Thursday, January 05, 2006

american dozens: remembered curses from the playground - by katherine dunn

your mother is probably the only one you've ever known
who really wanted to kill you
and your mother stopped cars on sunset boulevard
by the length of her legs and the magyar in her cheekbones
though she claimed it was just good posture

and your mother married five handsome men
but swore she only did it for the money
and your mother made ships out of pine cones
and guns out of milk cans
and no human male was calm within fifty feet of her

and your mother told wild stories at the dinner table
till you were cramped and leaking with laughter
she said stalin died from eating two whole chickens all by himself
but she ate only wings and necks and the pope's nose

and your mother called you 'dove' or 'childy' and broke your nose
and put your baby brother in the hospital with a fractured pelvis
and your mother dragged you through bean fields and dreams
and turned the hose on bill collectors

and your mother could curse
and your mother stole proudly saying "it's not dishonest, it's resourceful!"
and your mother the teetotaler
ran a desoto full of booze into dry counties to buy christmas toys

and your mother ran a red light in a strange town and got the arresting officer
to pay her rent
and your mother fed you, all one winter
by drawing portraits of albert schwietzer with black crayons on old pillowcases
and selling them to suckers

and your mother forgot toothbrushes but taught you to make slingshots
and keep your distance in a fight
and your mother didn't really care if you went to school
but she told you you were god and rubbed your face
in raw beauty three times a day

and your mother knew if you got hurt even across town
but it never worried her
and your mother made pie out of one saltine and a raisin
and your mother singed her eyebrows scooping you from a fire some claim she set
and drew them on with maybelline forever after

and your mother ran off with a new man and did her best to leave you behind
but you hitchhiked after her
and your mother wore you out with switches, broom handles, belts
and her paralyzing tongue
then snatched your ass from the draft board and hid you for a whole war

and your mother sliced off the top of your skull with her terrible love
and poured in the charred sludge of hate
and there was never a dull moment

and your mother suspects you of plotting against her
and she's right

1 Comments:

Blogger jezpbravo said...

first heard this poem read by katherine dunn herself as sampled on a track by steinski... always stuck in my mind

April 02, 2009 11:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home