The Rope of My Hair
I never knew where I should be, where I
was supposed to be, where I was.
Shuffled along, this house that house, all of my things
fit in one paper sack. My doll named Diana. She had black
curly hair and when you tipped her back and forth, blue eyes
opened and clicked shut.
The girl in the fourth house took her
left her in the street.
On my knees in the next house, six times a day. We must have
been filled with evil, how else to explain?
Voices droning pray for us, pray for us, pray for us.
Sent to the movies to get
me out of the house, I stayed till midnight, long as
I possibly could. When they turned off
the lights, I dragged myself “home”.
I still don’t know.
I am lush, I am huge, I’m your wet dream,
you beat off to me every night.
On that huge screen, my hair my laugh my breasts
my ass fill it,
shiny pink satin dress ten feet tall.
You scream at me, blinding lights and red carpets, call my new
name over and over, willing me to turn towards
you and flash my teeth, as I’ve been trained
when all I want is to unzip my
flesh, imprints from the zipper all down my back, the
stockings the girdle the bra in a heap.
I am, I am not. Little girl on her knees, eyes screwed
sees a beach, a desert, a castle with a knight who
climbs up the rope of my hair.
My teeth impossibly white,
my hair so sculpted it
crunches, I’m on
the cover of every magazine, I’m wrapped
around every cock,
I make grown men cry, hundreds of letters every
week – Marry me. I’ll make you happy, I swear.
This one looks kind, gets drunk
and falls asleep, this one
bores me, talks about the Soviet spies
under his bed,
this one can’t even talk to me only drools, this
one shoves me aside to be in my photos,
this one stares – kisses my forehead,
throws me down, wordless –
he lasted a month.
A red silk dress with a huge taffeta skirt,
Twenty pairs of heels in my closet.
New handbags every week,
Every day, if I want them.
I still don’t know but
I smile when told, laugh, cry, stick my tongue in a new someone’s mouth
Knowing he’ll never be the one
to climb up the rope of my hair.
After Seven Year Itch, the men who sniff after me
have more class, less obvious drool.
They have their own headlines, they don’t share mine.
It’s a relief, but
the flashbulbs are hotter,
Makes my makeup crack and run.
I have to be stupid, sound like a
three-year-old, anything else
they make me re-do it.
I have to be stupid – but now,
a hundred shoes; they have their own closet.
My lost doll, Diana.
I want black hair, like hers.
I get down on my knees,
to see how it feels.
Every month my guts twist
when I bleed, twenty bottles of aspirin on the shelf.
But I’m allowed to miss work – no one calls me a
stuck up bitch.
I want hotel rooms on the highest floors,
I demand houses with higher roofs,
So he can find me.
He can’t climb up that fake, blonde,
too-short hair, but
I can let down this bloody sheet.
That goddamn windy skirt, it made Joe leave.
If I act like a grown-up, refuse to speak
like a toddler,
they complain, they sneer, they yell –
and still, someone manages to pinch my ass.
I am, I am not.
This man with the glasses. A friend tells me he
wants to meet me, wants me, wants to laugh at me,
I do it as a dare to myself.
He’s kind of ugly but he’s kind,
He knows I have things to say
that are not a three-year-old’s thoughts.
Sometimes he puts his body between
me and the cameras.
To marry I have to change, read books they tell me are
different, their own, but
what I don’t understand is
it’s the same Bible.
We used to read it every morning, every night, all day Sundays.
He sees me light the Friday candles then
drop to my knees for praying.
He yanks me up by my elbow.
We don’t do that, get up!
My guts still knot themselves every month,
His baby grows inside me, but in the wrong place
in a tube I never knew I had.
I am, I am not.
They won’t let me grow my hair;
it’s in my contract.
He will have nothing to climb up.
So many hotel rooms,
so many things so much better than aspirin.
They actually fire me
from my own picture! They know goddamn well
It won’t sell
So I grow my hair longer,
It’s black as night, like Diana’s,
In bed, my eyes click open, shut.
No more red carpets
No girdles, no zippers – no need.
If I am very still,
If I hang the bedsheet out my window,
If my hair can hit the sidewalk,
He will climb up.