Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 5 • Spring 2003 • Featured Writer • Poetry

the biggest mistake i made all year

Michelle Tea

so i thought i'd see how many girls
i could engage and detach
in an admirably short period of time,
how many heads could be cut
on the block of my bed, casualties
of the casual, bleeding like that boy
on the pissy street, remember, the
two o'clock shots that startled you
as i released my blade and ruined
my futon. isn't it a shock
when the sirens suddenly stop
and the blue lights thump against
your windows.
you forgot they had
a purpose.
let's say that a house is a body
and these windows the ribs where i sit,
pumping smoke. in a minute
a woman will arrive with a camera
to shoot my antisocial vagina.
she loves to have her picture taken,
but if you touch her she'll puke.
like a terrible baby she cries,
til i take her to my bed
and burp her on my shoulder.
and who decided we can smoke
all over the house.
who was in charge of deciding that.
why is there a giant ashtray in the shower,
the most sacred room, a chapel really
a temple with its many ointments and
naked chambers. i lather my oussy
and perm her hair, brush her curls,
suck from a two-liter bottle of coke
at my window, dripping ashes on the children
who skate around the parking meter.
imagine if water was living,
how gross we'd all feel climbing out
of the shower. but it is living, right,
everything is living and doubtlessly
i am here for a reason.
i wish i had something new to tell you,
something new, something you have never
heard before. maybe you are more complex.
than me, than everyone. smoking on your steps
beside the pale buddah that stares
at the wall, the buddha thing to do.

as long as i don't love you i can do this for you:
a vigil at the sooty window
with a two-liter bottle of coke.
it's like church.
you can have one or the other
but you can't have both.
did you know we're in outer space?
i always forget. missing the trees
for the forest, the candy for the garland
of gum wrappers, evolution
for the garbage that's making my block
look so ugly. and i am complex,
in a simple way. i can't find my heart
but something is keeping me going.
my room is a mess, i've yet to leave you
at the curb for the monday morning men.
but you're not even here! just like god.
you're catholic, right, so you know what it is
to talk about empty presence. you know
what it's like to be stuck in a myth at birth.
when i was a girl i thought i'd be a saint.
i thought i'd be the vessel for the second coming
and i do believe that is what happened.
you know what my favorite vice is.
right now there is a child in my house
and what will they give her to suck on?
faith, tits, a piece of plastic.
this could go on forever
if i don't put an end to it
and isn't that always
the problem.

Michelle Tea

Michelle Tea is the author of several memoirs, a couple anthologies, and a book of poetry. Her most recent book is the illustrated novel Rent Girl, with art by Laurenn McCubbin.

Go To: Issue 5 or Lodestar Quarterly home page