[I] may be crazy but I'm the closest thing I have to a voice of reason.

12 March 2010

Picture Postcard

Nothing, but No Thing, works tonight, at least not online. I can’t type on BLIP.fm or Twitter or FaceBook. Can’t send email. Cut and paste? Nope. Copy? Nope. Here is the very last thing I managed to type out online, banged out actually, in a thorough frustration: *5 minutes to get this typed. 6! ~glares~ Nothing fucking works. Send drugs. I am in (computer) writer hell. Chevelle - “The Red”* Wait, I also managed to post a second song, Jerry Cantrell’s “Anger Rising.” Perfect. “Anger rising up . . . have you got a plan?” No! I don’t. I thought I did, but now the universe is fucking with me, and all I can hear is two things.

ONE. My aunt - mom to me - laughing a little too hard and a little too often at the fact of the number that now precedes the zero in my age, like she has me over a barrel, like now I’ll never escape; I’ll be stuck here in the same place she’s stuck, in a life she never saw coming and did not prepare for. She’s always angry at something or someone. The neighbor. The trash-collector. The co-worker. The bank. The government. And she has taken to speaking to me in tones that say, now you’ll see, now life will turn sour for you, too. Thank God for my uncle, her brother, who set daffodils upon the lunch table today, my favorite flowers, in honor of my birthday.

TWO. We all have setbacks, but I’m a writer; I have no plan B. And I don’t. I never have. I remember choosing writing as my art. It wasn’t just that I loved words, though I did, nor was it because I was far better at writing than music or painting or dance, though I certainly was. No, I chose writing when I still hoped to be a dancer some day, still hoped I might learn how to draw, eventually, or even paint. I sat down and considered, rationally, what I might have to do to achieve my goal of self-expression, and I concluded that writing was the one art that allowed for life-long work, unlike dancing, and also allowed for poverty. At fourteen, I saw that writing needed only pen and paper and no matter how little I earned, I reasoned, I would always be able to afford writing supplies.

THREE. It’s really three things that rush, like the sound of the sea, in my ears. The third one is men, the lovely sound and feel of men. Don’t worry. I have nothing bad to say. I love men. And I love my family. But I will say that they both lack for imagination when they think that they are, or should be, my plan A for life. And it manages to hurt every time they do, too. So, it should come as no surprise to me, as I paced around this evening declaring, “I’m angry, I am so angry,” that nothing worked, except my typewriter, and by that I mean my off-line computer screen. It’s works just fine in Word. My saving grace.

And that’s all I have to say. I’m posting the next installment of The Movie Lovers below, the second scene in the first chapter, Low Spark. I’ll wait till tomorrow to explain just how this piece of creative nonfiction is put together and why. For now, consider this story to be the picture postcards of a life I once had.

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

The postcard on Frank’s refrigerator read, “He/She was the man/woman of his/her dreams.” Above that caption, a cartoon rendering of two tall dark and hairy-but-oddly-good-looking men in low-cut dresses, pearls, and lipstick. Next to the postcard was a printed invitation to “D-Day,” which proclaimed itself to be a food-provided, dress-as-you-are, BYOB affair: “bring your own booze, boy, bio-pic, or batting average.” Staged on the Labor Day weekend, Drag Day -- or D-Day -- was the last blow-out-all-the-stops party before school. School meant the end of travel, summer visitors, and long weekends with the gang. School meant thirty-five children to teach and keep in line. But most important of all for Frank, who is both a dedicated teacher and a big kid-at-heart, school meant back to the closet.

Each year, D-Day would find men in various stages of undress and gender bending vying for a view of themselves in the triptych mirror that hugged the length of Frank's bathroom wall, a bathroom transformed just for the occasion into a performers' dressing room. On this particular D-Day, just outside the door, a crop-haired woman in a man’s tuxedo could be seen squinting into a video camera and lobbing questions at the primping men. In front of the camera and at the exact center of the mirror, waist sucked in and chest pressed out, stood Garrett dressed in pantyhose, a half-slip, and a bra. He/She leaned deep into her own reflection, making the face women have made for centuries when applying their eye make-up: mouth rounded and stretched downward; Edvard Munch’s The Scream in drag. Garrett was always Dolly. This year Dolly Parton would be clothing her enormous rice bag titties in gold lame, but right now she was busy painting her forehead -- white from lashes to hairline -- and arching a pencil-thin Marlene Dietrich line much higher and wider than her own whited-out, unplucked brow. Dolly grinned big for the camera and declared in a Southern falsetto, "Get that thing outta here, or Ah'll flash ya one!" Then she laughed, a big pink-mouthed laugh that flashed teeth as big and yellow as hominy.

Frank, who stood on Garrett, er, Dolly’s right, had had a thing for Peter, Paul, and Mary since high school -- well, Mary actually. “I didn't want to screw her,” he used to say, “-- well, who did? -- I wanted to be her.” Tonight Mary stood in a bath, er, dressing room with two other men, thrusting her head forward like a box turtle, swaying it side to side as she vied for a piece of the mirror. Mary’s ruler-straight blond wig hung just past her man's shoulders but not to her full Playtex bra. Her eyes blink-blink-blinked beneath the long blunt-cut bangs and her hands flicked at the acetate tresses in the same way teenage girls say, “You know?” Frank’s Mary voice, high-twanged and school-girl-giddy, said "I don't want no one to see my panties!" Then he/she raised his/her hemline to tug on said panties and moon the camera. She and Dolly crack up. Big, deep belly guffaws. So unladylike.

The camera turned toward Jose, who sat quietly in a kitchen chair against the wall. Although Garrett and Frank had done the dress-up, lip-synch, drag thing dozens of times, always as Dolly and Mary, this was Jose’s first. He was doing it for Frank, he said. Jose, unlike Dolly and Mary, wore no wig. Falling nearly to his shoulders in waves of natural curl -- somehow more masculine for its length and beauty -- Jose’s dark hair framed a clean-shaven face bare of make-up. No bra hugged his lightly haired chest, although it would have to for him to transform into a torch song chanteuse. For now, though, Jose sat in his chair, nude, legs crossed at the hip, right over left, toes flexed and calf extended. Slowly he drew the razor toward himself, shaving the lower half of his right leg, and as he did his soft tenor voice narrated for the camera. "I am preparing for my North American debut as a singer-dancer,” he said quietly. “This is my first time in front of an audience." With a final stroke of the razor, Jose raised and then lowered his lashes. So demure. He pointed to the small triangle of fuzz at the juncture of his crossed thighs. Deadpan, one note higher: "This is my pussy.” Dolly and Mary bust up again, the big laughter of boys playing dress up.

All contents of Sins of the Eldest Daughter / dinarozellebarnett.blogspot.com/
are copyrighted © and may not be used without permission from the creator.

No comments:

Post a Comment