In the Beginning There Were Dolls and Beasts:
A memory in three parts
Sitting in a blue box made of wood and tin,
Bare particleboard, roaches, oilmen,
But even the rats can’t reach Zen
In this, our new bachelor’s den.
All around the subtle stench of decay
I dread it even now as they compile my dossier.
And I’m reminded of just how deeply my roots are buried in the red clay.
I remember the black ball of fuzz I loved intensely, if only for a day.
How it was made some scavenger’s lunch by a few turns of a wheel.
Time after time it is the same old spiel.
He’s made me the chain to his sprocket wheel.
Must he have known hope was my Achilles’ heel?
Sleepless were those nights, but quick were the showers.
Thinking about it now and my stomach routinely sours.
Cold was the room, but hot burned the resentment in my chest
At what remains of the man now dispossessed.
On the menu again: broccoli, chicken, and cheesy Rice-A-Roni.
But we both know the little one won’t eat it. Do you want him to be bony?
“If mother were here she’d make him macaroni.”
“But she isn’t. She’s off riding her new pony.”
Though perhaps we should be grateful.
“Go on, take your plateful.”
It’s not lemons and fire balls so no need to be hateful.
And anyway, “you’re looking a bit plump, so maybe not the whole plate, fool.”
“Of course I want to see you succeed,
But on you I must keep a tight reign, my spawn, my seed.
After all it’s the same, this blood we both bleed.”
But care for me he cannot as his heart is filled with selfish greed.
For an eternity he as expected me
To tip-toe precariously
Along his feelings’ edge
While my wounds I’m left to bandage.
“Don’t you know I want to be proud of you?
If you ran off, if you just flew
Away, off into the sun, well then I would be lonesome and blue.
And that I just can’t let you do!”
“More to the point, it’s my right as the… creator…
to shape you, and mold you, and sooner or later
I’ll turn you into my perfect little adulator.”
Don’t be deceived by all that charm. He’s really just a woman hater.
Once I thought I heard him say, “Men are condemned to be free.”
Oh, no, that that Sartre while gnawing on a wheel of brie.
I am a living, breathing doll that he bounces on his knee.
Why must I be the fruit of this poisonous tree?
Feeling thirsty, he turns on the tap, then gropes
at ice in the freezer. “Don’t!” But there’s no place here for such forlorn hopes.
He flicks his fingers sending icy droplets of water
To sting the back of my neck. Indeed, my resentment grows hotter.
This simple act, an irritating reminder
That no one cares for dolls. I feel as if my heart has been through the meat grinder.
There’s no one there to back her up. There’s no one behind her.
Would things have been different were he a kinder
Maker? Even now I feel slight dread when every second Friday nears,
Or when “Dani California” rings in my ears.
Grin and bear do I through gritted veneers,
But even Three Gorges can’t hold back these tears.
“Sit down. I need to talk to you guys. I know I’ve told you both before…”
Sigh. Now for hours he’ll be a great bore
Rambling on about this, that, and some whore.
Acrimoniously, an egoist does this doll deplore.
And so it begins again. His burden, my burden. Why am I being punished?
His pain, mine. His struggle, my own. Ceasing not until I’m as blemished
As he. He can’t possibly cope, this broken mess, half man half beast.
And so this anguish of responsibility stifles me until I beat toward the Southeast.
In the mean time I lend him my ear.
By force I’ve learned the art of transmutation and come what may, I remain austere.
I’m much obliged to morph into a crutch, a pillow, an ice-cold root beer,
A thing to lean on, hold tightly, to feed from. At each pulse of his voice I feel the fear.
It begins to emanate from me, this deep wisdom I never knew I had.
Anything for dear old Dad.
My bones turn to dust and my soul runs dry as Lake Chad.
Instead I imagine myself on a beach, sun-soaked and bikini-clad.
Still my days are spent searching for solace from all that has anguished
Me. I had that once with the beast who let her madness run free in day, vanquished
It with a stiff drink at evening and tucked it out of sight. Too long I’ve Languished
After her. Through it all my only comfort has been language.
My teeth gnash at each Metamorphosis like Kafka on rye.
Must their actions their words always belie?
But, you may ask, what of that night on the roof, or that time at the lake?
Stupid doll, one swallow does not a summer make.