Pimp to the mouth-breathers

Vivian Maier’s Signature


Two a’s, neither of which connect fully and so look like little u’s instead. “Miss Muier, the doctor will see you now.” Her i dots fall just slightly right: three moons competing to beat back beyond the horizon. Flourishes on both the V and M, which stand tall and proud before giving way to chaotic sloppiness. Caring and then not caring so much. Compulsion giving way to so many boxes of undeveloped life.

Space between the V, the v, the i, the M. Anything would have trouble connecting to those little faker a’s. A cooked smiling curve down the second i to a disfigured e. Culminating in an r which looks more like an afterthought than a real ending.

The formal mark of a vampira too afraid to leave much more than that. Swatting at an empty reflection, stealing shots of her shadow instead. Lurking towards humanity like a life beggar grasping for a slice.

Spring, Almost

The frailty of winter
The coming of the spring
A roundabout recession
A bifurcated ring
Split thing
Thing turning back onto itself
Sweet within a jar
High upon a shelf
A little bird inside her nest
Seen yet out of reach
Our hearts are masters of the cold
Warm lessons must we soon them teach

Photo of a Couple, One Who’s Dead and One Who’s Not


We’re in a forest and water is moving hard behind them. They must be on a bridge, but you can’t tell that because the photo cuts off at their knees. So instead, they hover. A couple of Jesus-es. Water walking, bread breaking, self-less love giving.

With that staff he’s holding, he actually looks a little like Jesus. It’s not actually a staff, it’s a walking stick, but he grips it so hard he looks like he’s leading Jews out of Israel.

Like the way he grips her.

We only see one of her arms. It’s the one with the faintest glimmer of a wedding ring on it. Or, if there is no ring, it’s like it’s foreshadowing a ring. Oh ghost ring that knows so much, why can’t you also predict her untimely death, struck down by a drunk, blackness coming on faster than an angry night can push the sun.

He stares so seriously at the camera. The shadows on the right side of his face form deep pools for his eyes to swim in.

Too many shadows for such a bright day.  

She left him, you know. Or did he leave her? They left each other, but then he won her back. Felt the love thing clawing at him, like so much doom and destiny. Nails ripping right down the back.

They’re so far over to the left they’re almost falling out of the shot, but his staff holds steady and they stand and stare. Not seeing the whitecaps behind them. The rushing, snickering thing just beginning to lap at their heels. The biting mite that will nibble his memory away so that he can’t even remember he had a wife. And is she dead or alive? And did he kill her? He brought her here, didn’t he? Isn’t that like killing her?

But no more of this. The photo shows a striped and sunny day.
While we may linger for a while, our couple’s there to stay.

For No One

It’s Sunday and I leave at 10am to walk to yoga. It’s beautiful and sunny and the birds have started to sing again. I get to the end of the block and run into a funeral. I stop and look. There’s a man outside in a suit, but he’s standing near the hearse and seems to be with the funeral home. Inside the church I can only make out the backs of people’s legs, a few dresses. The dim drear of death starts to sound from within. I see a name on this hearse and think, I will look this person up later, to see who they were and remember them on this spring day. But the name is the funeral home’s and so the person remains ageless, sexless, shapeless. All the things that dying makes us anyway. So I hurry on to yoga. Praying to no one for no one. 

Ghost Monroe

The other night, I dreamt I was talking to dead Marilyn Monroe on the phone. She kept telling me she was okay - that her death had been set up and she was still alive, still living on the other side of Hollywood.

But I knew that wasn’t true. I could hear it in her voice. She was just a ghost, trying to convince me - and herself - that she wasn’t dead. Then something else scary happened in the dream. I heard some voices talking and then I was at a friend’s house, but she told me I couldn’t stay at her place, so then I was alone. And scared that the voices would come back to get me.

I woke up at around 2:30 a.m. My roommate wasn’t home. So I turned on my light and waited. And calmed down. And eventually I felt tired and not quite as alone. And the Marilyn ghost left. And I slept.

Too cold to go to sleep.Too hot to stay awake.Too hard to face reality.Too easy to be fake.Too full to be so empty.Too vast to have so much.Too steady for such shaking.Too strong for such a crutch.
But being “too” is wearySometimes I’d rather “not enough”Some prefer the road well pavedFor me, I take it rough.

Too cold to go to sleep.
Too hot to stay awake.
Too hard to face reality.
Too easy to be fake.

Too full to be so empty.
Too vast to have so much.
Too steady for such shaking.
Too strong for such a crutch.

But being “too” is weary
Sometimes I’d rather “not enough”
Some prefer the road well paved
For me, I take it rough.

Open letter to the 6th Grade Titanic note I sent President Clinton

Dear Overdramatic Note,

You were conceived as a result of my 6th grade curriculum fair project on the Titanic. Perhaps fortunately for you Note, the film involving that throbber of hearts Leonardo DiCaprio was yet to grace theaters for another year. At the time you came into being, James Cameron was most likely perched atop one of those director-looking chairs, manifesting the brilliance within his head like a frenzied Stravinsky conducting the final movement of The Firebird.

“Leo, look more dead when she breaks your hands away! Kate, more….nakedness.” I can hear him now.

Read More

That One Word

I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another “Fuck you” on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn’t come off. It’s hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible. -Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye 

You’re on this ladder — you feel like a fool, you could fall any minute — and you look through it and it just says “YES.”…And just that “YES” made me stay in a gallery full of apples and nails, instead of just walking out saying, ‘I’m not gonna buy any of this crap.’ -John Lennon, on first seeing Yoko Ono’s art.

Gmail and Toenail Share An Ale

It’s late and I’m trying to send an email from my gmail account, but my storage is all taken up and now I’m attempting a frantic delete of anything that has little meaning for me.

Which is nothing at all.

Gmail’s a shrewd, calculating sonofabitch.

Meanwhile, in my madness, I’ve ripped off a toenail and am now studying it as I simultaneously delete photos of receipts from 2012.

Poor receipts. Thought you could just cling on that digital cloud forever.

The torn off nail looks surprised. Like it didn’t see this coming.

A thing that was a part of me, now not.
A connection left to rot
A cloud of ones and zeroes
A play where Lady M’s the hero
Out, out, she cries, damned email spot.

Did I mention that it’s late?

Gmail is the antichrist
And love is 15 gigs of fate.

Korean Day Spa

I’m at the Korean Day Spa. It’s this magical place in L.A. where a bunch of women walk around naked, dunking themselves in different hot pools of water. I’m there with my two best friends and we’re naked too. Initially we hold onto our Western modesty like a trio of carburetor-clinging kittens, but after a while the modesty gets lost in a steady parade of Korean flesh, and our towels take a hike with it. 

There are no phones allowed in the Korean Day Spa and so, hence, no accompanying photos. There is a whole section devoted to Korean toothpaste, but, I, being unaware of the importance of Korean dental hygiene, didn’t bring my toothbrush. 

It’s like 10,000 tubes of Korean toothpaste when all you need is a toothbrush, I think as I nakedly stare down the toothpaste tubes. 

What was that song all about anyway? Not really irony, more like just being pissed off when things don’t go your way. And isn’t rain on your wedding day supposed to be good luck? 

But there’s no more time for thoughts of Alanis Morissette and her pessimistic-tending life views, because now I’m being whisked out of the tub and onto a metal slab where I receive a good old fashioned Korean massage.

Allow your brain to pull up an image of Miss Trunchbull, the child-torturing villain in Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Then tweak that just slightly until you see Korean Miss Trunchbull - wearing only her skivvies - about to chokey the living daylights out of you. 

Korean massage is also magical. But more in the way that a near death experience is magical. There comes a moment where you give up on experiencing your body and, like a bored teenager chucking down an xbox remote, just sort of leave it behind.

When you do finally come back to reality, your ability to form words is on hiatus and so instead you crawl off to one of several warming rooms, which must be specifically designed to absorb some of the “being pummeled by a large Korean woman” shock.

Now I’m in the Jade room - still oh so naked - taking in the vibes from some hot pink rocks.  

Beaten down, naked, and thrumming with rock vibes, I feel surely this is the perfect time to offer up some kind of prayer to the universe.

Dear Universe, it’s me Chloe. Thanks for not killing me back there on the massage slab. If you let me get out of here alive, I promise to do something worthwhile with my life and never watch another Downton Abbey episode as long as I live.

Then, I make my way out of the Jade room like some huge naked baby, birthing herself from the pink rocks back into the world of normalcy.

A world, I’m slowly realizing, with too many clothes and lacking severely in Korean toothpaste tubes.