Marti Pukeface

At first all I can see is a dark smeary haze and the only thing that I can think is that I have no idea where I am.  Slowly the ominous cloud that is my vision begins to assemble into bleary tracer stars and spinning clouds.  For a second, the Montana night almost swallows me as I spin deliriously, and then I begin to register that I am laying on my back.  An entire beer can full of straight Canadian Club whiskey has put me in an alternate universe.  My 17 year old mind tries to grip some sort of reality and all that comes to me is that I am just like my mother.  This thought motivates me to reach my hands out, gingerly searching for the nature of where I might be.  I feel flat metal, I smell fresh cut grass, my ears suddenly hear a sprinkler, mindlessly watering at what must be 3:00 A.M.


I realize I am going to be sick and jerk my body into a sitting position.  This action sends my insides into a riot, my throat and nostrils burn as I puke, my stomach trying to twist out every ounce of poison.  I can’t lean forward, I sense that I am on a ledge. I hold on, gripping the edge of some unknown metal precipice, violently moving contents from the of the inside of my stomach to the outside of my chest and stomach.  I am a damn mess.  I am a broken girl, left to my own devices by inept parents, stalked by the patterns of the past and a slave to unbridled desperation.  I decide not to open my eyes. I must be alone, maybe if I just be quiet, this will all just stop.  Thankfully, my stomach agrees and now the rhythm of the sprinkler comforts me, like somehow if I can just hear the next click, I will make it.

After a few moments I can’t ignore the smell of whiskey vomit emanating from my shirt.   It becomes obvious that I haven’t hidden from anything by keeping my eyes closed. Everything looks like it’s underwater when I finally manage to peel them open.  I see a road, move my head enough to realize it’s a driveway with a truck in it and that I am sitting on the open tailgate of that truck.  I see flowers and start to recognize the shapes around me as the front of my best friend’s house, my current flop house.  I sigh in relief and lift my shirt over my head.  In doing so, the smell overwhelms me and I start to throw up again.  This time I am not prepared and I fall forward, off the edge of the tailgate, and land in the gravel.  I lay there retching and inhaling dust, clutching the tiny rocks like they might keep me anchored, when I hear the screen door slam shut.  Someone is headed across the lawn, and I can’t even lift my head to see who it is.

“Marti, what the fuck are you doing?”  It’s Ray, my best friends dad.  “Just what the fuck are you doing?”  I really grip the rocks and turn my face towards his voice.  He is wearing his robe and slippers, but that doesn’t take away from his intimidation factor one bit.  He is a constant ball of rage, fiercely defensive of his daughter and always a force to be reckoned with.  He likes me, though. I think it’s because I’ve decided that the world doesn’t give a shit and so has he.

“Oh Christ.” He moves towards me, bending over. “Put your goddamned shirt on, Marti.  Out in here in your fuckin’ bra.”  He gets a whiff of the vomit and jerks away.

“Christ.” I watch him fade into the distance, thinking that I am going to have to move my shit out of his house tomorrow.  I battle the spins, fight the whirling stars, curse the drunken planet and wonder where the hell I am going to go.  I hear the hiss of a snake, making it’s way through the grass slithering towards me.  I roll my neck towards the sound.  At this point, I haven’t anything else to offer.

“Marti, get up. Get the fuck up.” Ray is standing there with a hose, aimed at my half carcass.  I refuse.  I just don’t care anymore.  He sprays me. My senses are yanked into an alert state, stark electric charges running from one cell to the other.  Suddenly there is mud where there was dust and the rocks that were holding me in position are slippery.  I feel like he is spraying me with fire, and I scream. I scream like I have just discovered injustice and unrest.  Like suddenly my prickling skin has become aware of scorn and judgment.  Like the water is exposing all my faulty wiring, I shriek as I am forced into reality.  I start to cry when the shock wears off, and Ray throws the hose somewhere to the side.  He sits by me.

“You smell better.”  He isn’t a big man after all.

“Marti, what the fuck is wrong with you?  Why are you doing this?  You are too fuckin’ young.  You could die.”  He looks at me and realizes that I don’t particularly care.

“You could, you know, that shit is real.  All you kids think your parents don’t know shit, haven’t seen shit, haven’t lived shit.  You’re wrong, Marti.  Someday you’ll realize it’s not a contest about who’s suffered the most.”  This comment pisses me off.  I gather myself, pull my legs in and resort to the fetal position, a sure sign of strength.

“Ray,” I mutter, my voice feeling like a ragged slip.  “I’ll never do shit. Never. Did you ever realize THAT, Ray?  Did you ever realize I’ll probably be some sad welfare mom in 10 years, waiting for my foodies.  Fuck you, Ray, ’cause I come from a generations of failure.  And fuck you Ray, cause somebody from somewhere in your past probably fucked over somebody from my past and that’s why I’m puking in the yard that you fucking own instead of just fucking puking right on the Earth.” I laid my head against my arm and felt avenged.  I have the right to be an asshole, I have the right to be mad.  Everyone where I come from doesn’t have a damn thing, and everyone not where I come from blames us for it.  Everyone knows it’s our fault somehow.  Everyone asks themselves why all the people on the reservation are so terribly dysfunctional, everyone wants us to scrap some kind of honor and nobility out of fucking nothing.  Out of legacies and fantasies, out some beautiful native apparition.  Living on the rez had been like being caught in some kind of trap, like chasing after some kind of eternal identity that had been lost before I could even dream of finding it.  Sometimes I’m so bitter that food tastes bad.

“Oh fuck the drama, Marti.  You are what you are, where you are. Right now, for you, that is a resentful, disrespectful pile of shit.  You puked in my truck.  I want you to get up and spray it, then go to bed. ”

“I can’t move.” I say, “I have the spins.”

“Bullshit. Get your ass up.  Obviously, you think you’re a real bad-ass, Marti PukeFace.” I take this as a reference to an Indian name.  That is it. I stand up. I am going to kick his ass, but I stumble. I can’t find my feet or my arms and I pitch to the side, piling into the dirt like a sack of resentful, disrespectful shit. Ray laughs. Not a chuckle, or a reserved tee-hee, but a belly laugh.  I am infuriated. I flail on the ground, wrestle to find a grip on terra-firma. I find myself on all fours, heaving and acutely aware of the torn muscles in my  right knee.  I grit my teeth and I grind that knee into the ground with all my might.  I connect with Earth.  Fuck it, I think. Fuckitfuckitfuckit, and the pain sears.  I feel like I might pass out, and I fall onto my side hoping that I will.

“Alright, Marti.  Get up, I have had enough and I want to go to bed.  Here’s the hose.” He flops the end of the hose onto my back and the cold water spills over my shoulder blades, down my neck.  I hear Ray slip across the yard, and relish the contradiction of a fire and ice.  My knee is blazing and my neck is frozen, but I have no-where to go except Ray’s basement.  I figure I better spray down the bed of Ray’s truck and retreat like the belligerent dog that I am. I grab the hose and use it as an anchor, leaning against the tension to pull myself up.  I manage to stand. I still can’t walk very well and I hold onto that hose like I might fall off the edge of the Earth.  I scuttle my hands along it’s green length and pull my limping self towards the truck.  I get splattered and wet, and my knee feels like it’s going to explode, but I spray every bit of shit out of the back of Ray’s truck.


Bond Unbroken

Bond Unbroken

Everything was new, dangerously hot

under a burning North Carolina sun.

I’d arrived to the world

in a red Datsun 210.

Hips forward in a passion filled strut,

I had come for you, with nothing to offer

except for myself.

You took me, still take me.

My strut

turned into a trip down the aisle

and a long journey back to Montana.

Just you, me, and a cat that sat on your shoulder.

I remember we laid on the horn

when we drove into the valley.

A joyful homecoming

ringing off the walls of the Orange St. underpass.

Our brazen lust grown to a tender connection

fostered by your sweet hands on my brow,

holding me

while I lay prone to the forces of nature,

laboring to bring the loveliness of my swollen belly

into our little world.

Time passes and our children grow,

beautiful truth of our souls.

Our tender connection bonded forever

by the fall of their footsteps,

the call of their voices,

their innocent need

of you and me to be us.

Still, life is real, work is hard,

and days grow long without seeing you.

A grind in anticipation

while I yearn for you,

waiting to duck into the hollows of your neck,

feel the strength of your shoulder

against my chest

as I curve

to the smooth muscles of your back

close my eyes and get lost

in our bond unbroken




This is my submission to OpenLinkNight Week 105.  Stop by and see what they’re up to at the dVerse~ Poets Pub.  A great site for all kinds of different poetry.

Birthday cakes and sirens.

I stand there in front of the glass, staring down at the cakes.  The icing glistens at me, glossy ribbons of color winding over the smooth top layers, happy messages carved into saccharine greetings.  Everything looks so sweet it makes my stomach turn.

“Can I help you, miss?”  I’m shocked into reality and jerk at the sound of the woman’s voice as she addresses me from behind the counter.  She stands there wrapped in various types of plastic sanitation garments, peering at me from behind her bi-focals.

“Um, yes.  May I have that one, the chocolate one with purple flowers?  I’d like to have a message put on it, please.”  She bustles over and I tell her that I want “Happy 3rd Birthday, Dids” piped onto the cake.  She doesn’t even ask me about my daughter’s strange nick-name.  Obviously, she’s done this long enough that nick-names no longer catch her attention.  She tells me it’ll be ten minutes.  Great, I think, that’ll be just great.  Then my heart trips into overtime and starts beating a hundred times a minute.  I feel my body turning and wandering down a couple of aisles until I find myself at the end of the milk aisle.  I stare down the length of it, down toward the doors and the little breezeway entry where the payphones are located.  My mouth is dry, it seems like that aisle is as long as a football field and suddenly I’m shaking.  I know what I have to do, but what I don’t know is if I’ll actually be able to walk to those goddamned phones to be able to.  A clerk passes by.

“Ma’m?” She pauses and looks at me with concern.  Her eyebrows are arched as she reaches towards my shoulder. “Are you alright, can I do something for you?”  It occurs to me that I must look like I’m having some kind of panic attack, and then it occurs to me that I probably am.

“No.  Thank you, though.”  I say.  I avert my eyes and step towards the cheese very purposefully. She nods and walks away.  Another seasoned customer service worker.

A sign reads ‘Tillamook hot pepper cheese, 2lbs $5.99’.  Holy shit, that’s a steal.  I grab the loaf of cheese on instinct.  I’m still at the front of the aisle, a football field away from the payphones. I turn and take the first step. And then a few more.  There’s a helicopter in my chest where my heart used to be and I’m pretty sure it’s lifting my body off the ground.  It’s the only reason I can give for not feeling my feet hitting the ground as I force myself forward.  One numb step at a time, I float towards the payphones.  By the time I reach them, it feels like hours have passed and the cheese loaf is twisted because I’ve been hugging it against my body with an intense grip.  I stand there for just a moment and think about what I should say.  I imagine the exchange.  ‘911. What’s your emergency?”

Option # 1: “Um, Hello, my name is blah, I need for you to go to the following residence and see if my mom is alive.”

Option #2: “AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHA! It’s my daughter’s birthday, and my mom’s trying to kill herself with pills! FFFFFFUUUUUUCCKKKKKKK! I am down the road hosting a party for 20 little kids and their families, all of whom are expecting happy-happy-joy-joy and my mother is 20 blocks away barricaded with her medication and refuses to say that she won’t take too much. SSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIEEEEKKKKKNNNNNNNGGG!!!”

Better combine them into something reasonable.

“911, What’s your emergency?”

“Hello, my name is blah.  My mother is located at blah.  She has barricaded herself, she is in possession of enough medication to overdose and has threatened to do so.  No one in my family can reach her.  We are in need of assistance to ensure that she does not take her own life.”

As I’m walking to my van, police cars blaze past, their sirens screaming, lights flashing.

People turn to see, but I blaze forward.  I know exactly where they are going.