Saturday, November 26, 2005

3 prose pieces by Dodie Bellamy



There’s this presence colonizing my psyche in that unbelievable construct, The Past: Mina Harker 1979, no eyeglasses or varicose veins, a firmer and pinker version let’s call her Minnie and no sense. As Minnie enters Cala Foods on Larkin Street the one with the giant space station awnings, the Jetsons zip past her in a shuttle, she imagine this and smirks. Stoned again. She does all her food shopping after midnight, in gray sweatpants and a ratty brown fur coat, knee length with rips in the shoulder that she stitched up in thick ridges like the autopsy scars on Oswald’s chest in the Life magazine photo, an image I’ve used before but can’t get enough of. The check out boy flirts with her, “I’ve seen you in here before.” In her purple Converse hi-tops she steps toward him, steps toward whatever blows by. It’s been this way ever since last Thanksgiving imagine the dried-up Autumn leaves of my Indiana consciousness shriveling on the ground, imagine a Looney Tune wind rearing up like a ghost, oval eye sockets with roving black dots, bulging white cheeks, a huge gust of bohemia it puffs—POOF—Indiana scatters to god knows where her first Thanksgiving in San Francisco, she breezes into a gay bar on Polk street with her old college pals Terry, Mikey and Ken, they played pinball and drank florescent blue cocktails. The self-basting turkey in Terry’s over basted itself. In 1994 I find a snapshot wedged in the back of a drawer, Terry Ken Mikey and me slouched around a decimated turkey, the color balance is off, too yellow, golden really, as if the camera itself were inebriated with the golden glow of youth. Click. Ken has drawn over our faces with colored pens transforming them into alien animals blue and red ballpoint scribbles, Mikey’s head swoops into a sharp crest-like steel plumage, beside him sits a fleshy twenty-six-year-old girl with straight blonde hair extending to the back of her bra if she were wearing a bra large tribal breasts from her center part the hair falls in a V on either side of her forehead like the fingers in a child’s game this is the church this is the steeple this is I me Mina—after fifteen years the first person seems so fraudulent, her memories strong and raw as espresso, mine weak as any extended metaphor the magenta anteater snout Ken has drawn over her mouth plunges into the glass of blush wine Minnie’s raising towards the camera. They were making jibes about high fiber bread, how Mikey ate it before he went out cruising. Mikey turned his still wiry frame towards Ken and scoffed, “Did you ever buttfuck with a clogged colon?” Terry pointed to a loaf tossed on top the refrigerator, a cheap squish brand with sawdust added, its long brown wrapper looked not unlike a turd, “I’m glad you didn’t use it in the turkey stuffing, none of us would be safe from your ravenous hole.” David Bowie in the background, more laughter. Mikey blushed and picked up an orange dish shaped like a carrot, “Seconds anyone?” We’d lived in the same tenement building in Bloomington, in varying combinations with one another. Ken moved to Pittsburgh in ’84; occasionally I wonder if Terry and Mikey are dead while man’s castration is genital, woman’s castration is depicted as a separation from part of her own self and/or separation from another woman, her sister Minnie lifts the wine glass to her lips, sips the sweetish pink wine. She’s wearing a tight navy turtleneck and rust-colored corduroy pants, the corduroy thinning to apricot at knees and ass. The pants pull up in the crotch a bit too high a tightness in her cunt not quite a burning a caustic dryness she shifts from side to side crosses and uncrosses her legs the elusive squishiness of the flesh, you’d think it would be more elastic, easier to push around, but her body will not budge will not reform, reduce belly hugging her hipbone like a big bear she wants to evaporate herself. Still she’s laughing, squealing and hooting even. What’s the story? The little bitch won’t fess up the facts it’s me Mina she’s laughing at, a future which terrifies and bores her, century’s end an evening without sex she considered a failure, I remember that much, so of course her life was fraught with failures, but not so many, considering this represents Mina’s desire for normality and proper womanhood three gay men and a turkey, not much chance for action there, does the holiday offer reprieve from her gnawing quest for other being to rub against, is she planning to hit the bars or stumble home to her mattress on the floor and the cat? Her glass of bush wine wavers in the silken air like a hologram that’s in trouble, she raises it to the camera pink specks trailing, sticks in her anteater snout take your protein pill and put your helmet on her third person image warps and cracks. I am no longer the omniscient narrator I used to think I was. The flavor of her life: food shopping after midnight in a ratty fur, gray sweatpants, faded maroon T-shirt filched from her sort-of boyfriend, the red-haired checkout guy who’s bagging her groceries says, “You look cute in those sweatpants and fur.” Redheads remind her of shitty diapers and welfare, of her zillion red-headed cousins guzzling moonshine in Kentucky. Yuck. Turn off. “I get off work in half an hour.” She breathes in his freckles and emerald eyes, smiles noncommittally. “Half an hour, huh?”




David and I were on our way to Palo Alto, more specifically to the Barbie Hall of Fame--camp, yes, but we were serious about it. Highway conversation, hurling through a landscape that seemed infinite we were practically sitting on top of one another--how could our subject matter be anything but intimate. Evil neighbors drove David's mother crazy--she swore they had microphones planted in the house, were spying on everything that went on--she pulled him into the bathroom and revealed this in a whisper, swore she heard herself amplified from the neighbor's house whenever she went out by the garage: they were cocaine dealers furious with her for turning down a pass made by their son. David would have loved this plot in a movie staring Stephanie Powers--he, unlike her family, would have believed her pleading brown eyes--but in this instance he was the family and his mother a middle class housewife with lithium in her medicine cabinet. I imagine her in a perfect white boufant protected by one of those invisible hair hets sprinkled with miniature rhinestones--but this did happen in Southern California--maybe she was one of those women of a certain age whose neck line plunges to meet her hot pink spandex pants, a housewife with a sense of adventure, the kind a young man on cocaine would go for. The neighbors did shine bright lights into his parents living room at night and once when he was visiting David's tires were mysteriously slashed: stress like a watercolor blurs the boundaries between what is out there and in here: after a while who can really tell where outrage ends and paranoia begins. After a long draining visit with his wife in the mental hospital, David's father took out the garbage and guess who's voice he heard coming from the neighbor's back room . . . . David's mother was vindicated, the house was sold, and she's doing much better in her new city. Sometimes Beverly's footsteops seem to follow me around the house, from room to room, down the long Kafkaesque hall--maybe my fears are right, that she has the gift of psychic sonar gone bad and instead of saving the planet she is using her power to torment me.

Coming from such a story no wonder David is on a pilgrimage to Barbie, with her cute little ensembles suitable for every possible situation a young girl could imagine herself to be in--anyone can tell what Barbie is doing or thinking at a glance--a doll that takes the notion of wearing your emotions on your shirtsleeve to new heights. Home is a place to wear your outfits and be happy, whether alone studying for nursing or stewardess school, or having a barbeque or wedding with your perfect neighbors Madge and Ken, the kind of people who keep their lawn mowed, their stereo down, and don't blab your personal business all over the page.

“Not tonight dear—I'm obsessing on the neighbors.” How we create violent fantasies about neighbors—calling up anonymous child abuse hotline and saying we were concerned neighbors and we saw the child walking in the backyard naked—hiding a key in your hand and walking by and scraping the paint off their Mercedes—sugar in the gas tank—potato in the exhaust—find their phone number and make obscene phone calls—answer sex ads in the paper and give their address—show on TV about survivalist store which sold books on harrassment.




Youth problem. 12:37 a.m. Caller heard someone running along house, two flower pots found smashed on driveway.
Traffic stop. 2:28 a.m. Ariel Hernandez, 21, arrested and charged with speeding, no seat belt, suspected drunken driving.
Traffic stop. 2:46 a.m. Daniel Nathan Newlin, 21, arrested on warrant for conversion, warning for no license plated light.
No license. 7:35 a.m. A 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged with driving without a license.
Domestic Battery. 8:10 a.m. Robert William, 38, was arrested for domestic battery.
Criminal trespass. 10:45 a.m.
Theft from vehicle. 11:00 a.m.
Theft. 12:47 p.m., Public Library. Purse missing after caller left it hanging on a chair at table.
Unauthorized control of vehicle. 1:01 p.m. Girl, 16, arrested and charged with probation violation.
Theft. 1:38 p.m. $100 taken from pop machine.
Battery. 2:45 p.m. Man, 18, sustained broken nose during attack by several men.
Theft from vehicle. 2:58 p.m. Nextel cellular phone taken from console.
Mischief. 3:22 p.m. Someone poured animal fat in parking lot next to an entry door.
Youth problem. 5:08 p.m.
Burglary. 5:30 p.m. Lawn mower and edger taken from garage.
Theft. 6:28 p.m., Plaza Lanes. Men’s purple Huffy mountain bike taken from front.
Youth problem. 7:27 p.m.
Fraud. 8:53 p.m.
Domestic disturbance. 9:52 p.m.
Suspected drunken driving/felony. 11:30 p.m. Timothy A. Carlisle, 36, arrested and also charged with suspected drunken driving endangering a person.
Theft. 11:53 p.m. Donald Lester DeYoung, 44, arrested; Robert Gene Stevens, 39, arrested.

Youth problem. 12:02 a.m.
Criminal recklessness. 12:10 a.m. Vehicle damaged by gunfire.
Traffic stop. 12:18 a.m. Faron L. Smith, 27, charged with driving while suspended, expired license plate, warning for speeding.
Fight. 3:06 a.m. Verbal with six males, left in a loud vehicle just before officers arrived.
Mischief. 4:51 a.m., Tire Barn. One window shattered, three others cracked with BB gun. Estimated loss $2,000.
Domestic disturbance. 7:33 a.m.
No license. 8:44 a.m. William Thompson, 34, was arrested and charged with driving without a license.
Dog bite. 8:44 a.m. Meter reader bit on his right calf by black male Dachshund.
Theft. 9:25 a.m. Concrete Buddha ornament taken from front lawn.
Pointing a firearm. 12:30 p.m. Woman threatened with gun. Shot discharged.
Disturbance. 1:05 p.m.
Traffic stop. 1:27 p.m. Aisaha Rogers, 26, charged with driving without insurance, warning for expired plate.
Domestic disturbance. 5:19 p.m.
Criminal trespess. 6:19 p.m.
Mischief to vehicle. 6:23 p.m. Rear window shattered. Estimated loss $350.
Youth problem. 7:02 p.m.
Disturbance. 8:00 p.m.
Accident. 9:36 p.m. Dominique A. Foster, 18, charged with failure to yield.
No license. 11:44 p.m. Ryan Reeder, 23, was arrested and charged with driving with a prior conviction for driving on a suspended drivers license.

Traffic stop. 12:47 a.m. Bruce L. Hemminger, 27, arrested and charged with driving while suspended-misdemeanor/prior.
Disturbance. 1:20 a.m.
Domestic disturbance. 1:37 a.m.
Traffic stop. 2:22 a.m. Houmpheng A. Siriphong, 35, arrested and charged with speeding, driving while suspended/prior.
Mischief. 8:04 a.m. Possible gang graffiti spray-painted on several garages, NIPSCO towers, park bench, bike trail.
Domestic disturbance. 11:28 a.m.
Shoplifting alleged. 12:03 p.m. Barbara J. Ford, 51, arrested; Marsha D. Ford, 30, arrested. Both charged with probable cause theft, taken to jail.
Accident. 12:23 p.m. Sean Gaines, 33, charged with disregarding traffic control device.
Accident. 12:30 p.m. Delphine L. Lebryk, 71, charged with failure to yield right of way.
Mischief. 323 p.m. Garage spray-painted on two sides.
Youth problem. 3:51 p.m.
Theft. 4:20 p.m. Bicycle taken.
Traffic stop. 5:08 p.m. Rene Martinez, 23, charged with driving while suspended.
Youth problem. 5:14 p.m.
Theft. 7:18 p.m., Ultra Foods. Tall man with full beard left in silver Ford Taurus with child shopping cart. Estimated loss, $200.

Theft from building. 12:18 a.m.
Disturbance. 12:25 a.m. Man, 26, made threats to caller’s female guest.
Suspected drunken driving alleged. 2:00 a.m. Brandon R. Elam, 23, arrested and also charged with driving while suspended-misdemeanor/prior.
Disturbance. 2:35 a.m. Caller said 30-year-old wife came home drunk, began throwing things; she claims he has gambling problem and the items were thrown by him.
Criminal mischief. 6:38 a.m.
Assist outside agency. 12:54 p.m. Kerri Ann Loveless, 40, arrested on warrant.
Theft. 12:56 p.m. From coin machine.
Traffic stop. 4:28 p.m. Melissa A. Malloy, 28, charged with no seat belt, child restraint violation, driving while suspended.
Youth problem. 4:30 p.m.
Suspected drunken driving alleged. 8:43 p.m. David Deon Allen, 33, arresed and also charged with endangering a person, reckless driving, speed contest, habitual traffic violator; Michael R. Walkowiak, 18, arrested and charged with speed contest.
Traffic stop. 9:38 p.m. Gulf Gervonte Martin III, arrested and charged with driving while suspended-misdemeanor/prior.
Burglary. 10:58 p.m.