I’m back from California where I met amazing people, heard amazing poety, drove amazing roads, saw amazing animals, ate amazing food and then took one very NOT amazing flight home. This whole traveling thing would be much easier if someone could just knock me over the head as soon as the plane takes off and wake me up when it lands.
That said, I’ll have a post (with pictures!) on all that soon. In the mean time, here’s some poetry stuff.
First off, many thanks to the fine folks at Red Fez for taking this poem about America being lonely. It’s another poem from the series that I’m working tentatively entitled How to Be An American. More info here.
Also, here’s a poem I wrote this morning cause sharing is caring. Also this is probably the longest poem I’ve ever written. Consider that a warning.
Kevin loves Lisa
This is what it says on the metal door of the bathroom stall.
with a little heart for emphasis.
Next to that it says
Shane and Mary forever.
And above that
Matthew and Marie equals destiny.
I couldn’t help but enjoy the rhyme scheme on that one
as I sat there, peeing out the four beers
we’d already had in this tourist trap
of a bar on the San Francisco wharf
because we were too tired
after hitching a ride back
over the Golden Gate bridge
from a Scottish man driving
a tourist trolley
who said the company charges 35 a piece
but he’d take both of us for 15
as long as we had cash,
and don’t mind the stopover in Sausalito.
And now here I am,
too tired to walk back up to North Beach,
reading the graffiti in the women’s room stall
all about love.
I never have a pen on me
let alone a sharpie
my thoughts on the metal doors of bar restrooms
probably because I don’t carry a purse,
but other people do,
because I am never without reading material.
I wonder about these women,
the ink at their fingertips,
the truth of their heart
and minds ready to become a permanent part
of the bar landscape
and I can’t help but think
that’s all they have to say is
that Kevin loves them?
Not even that they love Kevin.
No, the order is important.
Kevin Loves Lisa forever and ever and ever.
This is the most we can muster, women?
Because back in New York City
which feels so far from here
and back in time
someone once scribbled
You’re drunk Kerouac go home
in the men’s room stall of the White Horse
which as far as graffiti goes, is pretty damn good.
And I can’t help but wonder
what else we can write besides
Kevin Loves Lisa
which of course
I’m sure he does
at the moment Lisa pulled from her bag
a sharpie and sealed their future on this door.
And I wonder is it the beer
or the chocolate-tinis that stifles our pen?
That stays our tongue?
That reduces us to nothing more than
Kevin Loves Lisa.
Not even Lisa loves Kevin
because we all know
to be loved
is better than to love.
No one writes poems on the walls of this bar
but I’ve seen a few in the Grassroots
and once an amazing doodle
on the side of a piano
which shared the bathroom space
in New Orleans.
No, on this door,
it is love and only love that we want to talk about,
that Lisa and Marie and Mary,
three women who I now picture together
here in this stall,
brave on vanilla flavored shots
breaking the rules
in their first big girls weekend
trip to San Francisco.
And suddenly, while peeing,
I hate these girls.
I hate them for not being poets
for reducing themselves
to nothing but their relationships
as if couple-dom is the ultimate
I hate these girls for having nothing
in the empty little heads and empty
but to declare
that they have something
that you don’t.
They have a love,
who loves them
all the time and don’t you doubt
it cause that’s why they wrote it in permanent ink.
I’m being harsh, I know,
as I ball up the toilet paper and wipe and flush
and wash my hands and return to the bar
to ask my husband
what men write about on the walls of
because it has to be better
than what we women got going and I’m starting
to think that the war of the sexes
will never end if we keep
ratcheting up the bulllshit quota
by deciding to limit ourselves
to the two names between the ampersand,
to define ourselves by the fingers entwined
or not entwined in ours.
I want to find Lisa and shake her
and ask her what she thought the day
she saw her mother crying at the kitchen table
or what she thought
the first time she heard a record skip
Did she believe with all her heart that this moment
was never going to be the same?
I want to know what Kevin thinks,
what he writes on the stall doors
so I ask my husband who cocks an eyebrow
because it seems that I’m always
asking these sort of things
and I wonder if that too
is getting tiring.
What do they write on the stalls, I ask,
as he pulls on his beer and glances
at the playoff game over the bar,
knowing he’s secretly rooting for the Dodgers
even though we’re in Giants country
and he says
it’s mostly about getting head.
Or getting laid.
Or getting some.
And I sigh
and drink my beer
maybe it doesn’t matter
maybe I’m just an old married woman
who doesn’t remember what it’s like
to want to tell the whole world
about how great Kevin is.
And maybe he is,
even if he did write that thing
about getting head on the bathroom wall
of his stall
which I hope, for Lisa’s sake isn’t about her.
And then I think
I hope that I won’t have to pee again
before we get up the hill to Broadway
to have a dark and stormy at Vesuvio.
Peace Love and Starbursts,
I read your poem on Red Fez the other day and recognized you from this blog. I thought it was a great piece with lots of good energy.
Thanks so much Charlotte! I really appreciate it.