::Literate Blather::
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Poem: How To Grow Up

By Jess Myers

1987. Fall in love with The Wizard of Oz. Learn to walk in red leather heels. Also, pretend to smoke thin rolls of paper and drape a yellow towel on your head like long blond hair. Feel utterly beautiful as the tornado whisks you away.

1989. Get a perm for your birthday. Show your Grandfather, who laughs and says you look ridiculous, which is not as bad as when he said your sister’s pixie cut made her look like an Auschwitz survivor, but still feel gravely concerned that your value as a human being has dipped well below socially acceptable. This feeling is central to being a woman.

1988. Kiss Lee Pongpipat (the only Asian boy you’ve ever known) on the cheek after agreeing to trade him Buddha for God.

2001. Take a job as a dishwasher at a party rental store where you clean frat-boy piss out of the drinks fountain. Use the money to buy a fierce pair of heels.

1993. Barbie and Ken break her white and pink plastic canopy bed on their honeymoon. The next day she divorces him and marries My Little Pony, and they consummate their union in the Playskool barn.

2002. Be cheated on by a frat-boy.

2004. Take a job as an occupational therapist in Oxford, where you have to bathe an old man who tells you to “go fuck yourself you Goddamn Yankee” and who will be assaulted by a middle-aged woman who will tell him that he’s dirty and plays with his bollocks and steals her babies. Use the money to go to Ireland.

1981, December 22, 9:42 p.m. Your father will note that you have the Brown “monkey-toes”, meaning that your toes, and the toes of virtually everyone in your family are freakishly long, a trait which he will point out at birthday parties and family reunions for the next 23 years, until you snap and tell him he’s embarrassing you both. Feel undesirable to foot fetishists.

1994. Get your ears pierced and practice French-kissing with a girlfriend. Also, after D.A.R.E. graduation, practice smoking grass. Not marijuana, lawn clippings.

1999. Your mother buys you a silver dress and silver heels. Get your hair and makeup done in the style of a dramatic 40s film star. Wear a corset for the first time in your life. Very nearly faint from lack of oxygen. Go to the prom with a blue-haired boy who will leave you for his ex halfway through.

2005. 8 a.m., kiss a boy to make up for the first kiss you had the night before but that was forgotten in a haze of white wine and hard cider.

1990. Convince your sister to run away with you from a life in the cruel oppression of your slave-owners to one of freedom and opportunity. Slip quietly into Oz while the dishwater goes cold and filmy in the kitchen.

(Poet and writer Jess Myers is a regular contributor to DaRK PaRTY. She lives in New York City where she is toiling away in corporate real estate.)

Read more poems by Jess:


Quiet Contemplations in my Hometown Church on Christmas Eve

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