Gears by Alex Pruteanu
“Nth Week in Rehab”
“i’ll tell you this.
the last time I burned rock in the glass dick
they found me in a santa suit walking up and down Military Trail
throwing bags of shit at cars and reciting Kierkegaard outloud.
i woke up in the drunk tank
in hallandale beach florida
next to a cuban tranny
who was urinating in my hair entertaining the other men.
the addiction you have
is replaced with the addiction to God.
The Twelve Steps.
a higher power.
i don’t know what’s worse
living in the suburbs paying bills and clocking in and out of a state
mowing your lawn every friday
taking the kids and wife to the mall
snapping family portraits and sending them to grandma
or putting in a 12-hour shift on the kill floor of an abattoir
taking hits of whiskey during breaks
or smoking meth at happy hour.
(“oh how men suffer for children.”)
Gears by Alex Pruteanu
Excerpt from “Betty Superman” by Tiff Holland
“What she says: you look like a boy. Chest out! You read too much. Just a minute, can’t you see I’m on the phone? All girls who play sports are lesbians. Football players are a bunch of fanny patters. Oh, sit on my lap, you know you want to: you’re mommy’s little girl. Don’t frown, you’ll get wrinkles. You could be beautiful if you wanted to. I wish I’d never had you heathens. Your father? He wants to kill himself. Suicide, get it? It’s our fault. He hates us. Don’t make me hit you. Go to the store, here’s a note, get me two packs of Pall Mall. Marlboro. Merit. Give me a kiss, you’ll be sorry if I die during the night. Then you’ll miss your mother.”
Excerpt from “The Edge of the Alphabet,” by Janet Frame:
“But there is a family of secret rats. They wear the fur of habit. They destroy with their sharp teeth. They are Change, Time, Forgetfulness, who invade first for a few minutes, then for hours; finally they stay. You may wish to be rid of them, to sprinkle in your mind the succulent high-priced poison which, the advertisements claim, these rats love and search out and swallow, retiring to die a painless death. You may think that Time or Change will not trouble you while you store a packet of this poison in your heart.”
Excerpt from “The Edge of the Alphabet,” by Janet Frame
“It is the clutter of death which is inescapable. Winter is death; the old comparison; the cruising whale-spouting clouds with their silver undersides, refusing to swim from the sky; the untidy heaps of sodden leaves; dark layabouts of ponds in the shelter of hedges, in the hollows of the paddocks; the determined squatting of water in every ditch and drain; piles of twigs, of fallen branches, trapped thistle-down that was never set free to race in the sky; the prolonged silence where all sound impales itself and splits into flying icicles that pierce the ears and fall deep in echoing wells of gray light; the chilled reserve of a house where a terrifying unwelcome guest shows no inclination to leave.”
An excerpt from “The Edge of the Alphabet,” by Janet Frame
“It is raining and raining and I will die. The buildings topple, slide with the bruised and broken leaves into the earth, folded deep. The yellow glare in the sky is the striped mantle of tigers, licked cool, healed by the darting tongues of frost. Yet winter, age, loneliness, have come leaping with seventy claws unleashed from summer, youth, and the gentle conditions of love, to stripe our lives with death, to set fire to our cage.”
Excerpt from “The Edge of the Alphabet,” by Janet Frame.
“Man is the only species for whom the disposal of waste is a burden, a task often ill judged, costly, criminal–especially when he learns to include himself, living and dead, in the list of waste products.
The creator of the world did not employ a dustman to collect the peelings of his creation.
Now I, Thora Pattern (who live at the edge of the alphabet where words like plants either grow poisonous tall and hollow about the rusted knives and empty drums of meaning, or, like people exposed to a deathly weather, shed their fleshy confusion and show luminous, knitted with force and permanence), now I walk day and night among the leavings of people, places and moments. Here the dead (my goldsmiths) keep cropping up like daisies with their floral blackmail. It is nearly impossible to bribe them or buy their silence.”
Happy birthday, brilliant Anne Sexton!
Music Swims Back To Me
Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.
Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.
They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.