Friday, May 22, 2009

Painting fail: "the rich green goo of [my] being"

I am in the process of painting my bathroom green. A much brighter shade of green than I originally intended. In fact, my bathroom now looks like an enormous bottle of Garnier Fructis shampoo.

And what do you know? A poem featuring green shampoo. It's Prell, not Garnier Fructis, but it's close enough.

Quest of the Prell

We were functioning as one; it was a flying dream.
I was holding his hand, he mine. I hadn’t yet glimpsed
his face (when you’re flying you don’t care).
Sand-hued gazelles sipped at a green lagoon,
and there was no question but that we both needed
to get closer;
descending, found instead a playground
beside a green pond, no, massive bottle of Prell Shampoo,
like the one in the commercial where a man's hand drops
a pearl, which slowly sinks through the green murk,
to show how thick the murk must be to slow the pearl.
And he sighed with a look I knew from somewhere,
as if he’d said What’s wrong? and I’d answered Nothing
unconvincingly—a tired, determined look,
suggesting this was yet another test
of love. His quest: to swim the Prell.
What’s worse, I think I seemed to want him to;
and woke in horror, though not sure whose.
Is this what the male psyche thinks it’s up against
in a relationship (the very word ungainly)
with a woman, wummin, womyn,
dividing his energies among the recycled
merry-go-round arguments, and manning
the unbalanced swingset of romance,
trying to swing as she swings,
at the same velocity and height,
so as to keep everything even
between them? Then off to navigate
her jungle gym without getting to the top
first, trying not to put his foot down
on hers, her career, her herness,
or lose his tender grip on her notion
of what their life could be?
Oh, must he seesaw with her endlessly
on that creaking, warped emery board
laid across the moat of her past,
swirling with such desires as she herself
can hardly see, with prehistorically
huge appetites and indiscriminate teeth?

Not to say it isn’t terrifying on the woman’s end
of things, like going down the slide backwards
sans underwear, and which will it be this time
at bottom: the burning sands of his indifference;
the asphalt of disdain; or will he laughing catch her up?

This all sounds so fifties, I know, the Prell,
the desire to be caught, but it was his look
that left me shaking. I’ve seen it on every lover
and husband of every last one of my women friends,
and now on you—though it wasn’t your face
really; let’s not forget this was a dream—
inheriting that look from every man regarding
every woman, that awful look of resignation
to face the rich green goo of her being;
the hero hardily willing to hold his breath
grimaceless, refrain from muttering Oh, swell,
and blindly dive to retrieve that cultured pearl,
dropped long ago by an unknown man’s
unthinking hand (just to prove a point)
into the opaque murk of her self, her very elle;
into the thick, slick, deep, man-handled,
bottled-up, unreal green of her Prell.

As she heroically must stand there
helpless, watching him.

( J. Allyn Rosser, from Misery Prefigured, 2001 Southern Illinois University Press).

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