MAYBE THEY DON'T LIKE THE SMILE
Maybe they don't like the smile. You can't tell it's a smiling face at first because it has to scab up. That's what I told Rosalind. She thought I hurt myself. I'm not allowed to get a tattoo, so I have to draw with my pocketknife instead. I usually draw smiling faces. I like smiles. I wish I could smile all the time. Rosalind has a pretty smile. Whenever she smiles, the pain in my head goes away. She's in the fourth grade with me at Nixon Elementary. A lot of grownups laugh at the name of the school. I guess they named it after the wrong President. I love to listen to grownups talk because they use those nice big words. Like Principal Duncan when he met with my Mom and Dad last Tuesday. I was supposed to just sit outside by the door, but I had to listen. It was hard hearing through the thick glazed wood. There were some nice big words, though. Like EXTRAORDINARY INTELLIGENCE and BIZARRE SELF-MUTILATION. Mostly the Principal wanted to talk about what happened between me and Billy Hosford. Billy's a mean kid. He bullies us all the time. Last week, he stole Rosalind's Dentist Barbie doll. She just got it new from her Grandma. That made me so mad. The little voice inside me, I think it's called a con-shuns or something, told me that I had to hurt Billy. So I did. I chased him and caught him and pushed him down on the ground. I took out my pocket knife and touched the drawing blade to his throat. I made him give back Rosalind's doll and promise never to steal anything again. My con-shuns told me to cut Billy's throat, but I decided to scratch his cheek instead. You know, so he would remember his promise and keep it. You can't keep a promise if you're dead. So I got up off of Billy and I saw that he wet his pants. I don't know why. I don't know why the other kids laughed at that, either. Was it supposed to be funny? I don't know. I keep forgetting to laugh at funny things. You know, I haven't been back to school since then. I haven't been back home, either. I have been staying here in this place - I think it's a hospital or something. The room I sleep in is all white and there are bars on the window like a jail. Sometimes I pretend that I'm a master bank robber. But I'm a good crook, the kind who gives part of his take to poor people. It gets lonely sometimes. I miss my parents and Rosalind, but they're all coming to see me on Saturday, so it's not so bad. I do miss drawing. They won't let me draw with my pocketknife. I could always draw with the soft colored markers they have in the arts and crafts room, but that's no fun. When you draw with soft markers, you have to draw on paper, so you can't feel the picture you draw. I like to feel the smiles when I draw them. They don't understand why. I just do. I can't explain it. Sometimes it feels like the only way I can smile myself is to draw a smile.
© copyright 2001
DADA AND THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
Good morning, Miss Jones!
in your clammy dialect spewing the green Bible bile nice day a frozen
Can I go to the bathroom?
© copyright 2001
To love a woman. To solve a deeper mystery than the most brilliantly
planned homicide. To speak slow, moist sentences. To rejoice in the sorrow
of the male animal, blissfully exhausted following love's grand communion.
How you rejoiced in my swollen appetite! It is not always that simple. I
have studied you as a scientist and indeed, you have mocked me like an
elusive equation. The nagging complexities please me. I am hungry for a
challenge. I could attempt hypnosis with old dead poets, but you are not
so easily taken. I am not a hunter and you are not my prey. Rather, I am
Pan, spirit of the forest, and you are a wood nymph. Beware, gentle nymph!
I intend to woo thee with my flute. I will bombard thee with a gentle
blizzard of notes. Will you bathe in the pond? Will you undress for me?
Shall we be children again and swim nude in water the temperature of
blood, aware only of our hearts and not our nether-regions? Will we pause
to contemplate the cumulonimbus creatures that float through the sky? I
cannot depend on the shallow wisdom of friends. Take F. for example, the
old rogue. His organ is destined to resemble an earthworm turned
inside-out from too much empty love. I must be careful. Sometimes your
lips carry the sting of iodine to teach me not to sneak kisses when I have
wronged you. I try not wrong you, of course. I like to think of myself as
a gentleman and a scholar, but I am by no means perfect. When mermaids and
sirens call to me, I must not tread in those dangerous waters. If I am to
drown, then let me drown in your arms and be smothered by your breath. I
seek nothing more. I need nothing less.
I knew it would happen my love, and it has - I have gone mad without you. Lacking the funds to pay for adequate treatment, I find myself confined to this Church-run asylum for the Chronically Brokenhearted And Spiritually Dead. In these dark, dank, hopeless quarters where I reside, I write to you with my harmless felt-tipped pen on the backs of papers that weren't smart enough to allow themselves to be properly raped by the copy machine. I trust that you will not read what is left of these poorly printed psychological portraits. Now, where do I begin? Where do I begin to express my longing for you which is clamped around my heart in a clenched fist? Love is not encouraged here. If suffering is Divine, then Sister Blister will soon be canonized for Sainthood. She is our overseer, walking back and forth among us like a death camp commandant with her sharp metal ruler. Her malevolent eyes are always upon us, measuring our pulse rate, intoxicated by our fear. I thought about you today in the art room. The words and images are becoming clearer since I perfected the art of hiding my pills under my tongue. As I kept within the lines of my coloring book, an image came back to me. We were children again, and I had embarked upon a new project - I began to draw a picture of your soul with my Spirograph stencils. All the pens I had used and their fluorescent inks of lavender, pink, green, blue, and yellow were there, moving chaotically within each stencil disk. As I handed you the drawing, Sister Blister walked into the room and I lost the image. She has made it her life's work to rob me of my memories, ever since the day I shaped some modeling clay into a perfect facsimile of a certain part of the male anatomy and placed the sculpture in a prominent area of the artwork display case. It was the first time that I had ever heard her stutter - WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS F-F-F-FILTH? she asked, and I couldn't conceal my smirk in time. The metal ruler, lubricated by the moisture of her palms, struck my hands repeatedly and ferociously, opening random gashes across my knuckles. When she sent me away, Sister Blister was wearing a smirk of her own on that mean, pinched, bitter, evil face of hers. All of our hearts soar with vibrant hatred for her, and her compatriot, Sister Elephanta Of The Immaculate Deception. Sister Elephanta is a great whale of a woman, and her vast shadow fills us with the terror of a condemned man about to be led to his execution as it consumes everything in its path. She would love to use her massive girth to crush us, body and soul. You are the reason that I cannot be broken. Your face burns brightly in the back of my head. They can no longer make me see the world through quiet, obedient Vaseline-smeared lenses. And now my love, I must put down my pen for today. My next project will be a plan of escape, and after I've successfully fled from this godawful place, I will seek confinement again, within your warm and infinite arms.
- Your Favorite Male Orphan
© copyright 2001