I dream that I am back in high school. I am urged to attend a pep rally/union meeting and I do not want to go. When I get there I have to go up a strange maze – the stairs are too narrow, also twisty and veering off at strange angles. I pop out into a kitchen and find my body too large for the space, like a giant stuck in a dollhouse.

When I finally enter the arena the place is dark but filled with people. I am looking for my friend Mike. I see a very tall guy with a familiar coat and I squeeze into this space next to him. I snuggle into his arm, happy that I found my friend at last. There is a girl next to him; she turns to me with a glare. It is the editor of the school paper, still mad at me because what I have to say “has no place in a high school paper”. She says, “Put those things away”, and I look down and notice I am wearing a bed sheet and my breasts are popping out over the top. “My friend “ turns and I realize it is Matt Hahn and not Mike. I say I am sorry and leave, embarrassed, wondering why I am in a bed sheet.

The room is creepy, seething with teen angst and insecurity. I decide to make the most of my bed sheet. I tie it around my chest, make a flower out of the ends, a large revealing slit up the side. I proceed to strut. Some girls make fun of me, some do not.

I decide to leave. I find a place in the back with tables and more light and slid into a seat. There are other people at the table; one of them is my cousin Andy. I try not to seem shocked although he looks really strange. He has a flipper arm with a tattoo of a dragon, and a hump back. He is talking with a deliberate slowness, as if he has advanced Parkinson’s Disease. His other arm has a super long hand, very hairy, with a circular, pulsating spot on the back. He shows me this spot. I am near tears, thinking, “What has happened to you”. He does not say.

The union meeting/pep rally goes on, a booming voice says, “We are not going to vote today, please don’t talk to any reporters on the way out…” They play some very bad rock music in an attempt to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

There are two very nerdy, overeager girls who can not contain themselves and jump up to dance. They move in a frantic jerky fashion, sort of kicking out their legs and poking at the air, one girl’s necklace gets tangled in the other girl’s headgear.

Turtlehead mullet comes and asks me to dance; though he seems very sweet I tell him that I can not dance because of “this darn gimpy foot”, he looks as though he would love me anyway. When he is not looking I run away and try to escape.

I find myself trapped at the bottom of a shaft. I know I have been kept prisoner there for a long time and I can see a light at the top. I twist and shimmy, using my elbows and knees to get up towards the light. There is a window and I crawl through it.

I am in an apartment. I know my mother is coming and that I must hide. I dive into the closet and try to hide under a pile of cloths. The closet door will not stay shut and I am afraid of her. Sure enough she sees me and comes toward me with a butcher knife. I try to kick her and she turns into a cast iron frying pan with a cartoon face and rubberized arms and legs.

I find a serrated butcher knife and hack of her arms and legs then try to smash her but the iron will not crumple. I try shoving her under the stove, but she still yells at me. I take her out and look at her, she is yelling obscenities at me, her little cartoon lips moving up and down, little cartoon eyebrows fashioned in an angry “v” shape. I throw her down the shaft. I throw in a couple of cartons of cigarettes.

I find a window and crawl out of it. There is a reporter waiting to get my story. He assures me that what has happened to me will be interesting to other people.

i had two quarters and i called her up with one
because of course it was ideal
i don't know what you're supposed to do once you call
i genuinely think the whole idea of calling
is just to dial the numbers


hello and she was there
i had never had any concept of her
outside of my drawing room
so it was as if she were new
and filthy and used
and i thought i didn't want her anymore
but it was a lie, like a breath taken the wrong way


what is it that i am to do with you now that
you are out here and i am out here and
i've got a whole mess of possibilities in my hand
like unspun yarn or cassette tape all tied up
like a dead person's hair


seriously hello? hello i want
something, SOMETHING
would you scream? would you break something
and don't call me sir, fucking hell, like i don't know you
or what you're wearing
yeah, the fuck, i'm outside your window so be afraid
or happy or something


hello? i am spending A WHOLE QUARTER ON YOU so would you say something else
i'd spend my arm on you
and hey what a nice thing to say, i hope you write that down
the measure of how much i want you
exceeds the measure of how much i want my arm (right now)
but anyways my quarter, i guess that means
we've only got a few seconds' worth of conversation
so i guess i haven't really said anything yet? oh
except your crystalline hello


i dialed the numbers so i guess it's okay
i might as well jerk off right here already
but whatever i'll just hang up? yeah
it's hard enough to talk on the phone in this straitjacket
in between these padded walls





tomorrow when i call you
after the electrodes and stuff
you better say something other than
hello






Wordmongers' Masque: Poets' Ball

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