C O M P L I M E N T S

April 19, 2011

(from very long ago, an experimental piece that was inspired by Burrough’s “cut-up” method of putting something altogether new, in a new accidental way

 Most of it came from index cards laid out on the floor, each with words I remember spoken)

.

                     C O M P L I M E N T S

                                          1.

  Another winter in Southwest Florida and I was still..as in the past few winters, unemployed but South-warm as I waited out these winter months. Still too,  I felt empty, lonely, and too far from some destiny, these times,      I like to imagine.

.To lighten my spirits some, I might take in a film.

I first heard her as I was returning to my seat from the restroom                   To:  roughly the same seat I always choose in every theater.                         From: the roughly always visit I take to the restroom minutes                        just short of showtime.

.

I first heard her from her seat, off the aisle as I pass.                                              “Hi”                                                                                                                                         “oh..hellow”. And then back to roughly standard procedure.

.

As the lights go down, off left  of my seat, in the dark aisle, two figures       with strange bags are already starting into my row. The tallest figure,          her teeth, strangely bright in the dark, is a smiling, talking woman, and she pulls the hand of a little girl who’s apparently crippled. She is talking              to me, telling me: “You don’t mind if we sit with you”                                                     Before I can say “Sure”  she starts stepping in front of me  and  I      start to stand.

                                            2.

“When I saw you..I said ‘That man is..Boy, Is that man good-looking”                “I just had to come down and sit next to you.”     

.

“This is Dee”  (I look over and this tenish girl in leg braces and                     horn-rimmed glasses turns nervously to me, peeps a Hi, and then abashed,  back to the screen.)

.

“We all live in a house,                                                                                                               I have for awhile.                                                                                                                         Dee calls me Mama. She has six mamas. She calls six girls Mama.”

.

“I like to go to church. What church do you go to?”                                                       “I don’t go to church.”                                                                                                                “Oh.”

.

“I work at Goodwill. I lift heavy boxes sometimes. Just like a man.”             Billy, he likes girls.  He’s friendly to me,                                                                         He works there too.”

.

“I like boys.”                                                                                                                     Y’know, I did it with a black that lived next door.”

.

“I did it once in a theater”

.

“My boyfriend left. He said I lied. But I didn’t lie. He went back up                     to Winter Haven.  He didn’t trust me”

.

“I’m a good girl.”

                                          3.

“You’re very good looking.. You know that?                                                              Did anyone ever tell you?”

“Thanx”

.

“Look.   Look, I’m looking at you.”

“I can’t help it.”

.

(Turning back) “Dee thinks you’re very good looking, too”                                  (She continues to watch me.  I watch the screen)

.

“What are you thinking?”

I lean over, benevolently I guess) “You see,,since I was a youngster..     seeing a motion picture has been a serious hobby of mine..I mean..that I guess I take it pretty seriously..that is (and turning back to look at her carefully in the eye) “I like to pay pretty close attention.”

.

“Oh, I’m sorry.”                                                                                                                         “That’s all right.”

.

“Where are you from?”                                                                                                        “The North.”                                                                                                                          “Why, Me too! I’m from Virginia & Maryland,,Y’know where that is?”         “Yes.”                                                                                                                                               “I wish I was in Virginia. When I get married I want to live in Maryland.   That is…If I can catch a man.

.                                         4.

(The main character on the screen embraces the main female character   from behind. She’s wearing a slip only, and he kisses her on the neck.)

“OH…I like that.” (Comes her voice just next to me, almost expectedly)

.

“Do you like this movie?”                                                                                                        “I don’t Know.”                                                                                                                        “Oh, I’m sorry.”                                                                                                                         “That’s all right.”

.

“Do you know we’re the only ones in the theater?”                                                      (I look around and sure enough…)                                                                             “Must be a real popular movie.” (Stalling)

.

(The first time I’ve noticed her being interested in the film)                          “That’s what I’m thinking about..since I met you..a nice person..                          a friend like you.”

.

“I don’t like scary movies..so we came to this one.                                                       I like naughty movies”                                                                                                        (She leans away) “Are you enjoying this movie, Dee?”                                             “Yeah.”

.

“I can’t help it.. but I’m looking at you..I can’t help looking at you.”              (She looks back over my shoulder and around the theater)                      “Y’know, we’re the only ones here.I didn’t think I’d meet someone like you.

I looked around and you were the only..I saw you and said,man, is he good looking and i couldn’t sit by myself,when such a good looking..”Dee turns to us both,courageously “You want some popcorn?” And after she turns to her little friend, this woman turns back to me “Do you want some?”

“No.”

“You gotta girl?”                                                                                                                     “No. But i guess I used to and.. I guess that’s on the back burner now”              (I pause and look at her, she looks her own kinda pensive, “Oh.”

“I guess I want to focus on my own life now, you know, live for myself, just me, day by day.”

“Day by day..yes..I see.”
“I just got my hair done.”

(Another long pause, then resigning myself, I look back over to her. I pull my sweater over my head. She watches. I put it on my lap. He eyes left me and followed the sweater to my lap. she slowly looks up to me)

“You remind me of my brother’ (Now, this is interesting.)

“Were you close to your family?” (scandalously)

“No. I don’t talk to any of them.My brothers and sisters. Not even my Uncle Ed.  My mother kicked me out of the house when she found out.”

(another long pause)

“I live with six girls. Y’know if you invited me..over to your place I could cook you a steak, and I’m a real good cook” (and when there’s no response from me)’..And I can make love. (she still watches me)

“Oh I can make love real good.”

.

“Look. Look what I’m doing..I’m undoing this..”

(THIS I ignored.)

“Y’know if you gave me your phone number..”(she stares intently at the side of my burning face, I feign one “just as intense” interest in the film. “Hmm?”

.

“I’d like to touch you…run through that hair..” (Jeez, all this and she’s        soap opera sappy on top.)                                                                                                “NO. I   don’t like to be touched” (& ever so quietly) “sometimes.”                        “I could put my head on your shoulder..and sleep maybe.”                               “No. I wish you wouldn’t do that”

(A long few minutes pass, she reaches down, shuffles her bags, leans over to Dee and whispers something, they both stand and as she slips in front of me; “See you later”.

.                                          5.

(Something beside me brings me back)

“We’re back.” (I stand and they return to their seats)                      “Dee..here..Move all the way in” 

(and to me, Strong) “Help Her”                                                                  (I do, then I’m back to up front..is obviously the “winding up” images of what has been. conclusively now to me here, an ignored film. Well.back as well as we can.

“The end must be soon.” (She proclaims)                                                                    (She probes) “Are you going to come here next saturday?”                                 “Do you come here every week?”  (he prys)                                                               (she discloses) “Yes.”

(the film’s last shot freezes in a still, and the credits start rolling up, the curtain down.)                                                                                                                            “I gotta go” (a little too hurriedly) “You’re a nice person..You’re (she starts to look very surprises) “Thanx for the compliments.”(she is surprised now) “Maybe we’ll meet again, Bye.” (One breath.)                                                           (And already starting up the aisle.)                                                                                  (A  strangely fragile voice, back down the aisle there, closer to the silver screen, in the darkness)  “Oh. Yes. Bye.”

.

-I hurried the rest of the aisle, pushed through the peak-windowed swing doors, squinted off the light, and quick..into the men’s room and into a stall.

Cloistered in sanctuary, this saint/sinner has his visions. The nature of male/female sexuality, power, control, love, mercy.

At her bellowing “Hello!” to the concession girls on her way out..intrudes here. I wait. Jeez, Hello on her way out, fits right in somehow.                              I get up, push the stall door open and here I am eye to eye to him.                   in the wall mirror. “Jeez.”

.

Rounding a corner out in the parking lot, I see her in the picture window in Walgreen’s, having a soda with Dee, she doesn’t see me as I drive past.

.

I get her to (surprisedly) wave back when I come back around the block.

                                              “

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3 Responses to “C O M P L I M E N T S”

  1. Evelyn said

    wow.
    This is intense.

  2. dantrewear said

    awesome! was the a ‘poetry’ tag in there somewhere? – should’ve been
    -Dan

    • namelessneed said

      noticeably nice of you to say, Dan
      and as always, you too Evelyn

      you’ve been warm support, thanx truely

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