From her upcoming book of L.A. noir …
When I turned fourteen, my mother’s sister took me to lunch and said:
soon you’ll have breasts. They’ll mushroom on your
smooth chest like land mines.
A boy will show up, a schoolmate, or the gardener’s son.
Pole-cat around you. All brown-eyed persistence.
He’ll be everything your parents hate, a smart aleck,
a drop out, a street racer on the midnight prowl.
Even your best friend will call him a loser.
But this boy will steal your reason, have you
writing his name inside a scarlet heart, entwined
with misplaced passion and a bungled first kiss.
He’ll bivouac beneath your window, sweet-talk you
until you sneak out into his waiting complications.
Go ahead, tempt him with your new-found glamour.
Tumble into the backseat of his Ford at the top of Mulholland,
flushed with stardust, his mouth in a death-clamp on your nipple,
his worshipful fingers scatting sacraments on your clit.
Soon he will deceive you with your younger sister,
the girl who once loved you most in the world.
when your mother convinces you to take in your homeless younger sister…
She will date your boyfriend.
She’ll do it better than you ever did.
She’ll have nothing but time.
He’ll start showing up when you leave,
train her to make him the perfect BLT,
(crusts off, avocado on the side),
encourage his cheating heart,
suck his dick so good he’ll think
he’s died and gone to Jesus.
Your sister will borrow your clothes,
and look better in them than you ever did.
Someone will see her with your boyfriend
at the Grove, agonize for days
before deciding not to tell you.
Meanwhile he’ll buy her that fedora you
admired in Nordstrom’s window, the last one
in your size.
When you complain, your mother
will tell you it’s about time you learned to share.
While you’re at work, your sister will tend your garden,
weed the daisies, coax your gardenias into bloom.
No matter how many times you remind her,
she will one day forget to lock the gate;
your cat and your lawn chairs will disappear.
Your mother will say it serves you right.
Your sister will move into your boyfriend’s
big house in Laurel Canyon. He will ignore her,
and she will make a half-hearted suicide attempt;
you’ll rescue her once again.
Your mother will wash her hands of the pair of you,
then get cancer and die.
Smell the white gardenias in the yard.
Cherish their heady perfume. Float them in a crystal bowl.
Forgive your sister as she has forgiven you.
the cool wind comes through me
outside, it’s winter.
your life calls.
your wife calls.
you want to sail away.
travel instead my aestival coastline,
my perfect breasts
sloped like berms in December.
brave the Bermuda Triangle
of my hips
and my belly,
the delectable delta
between my thighs;
plunder those places
your wife won’t
let you go.
desire rules our ocean.
your body echoes my
if she loved you as I do,
you wouldn’t be here.
I wouldn’t taste like you.
There’s a 19 car pile up on Vasquez Rocks.
You’re late. This would be a good excuse.
I want to grind that thought out like your cigarette.
Drive right over it.
You were dead to me the first time
I found motel matches
in your pocket.
You brought me offramp roses.
Your fingers smelled like someone else.
When the traffic doesn’t move
when I’m lost again in Pasadena
and my pussy dampens,
I think of fellating you on the freeway
to pass the time.
Is that what you’re thinking of?
From the 5 to the 2 to the 134.
Take the Pearblossom Highway.
Make a smooth transition.
Tell me exactly how it’s going down and
I’ll write that poem.
The one where you’re supposed to
be on time, and I’m supposed to care.