It’s 2 a.m. Here come the monsters.
Cute little buggers they are, whispering quirky thoughts into my ears while nibbling on my earlobes or jumping rope with my braids. My hair has gotten longer by now and has taken on that sun-kissed frizz of LA-LA’s summer. But if I leave it untamed, my little monsters get tangled up in it while playing thumb wars and building castles out of my mane — fluffing up magnificent pillows for their hairy elbows and messy heads; and then I’m up until dawn, cutting off their cruddy nails and wiggling out their paws — to get them out of my hair. And then, they’ll whimper, aiming at my dormant ovaries. So, I’ve learned my lesson by now. I know better.
In the kitchen, the humming buzz of the fridge should be enough to make me doze off, but the girl next door has gotten one of her terrible chronic cough attacks again; and I cringe away at my desire to fetch her some cough syrup, or water at least. She is lovely, from what I’ve seen; quite luminous. And she has one of those laughs that make you check the corners of your joint for the little girl that may have gotten lost there; and while waiting to be reclaimed, the girl-child plays house — a make-believe, much kinder than her reality.
The birds outside are going bonkers. What could possibly be in dire need for their negotiation, at this hour? I’d like to think they are planning their next destination, or dissing the previous one:
“Whose idea was it to slum it, in Texas?!”
Or, maybe, they are just like me: Insomniacs with misbehaving monsters roughing up their feathers, after midnight. I attempt to tune them out, get reacquainted with the humming buzz in my kitchen: My early morning lullaby. It reminds me of my basement quarters in the Bronx. Those days I fancied myself a Master, waiting for his pornographic witch of Margarita. She never descended though; but all that waiting in the daytime and chasing monsters in the dark has created quite a bit of inspiration, but never quite enough poetry. So, I’ve learned my lesson by now: Leave the ghosts unattended. I know better.
Aha: A bath! That sounds like a great idea, tested by time. Who said there was no ailment of the mind that a perfectly drawn bath couldn’t fix? It had to be a woman writer, with a closet full of ex-lovers’ ties and head full of stories; someone who knew how to put pen to paper — then, mind to rest. The water is of perfect temperature, but only in the summer. Perhaps, the secret is in the juxtaposition of body to air, skin — to the world. I submerge. Immediately, I am aware of the throbbing exhaustion in my limbs; and while I count to ten, I hear my little monsters clasping their manicured fingers over the ledge and pulling up their funny faces, wanting to crawl in. I let them, pushing up a few hairy bottoms with my palms. Some prefer to keep hanging on the ledge; and with their breath, they drill caves through the while peaks of my bath foam. Cute little buggers.
I get out: Much better. At least my limbs are mellowed out, and the mind is slowing down its pace. I let the skin get air-dried and walk out into the living-room: Body to air, skin — to the world.
From the window, I can see the Observatory on the top of the hill. It stays lit up at night, and it always makes me wonder if LA-LA’s angels go there, for naps and foot rubs, and maybe even nightcaps.
The patter of little feet with manicured nails tick-tocks across the kitchen tiles. I turn my head: There they are, my cute little buggers; and they hang back, making funny faces and imitating my frowns, and they wait for me to wave them over. I do. They yelp and leap, slide their wet feet across the floor, bodysurf on the doormat, do cartwheels on the carpet. They climb the poles of my chair’s legs and the ropes of my braids. One of them clasps and unclasps his paws, asking for a lift again; and he whimpers, aiming at my dormant ovaries. I give him my hand: He sniffs it, then climbs in. I sit him down on the windowsill. I’ve learned my lesson by now: It’s better to not resist.
The birds are still at it, dissing another suggested locale: “Why the hell would we go to Canada, in September?” And, by the way: Where the fuck are the coyotes when you need them? We could all start a bloody choir around here: Us Versus the Moon.
A ghetto bird flies by: A treacherous, dark hunter. How come I’ve never heard those, in the Bronx? Perhaps, there, all hunting — is done on the ground. Speaking of ground control: I hear the police sirens. They seem to echo a lot longer in this city, especially when LA-LA’s angels takes nightcap breaks at the lit up Observatory, on top of the hill.
But: What was the name of that lullaby he used to sing to me, after midnight? He left a while ago, and by now, I’ve learned to wane myself off his voice in the daytime. But at night: Alas, at night, it’s a whole different tune, around here: Us Versus the Moon. Between the humming buzz of the fridge in the kitchen and the clicking tongues of my nibbling little monsters, my memory gives out.
Perhaps, I would be better off, putting pen to paper. After all, I am a writer, with a closet full of ex-lovers’ ties and head full of stories; who’s learned her lesson by now: It’s better to not resist. It’s better to surrender.
It’s 3:32 a.m.
And here come the words.