A Girl Poem

You want to be driven but the only Hemi is

a mood swing,

Fierce opinion

fantasy: the plastic sunglass songs

Leading the way, you figure pragmatism can’t be bad,

& you’re delighted some people don’t care

if there’s a god.

You hate your voice, your skinny arms, your small frame, you are ok

if you have to pick something, with your

slim back.  You talk too much in class, ignored

by boys anyway

so this need to gentle rinse-empower them with

your closed mouth

has never been your bag. You think you might be a shrink

when you grow up but biology is paperclip dull,

except for the drawings

in lab. You can barely gas up your car on your own and you drive

80 on the way to work

through a 45, the summer job 70 hr work week completely acceptable to you. 

You hate the president, and the one before that, but you like the sound

of Lyndon Johnson’s war

on poverty, even though he sent your Dad to ‘Nam. 

You pick out old lady clothes: rayon belted purple and green dress,

button down blouses and cardigans, high-waisted jeans,

You are so judgmental only beer

you hate the taste of

makes the world easy.  You hate, and despair, often.

 You consider swallowing a bottle of aspirin

over a breakup with a boy

who was probably into boys to begin with, until

you read the label and it tells you this’ll only ruin your liver. 

You speak so strong, you live so weak, you read John McPhee or

 Joan DIdion in the mall, or at the bar. 

You have a spectrum approach to cleanliness,

And ambition disconnected from diligence,

which seems to have nothing

to do with getting to tomorrow.

When you see someone with a gift you assume they

Never tried either, because the gifts you have:

A voice, scrawny good looks, comprehension,

Didn’t take practice. You want to be comfortable and feel good

All the time, but when your mom suggests this, you feel deeply

misunderstood.  You are enchanted by an actress-waitress

who tales neat pains in everything she does

But you join Sue on Lucky 7s scratchoffs and white crosses

twice a day and show up late

Every day, instead of following Rita’s example. 

You love astrology and tarot, except when other people do it,

at which point it appears sentimental and thoughtless.

You are unwilling to change anything about yourself

to meet the world,

You view it as a kind of cheating on yourself.  You wear your sweaters

and sweatpants and penny loafers

To band practice, everything on you too big and mixed up, a little integrity

Between what you saw and what you tried to reflect about it. 

Maybe you weren’t playing,

maybe you weren’t played,

you tried to feign like you could make your way

without any help from advertising, thanks.  You did the best you could.

Your best was chump change you spent as fast as you could get it.

I want to tell the truth about you but in the end you shut the door,

Because you treasure what’s left of your space.

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