(NB. To my Mother, who held my hand when I was admitted).
Oof I’ve got a lot of these, haven’t I?
3 accounts already?! Well slap me Mama!
So I talked to all these ‘important’ people so far,
They’re all failures, really, if I could,
I would’ve given up on them the minute I first said
“Hi” to them, but back then I was just a gawky kid looking for friends.
Just like them.
But now I really couldn’t care less.
And I think I must’ve been trying to be something I’m not,
Along with my other friends… I use this term ‘friends’ loosely.
And you know who you are.
You know who you are.
You know who you are.
And then there were strangers.
You know you are, drug dealers, Putting your heads in the sand.
My claws are hot, sisters, and this might hurt just a bit.
You’ll get your letters any day now.
And the list hasn’t even ended yet.
Tonight I am sobbing on the phone to my Mother. I am making a deal with her as we speak.
Come rub your ugly faces into my business.
This is how Cinderella loses her rags and marries nobody.
This is how Dorothy finds Toto and all is restored in Kansas. Goodbye Emerald City!
Mother, tell me something so innately personal
That it pains you just as hard as when you gave birth to me.
That it crumples your body up like a washcloth,
And I shall wring you out to dry with my words. Believe me.
I have been here on this planet for much longer than 18 years.
And I want answers.
So whilst you think of your personal problem, and I want a searing hot one too,
Let me discard these shards of my glass heart for luncheon,
And any leftovers you can’t quite fit into your mouth,
Give em’ to the dog.
I was born with a left-eye ptosis
To all the Non-Medics or School Kids or Poets or Adults I have to be friends with,
That means muscle damage on my left eye.
And that was because the delivery guy was the father of my future husband,
Who will beat me to a pulp. Beat me till I’m a soggy squashed orange.
He’ll drain me and drink me at breakfast.
I can already hear my blood hissing in his gravy dinner.
I was born with a defect, and bullies yelled ‘UGH’ at it like muddy snow,
I was hammered by a Qualified Young Man,
A man I’d like to call my best friend. He ruined my face.
Forgive me Mother, I am lazy, it shows in my eye, or does it?
I did not have a lazy eye. I had an eye smaller than the other.
And it talked at photos,
It chittered and it stuck out like a big scarlet birthmark on my face,
And I held onto it for years, and my teardrops glided over the top,
Weighing it down. Closed. Like confidential medical records.
Mother I could have had it fixed much earlier.
But I needed him to tell me I was deformed and not funny, to know that this,
This was my heavy disappointment.
I can taste the bones of those bad remarks
And truthfully, I spit my blood at them.
God moves in my veins and it was something Mr L,
That hurricane of a man who checked me over like a mistake a decade ago,
Had to fix. Twice over.
And when I wore an eye-guard after my operation,
People said I had pink-eye. I can’t wait to see those people perform their comical sets
On Live At The Apollo at the Hammersmith London.
They knocked me off the little wooden chair laughing, didn’t they Mother?
And because I had crocodile skin when I was little,
(really dry skin in the sun, I had to have olive oil rubbed all over me, that was all that worked)
Dry-bone, dry like sand, dry and scaly like volcanic rock,
I had tough skin, so I could take the insults and suck on them like lemon sweets.
Those children didn’t bother me, those people didn’t bother me.
I could have had my little disappointed eye, my tired weepy eye sorted out,
If only the doctor had followed the yellow brick road,
If only he hadn’t grabbed my face unexpectedly and assumed when I was shocked as he did it,
That I wouldn’t be able to stand a LA (Local anaesthetic, to you and me)
But I have that crocodile skin, remember, Mama? Tough skin.
I have the pain threshold of a lion tooth, and a shark’s fin.
So I was made to wait. “Come back when you can handle it baby!”
I could handle anything at 2, 3, 4 years old. I pulled a TV on me once as a baby.
Took Dad to save my life.
Turns out I had a general anaesthetic anyway. Could’ve had the operation when I was a toddler and saved myself the bullying,
But that’s the price you pay for being grabbed by doctors unexpectedly when you’re a baby.
I didn’t have to wait till 15 to come back and be fixed. My warranty had already passed by then.
I had been bullied. I had been hurt.
I had people, with their waxy skin and acne screaming ‘Clean Me’
With their hairy monobrows and their beady eyes and distasteful personalities tell me
That I had a lazy eye and looked ‘deformed’. Yes, ‘deformed’.
Too bad you’re good looking. I had no ammo to fight back with either.
And just because you’re Italian and I was laughing well,
I’m annoying, I know. But I’m also human.
That damage was done Mama, and I fear that the words made my eye look good, in comparison,
To my soaked salt-water pillows at night.
I was just a little girl.
I am just a little girl.
Mother, your personal problem is extremely dear to me,
I respect you because you kissed me better and you changed my water
And I looked better than a bunch of daisies, and you understood why I didn’t want my pictures taken,
To me a camera was like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Well, I knocked the house of insults down on the Wicked Witch of the East in that tornado of bullies,
And I wore my red shoes and clapped my size 8 feet together,
And got my munchkin friends to love me harder.
But you waved your wand like a Fairy Godmother and I,
Forever having a look of royalty in me, as grandmother used to say,
and even a girl at school said at one point actually,
I went to the ball.
So Mother, I’ve sobbed enough. Thank you for the gown. I’ll stop feeling sorry for myself shall I?
It’s not like I’m starving in Africa.
It is past midnight and the spell hasn’t broken yet.
I think I get to keep my cosmetic surgery for keeps, and not commit suicide because I hate myself
In the process.
I will read my old book of Fairy Tales.
But you made me a promise.
A promise so perfect, it sparkled like a gem,
And it fluttered like a butterfly on your lips.
Tell me your personal problem, Mother,
Whisper it like a jewel through the air,
Tell me what’s niggling in that brain of yours,
That it glows from your curly hair.
I have laid out my eyeballs and the surgeon’s knives,
And the forceps that damaged me to begin with,
I have washed and powdered my hands clean and dry of medics, of him, of horrible humans,
I have told you my personal problem,
Now its your turn.