walking back to the place we played, the trees we climbed, the castles we made..I can still smell the ocean churning. The fires on the empty beach, the coconut oil in my hair. walking backwards- and he was with his dog swimming in the sea.
We had nowhere else to go.
walking back to the forts we made, blankets between the beds, flashlights and I always told scary stories. I made my brother be my sister and dressed him in pink and painted his nails,
I put little pigtails in his hair and changed his name. He promised to be my sister (except when he went to school) I rode my bike with a basket and my little dog sat riding.
She was my real mother and Mandy was her name.
We climbed trees and started rivaling gangs. We fought and we found abandoned fields and haunted houses. We climb to the top of the world in the yards darkened by trees-overgrown and spookily quiet-and I’d write the scariest stories I could think of (for an 8 year old). I wante to read and so I learned when I was 4. I thought that Braveheart was a beautiful name for my dog but her name was already Mandy when I got her.
I was worried about how long we’d be together. I figured dogs lived to be 100 and so she only had 98 years left- and I’d walk in circles in the backyard wondering what I was going to do without her in 98 years. I would sit at the table and write love poems to my mother and tie the pages together with little strings.
Her arms always smelled so good.
I was afraid of my father because he was gone too late many nights. He was like a sky that you never knew when the lightening would strike. He’d get drunk and listen to The Doors and Led Zeppelin because it reminded him of Vietnam. I couldn’t look in his eyes because I didn’t want him to know that I couldn’t bear his pain -and I didn’t know how take it from him. He only told me he loved me when he was drunk. I wrote him poems about Vietnam when I was little and he would read them and cry- he didn’t know how I knew.
We were both killers- me and him.
I had dreams of Vietnam and I wrote all about them. We were all afraid of my Dad even though he never hit us- except for the time he beat me with a paint stick when I was 15 because he thought I had had sex- which I hadn’t. I cried for days. I was cut and bruised.
He should have went to jail.
When my dad got pulled over for speeding I cried “please don’t take my daddy away” to that policemen- I guess since he was hardly ever around- and he’d carry me on his shoulders when I was 2 to see the shark frozen in ice at sea world. He’d take me for rides on the back of his Harley. I couldn’t really find him after that. I’d walk up to strangers and say
‘”Daddy is that you?”
My mom was so embarrassed.
I got married when I was still 17. He was 27. He really did a number on me. I think I loved him. I knew we would be married the moment I saw him. Sometimes we just know these things- but it didn’t last. After 4 years I left. We stayed friends and he gave me drugs for the first time.
I became invincible
….and it’s a good thing because I couldn’t handle being a stripper and the alcohol wasn’t enough. Men staring at me for hours. Giving me lots of money. Table dances. It was a topless bar in a trendy Los Angeles neighborhood. Nothing more. I was very sexy- plus I’m a good dancer. It was a good job- I was rich and made my own hours. When the Russian Mafia bought the bar I quit -whenever men would turn their head as I walked by I would he very upset. This lasted for years-I’m over it now- It wasn’t a liberating occupation. I was naked and invisible. It’s bad if they look and it’s even worse if they don’t isn’t it?
Still, I would rather be turned inside out with no money.- than to be invisible for all the world to see.
And I know what it’s like -and I’m playing a game…and I know you see-because I’m showing you.
and how do you plan on getting back home?
Where is your heart now- Is it with me and my stuffed animals in bed every night so afraid of the man in the closet? And I couldn’t close my eyes in the shower until I was 25 because at my grandmas house they were watching psycho and they thought I was asleep but
I saw him kill her…
I saw him kill her. I saw him kill her.
I saw a lot of things I never told anybody.
I’ll tell you now though -and you can tell me.
Blood everywhere and little lost pieces of me floating to the surface of today- so that I can tell you -that we matter- aeverything we did matters-
how you made your own lunch for school. how my brother chased my dads car down the street
crying, “take me with you!” But my dad never did
I love my brother but he hates me. He had s little stuffed blue dog called bluey. He told me he used to be a midget and had a wife and two children. He told me their names and everything. My mom made us stop talking about the past-she said we were scaring her.
She scared us. I took care of her.
I took care of them all. I counciled my mom.
I cooked and ironed for my dad and I always hugged my scared little brother. He slept with a bat in his bed when he knew my dad might get drunk. He was a little man who wet his bed.
Will you really always be there?
Because a lot has gone down since we were last together.
Us, the riders on the storm.
I love everything about you.
My love didn’t miss a beat or a crevice or a crumb of everything you left me.
Death didn’t count back then and fences were so easy to climb.
It seemed like summer was forever.
It seemed like I was always new.
here I am
coming home to you,