Unapproachable. I imagine an L. Frank Baum novel with a hairy lesbian
marching band in parade. The womyn visit the barbershop and keep their
hair short like men's then let the hair on their legs and armpits grow
like European women's. The womyn are hippies in their way.
I have to look back at it: men in Madison guaranteeing the free speech
of a preacher on the library mall. The preacher stands during lunch
hour on a concrete platform and shouts at the group, perhaps hoping to
save them, "F-o-r-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n!" The beards face him braced at
attention, forking the word in the cold.
I walk by watching them, not stopping, thinking, "What
Later, ten years later, in Texas, I visit G.'s apartment. She orders
the men to piss off the balcony but lets the women through the bedroom
to the bathroom to pee. Pages of my thesis are strewn throughout the
rooms and cover the floor. We sit on them and on old CDs. The visitors
grow upset, to the point of hysteria, if one of their lovers sleeps
with another of their lovers or husband or wife.
"F-o-r-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n!" I shout from the bathroom. The men hear it and
send in J., the little drug dealer girl, to see.
When the man comes in the house with his girlfriend, he is hoisting a
twelve-pack of Bud, and she is holding her eye where he has flicked it with
his baseball cap while driving. M. and I have been arguing about the
future. At first we are glad to be interrupted. I immediately think of
the two of them driving 25 miles out of Houston to get to us in
Sugarland, but when I see that the girlfriend is injured, I get on my
The man is wiry and jumpy. There is a tattoo on his upper arm of
Charles Manson. He jumps and jumps. He looks like a man on a pogo
stick. He will not stop jumping. "I'm going to smash all the windows of
her car," he claims. "Stop him," I say to M., but M. does nothing
except try to make peace with concentration. "You're not allowed to
hurt her or her car," I say to the man, whose name I have heard once
and forgotten. The man veers close to my face and says, "Who are you?
Bella Abzug! Gloria Steinem!"
The girlfriend smiles then goes to lie down on the daybed in the dining
room. The man runs through the kitchen and out the back door. When he
comes back, he says, "I smashed the windows of her car." M. goes out to
the driveway and returns. "He did it," he says. "Call the police," I
say, and M. says, "We can't have the police here. The neighbors will
complain about rehearsals."
Then the man jumps near my face. "I'm going to tell you a story, Bella,
Gloria. When I was thirteen my father beat my mother every day, and I threw
myself into the fight and tried to stop him. I couldn't stop him. He
was bigger than I was. You have TLE. I have TLE. You have bipolar. I
have bipolar. But mainly I shoot heroin. Would you like to shoot
"No," I say and look at M. "She doesn't do that," M. explains. Then M.
leaves the house by the front door, and I pretend he will be right
back, that he will not abandon me to a fiend. The girlfriend has not
gotten up from the daybed to look at her car. She lies turned to one
side holding her eye and shyly laughing.
I go to the master bedroom. I close the door. I leave it unlocked for
M. The man comes running through the door, jumping and making noise.
"I'm going to eat you," he says. Then he leaves and I lock it. I get in
bed. I can hear him fucking her in the dining room. I hear her songbird
sigh. I can try to get under my head. I pull the pillows over my ears
and the covers under my chin. I pray, What solidifies them.
What unites them: Blessed are these the workers of the world.
Ann Bogle is the author of Xam. An e-book, Solzhenitsyn Jukebox, is just out from Argotist.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201010inaccrochable.htm
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
of Ignacio Cobacho.
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