Sodden Bread & Chemical Water

He got tired of listening.  He got tired of listening to the wail.  My litany is such that you can't tell whether I'm self-deprecating or complimenting him.  Who do you think I'm talking about when I cry fairy tale nightmare blow-up doll?  Stop looking at me!  Stop asking for a piece; for pieces of me.  Manageable pieces.  Do you want it bite-size?  Do you want it to fill the empty sockets of your muffin tin?  All nice and cut down.  Fragments of candy cracked off a poison apple.  The apple in your mouth like a sticky ball gag.  The apple on a tarnished silver platter. Sliced up.  Bitten into.  Toxic seeds in plastic fruit.  That's me.

I warned you not to put me on the cutting board.  I warned you not to put me on edge.  I feel like I'm on an examination table.  Wanted.  For questioning.  Why should I tell you?  I'm wary of our connection.  What if I'm just your outlet for pent-up urges?  An outlet you stick your finger in to see if you're still capable of being shocked.  I don't know what it felt like for you, but my hair didn't stand on end.  You say I tempted you to take it to the point of no return, but I don't even know where that point is.  What's my point?  Maybe it's a point in my life when I'm scared to flirt with intensity and risk being burned again.  We take too many risks.  Intensity dies.

Move your finger between the lines and focus on the choking sensation.  The grip around your neck.  The stirrups clamped around my feet as I lie.  On the exam table, spread open legs again; describe my disease because I can't feel it anymore.  If I use my imagination, my feet ache. Blame it on the wrong shoes.  Ill-fitting stilettos.  Spikes that no longer pierce the right places. Spiked drinks that were mixed to poison, but just make me numb as I walk the streets.  I just want to go to sleep.  Why do I keep walking this street, selling myself as a sweet & sour combo dish, catered to the artsy boys?  My pose.  My expression.  Like some psycho Little Red Riding Hood carrying a basket of sex toys or surgical implements.  Let the latest operation begin. Drill in, peel back my skin, try to hold me down with dissecting pins.  Strip off my face like it's just a doll mask, then let my head loll back against the pillow.  Leave me alone with my surgical dreams.

We're red from surgery in progress.  Red from our own twisted process.  I dream the anesthesia of pretty lies.  My fingers probing your empty eyes.  Hollow sockets.  Me as a puppet with your fingers hidden inside.  With your tongue in my mouth.  Can you tell me if your poetry is lies or lines or bars or notes in an operatic melodrama?  A wailing tale of deception.  I'm so good I should charge people for the way I deceive them.  My misrepresentation.  My misread stories.  My twisted pieces.  Art with a musical soundtrack of mean machinery.  A reapplication of false lashes.  Arachnid.  Many-legged.  Sure, I have ten fingers like the next girl; the difference is they've all been burned on gingerbread boys.  I frost their buttons with my bloody tongue.  I bite off their button-eyes and swallow them whole.  I spit the buttons in an old glass jar next to the poison receptacles, in the basement.  Next to the corrugated cardboard, water-damaged.  Rats, millipedes, mold.  It's dark and scary down here.  Take the stairs two at a time before you change your mind.

I think it's hysterical that I smell like vanilla pudding.  Nobody can spoon me.  Nobody can hold me down that easily.  Do you think my insides are really that mild and sweet?  What do you think is inside of me?  I'd never have time to show you.  This isn't snack time and I'm not serving size.  You'll never have time to sleep with me.  I have to go to bed.  Tomorrow I have to get up and exert myself.  Or insert myself into a cubicle.  I have to pretend to be pleasant.  I have to resist my urge to turn into a guard dog and attack; snap the chain out of muddy ground. What am I guarding?  Why am I so heavily guarded?  Why can't I find a boy willing to swim through the toxic moat of this armored fortress?  Why can't I find a boy well equiped to scale the toilet stall and rescue me from my urge to purge?  I'll never have time to hurl it all out before the bitter aftertaste takes over.

My knees are ink-stained.  My knees are skinned.  Peaches sliced into syrup.  Canned. Beware of the metal rim as you try to pry it open.  I'm sick.  Why can't you just hold my hair out of the way?  Why can't you just pull my hair a little?  Help me unwind the tension in these artificed knots.  These tight braids.  They dangle down my back like whips.  Fine, so I'm not Rapunzel. Fine, so my tower's just a toilet stall.  Just another constraining cubicle.  And I'm so bored I'm eating my own ragged cuticles.  Hook me up with some pharmaceuticals before I consume myself.  I'm obsessed with my own dark circles.

I wish another cute young boy would plant a kiss on my blow-up doll lips and just admit that I tasted like plastic, like pleather, like scuffed patent leather.  I want to experience this vinyl with you.  I mean the backseat of this rusty car with my chocolate chapstick smearing the mirrors and in the rearview - a murder.  A murder of crows.  I'm being stalked by these black-winged things, flaunting their beaks like costume jewelry.  Their eyes already look taxidermed.  Their cries sound so desperate.  Like a B-movie victim to be.  I've started drawing black wings from the corners of my eyes.  I've started to cultivate my unsettled feelings.  I've started to get rid of my eyebrows, plucking them thinner and thinner until I look like a movie star vixen/victim.  Go ahead and victimize me.  Go ahead and patronize me.  Go ahead and tell me who's the consumer and who's the product in this scene.  Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a commercial and a dream.  One image blurs into the next; if it's not a strange juxtaposition, it doesn't make sense.  My perimeters are shifting.  PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO ME!  I'm desperate to regain my youthful resiliency, my glossy sheen.  But the magazine page starring me has a tone of gory pornography.  Redeem me.  Redeem me like a coupon for the latest exfoliant that does not deliver on its sexy claims.  This build-up of dead skin cells is a defense that cannot be penetrated.  Defense mechanism.  Mechanism of torture.  Symbol of disgrace.  A chemical taste.  A chemical peel gone terrible awry.  A microdermabrasion nightmare.
Juliet Cook
Threshold by Debbie Macey