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Bored Now

Mood: Patient
Drinking: Snappley juice

i’m waiting for the perfect question.
The one that will turn all the tumblers
and set your secrets free.

i’m waiting for a sidewalk stranger
to scream my name from across the street.
i’m waiting for a warm rain.

i’m waiting for the darkness to get domesticated.
To lose its teeth. Velvet its paws.
i’m waiting for a window to open into an entirely new world.
i’m waiting for her to find her own bootstraps and give them a tug.
i’m waiting for the apocalypse to arrive with a blinding flash, with a roar.
(i expect it to come from behind.)

i’m waiting for my pen to stop bleeding.
i’m waiting for a subtle knife.
i’m waiting for that geriatric smell,
for the sudden onslaught of age spots, curlers
and paper skin.

i’m waiting for him
to send a long, hard look in my general direction.
i’m waiting for the sleeping pills to fail.
i’m waiting for this, too, to pass.

i’m waiting for her to stop talking.

(i’ve been waiting for quite awhile.)
i’m waiting for a train that runs beneath the ocean.
fish will fly by the windows
and deep sea divers will stare.
and we’ll reach out and grab strands
of greenish-blue kelp to wind in our hair.

i’m waiting for permission to scream.
i’m waiting for proof of spontaneous combustion.
i’m waiting for the wind to blow me over. i’ll know, then, that I am thin enough.

i’m waiting for the phone to ring with voices from beyond the grave.

i’m waiting for him to come on strong.
i’m waiting for an occasion with a dress code.
An excuse for tulle and a tiara.
i’m waiting for a microphone that’s just the right height.
i’m waiting for them to start playing my song.

i’m waiting for the voices in my head to say something nice.
i’m waiting for the right time to tell you it’s all gone horribly wrong.

i’m waiting for the medication to kick in.

i’m waiting for him to give me a reason to stay for the encore.
i’m waiting for her to blink so I can finally make my escape.
i’m waiting for a slow, slow death.

i’m waiting for the paint to dry so I can peel it off my nails.
i’m waiting for flu season to live up to the hype.
i’m waiting for fair play to turn about, already.

i’m waiting for the oxygen mask to drop
so I can show my rebel colors
and put yours on first.

i’m waiting for tall black boots with just the right amount of swagger.
i’m waiting for more men to start wearing makeup.
i’m waiting for her to make good on the threats.

i’m waiting for the Christians to say they were wrong.
(i’m waiting for icicles in hell.)

i’m waiting for my state to secede from the union.
i’m waiting for the Big One.

i’m waiting for my so-called-life to get an NC-17.
i’m waiting for the sun to burn out altogether.
i’m waiting for a crime of passion.

i’m waiting for him to give me a reason to give a shit.
i’m waiting for the pop stars to die off.
i’m waiting for her to make a mistake.

i’m waiting for inspiration to strike me dead.
(She’s always running late and forgetting the lightning bolts.)

i’m waiting for a mission to mars,
a ride to the moon,
an entirely uneventful spacewalk.

i’m waiting for him to admit that he did it.
i’m waiting for something to hold on to.
i’m waiting for the reunion tour so I can see just how fat she is in real life.
i’m waiting for shock treatment to come back in vogue.

i’m waiting for a ghost to materialize.

i’m waiting for the endorphins or amphetamines or
whatever will make this all worthwhile.
i’m waiting for it all to go on sale.
i’m waiting for my dog to speak.

i’m waiting for a burning bush.
i’ll also take a still, small voice.
a cloud, a dove.
Some kind of sign that’s sent from above.

i’m waiting for my eyesight to fail me completely while turning left at the light.
i’m waiting for the flavor of the month to be mine.
i’m waiting for reality to get less entertaining.
i’m waiting for her 15 minutes to finally expire.
i’m waiting for Jesus to get interesting again.
i’m waiting to get contagious.

i’m waiting for the final bell to toll so I can gather my skirts and run for the door.
i’m waiting for a confession of depression that has a happy ending.
i’m waiting for the check to clear the room.

i’m waiting for the bittersweet
to get a bit sweeter.

i’m waiting for the afterglow
to burn brighter.

i’m waiting for the dark horse
to lighten up.

i’m waiting for you to get the joke.

(This could take awhile…)

-Lo, who gets so very bored during long, pointless meetings.

Fifth Floor, Second Door

Mood: Distracted
Drinking: Chai

i see you put on your strength
as you walk down the hall,
you pull on your armour,
gauntlet and all.

we wait for you at the nurse’s station
clutching brown bags
of clean underwear
and purple eyeshadow.
just enough to get you through another week.

you look so calm and so together
in your thorazine sweater
handing out hugs and smiles
left and right
thick and fast.
we have no time to get suspicious.

you throw up a lipgloss smokescreen
and lay down machine-gun chatter.
it’s sleight of hand.
it’s marines on command.
and we are taken by surprise
we are all mesmerized.

because you seem just fine.
you seem yourself.
in fact, you’re the very picture
of rehabilitated health.

so we ask all the wrong questions.
and you give all the right answers.
this is what everyone wants, anyway.
polite conversation.
diversionary tactics.
pretty stories with witty punchlines.

visiting hours are over at four o’clock
and then the doors lock.
so we all fall in line. we laugh
with the track. you have captured
your audience. you’ve occupied your territory.
you’ve palmed everyone
except for me.

yes, darling, i can see you.
oh, i can see right through you.

but you needn’t worry.
don’t hold your breath.
i didn’t bring any horses.
and i will not call the cavalry.
there are no medics and no morphine
tucked away in my coat pockets.
believe me, i’m not here to rescue you.

so you can lay down your arms.
you can stop the charade.
let’s just be two girls together
on a sunday afternoon.
just two dark girls together,
that’s all i’ll ever ask of you.

Sterling Girl

Mood: Emotional Hangover
Drinking: Ruby’s Tasty Chai

This one is for Anna.

********************

She calls four times.
The cell phone.
The home phone.
And finally, she leaves a message.

“It’s me,” she says.
(caller ID beat her to it.)
She clears her throat.
She exhales smoke.
“Call me back when you get this,” she says.
“I don’t care what time. Just
can you please call me tonight?”
Her voice sounds funny.
Scratchy. Overworked.
Is she crying or just
smoking too much?

I wait for dinner and the Daily Show
before I call her back. (I didn’t
really think it was an emergency.)
She answers on the second ring and
I know then she was crying.

“My worst nightmare,” she says.
“He left me,” she says.
“He left me for some other girl.”
Her voice sounds dull.
Defeated. Dumped.

She tells me the seven-day
breakdown of the breakup
that started and ended on a Tuesday.
He started doing this
and then he acted like that
and “she” showed up and
it just kept getting worse.

I’ve retreated to my bedroom by now.
Shut out the comfortable noise of
my own security. Husband. Dog. TV.
I tell her I’m so sorry this happened.
I call him all kinds of names.

I say I’ll kick his ass and
scratch his eyes out.
I swear I’ll cut his balls off
and feed them to my dog.

It’s what you say, when you’re a friend.
It’s what you say when he turns out
to be the asshole you were afraid he might be
all along. It’s what you say, and you know
you don’t have to actually do it. But you
sure as hell better mean it.
And I do.

(He may not have been
my kind of guy
but he was hers.
He was hers, and that’s what matters.)

She was just here, last month.
We sat in this very room.
She was just here and
she was so happy. Her
voice was lilting.
Laughing. Giddy.

It was her first trip
to the Pacific but
when she saw the water
all blue to the very horizon
she said she wished he could see it, too.
So she wrote his name in the sand
and took a picture to prove he was there.

We walked all over Chinatown
to find him the perfect jade dragon.
Bright green and growling.
It’s gone now, she says.
“I made him take it.”

She’s pacing around her house now.
I can picture the tiny rooms
so perfectly in my head. She’s
standing in the living room,
counting DVDs. “He left one of his movies here,”
she tells me. “The Score.
It’s a guy movie. I don’t want it.”

I’m not saying much now.
I’m picking at the fuzz on my bedspread
and wishing I knew how to comfort her better.
Wish I could wave a wand to make it all go away.
(I wished the same thing in sixth grade
in the funeral home. But
I couldn’t work magic for her then, either.)

So I sit here with her, two thousand miles away.
I let her go on with her lists. I let her get it all out.
She goes through the games to see what’s gone missing.
“I can’t believe it,” she says.
“He took Tetris. He took Tetris!”
(But I know it’s not Tetris she really
wants back.)

She tells me her son cried when
he said he was leaving. He cried “No, No, No!”
(I mutter curses in the x’s general direction
and think about hunting him down.)
And her daughter, she just said
nothing at all. But she cooked her mom dinner.
“I couldn’t eat it. I can’t eat anything.
But I think I’ve smoked
a whole pack since he left,” she says.

He just left a few hours ago.
He took his clothes, his shoes.
He took his toolbox, but
her screwdriver was in it.
He kept saying he was sorry,
he was sorry. So sorry.

He went down to the basement
and took his bike away.
He took his movies and games.
His collection of beer bottles, too,
even the one she and I bought
just down the street from here.
The San Francisco beer.

“He took his pillow, too.”
She’s in the bedroom now,
but she can hardly look at the bed.
“What he doesn’t know is that I’ve
been crying into that pillow for the last
five days,” she laughs but her voice
sounds bitter. Broken. Numb.

“He’ll sleep on my tears,” she says softly.
“I wonder if I should tell him that.”

********************

-Lo, who wears boots big enough to kick that guy’s ass in real life, if given the opportunity!