A Bathroom Monologue
If you leave me alone in here for too long I’m going to pluck out all of my eyelashes I’m going to pluck them all out one by one and I am going to make so many wishes that won’t recognize me I am going to buy new thread, golden thread, and I am going to stitch myself into an object of destruction, set the timer to sixty, oven spring myself against the tile backsplash because I never liked these colors anyway anyway any excuse to renovate: new is never bad! Those clippers have been here since I moved in- rotting bait under the sink and I think I’m beginning to see the appeal… The vitamins aren’t working yet but someday I’ll be able to pry those ugly tiles from the wall (it’s either them or my nails) if I’m not strong enough to destroy the world I’ll have to redirect, reinvision, redecorate: make new weapons to hold if I can’t chew through these bricks myself then my teeth will have to go—they don’t spark joy we’ve got no room for fragility it’s far too cluttered in here already.
Teeth and walls yellow unnoticed.
I hate to brush but I love to floss the excruciating excavation finding little treasures “how long was that there?” food for the garbage and sparking rubies emerging the pain of newness is absolutely intoxicating. I’ve never seen a fly in here (how tacky) but the walls flutter when I press my face against them—maybe they’re nervous to be so painfully visible I just haven’t been able to find the right wallpaper.
The mirror is disgusted with itself.
I’m beginning to have that feeling again.. butterflies? Dread? The tapeworm is still alive- sometimes I feel him lurch and pulsate he doesn’t leave anything for me to purge, so that can’t be it. I guess I’ll just scrub my face forever! Why does no one believe me when I say my ears can’t digest the timber of your voice, chew it up for me first, dear, don’t be lazy. When I come back as haunted doll (finally!) you’ll all be Very Sorry Indeed.
The paint has a hangnail.
Tile. Tile. Tile for bathrooms and for kitchens. Wood for the dining room. Carpet in the bedroom. There can’t any softness where there’s water so firm up, kid, if you’re feeling thirsty.
Porcelain. Porcelain. Porcelain.
Thank you for coming. Really. It means a lot to have you. It means a lot to be had. It means everything but soap scum and snake skin. Like snake skin after shedding, sun crisp and translucent. Like your face in old light.
I’m sorry the house is a mess.
Still cups of coffee.
Like your face in old light. Like I could turn you to powder. Like dust in lungs. Like a dry laugh.
You haven’t changed a bit.
That old mirror never did shine. Not really. Never did make any sort of clear noise nothing you could catch in a foggy day. I’ve been sending you pots and pans just the ones I’m not using just the ones that are cracked over and peeling not the nice ones don’t worry not the nice ones.
Still cups of coffee.
If you don’t like em you can send em back you know where I am you know I don’t move around much. I’ve been settling into cracks I’ve been sinking into wrinkles I’ve been staying in the laugh lines. Tryin to at least. Hard weather you know?
Don’t mind that it’s nothing.
You get up here where I am and nothing else makes much noise.
You just look like you could blow straight away. I’d take out that pin cushion and try to stick you to my sweater if I didn’t think you’d slip right through the weave. Stay right where you are too long and I’ll sew pennies into your coat lining, believe me.
I meant it when I said you could sip me through in cold weather. If your blood’s gone solid mine has too and I’m no good to you stiff as a board. I left a Tupperware in the freezer just for you.
Stale cups of coffee.
Thanks she’s a new one. I like the way her eyes turned out. Sort of like she’s looking for something but she can’t remember what it was. Sort of like she knows she’s never gonna find it. Sort of like buttons pulled off by time and dark air and rolled into gaps sealed off with dust and matted fur.
Well. You never did take to them anyway. You were always more into meat than I was. More than fiber and glue.
No I’m still plastering the holes but I’ll get there. Don’t want you to worry about it good to have a project anyways. I’m still starching it down and pretty soon it’ll be solid as a swallow in a winter lake.
No, I know. I understand.
Well you take care of yourself now.
Blows on cold coffee.
Takes a long, slow sip.
They’ll Huff and They’ll Puff and They’ll Blow.
Performer holds a book up for the audience, reading from it as if reading to children, but every page is blank. As she finishes a page, she tears the page out of the book, crumples it and drops it on the ground by her feet.
The third little pig made his house out of my bones and he didn’t hear them whisper. He didn’t hear the cold din and tremble. He would have known. He would have known if he had listened.
The third little pig made his house out of my old bones and he didn’t hear them whimper. He didn’t hear them shiver against the leather of his elbow against the crook the nook of his cradle. He didn’t carry them home that day he’ll never be home.
The third little pig built his house out of my tired bones and he didn’t hear them crack. He didn’t hear the hollow break and fill rushing stream he didn’t smell the old blood unclotting.
The third little pig built his house out of bones. Old bones. Left bones. The third little pig didn’t listen.
The third little pig built his house tall and strong. He would not be like his brothers. He would be wiser. He would be better. He would build his house on dry and cracking ground with strong with whole hearts underneath him he would build in the tissue deep inside the viscera and he would get dirty. He would get covered. It’ll be a cold one and he’ll need the beating to hold him still.
The third little pig built his house out of my ripe bones and he didn’t feel them quiver. In tan worked armor in sun damp skin in winter work clothes he’ll be left out in the wind-up weather. If it’s a death that rings make it a slow one they’ll find the others first. There are always others until the haystack’s only needles and the mares eat lying down.
She tears the final page out of the book.
The third little pig built his house and he didn’t hear it hurl and gush against the polyester and wood varnish and if he taught it to sing it would have been a rapture but he thought it best to keep funerals in small wooden boxes and tuck them away. He didn’t hear the scratching. He didn’t listen for the bell.
She tears the book itself and drops it on the ground with the rest of the pages, pulls out a match.
The third little pig built his house out of my bones but he forgot to prick me under the fingernail he forgot to smell for rot and he tucked himself inside the first warm pocket he found. And he drifted off to the howl in the distance a far away reckoning and he didn’t feel it. It.
She looks at the pages on the ground. She lights the match.
The air still in my lungs.
Have you ever eaten worms, and can you still feel them crawling through your stomach, wriggling their way through your ear canals and into the back of your skull? Can you still feel them climbing up the back of your throat? Is that why you swallow everything else down so hard, you hard you make that grimacing face and close your eyes, just barely? Are you afraid that if you stop they’ll climb out through the cracks in your teeth? Is that why you don’t smile?
Do you remember eating them? Were you young? Did Preston Anderson dare you in the fourth grade? Did he demon-toothed grin at you holding a mass of dirt that could move on its own? Did he thrust them under your nose and call you a chicken? Did you eat them? One by one. Did you get halfway through, choking back tears, and regret ever inviting that smug-little-shit to your birthday party. Did they look at you, with fear and revulsion. Did they beg you to stop?
Did you throw up later? Behind the jungle gym. Did you look down at your insides-now-outsides to see if they were still moving, crawling half digested, zombie-like toward the street to dry out and get carried away by wind and stray cats. Were you surprised to see only the grapes and the tuna fish sandwich you ate for lunch? Did you think they were still inside you? Or did you convince yourself that you’d dreamed in all. That Preston wasn’t real, that you never went to this school, that worms never existed.
digging. digging. digging.
Did you try, often, later to remember what a worm was and came up blank. You could almost see the hand holding something brick red, no brown, no black, no, brown, and you think it’s moving? Yes, moving between his neatly clipped fingernails. His mom always kept him so well groomed. Who’s mom? It doesn’t matter. You focus on his hands. His hands and the strings. Yes, it was strings, many strings, moving strings. Maybe it was a windy day, or maybe the strings were tired of being held. Maybe it was a sock unravelling. It wasn’t a windy day. Your hair was down and you were wearing root beer flavored lip gloss and you would have needed to keep pulling strands of hair from between your lips every time you spoke but you didn’t, Your hands were clenched into fists because you were SO MAD and you’re not a chicken, he’s the chicken and you’ll show all of them and the sock the strings the hairs are moving frantically now and they want to get away but nothing gets away from you because you’re 8 years old and wearing your second favorite lip gloss and you’re not scared of any damn thing.
do your fingers hurt yet?
And even if you don’t remember (you don’t, do you?) They’re still there. The unspeakable things that live under your feet. They’re still there in your stomach. They never leave. They live and breathe and eat and shit and laugh and have parties and fall in love and burn bridges and fuck and fuck and fuck and they do it all deep in your gut. And you can feel the storm cloud they leave inside of you all the time and you don’t know if you want to burp or vomit and you don’t know what it is because you forgot the words the instant you swallowed and never thought of them again.
And you wiped away your vomit, at 8-years-old-not-scared-of-any-damn-thing and you didn’t know what you were looking for all you knew was that you surprised that it didn’t scatter in every direction trying to get away from you.