Depressed because my book wasn't nominated for a gay award, I lie on the couch watching---not listening to--- the O.J. trial. Byron, who senses something's wrong, hides under the bed until Ira comes home, carrying a bouquet of beautifully wrapped tulips. I press the mute button. "This is your prize," he says. "Guess what they're called." A smile in- voluntarily overcomes my frown. "What?" "Red Parade." "That sounds like the name of an old Barbie outfit," I say. "That's exactly what I told the florist. And you know what she told me?" "What?" "When she was a girl, she turned her Barbie into Cleopatra: gave her an Egyptian haircut and painted her nipples blue." "How cool." "Yeah," but now she thinks that her doll would be worth eight hundred dollars if she hadn't messed it up." Once in water, the tulips begin to unclench--- ten angry fists. Their colors are fierce, like Plath's "great African cat," her "bowl of red blooms." Poor Sylvia, who so desperately wanted awards, and only won them after she was dead. Byron jumps up, Ira sits down and massages my feet. "You guys." My spirits are lifted by their tulips, kisses, licks.
|The East Village Poetry Web