Work

What you don’t know is before we met, I had work done. A plastic surgery of the soul. I was nipping and tucking and augmenting and – reducking. I was way different. I had turned from my ways. What I didn’t know was my ways had turned too. My ways had followed. I turned around and there they were, turning tricks. Am I repetitive? Am I addictive? At the least I’m fucking uncreative.

Sorry about that. No, not for swearing, it had assonance. And not for swearing again, it’s a poetic term. I’m sorry about that. That white knuckleheaded night in which I closed my fist around what I wanted and would not let go. You were what I wanted. Or what the wine wanted. Excuse me for the excuse.

See, you’re 25; it’s fine. But I’m 29, and it’s not fine. Statements like “boys will be boys” or  “the girl can’t help it” or “girls who are boys” are just barely acceptable anymore. Soon I will be 30, the age of accountability – though that age seems to age with me – and I’m supposed to have it together, in labeled bins, where it can be easily located. Actually, I do have it together. In a whitewashed tomb. Yes, and when I saw you, I flipped a lid and out jumped my bones. And then I jumped yours. All right, it wasn’t a long distance jump, so you would say there’s nothing to be guilty about. But it was still a competition, and I will not be winning the crown of righteousness.

Incidentally, Jesus was 30 when he started ministry. But then, he started by saying, “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” There’s no confusing me for righteous. Not even the ‘80s slang definition of the word. But I’m working on it.

A few nights after I met you, at Bible Club, I helped an Artist do a set of paintings with the kids. Upon each little square mural, he had sketched, in pencil, a line. “You can paint however you want, you just have to stay below this line,” he said, and the kids tried. They did. But inevitably, lines were crossed, apologies were offered, and a wet rag was applied, until there was a pile of filthy rags. And when the kids had all painted, the Artist laid out all the abstracted squares, refining, repositioning, until, remarkably, resplendently, it was Art. I never thought it would work. But then, it wasn’t because of our work. It was because of the Artist.

Irate

“I think I have a talent for living. Perhaps I’m trying to make the most of something small for want of something better, but I think a true talent for living has the quality of creation, and if that’s the talent I was meant to have, I’m awfully glad I have it. I’d rather live a first-rate life than paint a second-rate picture.” -Samuel Taylor, Sabrina Fair

I read this line and the letters are clothes warm from the dryer, clinging and comforting: You can have a first-rate life. Then they are little jurors, pointing their serifs at me, with inquiry and suspicion: Why can’t you paint a second-rate picture? Then they are little forks in the road, poking and insisting, You can only do one.

If you have a career, a relationship, travel – there’s no time for anything else. If you write, perform, create – there’s no money for anything else. So I’m working part-time and writing part-time and the whole thing is a very tall and poorly constructed wedding cake with too many layers – leaning this way and that. How can I keep it together. Who’s going to eat it. I’m not even married.

Just last night, on a family video, I saw this fiendish red-faced red-headed boy, flailing a naked Barbie by the hair. He was intimate with his imagination. Barbie was an actress in his film, a backup singer in his concert, a character in his novel. He made it look so easy. I wanted to be him again.

Roast

You, insecurity, you, ego, you, sexuality…you will not succeed. I have stories to tell, not syndromes to whine about. You will not succeed.

You may stand between me and my art and pick your nose and make candles out of your ear wax and blow spit bubbles – but I will not be embarrassed by your orifice exploration.

I will knock you over and my art and I will crash into one another “like a couple of taxis on Broadway,” a line which Thelma Ritter so simply delivers in Rear Window. You’re not even what you seem. You’re Satan wearing a sandwich sign, shaking your ass on the sidewalk, trying to get me to buy your bullshit. Not happening, hot stuff.

And I won’t be conned into becoming a critic instead of an artist. One requires observation, the other vulnerability. I know which one is worth it. Fuck off, flamer. It’s going to take more than a lack of money, lack of talent and lack of direction – start locating some more lack ofs.

Now I’m going to clean the apartment. If you think you’ve distracted me, devil’s cake, than you’re dumber than I thought. I just want to clean the apartment.