Lodestar Quarterly

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

my place in the world

Michelle Tea

the heat of the streets
doesn't quite reach me
it laps at the curb like
a glaring tide, seeming soft
though really it's a killer.
the bums inside this place
talking all day about
panama, viet nam and
tijiuana. and always
the women, stacked
like beer in the fridge,
or else the melting racks
of chocolate. i wonder
if the women behind the counter
wants to kill them.
all night i dreamt
of killing men.
he was a real
bastard, grimy hat
and ancient face,
something sunning itself forever
on the brutal streets that curiously
does not die. i beat him
with a bat. it felt good.
now that everything
has calmed down a little
i can dream again.
it was just too much
drama for a little while,
too much theater and my
nights were filled
with dark nothing.
now i kill men.
i knew it would come to this.
flying in a big airplane
reading that awful book,
Mercy, and the moral
of the story is start
killing bums. the men
of the street. work
your way up
to the other ones.
it seemed to make sense.
everything else only
gets you in the papers,
a quick blab for the camera.
so these men, i sit here
with them now, all of us
smoking and it seems
i have found a legion
of grandfathers.
i like the idea
of a disconnected people
connected in a strange
dense way like cables
beneath the ground.
i don't want to kill them.
it's like signing onto
a major label, right?
an angry girl
frozen in the sky
stares down at me
with kill in her eyes.
everywhere i belong,
and the places i do not
it's just a thicker tangle
of cable, harder
to place.

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.

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