roost.
Dear America, sometimes I dream of Genie. Sometimes I stay up at night and count mom’s toes while she shivers herself to sleep for no good reason. Sometimes I pray for dodo birds and Big Bird too. Sometimes I perform unspeakable acts to Kermit the Frog just to see if Ms. Piggy will react. Dear America, we have more in common than you know. I have a penchant for disaster too. I’m a gay-bi-sexual-trans-gendered-white-black-brown-purple-blue-buckaroo with my own cabal.
“I’ve always loved Peter Pan,” she said, as I rubbed her little Tinker Bell of toes.
Dear America, I don’t think we’ve met Mrs. Park’s expectations for America. She’s torn up and burnt in effigy in town halls across America just because her feet hurt. Bastardized not for her requisite ism but because of her face, the color of mom.
“I wish I had wings,” she once confessed to me, broad midnight. “Keys to that fucking rabbit hole.”
Not a clue.
Dear America, you Rock and Roll. You Twist and Shout. You Shimmy and Shake. You Cajun Two-Step and Square Dance. You Krump and Bump. You Break Dance and Boogie Woogie. You Slam and Mosh. You Limbo and Tango. You Macarena and Skank. You Waltz and Jive turkey. And chicken dance too.