Welcome To My Bed

Put your words in my mouth.

1. I have lots of things to say today, but none of them are my own. I am recording an audio anthology of poems for my father's Christmas present. He told me today that he missed reading poetry and I smiled and said nothing. He has been half blind since before I was born. He has been one cloudy detached retina and no depth perception and I want to give him back some of what he has missed, something that will also help him see me more clearly. I hope desperately that this project will be that clarity. It's a strange sensation, reading the words of my friends and other poets I admire to record them for someone who has met only one or two of the writers. It's like introducing him to a room full of people that I love, but all of those people are speaking in my voice. I wonder if he'll be able to pick my own poems out of the crowd.

2. I am back in New Jersey and feel strange, as I have come to expect. My dad listens to Rush Limbaugh every day at lunch and tries to incite me to political argument. I agree with him in oblique ways (that the government is doing things wrong--beyond that, we tend to diverge) and try to only focus on those points of intersection. I told him about a Jared Paul piece I saw this summer about being arrested for rioting when not actually rioting and he said he'd like to shake Jared's hand. I laughed internally, because I'm sure if my dad actually spoke to Jared Paul, he wouldn't have the same kind of opinion. It amazes me that we can transform people simply be speaking about them in certain ways; by withholding certain details and playing up others, the real person can be distorted into absolutely anything. That kind of power is scary and awing.

3. I am buried in spoken word mp3s. All I want to do is be among writers again. Driving across the Tappan Zee late last night, I could feel my chest tightening at the suburbia on the other side. I had to stop for cigarettes. I sat in the 7-11 parking lot almost shaking. I haven't been so overwhelmed in a long time. The feeling was especially strong because of how calming Providence is for me; every time I rediscover that city, I feel more at home. The other night Meg and I read poems to each other for hours. It was blissful. There is no one from my real life in this house. I feel like there are two different halves to the way that I function--the mask I wear in this childhood house, the straight, quirky, Catholic daughter/sister who washes dishes that aren't hers; and then there is the person I am everywhere else, that messy thing with a litany of epithets and definitions, none of which fit completely. Lady Gaga came up at breakfast (I find ways to work her into conversation at least once a day) and I was surprised to hear my father saying things about performance art and empowering women, but what was more shocking is that when speaking about the queer community, it almost fell out of my mouth that I am a member. I cartoonishly clapped a hand over my mouth before the secret fell out and ruined the perfectly normal (okay, maybe that's debatable) conversation we were having and promptly changed the subject to Rihanna and domestic violence so I could deal with an opinion I'd already scripted for myself. It seems I only shop the supermarkets that sell cans of worms.