Forgive me, but all this time I have been addressing this audience in personal epiphanies, disfigured and alienated from social realities, that I disguise as theories or otherwise lazily put forth, intact and unwieldy, to be worked upon by the for-granted Marxism of neoliberal children longing for a humanism for which they can provide dutifully- like a father would have at some point in history (I forget who said this) until it’s no longer grateful. Has anyone here been touched by the Father who writes poetry in the corridors of ruined manors? Anyone? No? I, for one, certainly have and will not forget the damp tilled rows beset in my manic waves of purple polyglot. Now, dear reader, I’ve given you a clue. But perhaps you’d like it better if I called you…something else
There was a question raised.
Enter three characters in search of the difference between artifice and art (but really performing and performance) in the early 20th century -- thinking especially of women drunk in puce hotel rooms. There are tasseled curtains and tears everywhere.
“Would that I were to take a lover tonight, he would be one for original phrases meant to describe axioms to which I have no claim, such as ‘Jewish geography’ or ‘Goy thinking,’ and yet somehow I would feel as if I have all the access in the Western world. For example, who taught me to write stage directions? No one. And yet. I’ve just thought of what to call you. Now please reply with your comment.
Of course your mother “Likes” you, her most handsome son. How like us to sit in the dark together and talk of Catholic princes in dresses with blue knuckles weighed with their Sea’s worth in baubles when really, you and I, we’re a little bit trashy and we know it. But honestly, I’d rather be. What’s that - you say you’re discovering a new discourse? No, honey, that’s happening all the time. Well, every time we show up to an N+1 party and don’t talk to anyone. You’re just so slow that you notice! Now back to our bestial affair. Do it like we did in the old town before a vintage shop in the West Village instagramed me with 40 hashtags, like so many sailboats carrying nothing. Your hands, like that. Like a butch heiress in a stable economy would do it.
Another question from the audience.
Me: Loving it.
Yes, I can easily say that as a white bourgeois presenting person who is not white bourgeois I can’t afford activism because I am too busy working, have no safety net, wouldn’t know how to go on were I unable to drive my uninsured truck to the nearest gas station to buy whatever beer is on sale, intimidate my children into silence, turn off every light in the house, crack one open and watch muscled pigs slaughter each other on the auction block of midlife. I do this with my father. Or else I dress in my grandmother’s brooches and drink blood gin in The Refinery Hotel. You look like something, but what? They all say that.
Family narratives obsessively constructed by people who despise their families. And Freud. And, haha, even people who despise Freud.
Yes, I decided to live in a fairy tale. I pretend my labor isn’t my real labor. I’m religious. I think language is powerful. It is. I don’t do anything about it. I don’t write like “today.”
When I said sometimes language doesn’t carry any information, I didn’t mean that it wasn’t a sign system created for the singular purpose of conveying information. Maybe I meant it doesn’t carry meaning, which is like so naive. Or maybe I just meant I didn’t like this Philip Roth novel because the girl character didn’t make any sense. You could see how scrambled up he was about women, about people. Thus, these sentences failed as vessels. For me. I’m a girl.
They: Can you explain yourself?
Me. No, it’s humiliating.
Back to the sex we were having. You grew astoundingly large in my mouth, but we had yet to have what God-fearing people would call a Biblical encounter. A co-worker had advised me to wait for its finest moment and then pounce. That’s where language made itself felt in the most refreshing way. A fine moment. What organization and economy. It creates a little cloud for metaphor to live inside.
Helping people is ugly. They become monstrous with need. Rousseau, I knew you were here tonight.
Enter four critics in search of a slim gay male author to claim as their prodigy. Emma intercepts them, knocking over a glass of cognac and tripping on her tote bag to grasp at their sleeves.
EMMA: Pay attention to me. I can write in so many different ways. An authentic inscription for each lover, so to speak. Plus, I can’t help but become well-known because my life - it has been so interesting!
CRITIC 1: I can only tell you what I told your predecessor. Go out alone. Seek not a family or a community among those who will eventually efface you with their blob mentality.
EMMA: No, but you’re wrong. A man wrote a story in which I am destroyed without taking into account that I might enjoy it. So here I am to enjoy it. Commedia D’ell Arte.
CRITICS 2,3,4: Woody Allen wrote for us to say we see someone we know.
EMMA: I packaged myself for you!
MONICA MCCLURE's debut poetry collection, Tender Data, will be published by Birds, LLC in spring 2015. She is the author of the chapbooks, Mood Swing, from Snacks Press and Mala, published by Poor Claudia.