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“My tears are fallin'
'Cause you've taken her away
And though it really hurts me so,
There's something that I've got to say…”

We Leave Behind The Slow Disaster of Language
“People don't talk to me when I'm walking down the street”, said The Woman Dressed As Minnie Mouse The Clown.
“Well, do you look them in the eye?”, Jacques asked her. He was the kind of person you might sit next to on the train and sense that he was comfortable in his own body and with the character that he always becoming-- Jacques himself. He wore a grey cotton t-shirt, well loved jeans and worn brown penny-loafers with a tassle. His face and figure had a roundness to them that often allowed for people to trust him with little hesitation. Jacques followed Minnie’s cherry nose up to her eyes. They sat opposite one another at a round linoleum table and sipped blue razzmatazz slurpees in the Outlet Mall food court.
“Maybe you are the one not talking to them.” He waited some time, looked in the direction of Minnie’s gaze. Some tweens were flirting with the clerk behind the smoothie counter.
“Maybe I am them, afraid of what I might say”, she jerked her chin toward the youthful crowd and took a sip from the styro-foam cup. She then wiped her mouth with her hand and shifted focus to a woman seated several tables away. “I’m going to walk up to that woman’s table. I'll sit down with her like you and I are sitting right now. I’ll pick up this conversation right from where you and I leave off.”
Jacques looked across the food court at the said woman, presently shoving a Chik-Fil-A sandwich into her small round mouth. “And you two would be closer to falling in love than you are right now.”
“I would think so”, Minnie nodded and slurped her slurpee.
Jacques turned back to face Minnie. “I want to tell you how I think of you”, he said.
Eyes locked to Minnie’s, Jacques’ chest expanded. Minnie could imagine his lungs filling up with breath under his shirt and skin. She tried to track its path, moving through the neck and into the face— or did it start in his face and then enter the lungs? Jacques’ mouth stretched so that his lips became thin and tight. His mouth remained wide. Air is gas. It cycled through Jacques' innards.

“Take good care of my baby
Please don't ever make her blue
Just tell her that you love her
Make sure you're thinking of her
In everything you say and do…”

Enactment of particular fantasies may seem to suggest politics of optimism and hope for “progress”. The author makes no claims that actions performed or the things you are about to read will better you or society. This is merely an attempt to find out what exists in the between— between sensible and manufactured realities. No (re)action is performed without a base; a broth of what’s normal. We each inhabit the space of our own mass; batter in a cake tin filling up the mold. I don’t expect to ever see the moon just as you do. For now let’s fixate on the chance that we might understand. Across divides we keep silent promises. We perpetually re-enact the show so that we know the proper response even to a surprise.

Monologue featuring insecurities relating to literature and evidence that Connections are Two-Fold
I sat next to you on the Blue Line at Monroe at about 5:30 today and tried not to stare directly at you the entire time until you exited at Chicago. Some delay at Clark & Lake stopped us for a while and I hoped it would go on longer to give me time to figure out just how I could make up a line that would be funny and non-threatening, but mostly not just exceedingly dumb. Either way, you were reading a book about enjoying solitude so it seemed inappropriate to interrupt with “hey, let's get a drink”. Also I'm a shy bozo. You seemed like you'd had a long day so I tried to channel the same type of mental energy, like "Oh man, work, right?" You're extremely pretty, especially your hair, which nearly gave me a heart attack. You had a Poetry Foundation tote so I bet you like poetry. I know very little about poetry. Email me.

“Take good care of my baby
Now don't you ever make her cry
Just let your love surround her
Paint rainbow all around her
Don't let her see a cloudy sky…”

Coming to know the body is the most direct way to feel alive. To shake saccharine soaked thoughts— faded, tattered jeans, into knowing that: yes, I am having that itchy feeling on my legs and I slept on a stranger's couch last night. My body’s weight sank into the cushions and when I woke up there was a small damp spot where my mouth had been. I have a friend who says he never feels embarrassed. My knees feel embarrassed. Contacts stick to parched eyeballs. Teeth feel mossy.

This is how we practice
It was Thursday January 19 and it was freezing cold outside. You were wearing "180s" and a hat, waiting at the corner and getting ready to cross State Street, walking east on Randolph. It was about 3:15 pm.
I slipped my hand into yours and you looked up and said "hello". I looked back and said, "hello".
Then we walked and I tried to let you guide our path. After a bit of time we were walking in stride. Sometimes in silence. Sometimes in conversation.
When we got to your bus stop on Michigan Avenue you said you would wait for the bus there. I said I would wait with you since our hands were connected.
You said that you were not really holding on to my hand and I said I wasn't holding on either. I told you I couldn't see how we could possibly let go, though, because still our hands were linked. Then you stepped to the side enough for our fingers to detach.

“Once upon a time
That little girl was mine
If I'd been true
I know she'd never be with you, so…”

(I am going to generalize when I use the word “we”.) When we feel uncomfortable it's because we realize we are breathing, but more than breathing, really. What is the opposite of screaming? Inhaling and exhaling, air soothes the lungs and throat. You can feel the world like a cotton t-shirt on your back. Someone else is trying to communicate or avoid communication. Someone is climbing under your skin. This person is taking a nap there, right in the cup-like intersection of your three pelvic bones. This person snores in his sleep.

Inspirational Hymns For Our Girls (Be a fighter. Plus, the personal is political)

Though by now she was considered a grown up by all possible interpretations, The Woman Dressed as Minnie Mouse the Clown had only recently come to know herself as the owner of real adult breasts. There is a power in self-realization of any kind. At the very least you are aware enough to see.

Two months earlier, her grandmother took her to a department store to visit an expert. This woman measured the two tender fatty bulbs of flesh, which lay as a shield across her chest for years, quietly swelling and expanding with a lack of conviction. In the fitting room the saleswoman never questioned the fact of Minnie’s breasts’ existence, and dutifully found a bra with snug-fitting cups to hold them in place. They came to be objective truths: breasts, and D cups are nothing to scoff at.

In the shower, water poured from the spout overhead. It careened over her body, still pulsing after a late night jog under a nearly-full-but-waning moon. Near the lakeside path, reflections glimmered in puddles. Now, the water shimmering across her breasts caught her eye. These real adult breasts became a part of her body. She set aside this moment to give her breasts credit for existing since she had not done so previously. A moment of external introspection: “Breasts, what are you like? How shall I describe you?” Objectively, “breasts: you have a shape (which changes if the nipples aren’t hard because in that case you are limp: limp dick limp). In the shower you are round and supple. Nipples, you are deep red-brown.”

After this she took to a habit of peeking into her bra to check on the nipples’ hue. You learn that you are the best observer of your own body, especially in forecasting diseases, like Breast Cancer for example. She came to know her breasts well; in the shower the redness in her nipples appeared more pronounced. When dried off they took on a lighter color of a pinkish brown and also appeared and felt softer and more pillowy. She felt a general fondness for them and wondered at times what it might be like to hold them in her mouth. For her mouth, for her insides; how might that feel, how might it taste? Sitting alone on the wet tile floor of the shower. Self-love: her own tiny revolution.

Bodies and space are points of negotiation
Bodies move in and out through revolving doors of department stores and it’s one by one (precisely folded shopping bags brush temporary glass). Sliding doors on the subway, staircases and escalators. Here and nowhere. Skin touches other skin; touches raw meat, picks up the phone, holds the handle of a knife to cut a peeled carrot, checks the fever of a clammy child home sick from school. Skin touches plexi-glass windows on the bus from midtown to downtown, touches skin. In public I want to stand as close to everyone as possible. All at the same time. I will wait to enter the doorway until someone else goes first so I can pretend it was an accident that we had to negotiate the threshold together. How funny—that wasn’t supposed to happen. Contact made, our singular ozones dissipate for an unknowable duration. This renegotiation of what is supposed to happen is made possible by “a different sort of repeating”. We move toward discomfort and take turns navigating.

“Take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me…”

Every Day I Spill My Guts
Jacques is out for the night. He wears cologne and when he walks it moves with him in a cloud of man-spice and musk. This comforts him: like a turtle in its shell, he carries his home. Earlier in the day he actually got to the gym. He lifted. He squatted. He stretched and ate well. He hasn’t been eating meat these days and is noticing a positive change. Jacques is at 100%.
No plans. He walks to a local bar where, if nothing else, he can expect to hear live music. A woman wearing a green dress sits at the bar. She nods to him with a welcoming smile so he approaches her and asks for a dance. No one is dancing. The band is on a break. Jacques recognizes the regular drummer and the bassist sitting on bar stools just beyond Green Dress; the musicians are joking and sipping on bourbon from short glasses with large ice cubes. In response to his invitation, Green Dress appears amused and perhaps bewildered. Her cheeks visibly flush. Jacques believes this is a good sign. She defers by asking him to come back when the band is playing again, so he does.

They are dancing and she becomes increasingly attractive to him between the beginning and end of the band’s ten-minute jazzy set with a jumping cadence. Jacques is sweating off his protective olfactory cloud. He and Green Dress haven’t spoken in words since he asked her to dance at the bar; movement does the work. Jacques is beyond thought. He forgets he is alive, he forgets about armor and machismo and chivalry. He covers Green Dress’s ear with his thumb so she can hear him over the music. He is not thinking, he is feeling the words escape his mouth: “I’m so into you!” he shouts.
“What?!”, she asks, unable to hear over the band.
Jacques considers the possibility he has in this moment to cover up his forward confession but opts to commit. He repeats himself, now with emphasis,
A wince. A jerking motion, a glance over her shoulder.
He twitches out a smile to cover up the discomfort of a one-sided admission.
“Excuse me, I have to check on something in the ladies room”, she tells him.
The band plays through the night. Green Dress doesn’t reappear.
-Rachel Ellison

“Well, Take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me.”
-Bobby Vee

The Woman Dressed As Minnie Mouse The Clown Gets An Education (with Bobbie Vee
by Rachel Ellison