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February 27, 2023 Poetry


Cecilia Corrigan

Holiday! photo

People who think that “loving to travel” is a defining personality trait aren’t bad people or not worth our time, or loving Fleetwood Mac or Egon Schiele, just because some people’s cultural education stops with what they can absorb the first two weeks in their freshman dorm, it doesn’t mean we can’t talk to them, make love with them.

Or that they can’t be wonderful people. Don’t be such a snob!

What truly makes a person shine, little oyster, is the depth and candor of their loving heart, which this actuary you selected, if that is what she was, seemed to most certainly have!  It is not a refined palate that makes a suitable lover, you know all too well how utterly dull the baroquely educated and refined can be, so let us not see a lacunae of emptiness where there is merely basic-ness.

However! When they aren’t such wonderful people, and when, in fact, they crush, grind, and throttle, they become, at last, interesting,

but undeserving of our generosity, like Roy Cohn with spittle on his lips, evocative to be sure, but at the expense of our beneficance towards their boring taste and boringer life choices. Oh, my furrier is here to condition my minks darling, ta ta for now!

She is wise. When I hang up I can hear a guy howling in Washington Square Park, 

I don’t want the cops to be doing anything to him, 

I don’t want to look at cops or hear them hurting people,

I don’t want to hear anyone scream,

I turn my eyes to the grid, take me away, sorry for being farouche, 

auntie, darling, it’s such a minor blemish on my serenity (pain, pain, pain)

I’ll just I meditate on myself and all my wonderful poolside destinations in, wait

yes, there it, ah, ah! Paradise! HOLIDAY! YES!

With a whirl of my magical, I take to the gram,

 to examine my little body in its perfect square locations, those little slices of the world, 

which is vanishing, so I try to catch it by posing in front of and captioning it. 

A little beach which will soon be gone, a little misty hot tub redwood forest, 

the beautiful little set ups for the photographs rich people need to take so that someday they can go aww remember the world? Whatever happened to her?

 The world is vanishing I said. 

The hotels and infinity pools you checked me into were little slices of pretend permanence, designed to be photographed and left behind in the cloud, which itself someday will vanish. 

Now when I go to hotels and restaurants I leave my body, checking into a pure state of shock and grief.

Cliff’s my roomate and he tells me about how in China or ancient pre-China there was one gene called EDAR that made people have big pores and I was like what do you mean you don’t have big pores and he was like Yah I do look and I was like I think you have skin dysmorphia 

and he was like no it’s the EDAR gene.

So, like, life totally goes on.

By the way did I mention I’m in Hawaii, baby! 

Staying at the Four Seasons Oahu.

I haven’t gotten in the ocean yet 

but I’ve gotten into four different pools.

Cliff says he dreams in the same few locations, he has like a Sims dream landscape.

Last night he had a dream he was out at a houseparty at one of his houses and  was socially shunned for eating strawberry pasta. 

You could send an ear and it still wouldn’t be enough.

I’m having a similar problem 

to the one I had in Ventana in Big Sur,

where I wanted to take photos in my bikini in the water,

but I don’t know when to wash my hair because if I wash it before,

then after I get in the pool it won’t be fresh anymore, and 

that’s a waste of a shampoo.

It’s a really nice run along the ocean past the other hotels

I feel like I’m ruining people’s vacations by jogging past, straight up weeping.

I have to sit down on one of the lounge chairs and sob a little,

 but try to make it look like I’m wiping sweat.

Then a day goes by and I start to feel better. I stop looking for you 

Or feeling like this is my last time at a hotel because if you aren’t here, it can’t be real.

It’s like, sure, this is real. I can cop to that at least!

The number one hotspot I liked going with you was that one like, beautiful island of light?

You know, that crystalline Oregai galaxy-glow that made me feel all egg-safe, the island I believed you created for me by keeping me next to you. 

Weird how that totally wasn’t it though, you know, like that time I did a meditation and a dog with a coat of sunlit gold came to comfort me? That spirit of protection wasn’t you after all, it was me! And it turns out the island? Same deal.

You liked to tell me “I bought you.” which ooh lala so sexy! so funny! at first!

When I think about what I want to happen to you next, I feel the universe smiling on me and granting my wish,

I want you to run from yourself and the truth (check!)

Upon this little star I wish for slow continual bottoming out,

agonizing, a bandaid ripped off in black-hole numbed out slow-time.

Of course, that is what is and will keep happening. Clearly!

On these little stars I wish for you to not find your bottom till it finds you,

to keep getting away with it for so long that by the time it catches up to you, well oh nelly!

oh my sainted aunt! 

In the cage where you trapped me, the women wouldn’t stop screaming.

When I think of it my throat closes, which is probably because the next part is

one of them vomited on the floor.

One of them hurt herself on purpose,

I was wearing my new shoes and I kept thinking it was lucky they were comfy.

I protected you so carefully, even there, I didn’t want to say boo,

buried in a sarcophagus, an offering for your afterlife, 

the scarabs tickling my face, each one muttering acab,

but I hushed them, she doesn’t mean it.

Even the embalmers looked concerned, “don’t go back to her,” eyebrow cocked, Brooklyn accent,

don’t tell me what to do, you embalmer! I wanted to say but couldn’t.

When you let me out of the cage you said you wanted to know I was sorry, that I’d learned my lesson, a smacked dog after her face has been rubbed in it. 

You wanted to know that I understood you had to do it, all of it,

that you were the law itself, Zeus-y baby, and a god’s gotta do what a god’s gotta do.

Unimpeachable! You let it be known, too, that the people you were with thought you should have punished me harder,

and I wondered what you could have possibly told them—

turtlenecks to my meetings, curling up into a ball that can’t breathe, 

with dignity we will stand for ourselves,

the Miami hotel with all the white marble where you said you wished you could send me back, then the wedding, your mother screaming at you, then tried to take away your last name, while I looked around for someone to talk to in my new sequin dress,

the hotel in DC where I was the pizza you ordered, then the hotel in DC where I tried to be sweet about Spinoza but cried all night like a schmo,

our past martyrdom will fade into memory, my dear,

Cliff shows me his essay about Gracie and the gooey words slide around.

I know how hard it is to write about someone you love

to include past anger in the ambulatory leggy lope of forgiveness, 

like stubbing your pose, I beg your pardon, toes. 

It’s easier this way, masks off, pure white light, stark relief,

plot twists tied off, neat pain, 

my dear it was them the whole time! 

a howl of anguish and a bolt from the, a bruise, and yes, even lurid strangulation on the— 

why it’s positively gothic darling, really!

Yes well. 

One thing I won’t stand for is people feeling sorry for me, 

Looking at me like some kind of wan, milque toast, wan, well, even if I am wan,

I mean it makes them so dull, so farouche, really,

I remember at the Gramercy Park Hotel, my face grinding into the sheets, Amber Heard in the elevator, a recent fight about the girls you snuck out to a year later, the infamous Halloween 2019, 

you thought I didn’t know, but the blonde was weirded out and told my friends, 

but more about that later, I’m a little busy, 

On the planet of Oregai 6, yes, I am stomping like one of the boys,  like I’m going to a general meeting at the San Vincente Bungalows, trying to be the hard android, not the soft oyster, so the producers Respeck me, though in this case it’s the xenomorphs I’m trying to wow, and there are so many of them, 

and they’re coming so fast, I might as well —

image: Cecilia Corrigan