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Hunters/Gatherers (Joce)


I will never again be a virgin, a born-again virgin, a born-again Christian or even just a regular old Christian. The Christians might have had me once, when I was very young, I liked the formality of the fabrics at the alter, the stained glass windows, the dark arched wood of the high church ceiling and the singing, but they kept handing out the same old coloring sheets in Sunday school, with Jesus in his big brown robe standing next to a wooly lamb. Brown and white, brown and white. I much preferred my coloring book at home based on Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes. I used all the colors to fill in the lines of the Pegasus and the Chimaeras and Centaurs. Medusa had snakes for hair! Even the fleece was gold. I’m a gold digger.

I will never be leggy or lithe or coltish. I will never have a “peaches and cream” complexion or a button nose or be cavity-free. I will never have long, lustrous hair, perky breasts, or feet sans callus. I will never have the hands of a pianist or the legs of a runner or the arms of a swimmer. I will never be quick on my feet or graceful when I dance. I have the shoulders of a shrugger, a sigher; I stoop collecting the missing buttons of your old coat. Beauty is weightless –I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I am Atlas, 2004, out of date. God or hero? I am quick to judge. I can’t read a map. Or drive a stick.

I will never again have an original thought. I will not express this thought through a singular and creative voice. We are all sheep, brown and white, brown and white, comforted by our wooly thoughts. Hunter/gatherers. Cast your pearls before swine and dive for abalone, sheep.


I will never be an ingénue. Your one and only. The “one.” The “it” girl. It.

Never will I be an Olympic ice dancer. A sharpshooter. A bank robber.  A banker. A bank teller. I will never be a cattle rustler. Satin rustles but is universally unflattering. I will never be a Merchant Marine. A Somali pirate. A Blockbuster. A Broadway Baby. A Broadway Belter. Give me an old fashioned merchant on the corner of Broadway and Main. “Compound pharmaceuticals mixed here.”

I never bother with sunscreen anymore. I cultivate sunburns that turn into a glow and settle into freckles on my shoulders, my nose, constellations across my chest. The heat of the sun like the warm touch of another, and a reminder that something always remains from that contact, invisible, imperceptible, insignificant. Like a kiss you can feel – the soft touch of another’s lips, the lurch of hope and maybe – long after the kiss has ended. Get over it.

Never an heiress. Never a monarch. A socialite. A social butterfly. A Monarch butterfly. An Olympian. An Amazon. A Texan. The yellow rose of Texas. The rose of your heart. The heart of darkness. I’m a ball buster but I suffer from night blindness.

I will never win a Pulitzer Prize. A Guggenheim Fellowship. Or be presented a Nobel. I’m not gonna be honored with sainthood after a lifetime of service to the poor and infirm. Nothing about lepers. Nope. There will never be a statue of me, or a street in my hometown, “insert my name here” Boulevard. Sunset Boulevard, no good boulevard…I will never be a member of the Academy. A world leader. A scientist, a mathmetician. A man. A made man. A man made lake. I might be an acid lake like Kamchatka.  I have an acid tongue.  But, tongue is delicious, with tomatoes and peppers, Saturdays only, until we run out.