Friday, January 21, 2011

417. overseas

Great-grandma (Baby Doo) stayed in her cabin
all the way to Le Havre, she was feeling poorly,
little darlin, while the boys in their navy-blue blazers
drank the goddam bars dry, thank the Lord they brought
some bottles of bourbon: these English yoicks
didn’t know what happened them. Har-har.
Damn won the war and lost the peace, stiff as penguins,
frozen rabbits caught in headlights. All them
Europeans look pretty much the same, have to say,
dessicated bunch of flightless flapping parrots.
Damn right I’ll have another drink.

Darkness at sea under stars
is one of the finest things I know.

Baby Doo got sick on the train to Paris,
threw up all over Barbara Wainwright, who smiled
in a testy Quaker way, East Pennsylvania, and said,
My Lord, I should have opened that window,
but they all just damn well laughed, and she felt,
not for the first time, virginal, foolish, set apart,
alien and separate from her fellow Americans,
like Virgil who was playing with the zip on his pants
and Amelia who was lifting her skirts too high.
It was all very strange and unsettling.

I’ll be happy when I get to Paris, she thought,
far away from these clowns, deep into a world of culture,
and then at last I will be free. No more Mama and Papa
leaning heavily down on me. I need to write to my sister
who hates and loves me in agony and young resentment.
This strangely gives me strength. Virgil seems to have
a cucumber behind that zip but I turn my eyes away,
sort of, is this what it is really going to be like? My
God, do I really have to get married and … allow it?
I can’t live alone, not really, so this penetration, this
unwelcome violation is going to happen and come to me?

I want to be a young girl forever without any damn silly man
here in Paris and Europe for the first and last time, and, maybe,
who knows, I might die. It’s very fashionable to die young,
but I’m not too sure about it. It seems a bit dark and final.
I might pretend to die for a bit so that people get worried,
but it costs a lot, and my father will complain about the bills.
He’s a red-faced burly businessman and he scares me to hell
but I know he loves me and will throw money all over me
while my mother looks on from behind, tight-lipped and silent
and my young sister, dancing in frustration, glares.

Within twenty-four hours of arrival I am ashamed to confess
I have been violated, not once but two or three times, vigorously,
by a young artist and I confess I enjoyed it. Of course he is American,
from a rather good family, not one of the natives, from Philadelphia,
he says he knows some of my cousins. Between physical bouts
we talk about family trees. He is terribly misunderstood, poor boy,
and I feel it is my duty to gather him into the arms of Home, as only
a Real Woman can do. I am rather enjoying my role as a Real Woman
since it is new and feels rather nice among the sights and smells
of this strange, uxurious, and scented spreading city.

Home, home, home, little boy. I'll break you,
take you home to Murrica soon as I can.