|Oct/Nov 2002 • Poetry • Special Feature|
Dream after Reading Dramatic Monologues
changeling... and just full of things
you can't even put your finger on
I. I am Driving in Reverse
It's not that I don't remember you or your name. You work for a Dallas grocer. "Rescued," you correct me, from "stocking shelves with more cashew jars than the happiest minority known could ever want. Better than a Texas blue bonnet--Credit is--oh, a much better arrangement," you tell me, tapping in my I. D.
But there's more I want to ask you, for instance, about everyday life and who decides what "majority" and "minority" mean? And, how did you get here from the grocer's-- with your Circean smile--driving with me in my 1987? I remember this road but I never drove it this fast in reverse. But do we see the same, here?--crumbling rock, flooded ditch, either side. Yes, I know it's my dream.
But, Girl, how would I know how we got here?
II. Trying to Have a Conversation
It does look like I don't mind you
being here, though. And, why wouldn't I
like you? No, it's that I'm also trying not to
stutter off this graded road
keep right on talking, buttery ethos
of an unsalted cashew. Girl, wise up. You say
everything that comes to mind,
to anyone, so certain it's
For instance, "She couldn't be rescued."
As in, your mother slowly drinking her spirits,
drinking herself dead in life. Then quitting, buoyant
as a granny bonnet of clichés:
shall pass!" Now your chorus of Cassandra Don'ts
defining everything against itself:
"I don't ever listen
there! Don't cross that bridge! Don't forget the happiest
minority known has to be the living,"
while in the rear view mirror
one of your eyes angles more Odyssean than your
III. We've Just Arrived
Now I suppose you're looking for a few good men in sheep's clothing--
to be rescued, finally-- though we've just arrived
at a mall. You're sitting for a faux grainy portrait--
smiling girl in cashew color gelatin silver plate: a little Manifest
Destiny bonnet calicoed around your face. You laugh as they tell you
to laugh. "Laugh lady-like, laugh like the sound of a thousand and one
Penelopes waiting --that patient minority among women--
weaving and unraveling. Good. Again, now."
"Oh sure," you say, "anyone can do that--
read my nametag." "Oh, sure," I say,
remembering how much I only wanted to hear how you say it.