Weekly feature by: Sissy Buckles

At 23 I was a bridesmaid dressed formally in
black taffeta tea-length gown shoulders bared and once
again scandalizing my mother like the time I had
the Socialist Worker newspaper sent to the house after
studying Marx in history class, her ridiculous concern that
the neighbors were going to see what’s in our
mailbox and think we are communists
but man, I just wanted to read the damned thing
although she never was superstitious
before and at the time black seemed like a
good idea I was a nihilist punk surviving the corpulent
deadening impulses of smug conformity in my
long gone rolling green Fletcher Hills suburbs,
my hair dyed a tenth time bright red henna after
lavender at least I wouldn’t be stuck with a fussy
polyester pastel pink prom dress like the one I wore
in my sisters’ wedding, a talismanic totem gone totally
wrong stripped off in the car balled up and high-fived
in the back alley dumpster on the way to their
backyard mexican reception complete with
bbq carne asada and charro suited mariachi,
she divorced soon after when her new hubs
screwed a waitress at the Pizza Hut and then
choked her out but Amy was luminous that day
waiting since sweet sixteen for this tall imposing
Nordic blonde man to propose and invest in
substantial Real Estate and Volvos and a sturdy little
bourgeois wife and the glistening Chanel #5 sweat
filming the tops of her breasts in the simmering summer
heat and you just knew the impatient groom couldn’t wait
to lick it off but first Oh No — “THE ZIPPER BROKE!!!”
a pearled white gown split down that Botticelli
back leaving a church full of well-wishers
and the intended in drama filled suspense, finally
mended we three maids drifted down the
perfumed satin aisle carrying small pink candles
dripping hot wax on our fingers and darkly
flounced silk flirting with the best man sharing
a plastic glass of effervescent champagne at the
reception dancing to mobile DJ sounds
he admired my salon sculpted porcelain nails
seen through 1940’s net Madonna gloves
“that’s a nice touch” (I ripped the cumbersome
bastards properly off the next day) and he took my
number with tentative plans to catch the Dead Kennedys
he was a Cosmo Bachelor of the Month MBA
just graduated from Harvard with a fancy
killer new job in LA and I was frankly shocked that
he’d never heard of Michel Foucault but gee
I was smitten with his Ivy League
brown-eyed handsome man good looks
and at one point his brow wrinkled up
and he said “but what will become of you?”
and it sounded so earnest, prophetic and
sincerely concerned that I nearly cried
and of course we never got together I was a
lousy lit major and worked at Tower Records
head shop sampling what I sold, smoking
reefer in the backroom with hippie Dave sharing
bro deals with all my hooligan friends, hell the
store manager Leslie’s boyfriend Steve who’d
recently blown in from Philly with his crazy brother Ray
in a smoke belching Donnie Brasco Cadillac Coupe Deville
would come in on the weekends and shop for free
walking out with a shitload of records under each arm,
we were little vinyl crazy anarchists giving the
big F-U to Corporate America, while he was a
parent’s wet dream and hot prayer away from the
mess of my bohemian life I lose my friends when
I lose my lovers never thinking I’d end up
another miserable 9-5er but hey, we all gotta
pay the rent and my sister called her first son Aaron
from the bible he almost drowned in a pool that weekend
his dad playing poker while their precious little tadpole
slipped from the bottom step floating face down under water
until a woman screamed when they fished him out
he’d turned blue and threw up now I’m sitting at a low
round table in Bodies on University Avenue gripped
once again with obsessive galloping thoughts about
floating babies, incandescent brides, chance connections
and the principles of sympathetic magic it’s Potluck Sunday
and Harvey’s beers are cheap, Special Guests
the Paladins just finished a roaring rockabilly set
up front the man with shadows watching from
the rear and rascally bikers shoot
Sue and I the glad eye playing pool in
the back room strayed over from the Trojan Horse
next door into our hangout cuz that’s where all
the chicks were — “why is your hair so short?”
the girl Rachel asks she’s the lead guitarists’ little honey
and there’s dapper Tom in a hand painted
silk necktie and slapping the hell out of
that doghouse bass, soon to be married to
Candye Kane former porn star then aspiring
country/western songstress three months pregnant
in a ceremony at the World Famous Palomino Club in LA
between sets, who knew she would metamorphose
into an OG blues diva then die at 54 from a
grueling bout of internal bleeding pancreatic
cancer the blood the never ending blood just kept
pouring her joie de vivre and humungous heart
along with every penny of savings swirling down the
ever-sucking drain far and away while
Rachel’s spicy gardenia perfume flutters by
on quaaludes in the bar’s sultry gloaming,
Robert Graves’ White Goddess of
Death, Birth, and Beauty sprung to life her
Breck Girl bob sensually swaying and constant yah-ta-ta
questions grounding me, like Bukowski always does —
“Why are you here? I just got out of the hospital –
my back hurts – did you cut your own hair? it looks
like Sid Vicious, hey want some Windowpane,
take a trip and never leave the farm?” that little
gal turned out a walking pharmacopoeia
I hadn’t even heard of that stuff since Wavy Gravy
warned everybody about the ‘brown acid’ at
Woodstock and “is that dress from Wear it Again Sam?
Tom, come say Hi.” but I knew she wasn’t really looking
for answers and we were already partners in crime so
the next round was on me, her casual, vociferous
truth accentuating my unintelligible silence.


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