Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2014 - Page 29

Rae Bryant | 29

says your spine has pretty potential and pretty potential is better than ugly. It is a binary opposition. Pretty potential / ugly. You name the boyfriend Derrida.

This is a common fantasy: John Belushi sitting patiently on a bed covered in floral duvet and striped dust ruffle. Combing John Belushi’s sideburns with a Barbie brush. Braiding John Belushi’s hair in short, tiny braids and clipping the ends with plastic doggie barrettes. You and John Belushi writing poetry while sipping hot, herbal tea. Poem topics: Penguins, Smurfs, the proper and functional length of shag carpeting, fried chickens, snow bunnies, Ronald Reagan’s hair, He-Man’s Battle Cat, an ode to Anwar Sadat as a George Romero zombie, a villanelle on the proper outfitting of a bomb shelter.

In your closet, you make an altar of chicken bones and toast crumbs, a pair of Ray-Bans, a black tie and a fedora. You love that shit. At your mother’s table, you sit tall, spine straight, and order four whole fried chickens and an orange Crush—because you like orange Crush better—and you pretend your mother is Aretha Franklin, only white and skinny. You call her Aretha in the morning and Aretha in the evening and she serves you scrambled eggs and Peanut Butter and Jelly and Fritos and milk instead of four whole fried chickens and an orange Crush. She squints each time you sit at her dinner table, wearing black Ray-Bans and a fedora. When Derrida criticizes your fashion choices, you break into song: "Minnie the Moocher."

You are a constant exercise in obedience and love. You learn to be still as he folds his arm over you. You smile when he says he loves you and you feel loved and safe and happy. Aretha’s hair is blond and lighted from the window behind her. She looks a little bit like Debby Harry and you swear she is an angel. Sometimes, when you are out shopping with her, she buys you a can of orange Crush.

This is a common activity: Writing letters to would-be adoptive parents such as John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. You mail the letters to Saturday Night Live in New York City then watch every Saturday night for some mention of your letters. In preparation for the impending adoption, you study random affects of Blues men, including but not limited to Cab Calloway, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Robert Johnson. You study library books on guitars and drum sets, postmodernism, travel speakers, the big ones, roadie protocols, how to set and tear down stage equipment, the best and most economic diners in all the major cities, mending black socks, black hats, black suits, the most efficient way to fry a chicken and how to toast bread over a campfire. You will earn your keep on the road.