The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

Lying My Head Off
By Cate Marvin

Here's my head, in a dank corner of the yard.
I lied it off and so off it rolled.
It wasn't unbelieving that caused it
to drop off my neck and loll down a slope.
Perhaps it had a mind of its own, wanted
to leave me for a little while.

Or it was scared and detached itself
from the stalk of my neck as a lizard's tail
will desert its body in fright of being caught.
The fact is, I never lied. The fact is,
I always lied. Before us, we have two mirrors.
At times, they say, one must lie in order

to survive. I drove by the house, passed
it several times, pretending it was not
my own. Its windows were red with curtains
and the honeyed light cast on the porch
did not succeed in luring me back inside.
I never lied. I drove by the house,

suckling the thought of other lovers
like a lozenge. I was pale as a papery birch.
I was pure as a brand new pair of underwear.
It will be a long while before I touch another.
Yet, I always lied, an oil slick on my tongue.
I used to think that I was wrong, could

not tell the truth for what it was. Yet, one
cannot take a lawsuit out on oneself.
I would have sworn in court that I believed
myself and then felt guilty a long time after.
I hated the house and I hated myself.
The house fattened with books, made me

grow to hate books, when all the while
it was only books that never claimed
to tell the truth. I hated him and I hated
his room, within which his cloud of smoke
heaved. I disappeared up narrow stairs,
slipped quick beneath the covers.

My stomach hurts, I told him, I was tired.
I grew my dreams thick through hot nights:
dear, flickering flowers. They had eyes
which stared, and I found I could not afford
their nurture, could not return their stare.
Meanwhile, liars began their parade

without my asking, strode sidewalks inches
before my doorstep. I watched their hulking
and strange beauty, their songs pregnant
with freedom, and became an other self.
I taught children how to curse.
I bought children gold pints of liquor.

I sold my mind on the street.
I learned another language. It translates easily.
Here's how: What I say is not what I mean,
nor is it ever what I meant to say.

You must not believe me when I say
there's nothing left to love in this world.


Bleh...still feeling terrible. Went to the doctor, was somewhat surprised to learn it's not strep because it's entirely in my throat and extremely painful when I talk and swallow, which is how I remember strep from my childhood, though I've had no fever...also no other cold or viral symptoms except having no energy. My mother felt so sorry for me she brought over leftover chicken soup and matzah balls from Rosh Hashanah. Adam, at least, seems to feel much better, went to school today without incident and was only moderately tired this evening.

Since I couldn't concentrate, I watched The Queen on cable in the afternoon and indulged my crush on Fictional Tony's so bizarre that Stephen Frears of The Hit, The Grifters and My Beautiful Laundrette made a movie so adoring of the Queen and making Blair look so good...I kept thinking that if anyone had made a movie that made Bush look so good, I'd have been revolted, and wondering about the distance at play for American viewers of this movie and our guilty relationship to royalty. My good friend in London not only does not get my crush on Fictional Tony but why I get off on his crush on HRH in the film.

Boston Legal is back! But it's so different with Claire and Denise gone, and Brad a guest star and Carl Sack in Paul Lewiston's chair. I like both new women (Saffron Burrows mmmmm) but I'm a bit tired of Alan being as libido-first as Denny, and thinking with his id; for once it would be nice if he hit on the new guy and simply tried to relate to the new girl. Of course, there were still great moments, particularly between Alan and Denny: "Your face is robust, it has character, you've got that twinkle in your eyes," Alan tells Denny when Denny confesses that he's been going to prostitutes because he's afraid no one will want him anymore, and Carl comes in while they're embracing. And later, Gloria is jealous that Alan wants to bail Denny out from his prostitute bust more than he wants to be with have a baby, which I deeply and sincerely hope he turns down in a rational manner rather than just cheating her away.

Denny does not like Carl, and doesn't even realize Carl is his competition for Shirley. When Shirley tells Denny there's a new sheriff in town, Denny retorts, "I'm the sheriff! You've seen my spurs!" and warns carl that says every time someone counts him out of the game, he surprises them. "Surprise me," Carl retorts and proceeds to make the firm miserable, terrorizing Jerry and Clarence, particularly the latter after seeing him as Clarice performing on YouTube. Why Shirley puts up with this crap for as long as she does is beyond me. She's distracted -- getting sued by Stanford for rescinding a promised donation to study greenhouse gases when she learns that Exxon Mobil has also donated $100 million -- plus Carl has stupidly tossed a murder case at a just-out-of-law-school new recruit who's in way over her head.

So what works? Clarence's speech about how the lawyers at Crane, Poole and Schmidt don't want to be at a normal law firm like their miserable law school colleagues but to be happy and confident being themselves. Denny singing "You Are My Sunshine" to Shirley, a sad and beautiful moment witnessed by Carl. Carl watching Alan and Denny watch each other piss (!!!!) so they can talk prostate and penis health (!!!!)...excuse me, I really need to go rewind that scene and watch it again. And then Alan, inspired by Clarence/Clarice's triumph performing a number from Hairspray with someone he met in a shyness support group, dressing up in his girl group dress complete with makeup and turning Denny on, though they are both quickly distracted by thoughts of Shirley in a cheerleader outfit. They talk about how much they love their lives -- sex in elevators, saving the environment and dressing in drag as a nightcap -- yep, Clarence certainly knows what I love about Crane, Poole and Schmidt!

Know how I keep seeing deer when driving home from my parents?

They are getting more and more brazen!

They are crossing people's yards and eating ornamental plants...

...and having adorable fawns, who are also going to have trouble finding places to live now that there are housing developments where there was once woods.

And they have demon eyes when one uses flash to take their photos!

Wednesday is Daniel's fourteenth birthday. He had a slight meltdown tonight about not being able to come home and play video games because his evil parents insisted that he can't miss the first day of his one extracurricular. Augh.

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