Monday, January 21, 2013

At the Aviary

There is a woman screaming.
She snaps her compact shut and asks, "How did I get so fucking old?"

"Cry me a river," says GorgeousCrazyGirl.
She and the World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist are sitting on some concrete steps at the bird park.

"My fingers hurt," complains the Violinist. She has arthritis in her joints.
"Quit bitching, darling," says her companion, serenely.

A peacock calls.
oh OHHH, oh OHHH.
His spread tail makes the Violinist think of a Japanese fan.

"I played Tokyo once. They loved me. I played them a program of Bach and Vivaldi."
GorgeousCrazyGirl says, "Are they the ones who bind their feet? 
How do they get to their seats? They must be like Weebles."

"You need treatment," says the Violinist, sitting hip to hip with her.
"Treat me, baby!"
They kiss. There is nothing wrong with the Violinist's lips.

The Violinist says, "When I was young, I didn't know there were lesbians."
"There weren't," replies GorgeousCrazyGirl, as calm and smooth as new snow. "There were just dinosaurs, and covered wagons and shit."
The Violinist smacks her on the shoulder, then says, "Ow" and inspects her hand.

It has been a long time since the World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist was able to perform in a professional venue.
It has been almost as long since GorgeousCrazyGirl has been socked away in the bin, or gotten her pretty ass arrested.
They are arcs,
moving in opposite directions,
together. 

GorgeousCrazyGirl is wearing a ginormous cowgirl hat, a white tee shirt with a quote on the front, and cut off jeans. 
Her bare legs could stop an army in its tracks.

The Violinist is wearing dark glasses and a Burberry rain coat. She might be attending a funeral. 
"What do you think happens, when we die?" she asks her friend.
"Don't be morbid, honey, "advises The Girl, untroubled as a blue sky in May.

Once, The World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist was reasonably famous, financially well off, and as lonely as the last Great Auk, if it lived on a precipice surrounded by a shark-infested moat.

Once, GorgeousCrazyGirl got her dinner out of dumpsters, and believed the wacky shit her head told her. She didn't have a nickel, or a clue, or command of her own mind. She knows what terror is.

There is Aleve, and Wellbutrin. 
At the bird park, most of the birds are paired off, making babies like Detroit once made Packards.
"They have wings. There's nothing to stop them flying away. Why don't they?" The Violinist is looking up, into the April sky, as if it were the steps to a stage.

"Maybe they like it here," suggests The Girl, as zen as a zebra in a hay factory. "Maybe they have everything they need."
"You really are awfully beautiful," says the Violinist, playing tenderly with The Girl's long black hair.
"That's the rumor," she says, wearily.
"No," the Violinist continues, "you would be beautiful in the dark. To a blind person. With no hands."

GorgeousCrazyGirl snorts loudly, then laughs, a sort musical braying. "You're crazy."
"So was Mozart." The Violinist looks quite young when she smiles.
Then, they are intertwining their fingers and saying nothing at all, 
and everything;
like rests and notes,
which, together make peacocks and people go oh OHH...
oh OHH.
______

Dedicated to Dana, wherever she is; the first charming crazy girl I fell in love with.

I bear this in common with The Girl: I frequently wear a ginormous old cowgirl hat.

Linked to Real Toads Open Link Monday.

27 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

They are arcs,
moving in opposite directions,
together.

This says it all for me, for all the crazy, madly in love couples in the world who are beautiful in the dark.

Hannah said...

You really ARE wicked good at this!! ;)

Goodness...You set the scene so naturally and your dialogue is so real.

Truly a pleasure to read, Shay.

I do love this description...among many, " as calm and smooth as new snow..." LOVE that.

Awesome work girlie...or I should say gal...I wish I could pull off wearing a cowgirl hat!!

Sioux said...

You COULD have snapped a picture of your ginormous old cowgirl hat and posted it...;)

The tiny details are all embroidered together to make this a lovely thing to read over a cup of tea.

Thanks, Shay. And if your first crazy girl reads this, hopefully she will be flattered she was this inspiring...

hedgewitch said...

Another dazzling one act play of a poem, to the sound of much applause. What vivid characters you've been drawing lately, Shay. They are telling all sorts of tales, too, from the humble to the grand, the profound to the profane, and never a false word or phrase. The middle of this, with the dinosaurs, made me laugh out loud before breakfast.

Kim Nelson said...

I read this with more intensity and interest than I have read most anything lately. Compelling use of imagery, diction, scene setting and character development.

Every line is a gem, but this one:

"you would be beautiful in the dark. To a blind person. With no hands."

made my heart sing. Your talent shines, here, Shay.

ellen abbott said...

I love the little stories.

Grandmother said...

Here's to love and those who sing of it as wonderfully as you. Great story.

Marion said...

Awesome, just awesome, Shay. I wear a cowgirl hat and my shit-kicker, short cowgirl boots often. xo

"You're a rider on the stormy sea
What do you get for curiosity?
I am the girl with the feather heart
That the birds flew down and pecked apart." ~Mary Timony, "Rider on the Stormy Sea"

Herotomost said...

You build characters as fine as wine. Dialogue to me is what many times makes a piece fantastic or fall flat on its face....and this one is slam up against the fantastic end. Love the interaction love the thought process...and I love legs that could stop an army....yep..super good.

TexWisGirl said...

:)

jasmine said...

I am completely smitten with this poem. I'm definitely doing the "ohhs." Be back later for a thorough comment. But I do have one tiny edit: There's a place in the first half when you don't capitalize "violinist," but you do in the previous paragraph so it sort of jumps out.

Incredible writing; love all these gals.

Laura said...

"They are arcs,
moving in opposite directions,
together. " LOVE this!

goatman said...

Thank you for brightening my day. Your words are inspiring, yet simple. I would like to know them each . . .

myheartslovesongs.com said...

i didn't know you wear a ginormous old cowgirl hat ~ do you wear it while you write? is it magic? is that how you write such brilliant shit as this?

{go back to work, damnit!}

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I SO ADORE this poem. LOVE.IT. One of my faves, which likely number in the hundreds by now. Sigh. This poem was a TRIP. Love the zenned out zebras too.

Mary said...

Good one, Shay. I guess I just wanna say sometimes love cannot be explained. Sometimes love just is... and sometimes what seems so different to others really is NOT. Both of these women were doing the best they could, as we all do....

HermanTurnip said...

Two perfect wrecks making great music together. I love unusual people like this!

Susie Clevenger said...

Your muse seems to never tire. Love sometimes makes sense, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it is too much work, sometimes not enough...how you worked it all into this amazes me.

jasmine said...

How appropriate that GorgeousCrazyGirl's name is all slammed together while the other names are spread apart. It gives us further insight into her personality and the inner workings of her brain---the components of which are all pushed up against each other with no space or air in between. She's like an ADHD chick on crack (but without need of the crack). She's all wound up, in other words, and her thoughts just spill right out and she never slows down to think about what she's saying, yet she's actually "all thought." Just sort of jumpy, hyper, and all over the place. Always ready to go and pumped up for the next adventure, even if it's no real adventure at all. (Can you tell I've had WAY too much coffee tonight? Yup. I have. And also some caffeinated tension headache pills. So sorry I'm commenting "under the influence.")

Love dis part:
"You need treatment," says the Violinist, sitting hip to hip with her.
"Treat me, baby!"
They kiss. There is nothing wrong with the Violinist's lips.

And dis:
"There weren't," replies GorgeousCrazyGirl, as calm and smooth as new snow.

She is the coolest. I want to hang out with her, like, right now.

LOVE:
It has been almost as long since GorgeousCrazyGirl has been socked away in the bin, or gotten her pretty ass arrested.
They are arcs,
moving in opposite directions,
together.

Yes indeed to the whole cowgirl hat section. You may recall I'm also from San Antonio. You should insert some boots and Rocky Mountain jeans into your next poem. And perhaps a horse named Buttercup. ;)

I love this outfit:
The Violinist is wearing dark glasses and a Burberry rain coat. She might be attending a funeral.

This is my absolute-very-favorite-bit-of-perfection:
Once, GorgeousCrazyGirl got her dinner out of dumpsters, and believed the wacky shit her head told her. She didn't have a nickel, or a clue, or command of her own mind. She knows what terror is.

That last line, "She knows what terror is," completely steps out of the poem for me, floating above it like a "main idea" balloon.

I also really like the following paragraph about the birds and the wondering about why they don't fly away. Gorgeous, the bit about the sky being steps to a stage. That is really cool, Shay.

"as zen as a zebra in a hay factory" I love these little similes you've thrown about. Fantastic fun. And maybe I'm wrong about her being hyper if she's zen. Or maybe she's manic depressive, up and down, going back and forth between the two. Or like I said, maybe I've had way too much coffee. ;)

Precious:
You really are awfully beautiful," says the Violinist, playing tenderly with The Girl's long black hair.
"That's the rumor," she says, wearily.

This makes me smile; I do this every time I receive a compliment:
GorgeousCrazyGirl snorts loudly, then laughs, a sort musical braying. "You're crazy."

Love this line especially, but from here right on down to the end is just lovely:
"So was Mozart." The Violinist looks quite young when she smiles.

I apologize for the ridiculousness of this comment.

gabrielle said...

I wanted to quote every line too. But all I can say is oh OHH...

Lynn said...

I loved reading this - you made me see the whole thing.

Daryl said...

love love love ... i have a ginormous straw cowboy hat with a lot of 'ventilation' ..

Marian said...

i want to know the slogan on The Girl's t-shirt.

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, Shay. Absolute wow.
K

Lydia said...

I read Hedge's comment and went, Oh yeah. Exactly. These characters are so alive that I expect them to be in the next room when I sign off for the night. I'll send them home to greet the characters in your next piece of brilliance.

Love the image, too and think I'll put it on my fb page.

Lolamouse said...

A beautiful "slice of life" portrait you painted, Shay. I love these two. Perhaps they'll appear again in your writing?

Mama Zen said...

"She knows what terror is."

Yes.

This is incredibly moving.