Sandra Simonds

I'VE LIVED IN SO MANY APARTMENTS

and they were all ugly and untruthful.
They told lies like the worst men trying to get you in bed
By bribing you with Chinese food and gin so when you have
Sex and don’t regret it because
You can’t remember what apartment you’re in
And you don’t bother to ask what city he’s
From in New Zealand because it would be pointless
The way Australia is pointless since you’ll
Probably never go even though his smell
Is stained on your fingers. Later in the day
When you walk along the ocean
And the refinery is beating its toxic drum
And all the construction workers bow
To you and one of them says “you’re more
Beautiful than the ocean” and the ocean is
Beating her drum and you know
That it’s a good day to be alive as you glide
Across sea foam and why not get a coconut-
Flavored popsicle and sit in the sand,
And just inhabit this empty, empty feeling
That is cold and melting all over your
Hands, this empty space that is the space
Left when an absurd fruit, the coconut,
Is ripped from its tree, ripped from its
Tropical landscape and why, oh why, do
They have to put a little circular
Sticker on every single
Piece of fruit in the grocery store?
This is so crazy and unreasonable.
But people like you don’t cry over sex
or fruit or popsicles or the ocean or
Construction workers, or pollution
Even at eighteen, especially meaningless
sex even if the Chinese food doesn’t sit well in your
Stomach, even if you’re going to move soon,
Across Wilshire Boulevard and your one friend,
The bulimic half Mexican girl you met at
An OA meeting is going to help you if you            
Promise to help her move next month and
You say yes but you hate cats and she has a cat.
You hate cats because they remind you of everything that’s
Cute and soft and warm and literary.
That’s the worst part. The literary part.
Her cat reminds you of Albert Camus
And you hate this because it makes you think
About high school and reading The Stranger
And having to defend the protagonist against
Your house owning classmates and you
Couldn’t defend him very well
Because you were always about to
To move across town
Because your mother and the landlord
Have had fights over the constant fighting
That you were doing with your mother
And your sister and your mother’s boyfriend
Who you hated more than anyone in the world
Because of the way he terrorized you
And now you will never be able to
Move out of that shameful apartment
Which is every single apartment in Los Angeles
Which is Los Angeles herself—her eyes,
Blue-dead and cheap.
Every night you dream that there is a dead rotten
Julia Roberts in some secret compartment
Of your apartment and that she had been
Stabbed so many times and you liked seeing
Her that way. You are a murderer in that sense
And so is the sun and the smell of
Coconut suntan oil.
So you moved and you moved.

I learned so many lessons from childhood
That it’s only fair that I share them with you.
Example: don’t ever give a 30 day notice.
Landlords, I want all of my deposits back!
Lisa, I hope that you have recovered
From your eating disorder, that your cat
Is still alive, though he would probably
Be super, super geriatric by now.
I am by no means opposed to geriatric cats
Or you or the unwell. I will help you
Move, I promise. Please stop barfing
Up your emotions in a cheap apartment in Westwood.
Please sit by the ocean for me and
Watch the airplanes take off, into their
Tin-fueled atmosphere.





NOVA

Last night I watched a documentary about telescopes.
Space. Big fucking deal. I wonder if Galileo Galilei
Was even interested in space the way
I’m interested in space.
When I get sad and lonely and depressed
I tend to smoke pot, zone out, and watch
"The L Word" with my 9 month old baby
Or walk down Market Street with
My 9 month baby
And everyone on the street is reciting
Their lines to "The L Word" and hoping
That they won’t get hit by a moon
today. If I give some money
To a homeless person, it will make me feel
Better or worse depending on the severity
Of my depression. If I am super super depressed
Then it will tend to lighten the mood
But if I’m only mildly depressed it will totally
Pull me into some vortex of a deep depression
And this kind of goes on back and forth
Forever and takes on various aspects of
Quasars.

I wish someone would make
Me some banana bread or buy me a
Moon and name it after Lindsey Lohan.
Lindsey Lohan is so depressing and so is
Sincerity. People who are sincere are so
Unreal and untrustworthy. I will never
Trust a sincere poem or anyone who claims
To own an Irony Table where they make
Handmade clothes for their toy dogs.
Did you know that my birthday is August 12th?
Yeah, that’s the height of the Perseids
Meteor shower and the only other person
Who knows that I care is Mark who is going
To sit in some weird corn maze and
Recite astronomy poems for 2 hours.
Supposedly, I own one.





POEM FOR SOUTHWOOD

It can be no other way, this American walk,
    on my daily mission to keep my weight
                        too low to look healthy but
            too high for anyone to worry.
                                 It keeps me from being anxious
                                                        and depressed and sullen to slip
    out the door with Baby Z in the running stroller
                     and make my way through these blocks, like
            threading a velvet ribbon
                  into your daughter’s blonde hair,
                               preparing it for a middle school dance.

                                        Oh look, there’s the little boy on that lawn again
                             with a red plastic— bucket
                                              in his hand—his eyes melting the plastic
            and I don’t want to imagine
  life beyond the front door of any house,
                that there may be crusted semen
   on the sheets in a bedroom,
          or that someone
        just got a phone call from their
           oncologist—how I hate disease
             or that there’s a pile
              of bills from credit card companies
                on some coffee table, no
     don’t want to think it,
        much less write it especially
               in a poem called “poem” which was
 supposed to be a kind of pastoral
 about the great outdoors
                         of suburbia but ended up in bed with someone
               I didn’t know and felt
                                   ashamed and lonely
                   in the morning when he
                                                     didn’t even bother to make
                            me coffee and then panicked
                                    because somehow I lost my baby
                    on the way— the stroller
        just rolled down a hill into traffic—
            and there was nothing that I could do about it.

 

 

 

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Sandra Simonds is the author of Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009) and the forthcoming Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Press). She is an Assistant Professor of English at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.

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