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Hot Tin Roof: You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior

By Daniel Khalastchi

While you are at work, I shave the dog’s
back into a message of vague apology and
keep the loose fur for a pillow I spend the
afternoon sewing with a sharpened bobby
pin slip-knotted to a spool of un-waxed

dental floss. I want to stitch something
whole and manipulating into the pillow’s
center, but when I hear the garage door open,
I put the dog back in his kennel and lie
under the raised couch cushions breathing

the mold of our stale taco dinners until
someone picks up a frying pan. Your new
husband is calm, but you are suggestively
assertive
in your demands for my physical removal.
There
is swearing, vigilant discussion, and the two
of you

have sex twice on the coffee table positioning
your chest, his knees, in such a way that from
where I am still attempting to hide I can see
no genitals or evidence of cholera. After he
comes to you saying big boy, my big, big

boy, you roll a cigarette and he mentions
something
about what’s good for a body in the process
of trying. You tell me many times that
this is it. You lean in close to where you
hope my face is facing and say, quietly, that

the next time you find me still in your
home you will take from my insides a much
needed organ of health. I make a joke about
waiting in vain, or being so vain, or walking
into
a party like I was walking onto the set of a
low-

budget infomercial, and you light the couch
on fire and throw the dog on the arm rest so I
can hear him howl the heat straight into the
Russian blanket you’ve tied around his
legs to keep everyone on an equal playing

field. For as long as I can I wait before pushing
my way from the cushions. I am not on
fire but my face is hot and I am not wearing
any pants. I feel at home in the cold sweat
of my socks while your new husband fans

out the flames with seltzer water and a
pamphlet
on the medical theory of composed
decomposition. I want to hug him but we both
have erections. I want to sit in my chair and
unwrap the dog, but you remind me that

it isn’t my chair and that I am a home-
wrecker. The smoke in the room has made
everyone
attractive. I ask about the dog and you say
his teeth, then point to the door.


Hot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in Iowa City. The series is organized and juried by representatives of three Iowa City-based cultural advocacy organizations: The Englert Theatre, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature and Little Village magazine.

Comments



7 thoughts on “Hot Tin Roof: You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior

  1. “You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior” above author

    I love the title. (Fortunately, I don’t do much of anything. To warrant this–liking the title. But it feels like i do.)

    I like the pome. I haven’t read it enough times yet–

    it sounds funny (and “serious”), but i get nervous reading things for the first time and that might be just–wrpinla

    I really like this poem, especially the part about the Russian blanket–uh, ballet. “Dead Souls,” Gogol? roaches like raisins? On the greasy wall of the inn?

    P. could tell me why i can’t write about writing.

    “I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.” (Mamas & Papas)

    For a little more than 2 months I’ve been off “Vyvance,” the new “adderall.”* It’s fine, but still feels a little weird.

    Not “pressed down.”

    “Stopped into a church, I passed along the way …”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWLlAmWgDNg

    I’ve been disinhibited. That’s why a post a Mama & Papas “Calf. Dreaming” link.

    “I’d be safe and warm (not) if I was on Vyvance.”

    I’m joking! My husband and son told me to stop taking Vyvance. That it was harming me. God. I’m not talking about S.B.’s meth labs!

    I just stopped taking something.

    And I feel a little–ebullient? (sp?)

  2. Pat Covey November 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm – Reply
    “You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior” above author

    I love the title. (Fortunately, I don’t do much of anything. To warrant this–liking the title. But it feels like i do.)

    I like the pome. I haven’t read it enough times yet–

    it sounds funny (and “serious”), but i get nervous reading things for the first time and that might be just–wrpinla

    I really like this poem, especially the part about the Russian blanket–uh, ballet. “Dead Souls,” Gogol? roaches like raisins? On the greasy wall of the inn?

    P. could tell me why i can’t write about writing.

    “I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.” (Mamas & Papas)

    For a little more than 2 months I’ve been off “Vyvance,” the new “adderall.”* It’s fine, but still feels a little weird.

    Not “pressed down.”

    “Stopped into a church, I passed along the way …”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWLlAmWgDNg

    I’ve been disinhibited. That’s why a post a Mama & Papas “Calf. Dreaming” link.

    “I’d be safe and warm (not) if I was on Vyvance.”

    I’m joking! My husband and son told me to stop taking Vyvance. That it was harming me. God. I’m not talking about S.B.’s meth labs!

    I just stopped taking something.

    And I feel a little–ebullient? (sp?)

  3. Look–i sdon’t know qwhat aNY OF THIS ARUDD–FIELSA IA vour.

    Ao id ira qeonf juar lwCW MW lonw–oh

    my duxkinf fos

    rhR Qa powm

    (don’t act happy, don’t show anything)

  4. just because one isn’t literite

    doesn’t mean you have the right to be mean to them

    i’m not computer literater. S what? somer people don’t even have computers–

  5. I couldn’t tell, by the look of the site, what I had successfully posted or had not.

    But, and I think the title to this pome gives me an–excuse?–to say something?

    (Even if not spot-on poem. Pomes cannot be contained. Oh,i write–pomes–)

    I guess the thing that bothers me–right now–is doctors (this is so trite), psychi., give you things (and i’m very lucky they never gave me anything worse———–VERY LUCKY)as if it’s just normal to be–just for example–taking even a–moderately–low dose of–new fancy-schmanchy (sp?) speed. “Oh, lady. Have we got the amphets for you. Yeah, the chicks, ladies like this. It’s not like that tough, nasty ole Adderall. That was just street speed. THIS is Vyvance! It’s soooooooooo smooth. It’ll–you won’t know you’re taking it (but your hubby, son, girlfriends may). And I’ve got a very good reputation.”

    If, mostly because I’m a woman, I hadn’t gone to doctors so regularly–duh–they told me to–my husband almost never goes to them–he knows it’s degrading, if you’re lucky and that and worse is the–all–and a “university hospital.” Please. God. Save me.

    Anyway. Vyvance sucks. (No, I can’t say “sucks.” Too many good connotations. With THAT word–not Vyvance!)

    But Vyvance in very low doses is nothing. It’s not anti-anxiety things–

    I’m very lucky I didn’t like them. I know doctors all–apparently–do this. I’m lucky because people are–I think-more likely to die from overdoses of–seditives.

    It’s–not trying to be dramatic–horrifying to know or believe that my psych. had a lustful look in his eyes when he prescribed Ativan. It was the look of “money coming in.” But it didn’t work. Ativan and its ilks didn’t work. They depressed me. And I’ve known SO many women on this drug.

    I believe that if it had been up to him (and I think he’s, or tries to be, an ethical man), I could be addicted to atavan and its spin-off now.

    But, I didn’t and don’t want to be asleep when I can be awake. I make compromises with alcohol, but I do not want to be knocked out.

    To be continued…

    Just because this has happened to females, historically, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen now, and/or that it doesn’t matter.

    What I’d say is different from the 50s, 60s, 70s–is that then doctors thought women/girls wanted to be unconscious. Well, I’d say that’s this is different today. Even if some females do want to be sedated.

    I mean, drugs are drugs. What? You don’t think–maybe even a lot–of female would want to take speed and drink a lot? And get gang-banged by guys wearing–Black Adder penis enhancements?

    Girls have–many of them–had a gothic sensibility. The Brontes and all that.

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