She moved into The Lighthouse a few years ago, after seeing the ad:
For upkeep, cleaning, and minor necessities.
No prior experience necessary.
She was working at a Gilligan’s Island Themed Cabana Bar before that
and the manager had her dressing up as Mary-Ann
in a red crop top and Daisy Dukes, with her hair all in two pigtails and little red bows.
She carried trays and trays and trays of beach-themed cocktails
Sex on the Beach
East End Delight
Ocean Spray Tonic
Just What the Captain Ordered
Beach Glass Gummy Shots
and Whiskey, on the Boardwalk Rocks.
Lots and lots of beer.
Her tiny shiny new white Keds stuck and unstuck to the floor with each unsteady step
“At least I’m not in heels,” she thought up to the sky, and gripped her tray tight.
“Thank God, Thank God.”
The men at the bar all fancied themselves sailors or pirates
Ready to carouse and guzzle and plunder
And stumble their way out into the summer warm night, zig-zagging and bellowing Billy Joel at the top of their lungs, til their growls and belches rang out against the walls of the yacht club.
They owned yachts, not frigates or schooners or Brigantines or Galleons or Barques
And the length of ones boat has nothing to do with the length of ones dick.
Not that she cared.
In all of her life, she had only loved one other - a lover beautiful and strong and gentle
Who rocked her in their arms like a gentle tide swelling
And fucked her in their bed like a gale wind blowing
And was gone with the high tide, leaving only space and cold sheets and emptiness
And a locket, with their name carved in the back and nothing inside.
She wears the locked tucked into the high shoulder neckline of her tiny red crop top as she makes her way across beer sticky floors, nimbly dodging pinching fingers and wayward palms and shouts of, “Mary-anne! Marry me!”
“I can make it one more night,” She thinks up to sky, and grips her tray tight.
And thinks of her lighthouse, waiting.
“Thank God, Thank God.”
The Lighthouse is taller than she thought it would be
And looks completely alone.
She places a cautious hand against the outside, like a child in a museum
Pushing past velvet ropes to stroke the Mona Lisa’s cheek.
It’s warm, and she’s flooded by the feeling that she’s exactly where she’s meant to be.
“I’m lonely too,” She speaks aloud,
But her words are carried off by the wind and gone into the sea.
There’s no one around as she moves her things in - just two suitcases and a backpack,
But she doesn’t feel afraid.
Ghosts don’t scare her.
Silence doesn’t scare her.
The creaking of floors and the clanging of pipes doesn’t scare her.
And neither does the wind
or the raging sea, outside.
She cleans up what she can, and gets her bed made - neat.
And makes her way up, up, up to the cupola.
It is the kind of dark, chilled, and empty that speaks of years waiting.
But she is not intimidated or afraid.
She finds the right switches and knobs easily, and soon the beacon is shining.
She stands at the rail, wrapped in a blanket, clutching her portable radio in hand
and lets the wind do what it will with her red-bowed pigtails
As Leonard Cohen croons over the radio, “And she lets the rivers answer, that you’ve always been her lover, and you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind, and you know that she will trust you, because you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.”
And when a ship light appears on the horizon,
she clutches her gold locket in wind-chilled hands and thinks as hard as she can,
Are you there too?”
The first Neopet you ever made was a yellow Kau named Kauliflower.
And you thought that was so clever, you giggled while pressing the name button.
And for a long time,
Kauliflower was almost just like a sort of real pet.
You would feed her and clean her. And dress her up in little boots and hats.
And make money and spend money, almost like a sort of real adult.
But then you discovered the Ice Cream Machine.
And instead of taking care of Kauliflower,
Your world zoomed in
in in in in in in
to tiny scoops of ice cream:
pink scoops, and green scoops, and white with hot fudge, and white with chocolate chips, and mint with chocolate chips, and white with caramel sauce, and yellow with a cherry on, and blue scoops, and red and purple swirl, and the special scoops to make you smaller or faster or the machine slower
You began to dream in ice cream scoops.
They came at you
Slowly at first and then faster
And all the time you were dodging, dipping, diving, ducking, dodging, you found yourself
I’ve forgotten something.
Maybe...the Walkman is still spinning circles on my nightstand
Running down the juice on those double double AA batteries
Or the button on the Hit Clip is pressed against a Lisa Frank folder in my Jansport
Tinnily blaring out the same sixteen bars of
Bye Bye Bye by NSYNC
Dancing Queen by A*Teens
Who Let the Dogs Out by Baha Men
Aaron’s Party by Aaron Carter
Lucky by Britney Spears
Or my cat chews on the carefully braided hair of my Barbie Doll, half-dressed and forgotten between the dresser
Feet pressed into the permanent shape of high-heel shoes
One time I tried to brush my hair with a Barbie hairbrush
The one you got with each doll
And the prongs came off in my curls and the back of the brush ripped off and I cried
in my lonely heartbreaking
If there’s nothing missing in my life
Then why -
Do I feel like I’m missing something?
As I dodge ice cream scoops: dressed in a blue snowsuit, blue pompom-ed hat, and purple gloves.
By the time I remember that Neopets is about NeoPETS, Kau is long dead.
She has a halo, so you can assume that she went to Neopet heaven.
This is not the same as dog heaven. Or people heaven,
You gather up all your Beanie babies, and Cabbage Patch dolls
And have a funeral.
During the eulogy, Kau’s ghost hovers close above your head
And all the Tamogatchis you ever killed sing quietly in an angelic chorus:
Now life is one big party when you’re still young
And who’s gonna have your back when it’s all done
It’s all good when you’re little you have pure fun
Can’t be a fool, son, what about the long run?
It’s okay. They’ll be waiting for you.
when i was maybe 12, i used to do these music competitions
and years later i wonder why my anxiety is so bad.
i remember one year, playing in the driveway with my sister
like the child that i was
and stepping haphazard on a skateboard
and falling down
and breaking my finger
the joke is that i skinned my knees so bad
and the pain there was so sting-y
that i had no idea my finger was broken
until i sat down at the keyboard of this music competition.
all i know is: there are three events in my life that i have no memories of
despite being there at the time
and one of them was that day, at the piano.
my only memory is the very end
when the judge approached me with a tissue box
and i realized i was weeping.
and they shook my hand, squeezing tightly my broken bone
as i sobbed.
i don’t know what the conclusion to draw from this is
even these days i sit down to play piano and i weep
and when they said become an artist
i never realized that i’d one day wake up
with no knowledge of where the artist ends and i begin.
i wrote you a song
partially because i was deeply in love
and partially because your name is so easy to rhyme
nothing rhymes with my name
and people don’t write songs
about people like me
i am brash and you will have to tackle me to the ground
to get me out of the driver’s seat
i do not bend
and i do not yield the pen
i became a writer
despite the years i spent at college parties, yelling over too loud music
“well i WRITE but i’m not a WRITER”
like one letter made all the difference.
one person once wrote me one song
and i would much rather they had never made a sound at all.
am i so hideous to you?
i can see clearly how horrible
the black and white staved spine of my life
extends without measure
please - it’s enough to sit quietly and pretending that our feelings are soft, together.
if we can make it one night, cooking dinner side by side
and no feelings are hurt, i can go to bed happily
and sleep through the night.
turn off your fucking alarm
stop poking me before nine am
and let me get some rest.
in the morning, it is best to be soft and quiet and together
and forget the meaning of music beyond the stillness of breaths
and our fingers tips softly touching.
i wrote you: a song
and realized in the end what i knew from the beginning.
it is not enough
it will never be
we try to dance together at parties but you are a slow and slinky foxtrot
all West Coast shined shoes and perfect hair and dustbowls
and I fist pump and accidentally knock over a lamp.