Sunday, May 19, 2013

Harem Girl

They kicked me out of the harem.
One minute I was sucking on a grape, 
listening to Trixie tell Helen Keller jokes,

How does Helen Keller drive a car?
With one hand on the wheel and the other on the road.
How did Helen Keller ruin her nails?
Reading roadside signs.
How did Helen Keller burn her ear?
Answering the iron.

and the next, I was being dropped at the old filthy-ass bus station downtown
with my duffel and my backpack, like some parolee.
Inside, there were no pillows,
no peacock feather fans,
just hard plastic seats and a vending machine filled with crap like pork rinds and pop tarts.
I guess they weren't expecting a lady.

It's not that the harem was the greatest place to be, you understand.
When he calls you, you've got to act all swoony and glad about it.
You can't roll your eyes and go, 
"Right now? Well fuck a damn duck!" like I did.
You also can't get away with a quick hand job while flipping through Cosmo with the other.
I learned that the first week.
You've got to be engaged, or he gets all bent out of shape about it.

A word about those Cosmo articles--
you know the ones.
1,000 sexy secrets that will drive him wild!!!
If those really worked, there would be grinning goofy-faced men walking around everywhere, wandering into traffic with their shirts buttoned wrong.
There aren't. 
I rest my case.

It was this kind of thinking that got me thrown out of the harem.
I needed that job.
I'm the single mother of a six month old chameleon named Rainbow Happy,
and we can't eat wolf whistles. 
I will admit, right here, that I complained a lot--
about those stupid pastel paint jobs on the walls, like we were living inside an Easter egg,
and the way the eunuchs never knew the baseball scores despite knowing that I would ask every morning.
I couldn't manipulate charm them, cos they weren't really men anymore,
but they could sure sock away the pizza like a bunch of doughy, pasty-faced truck drivers.

This is all very difficult for me.
Here, take my duffel, all my dainties are inside and I can't lose them.
Maybe I'll catch the four-fifteen to Seattle,
or the five-thirty to Salt Lake City.
Do Mormons have harems?
I can do a great Marie Osmond.
Listen to me belt out "Paper Roses"!
A girl with my skill set should be able to land a new gig in nothing flat, don't you think?

Hey, it's been nice chatting with you, but I've got the highway in my blood, and all that hokey stuff they say in the movies.
Marilyn Monroe put it best:

Just because you fail once,
doesn't mean you're going to fail at everything.

Marilyn was smarter than people think.
She read books, she had a lot going on, but people think she was just blonde hair and great boobs.
Are you even listening to me? My face is up here, by the way.
I'm off into the great unknown.
Give me your email, I'll let you know when I hit Flagstaff.
I went through there once when I was thirteen, in May, and it was snowing. 
The guy next to me put his hand on my knee, so I faked a coughing fit and jerked forward.
He smashed his fingers on the metal edge of the seat in front of us;
it was just like breaking up a bird for Sunday dinner.
I got kicked off that bus.
They didn't understand the burden of beauty,
and I had to stand before a judge and explain my "violent outburst."
He told me I seemed like a nice girl and why don't we discuss this privately?
Well, I never look a gift horse yadda yadda.

But when he took off his robes and everything, he looked like a wookie,
and I couldn't help it, I started to laugh.
I got pitched out of his chambers and straight out of town,
like common trash.
No one in the modern world appreciates true beauty,
and so I wander like a mystic,
or a peculiarly hot-looking staretz,
searching for my place in life,
teaching when I can, loving when they agree to use protection,
and just trying to perfect my soul
so that they won't throw me out of Heaven before I've made any friends,
or gotten to try those little crepes that I hear they make up there.

I want mine with strawberries,
and not a man in sight.
________

14 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

The narrative here is fascinating - you give voice to a certain strain of bad girl in a way that shows her humanity, and makes this reader wonder what if things don't work out? What is any girl prepared to do to survive in a patriarchal society?

Despite the grown-up tone, and cynical outlook, I found this line to be the most telling:
... just trying to perfect my soul
so that they won't throw me out of Heaven before I've made any friends...

Here is a youngster, just looking for acceptance and somewhere she fits in. As her unwitting co-traveller, I hope she makes it.

hedgewitch said...

Laughing all through this one, despite the heavy duty allegory under the hood. As always your women have at their heart an immutable sweet femininity, regardless of their ruthless or naive outer candy-coating. For me this was also the tale of living with our real selves, our alienating imperfections, yet making the best of it. May we all make it through to the strawberry crepes with our senses of humor intact, I say.

TALON said...

You always manage to tuck a spirit right inside your words, Shay.

TexWisGirl said...

this one's got the curse of beauty, for sure.

the cosmo article part made me laugh. :)

Mama Zen said...

"teaching when I can, loving when they agree to use protection,
and just trying to perfect my soul"

That's all anybody can do, right?

not lima beans said...

I've only read the first paragraph, but I have to stop to tell you that I love the ambiguity in the H.K. reference. Either she's telling jokes about Helen Keller ("telling Helen-Keller jokes") or telling jokes TO Helen Keller, which I absolutely love picturing. Helen Keller in a harem. Ya gotta love that idea. :) You are too cool.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I especially love the judge who looked like a wookie. Hilarious!

not lima beans said...

I love this part:
"It was this kind of thinking that got me thrown out of the harem.
I needed that job.
I'm the single mother of a six month old chameleon named Rainbow Happy,
and we can't eat wolf whistles."

LOVE!

Note to Self: Start sending article submissions to Cosmo. I was born to do that job. I could write some pretty hilarious tips.

I like this too: "I've got the highway in my blood"

And this: "They didn't understand the burden of beauty,
and I had to stand before a judge and explain my "violent outburst."
He told me I seemed like a nice girl and why don't we discuss this privately?"

"But when he took off his robes and everything, he looked like a wookie,
and I couldn't help it, I started to laugh" :)

Oh, this is awesome; definitely my favorite part:
"so I wander like a mystic,
or a peculiarly hot-looking staretz,
searching for my place in life,
teaching when I can, loving when they agree to use protection,
and just trying to perfect my soul"

not lima beans said...

This is one I'll keep thinking about after I leave your blog, and that's probably the best compliment a reader can give.

Helen said...

What a romp on the wide side ... never considered a harem, maybe I should put it on my bucket list?

HermanTurnip said...

Why don't more guys believe in man-scaping? It's nothing to be ashamed of, and I'm sure their wives (or concubines) would appreciate it.

Oh, and pro-tip: I learned on my last camping trip that pork rinds wrapped with dried seaweed tastes amazing while enjoying a cold brew. Heh...

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Shay, there are so many gut-busters in here, I cannot bother to quote them all. The harem, why you got thrown out (and with good reason: You have to stay on the good side of eunuchs. After all, they carry around pots with their naughty bits inside, now that is a burden!) The whole episode has that underbelly of being a woman, judged by looks (mentioning Marilyn was a nice touch, showing her intellect), cursed, as it were, with beauty.

Love the crepes line. A gem! Peace, Amy

myheartslovesongs.com said...

i was a third of the way through the poem before i realized i had misread "harem" as "heaven" ~ i admit i was a bit surprised about them telling the Helen Keller jokes in heaven...

so according to Catblossom, i need to go apply for a job at the DMV, huh? where are her earrings? she looks naked without them.

Carol Steel said...

You spin a story so well. And leave lots of room for humor and humanity. I'm re-reading because there's so much there. I love it when you weave a tale.