A year ago in August in Nebraska – in the glass walled cold-weather entryway of America’s Biggest Gay Dance Club – a blonde queen looked at my blue skirt and said, “Turquoise and chocolate brown – those were my signature colors for all of 2008.” She turned to the queen next to her and said, “this girl knows what she’s doing.”
It’s always nice to be told that you know what you are doing, but particularly when it’s a lie.
Yesterday at work, I almost fainted, which was unusual and embarrassing. I drank some apple juice with an icy washcloth around my neck. I was fine.
Today, I accidentally touched the poisonous flea medicine on my dog’s neck. He was fine.
In Washington Square there are so many delis and coffee shops, it becomes impossible to choose. Even if you think – oh I’ll try that other one today, you end walking the same route up Greene Street, down East 9th, to buy the same cup of minestrone and cappuccino every time from the impatient woman with the big curls.
Some days it’s so much pink grapefruit body lotion and self-tanner and sweat and I can’t remember the way the chapter was meant to go – that paragraph composed between the vegetarian-meat-substitutes cold case and aisle nine ziplock and plastic cling wrap. Faded into parking lot and grocery bag and public restroom. William Carlos Williams says you have to live in, be in the world first, not memorizing for later as though the sky, laundry, pancakes are all just more material. There’s so much advice I meant to follow.
Last night, we had pho delivered and my man made me drink Pedialyte – a bottle of melted sugar-free lollypop. And his arms, body, mouth – none of it material for later, all of it home. All of it here and now and inside the details so that if I try to write it in the morning, after he’s left for work, I have so little to grasp, it’s just one more lovesick. Love well. He says, do I need to start a fight with you? He says, are you too happy?
What city should I be in today? Next week? A clue: on Saturday night I read two poems that are seven years old and I feel so fucking grateful to be here now writing about dogs and Pedialyte and the light at 10:36 a.m. Pacific, sending shafts through the crowded downtown apartments to the redwood stain that smells wet and toxic.
I know there are syringes on the block here and walls so thin we hear the crying lab next door and late at night the boys in leather boots suck each other off and vomit and tug each other’s arms and shout and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and kiss and laugh in the door frames up and down Folsom. I know the washer-dryer blows lint into the closet and the bathtub drain leak is inexplicably rusting the outdoor light fixture. I know the keys stick. I am so grateful. The dog pees on the carpet. The kitchen drawers are inordinately narrow. What luck. The stairs, the stairs, always something that needs to be taken up or down the stairs.
And I forget to take the leftover tofu out of the fridge where it rots for a week before we figure out where that smell is coming from. I forget to hang up my jacket. I leave the curling iron and the hairdryer with their plastic cords all tangled on the counter. After you’ve organized the kitchen cupboards, I put everything back on the wrong shelves. I break something new every month and I lose the details and I can’t hear you and I love you. What luck, what incredible luck. A clue. That girl knows what she’s doing.