Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

What does it mean to be a woman, part Two

What does it mean
to be a woman,
part Two.

In grade five
my science fair project
considered
which kind of music
made bean plants
grow best.

The categories were
Classical - both live and recorded,
Broadway musicals - Les Mis, The Secret Garden, Beauty and the Beast,
The Vacuum Cleaner,
Easy Listening
Pop Music,
And Billie Holiday.

For most of their lives,
the bean plants grew
on the bathroom windowsill
each of them privy
to my sister's singing
and the sound
of the hairdryer.

Back then
I was quite the scientist.

To gain further insight
for my research,
I watched a biographical film
about Billie Holiday
whose name was once
Eleanora Fagan.

This is when I learned that many women
have to change their names
if they want
to be famous.

Judy Garland too.
Judy and the Wizard
of Oz
were my favourites.
I even named
my stuffed orangutang
after Judy
and from a young age,
I drew rainbows compulsively. 

"Them that's got shall get."
"Them that's not shall lose."

Growing up I was lucky
to own more than one
stuffed primate.

All I remember
from the Billie Holiday movie
was the song, "God Bless the Child,"
and Billie slash
Eleanora
shooting heroine on the toilet
and singing in a bar
where she caught five-dollar bills with her vagina.

"Mama may have.
Papa may have."

At nine or ten years old,
this was the first
I'd seen of such things.

"The strong gets more while the weak ones fade."

The bean plant
that listened to
"pop"
was the winner.

Curated by my sister,
the "Pop" cassette
opened with
"The Leader of the Pack."

Bean plants
it seemed,
responded quite well
to whining
and pining
about dudes.

It's my party
You don't own me
Birds all sing
as if they know.

Billie's bean plant
grew an average height.
Now I might remember
Billie dying her skin white.
Or Eleanora.
Or was that someone else.

My last Fat Day
failed to apologize.
My last Married Man
never climbed up
through my window.
I invited him so many times.

As for me,
when I grew up
I did not become a scientist,
or a singer,
or even a gardener.
Or,
anyone's mother.

It was never clear to me
if Billie got to keep
the five-dollar bills
she retrieved with her
vagina.
Or if that would have made
any difference.

The End.

Good morning
heartache.


Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
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What does it mean to be a woman, Part One
Not That Kind of Girl
First no boundaries on the Internet. Then Psychotic break.





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