by Robin Postell
Babydoll, the littlest of me, I call her lil motherfucker, a chip off the ole block, but not my own, sits with her tinkerbell bob all afrazzle and she leans over to pet Oscar Acosta her wiry black familiar, telling him to chill, to “buck up lil soldier” because he hasn’t had enough of her today nor will he ever but especially on days like today and she knows this, causes her remorse she can’t be selfless enough to prevent since she knows these days are as much of her as the other less consuming ones….Shotgun, she calls me, because when you meet me “it’s like a shotgun blast to the head.” She says it’s not to the face, to the head – because of the mind, but the blast, she says, is good, it’s glitter and the stuff that disco balls are made of, and she asks, do you get it? and I say yea and nod but she says “no you don’t because you’re Shotgun,” but I do get it and I love it because everybody, especially awful Scorpio-double-Leos like me can’t help but fuel the ego when the fuel is as good as the crude brave glam ether she spews – only to me, only to me.
Shotgun never wanted to have kids, couldn’t stand the thought of it, not just the 9 months but the eternity of responsibility and inevitable humbling moments watching your own life wane as another waxed….yet she came, at 16, got away with not changing diapers, but didn’t avoid diagnosing her 21-year-old diaper rash…
“The whole two days were worth it,” she tells me, saying she has to light another cigaboo to that after hearing what I wrote and she laughs, just a lil, and Os is going crazy like only her cat would, responding in kind to her dreamy exaltation resulting from the “verbose-word-vomit” her Shotgun hack-hack-hacked out on this keyboard as her cigaboo smoke blows across my monitor and intoxicates me with the ambience of Babydoll, the wonder of a child I grew without planting…..
She planted me, I suspect – and so she’s informed me, adamantly; although chicken or egg theories linger since I came up with the names Babydoll and Tomcat some many years ago long before she even scrambled aching and screaming and tantruming out of her birth mother’s womb, the spurious spawn to a bewitched host whose husband posed as her father though long neutered by Vasectomy many many moons before Babydoll was conjured and erupted into his life as his daughter, having left a whole dollhouse family behind in Florida to wed the nymphette mongrel not even five feet tall, a hundred pounds or remotely sane.
Her mother. We call her that at times though she is far more and much less yet disturbingly omnipotent in her infinity, her gigantic presence which lingers and haunts and stalks and taunts and wages wars not battles that though awful and tawdry, frequently fictitious and slanderous, cannot, nor will not, be denied until she has finished or been in some way quelled or distracted.
“That explosion of light confounded me, but it was a remarkable and delightful confusion,” she read to me, tearing up, as am I, struggling against the agony of being perfect for captured moments rarer than Bigfoot sightings, and she says to me, as she reads this line (after I have read aloud the poem once she had located it in Betting on the Muse just by opening it up and there it was, The Strong Man, no accident, we both know, serendipity has become our mutual friend), using this literary allusion as a reference to the definition of Shotgun. Fittingly The Strong Man was sprung from the cosmically human guts of our most revered Bukowski, our friend no deader than we, who trudged straight through three months of celebratory mourning when my father slouched towards nirvana a year and a half ago holding Buk’s Slouching Towards Nirvana in his hand on his naked lap sitting in his wheelchair with a spilled bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 on the white vinyl floor besides him more real than blood since it had somehow not gone down with him, since he never spilled a drop – just everything else….
Babydoll offers Os, “some booze?” from her pink plastic over-sized martini glass I brought her an hour ago and she is humbler now in light of this affectionate tumble of reflection, filling the whole world of us and you with Her, Her, Her, for she is a lover of Her, as you, too, would be, since there is but one Babydoll and she is here with me and I, for tonight, am sharing a miracle with the rest of you who couldn’t hold her or handle her any more than you could an unpinned grenade or find the numerical mystery of Pi.
“That’s been weighing on me for like three fucking years,” she expounds, adding with a “Hmmmmph!” that it is her validation – finding this poem, describing me by fusing me with Buk’s Buddha, a heady applause that rings in my mind louder than cymbals or lightning-cracking storms close enough to kill and awesome enough to silently sigh a prayer you survived. I survived her unrivaled devotion to me, her mentor, and she, my muse, for together we are flint monoliths knocking against each other hurtling sparks too vicious and urgent to reveal to the world at large for it would cage us or try but it would fail for we are evilest when deprived of our right to be loose of You, the lost beyond, the way we did not go, or fall, or settle for, believe in or prop ourselves against while holding back a yawn and a public death on daily display. Our escape is the mystery that others struggle to solve by reading the beliefs of others and we laugh while we read and read and read and think and think and think, spending countless hours devouring our utterly unapologetic and exemplary occupation with our ever-evolving Big Bang called Babydoll and Shotgun.
She has finally calmed that tiny but raging loopy storm she’d been ordering around my office all night, picking on my writings of yore, back when I was her age, a tadpole 21, oh so 20 years ago, and she is a treacherous chief of an editor, too, so she knows and I know just how horrifying it is and she delights in it as I cringe and try to grab the pagesfrom her little gnawed upon fists while she giggled beguilingly and I realized with some amazement that “excrutiating” is the word that comes to mind when I demand she hand it to me, dammit, stop now, this is not right, goddammit now, even though I’m not mad because we are brethren of words and I, the writer, and she the reader and brilliant mini-me genius with the keen seasoned eye of a jaded New York editor who rarely reads past the first line of any of the thousands of submissions passing across her desk….finally I quiet her with this little diddy, and there she is, modest as a mouse (though this is, of course, temporary, fleeting as the night and the stretch of these words reach into the nearing dawn), flipping through with crossed legs Buk’s run with the hunted and I look at her and she says, her eyes ablast peeking over the top of the book, “What?” and I sense she is meek in the delight of being on stage front and center and spotlighted so bright she even squints….
“Don’t do that,” she says, waving me away, and I laugh because I have her now, the lil motherfucker, finally, I’ve nabbed her, redemption for my earlier flop, my egregious mishaps of an earlier me whose hand and eye delivered the words rather than the dazzle and might of the muse. She had her fun and I allowed it and deserved it, since the writing was the stuff of legendary hot-cheeked regrets – even though she refuses to let me throw it away. She, the Muse, unknowingly working the levers of all that invisible magic machinery no computer could ever manufacture, stung me first and then sung out of me into this staccato time capsule of the two of us, fresh off some Bukowski and Lift and Shine and the December night outside these blacked out windows sinks into frigidness without our heat to stop its decline.
Such is the vainglorious exception of an evening well-spent with Babydoll and Shotgun. Babydoll is counting her cigaboos idly and mentions she’s going to have to go to the store, drive, and that’s a long way away, even in this one-horse, at nearly 4 in the morning 2 days after a double-murder at a Magic Market 3 blocks south….
No fear here. We are killers. There is no blood. She’s gnawed off her fingerprints – a symptom of her preternatural anxiety from being contained in flesh too small for such a flamboyant and gargantuan spirit. She is wrapped in a wool blanket, just coughed, a prim one – unlike the comic ones she usually produces under these particular circumstances – and kneels on the hard wood floor to browse through a row of my books.
Time to read aloud to her again, my never-bored youngun who is not mine but will always and forever be Babydoll.
Till you are invited once more, we sign off….