I was inspired by an article I read about a local artist who would take cigarette butts and arrange them into glorious, intricate paintings. I would rake the muck in the street and pick out all the garbage: a medical marijuana pouch, a Pringles top, one time a condom, unopened. These items went into a plastic tub from Wal-Mart, clear as a cataract. I kept the dangerous finds, too- the needles and the condoms that had been filled. But I just left it all in a tub. If I filled one, I got another. Until towers of acquired garbage filled the spare room. The room that was meant for the baby. I’d open the door and the scent of new plastic would wash over me. It smelled deeply familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Then one day, I remembered: cabbage patch dolls. The tops of their heads. That chemical joy. Their forever smiles.
Four Dollars In Quarters
Sunday begins. My boyfriend tells me I need to write to let it all out, to feel normal. I tell him what I need is a job, a stand-up boyfriend, some groceries, and maybe a baby. We are not trying, not preventing: NTNP.
I do not drive to Indian Hills Laundromat because I only have four dollars in quarters. Everyone knows you can’t launder with that kind of money. Instead, I drive around town, pumping the heat, blasting Bob (We play everything!), just hoping for a heartbreaker.
This you should know: I have nothing. I have no hair, no dog, no true love, no house, no job, and no money. No joke! I’m, like, the perfect Buddhist.
I steal a jacket at Forever21 the color and texture of whale nipple. I only ask white businessmen for directions, because they are so good at explaining. When the fish jump in the river, so does my heart.
I drive around Wichita looking for my boyfriend. He could be anywhere: bar, strip club, Kinko’s, who-the-fuck-knows. I pass homeless figures transitioning into luggage.
I wish I had those two cigarettes my friend from Kansas City dropped from his pocket: white, slim, brandless. I want to tune out, become a chimney. I want to conduct, be a conduit, disappear.
He said he’d be home by now. Sometimes, if I get into bed in the middle of the day, I can lose myself in nightmares. The cool thing about nightmares, they end.