Sketches Of The Female Form

I’m tired of all these popularity contests. Nobody’s wished me happy birthday in years. And my drinks keep getting stronger and stronger every night. So, here we’ve got these…trophies? A chalice for your bad behavior, maybe. Stripped of all meaning, in all these grab-ass drag-it-around copped-to-it attitude adjustments we keep ourselves from making. A KO’d slunk you just can’t swerve your way around. I mean, these standards, these judgmental assholes who’ve got their morals up their behinds with a twist. What’re you going to do about it? I say we get this here hardware speedily on its way out to hell and run for mayor while we’re at it. So, take your goddamn pictures. Flash your lights and show me what else you got for x-mas. We’re taking the low road on a dishwater locomotive and nobody’s shoveling the coal. Let me tell you what I think of your seventy-seven cents on the dollar, Shemp. I’ll pull that cheap rug off your shiny dome and take a shit in your shoes before you even know what’s for breakfast. Oh, let’s sing the razors and the slings from the deepest blue you’ve ever known. And we’re peeling paint in our dreams at best. There are no pianos in the hills. Do not question the mark left by the brutal soldiers gone AWOL in that bad old night. The lives we’ve had or the ones we’re not missing so much right now. The way your mother taught the children to play trumpets when the moon went down. I’m groomed to grow grayer now. In oyster shells and out of range of all the soothsayers in any old country town. And I can’t pose worth a damn. Let’s have it in and spit sand at the cardboard cutouts of who we used to be. Just toil and drivel and the concave voice of ferns lived through back flips of this half-soused heart, and just messing around. It’d take a flower’s brain to pluck the money from my thoughts. Just for somebody else’s only one’s once. Just hang on.

Cocktails for the concrete to savor. Spilled daydreams lolling in the pavement. A scruffy stance, akimbo and ruled by favor. Broken glass like laws we don’t need. And we’re rallied to no more hunkering down, but up and out, as much as ever lets. Mad as purgatory, even mad at the ice-cream man. And the television’s gone off the air; the snowy screen flashing, “Everything not saved will be lost when you quit.” So, the yuppies go jogging off to brunch again. Well, you won’t get any hurrahs around here, Skunk Breath. Watch the market crash from the wreckage of a ’76 Plymouth Volaré in a burnt-down Vons parking lot. Distance is just something we make up to get along. And as for the sashes and the waitress outfits, the riffraff of well-to-do bundled contributions can get on your way to heaven already. All of us here are sick to the chartreuse with you. Lies race us off to some bogus finish line, and everyone here is uncounted and off the proverbial grid of being another number to be used until their time is up. Being caught doesn’t suit us anymore. We’re rushing past it all slower than you’d ever notice. Be bashful. Go ahead. We’ve got no time in the whole fucking world, and all of your winning’s just the biggest loss there could ever be. Drop a bottle of the bad stuff and listen to what doesn’t shatter or suffer at all. A forged check and a botched subway slug shoved deep into the pockets of the world. You are the junk that God made when he was drunk, and we won’t miss you a thin dime when you’re gone for good. You will not have mattered.

What I’ve gone and done to get to this, nobody’ll ever know. Put the onions away. My eyes can take it on their own. Caught. Strolled out of luck and into this marble-and-wood contraption that’ll have to do until bail’s set. You can stare all you want. You can go fuck yourself. There’s not much stiff left in this upper lip. So beat it. Get me chummy with the stools and the cheats. Take my math test for me and rule my guts out of the equation. And then some greedy bastard’s going to come along and raise my rent? Fuck that. I’m beating it for Australia. The ocean’ll hold my luck for me while I take a snooze stowed away on some ocean liner somewhere just outside The International Date Line. And I’ll be singing, “The only girl I ever loved, they buried her alive one day in 1945 with just her sister at her side.” It’s all a botched fit I’m too used to having. Squinting through makeshift moods. Maybe I’ll shave my head over it. Just don’t go on and break my glasses. They’re about all I’ve got left that makes any sense. The pewter’s gone from my ways, boys. I’m a floored stock car headed way off the track. Say goodbye to Ms. Crawford, Minneapolis. This mound of yellow hair’s had enough. All 130 pounds of me is getting gone for good this time. Back up and take a good look. It might be the last one that you ever get.

Let me tell you what’s two-for-one around these parts. I don’t give a damn about your version of correct. Sights, seen. Odds, evened. And about that tatterdemalion look you don’t seem to care for me sporting? Get bent. I’m always chippy when I’ve got my sunglasses on. Move it or tie one on. Spare me the gory details, Sassafras. I’m old in town, and when the plastic’s stripped I get along real easy-like. You can take that home and fry it up with the bananas and the eel. I’ll be damned if I do. Cheer up. I’m ruining things from here to there on in. And nobody’s got their worst foot farther forward than this here chickadee. Any answers? That’s what I didn’t think. Listen, Jerky Breath. The lord thought to put eyes and ears on me, and I mean to use them. Dinner conversation’s over, Potty Pants. I want looser laws and better pornography. You never win with this stuff. I sort of certainly do not mind a whole lot of it. Sometimes the tiniest of things won’t work out until you don’t want them to. And then the gophers come out and steal what’s left. Let me tell you, I’m abashed most times. And the rest? It’s like blushing during a stickup. So, an outcrop of touchy pinup girls wassailing with ordinary eyes go all heebie on your jeebies for a spell. A tardy “but” to stash with the corny cliffhanger cries and the pompom goodbyes. You see, I’ve never met no person as sad and as crazy as me, and that bugs some intuitive jerks more than others. Like a warmer place, but chilly as heaven. Some cast-iron cruelty to tease out like a nursemaid would, or a maple-syrup madam without a cow or a crow to her name. Bad enough we’ve got these hush-hush types muttering Symbionese prayers to empty coffins. Good enough we’ve got plumb-the-depths suckers by the twenty hanging about doing all the cussing for us. Not for sure, though. Nothing reprimands the false like dime-store hookers in mermaid tights. I swear. I grouse. I malinger with the best and the worst of them. But it’s only looking back, in or out of a pinch, that I get stunned and showered with complaints from all comers. Better swing this load off all the kilter in ten-kittens oblivion. Rawest oysters around. Hold on. I’ve got lipstick to toss in the drink. So why don’t you flower my shoes and pick my nose for me while you’re at it? A classier sort might fall for that, but I’ve done my time falling. These scars scare you? They’re longer than you’d ever believe. Go back to before I knew what it was to stroll with any ease along all the boulevards and boardwalks of some moron’s bright idea of temptation. My temperament’s made for more Machiavellian underpinnings than most. For right just now I can do all wrong just fine by my lonesome. I don’t need to be told how to comport this here bag of bones. As far as this here miss is concerned, you and all your sticks and carrots can go to hell. I’m minding everybody’s business, and that includes my own. Got it, Sherlock? Make like a toilet and flush. I’m taking myself out dancing, and there ain’t a goddamn thing you can do about it.

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