Since people have expressed an interest in being notified, I've updated my web site to include to new, in-progress drafts of vignettes to be included in Swallow, my book of ED-related fiction. (I am an MFA'd Writer [School of the Art Institute of Chicago].) I have also added some new poetry & stories to my portfolio. As the excerpts from #39 on are just drafts, I'd love any feedback you have to offer, even if it seems like something negative to you.
I'd like to point out to everyone that you can sign up for my e-mail list to be notified of substantial updates to the site, including new books, CDs, photographs, and of course new additions to my portfolio. I do not share your private information with anyone, and you don't need to worry about your inbox becoming clogged with messages from me--I send them out generally once a month at most.
On that front, I have a new chapbook currently in production. You can read about it here.
Thanks for reading! & thanks for any feedback you may have!
Hands dry, and hungry, I approximate my anorexic self through makeup. Trouble is, I’m no longer anorexic, or 25, and the 5 dead years have taken their toll on my face. Wrinkles under my eyes collect rivulets of concealer that I blend several times and still cannot contain. My grey eye shadow is like an oppressive mother or communist housing. Liquid eyeliner lends a doe-eyed look that the plumpness of my face can’t sustain, and can I really take two coats of mascara these days? Is it overkill? I don’t have visible cheekbones to highlight with blusher, and applying it accentuates that fact. Foundation—the same powder coverage I used in my birdlike days—adheres to blemishes on my face and emphasizes those instead. Maybe I need cake foundation at this point. Perhaps my face is the reason women wear it. The sparkles in my ‘Orgasm’ lip gloss settle into the puckers of my lips. I am not dewy or va-va voom, and my date is due any minute. My hand, on its way to the remover, hesitates; I decide to leave this be.
Just-cut-yesterday hair, unmarred by the sleep I didn’t get, swings against my cheek as the bus sways between stops. My red nails shine under a beam of morning light on the safety bar as I clutch it and a bagged honey bran muffin in one hand. My shoulder bag slips down my arm each time the bus halts, and the metal chain jingles around my other wrist, which rests on a seat back to steady me.
I smell like lemons. At three I bathed in citrus purifying salts, then dried off with clean towels. At four I commenced makeup application: a two-hour affair. After much deliberation, I selected my shades for the day: neutral browns, one gold pigment, chocolate liner and black lengthening mascara for the eyes; a brick red blusher to be swept sheer across the cheeks; and a pale pink lipstick to match how I have paled.
A man gestures to me and then to his empty seat; he’s leaving the bus. He stands in the aisle to prevent anyone else from taking the seat until I get there and thank him. With 20 minutes to go before my downtown stop, I reach for my muffin just as a very slender and tall woman stands next to me, draping her arm over the safety bar. Her eyes dispassionately scan for signs of passengers preparing to vacate their seats. Silk flows over her barely-breasts and does not conceal the sharp rail of her spine. I stare, shoveling muffin into my mouth that isn’t reduced fat.
It’s 7 when I arrive at work, and I’m not due until 8. There’s a restroom that was originally designated for janitor use in the 1920’s—but janitors don’t use it now. The toilet is stained from years of improper cleaning and its seat is chipped into a discolored mosaic. The sink faucet has mineral deposits around the rim. I’m the only one who stocks the restroom with toilet paper and paper towels; and I may be the only one who uses it at all. I wad up toilet paper and throw it in before purging on top of it until I see blood, just to be safe. The toilet swallows. I am glassy eyed and white retouching my makeup as the morning sun falls on me through squares of rippled glass. This is the only time I can bear myself in the mirror. I spit Listerine into the sink.
My boss says she’s pleased to see me and compliments my soft pink dress, selected to match my lipstick. On my desk she has piled reports to be proofed before lunchtime, which means lunchtime is two hours later than usual. I don’t mind. I smile at her, cautious to cover my teeth with my lips knowing that the enamel is worn away. As I work I watch the lake—just a few thousand feet and 59 storeys between us. I’m surprised that a spider can survive so high up here in a corner window web on the other side of the glass.
At 2PM, I carry my salad to the sculpture in front of the building where everyone sits to eat lunch. Today my salad is too heavy for me to possibly eat. Last night I spent an hour picking, washing, and chopping the vegetables to just the right size. I bagged a few nuts and sunflower seeds for protein, and poured measured salad dressing into a tiny Tupperware container. The fork I brought to eat it with is real silver.
There’s a beggar down the block who I happen to know is vegetarian. I’ve seen businessmen buy him hot dogs then curse at him when he demurred. I plan to offer the vegetarian man my salad. At the stoplight I adjust my stockings, which I bought in a too-large size in case I gain weight.
Looking past my shoes, I see a dead pigeon at the curb. Recently struck by a car, the contents of the pigeon’s stomach are displayed before it in a trail that leads several thin inches away from the bird. A few crumbs of baked goods, some digested food now turned into fluid. Seeds, mostly.
The light has changed. People stream past me, rushing to the other side. I’ve dropped my weighty salad. Businesspeople circumvent the bird and I with our messes. The bird’s eyes are still open. I kneel to meet them with mine.