Keep Art Alive :: Art by Wlodzimierz Kuklinski
“I’m breaking my own rules,
becoming someone else.
Everybody says I oughtta get over myself.
I’m thinking I can’t move,
if there isn’t somewhere else,
There are costumes and masks, bottles of hair dye lined up on the bathroom shelf, and a borrowed brand of cigarettes (and those shoes, the ones she tossed out in the dumpster that you took for your own); they make up who you have become now, haven’t they? Thrift store dresses from the late 70’s, “my Aunt June had a dress just like that”, he tells you, leaning in with whiskey breath and a kidney shaped stain on his sleeve. You squint your eyes and pretend that whatever he says to you is funny, that you don’t notice the decay that is playing at charm all around him, and you refuse to admit that this is nowhere you should be.
But, the nights get lonely and the years they tick by, one by two by ten by twenty; not a one of us are getting any younger. He calls way too late, in what they call “the wee hours”, though we all know they are really the hours of desperation. You carry the phone with you into the kitchen, hold your hair back while you catch a light from the gas stove flame, and you sigh deeply. There are promises and proclamations, blurry-eyed role reversals, and we all pretend to pretend to be somebody else, to love somebody else, to just make it through the night (again).
You let your dress fall to the floor, tearing the pages of her teenage diary into pieces, letting the lies trill off your lips, Vodka laced and cherry glossed. You palm the lipstick cases at the corner Wallgreens, every third week when you change your hair again. Tonight you will pull on boots and try on a name-change. Delilah Louise who grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago, Summers spent at the pinky side of Michigan with a Grandmother who taught her, or well you now, to play cards. She sings at some corner bar on Wednesdays, when the crowd is light, polka-dotted by truck drivers and minimum wagers who never remember your stories, or your name. Tonight you could be her.
But you can’t move if there is no place else to go.