workzine

Kristen LaRue, 1/30/2011

Current Occupation: Program Coordinator at a large, southwestern university. Also, an underemployed actress.
Former Occupation: Program Coordinator at a medium-sized northwestern university.
Contact Information: Kristen LaRue works for a university academic department, where she designs and writes for web and print publications. A native of Montana, LaRue’s writing is influenced not only by her western heritage, but also by her training in classical music and dance.

###

December 31—A Work Day

New Year’s Eve, I’m in bed, can hardly get out, up.

Estranged Husband has to dress Daughter, feed Her, take

Her to daycare.

finally

get up, out, dress, no shower.

I can fake it

I can usually fake it

looking normal, dressing-myself-and-others wellness, love

Unintentional: I take the long way to work:

mail some letters, an accomplishment

heading to Starbucks, feel guilty

don’t go.

thinking about Friend, in hospital with lungs transplant,

took so long, so difficult, so, fight
turn on wrong street

maybe will visit Estranged Lover

will drive by his house

will see where Fate leads

Fate leads

to Work

try to park in usual garage

and Lady In

Bright

Green

Vest

says, cheerfully

You can’t park here today.

no signs from management

no words from her to apologize for inconvenience

or ugly clothes

ugly clothes, ugly hair

can’t see my ugly clothes because

I am sitting down in pretty

new car, too expensive,

too shiny, too reflective, too Ray-bans

worn by fans at

Football game in stadium nearby, too many fans

all these out-of-towners, milling about, in their

way, in the way, dressed way bright,

ugly-colored hair, pompoms, face-paint,

too-cheerfulness: it’s for The Bowl Game

I don’t even get mad

because I still feel guilty and accomplished and tired and depressed and childish and admirable and admirish and confused and underwaterish and ugly-dressed and under-dressed and under-haired and un-motivated and under-mothered and childfull and less and unmusicked and under-pompomed and uglymothering and motherwifing and uglypretty and uglychilding and under-faithed and badmotherchild and bad bad child and cheatingdirtywifingandunder-and un-

so decide to treat my Self,      don’t care, it doesn’t matter

will pay

park in the Church lot right near

campus building where I have to be for 8 hours every day,

each day, including this one, New Year’s Eve day

but instead of $6         for a day

the Methodists are charging

$20 because of            it’s for The Bowl Game

screw that

I say out loud in my new car

in my actual voice, loudly

near a church even, and and   but the windows are up so it doesn’t count

try to park in another garage

that is supposed to be open

it isn’t

and I am

in despair.

All this time I’m listening to soothing Christmas music, a salving,

to soothe, supposed to make me feel

better: it is spiritual

has an arboreal theme, sopranos: lilty voices, reverent tones

all these trees have gifts

all the gifts have trees

It’s about Joseph Mary baby Jesus the latter born just to die, a balm

but after 3 days, to rise,

to live again

in our hearts                            maybe in mine. definitely in my mother’s

but in the trees, breath

wind in leaves sooooo soothe

then I see a UNIVERSITY PARKING

and TRANSIT

golf cart and
instead of ramming it with my new car

I flag it down

in the middle of the street

cars have to drive around us while I

roll down my window, lean out, try to keep my crazy in, explain

to the guys in the golf cart without crying or yelling but

I don’t try to smile or

even be nice                            can’t fake it

I am just trying to go to Work.

I don’t know where to go to put my car.        can I just leave it here?

I would walk 5 miles, I’d pay to park,           I don’t care!

I say

but it is $20

I am not even going to be here           the whole day ever

The guys get on walkie-talkies

talkie to someone

no one knows anything

who works on New Year’s Eve day?

what if I lift my shirt to expose my Selves?

will that get their attention, will that, would

it, make a difference, help me, park me

cars are driving by around my new car, reflective shiny, no hiding

wind through open window

I don’t lift anything

I’m still listening to Christmas music, lilty sopranos, their full breaths, their

arboreal theme, reverent

even though it is well past December 25 and it’s no time

for reverence, it being New Year’s Eve day, the cusp

of naughtiness, not quite Fat Tuesday but not Good Friday, which is too bad, it’s such a good sorrow, that day

I just let it play, hold on to the tune,

can’t imagine listening to anything

else. too much work to change the music

it’s so soothe

seems that I and the radio can never

leave things, can never let go of things

I can never let go of things

people I should let go of I should let go

I should, let go             I should let

go  I really should go

finally the guys tell me to go back to my garage

park on the top floor

The Lady With Green Vest

won’t bother me

they will meet me there.

drive back to garage

UNIVERSITY PARKING

and TRANSIT

guys don’t show, Green Vest

lets me through

anyway

she looks sheepish in her uglygreen peapod, unsoftly points her finger

tells me

you be sure to park

on the top floor

which does bother me but

I say

O.K.

deadpan          can’t fake it

don’t run over Green Vest with my new car              twice

instead I drive up all the ramps

fast

back and forthly, back-to-back and forth-to-forth, forth and back

and forth and back, go forth and come back, come forth and go backly, blackly

seesaw, seasick, whirlpool vortex gale. thoughts

leap, crazed-lark-in-a-tree, branch-to-

branch. I think I will be a good wife. I think I will now be a good wife. branch. Now I think I can can be

good. wifemother and Good. branch. wife/mother Now.

I think I can let go, be. a crazed lark bird. branch

I think now I should hold the bird, keep my Self branch. branch. Be _____ not wifemother, or with motherwifechild. instead. The bird Self thinks I can child him and mother him and wife him. Now her. No.  fly

to the top floor and there

are no other cars

there

just me and mine

I pick my favorite spot

of the 250

walk under sun and solar panels to the stairs

wind in hair

go to Work.

New Year’s Eve day, still, I can hardly do any work except

email the parking people and tell them

I am pissed                                                      can’t fake it

except I don’t say pissed, I use nice

words like frustrated and inconvenient and ask them

please, please fix it

then I hate Work and my Self

I leave.            now what

have lunch with Husband? Yes, try to   fix it, can’t

fix it, me.

want to leave   escape. decide

to visit Friend with lungs transplant

still in hospital. But it’s so far away? go.

don’t ask permission

from Estrangeds—Lover and Husband—Friend, Daughter, Parents, Self, go:

drive 10 miles to Phoenix from Tempe

listen to Christmas

with an arboreal, breath music

tell Lover, I’m going, while on phone, him sitting

on patio under trees writing books

wind in pages

get to hospital campus, confused, lots of buildings, lost of buildings,

where to go, where to park

where to drive, how to get to heart

and lung tower to see Friend              in hospital

I wish I was in hospital, breathing apparatus, soothe my brow

still on phone with Lover

can’t

concentrate on Lover or driving

Friend was dying only a few weeks ago

now has new new lungs,

courtesy coma patient

people walking places I feel

sad for people in hospital, anytime, all the time, especially holidays, at this time,

organs transferred between bodies, dead to living, they living to dead

I feel sad for Friend,   who, when he

woke from surgery thought he was dead

for 3 days

burning in his chest so bad

thought he was in hell

thought everyone was

too nice to

tell him

he was dead

3 days

he says now he’s found God

he

says. He.

This is the first time I will see Friend

I’ve been too busy: Lover and Husband and Green Vest and Daughter and Work and self to

take care of other people.

I see parking. drive up. take ticket

no ticket to take

on phone, still with Lover

annoyed that I’m distracted by

paper taped over dispenser, says:

Happy New Year: free parking today.

Really. I look around

to see if this is a joke. The gate is

open. A gift. So then. Park.

Then walk. hospital building               dither outside, procrastinate

vegetate

am I in a coma? I wish I was in a coma. I have a coma in my mind, alive asleep,
dead breathing. I have been in coma.

Take elevator. Walk. room.

carefully put mask over my mouth and nose, fasten strings

over my ears, not a Mardi Gras outfit, a real-real life costume

don’t breathe germs into Friend’s new lungs

delicate-fragile-beautiful tissue, inside, alive-rhythm, living-panic.

enter. See. Friend, whose wife has brought his guitar

It’s still in the case.

greet Friend, hello guitar.       Friend hasn’t played since, before.

I unfasten the case latches, open the lid,

pick up guitar, music friend childhood friend,

hollow, full

chord. strum, breathe.

#

back to WORK

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  1. […] Kristen LaRue has a parking nightmare in the poem, “December 31—A Work Day.” LikeBe the first to like this post.▶ No Responses /* 0) { jQuery('#comments').show('', change_location()); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'none'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'inline'); return true; } else { jQuery('#comments').hide(''); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'inline'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'none'); return false; } } jQuery('#showcomments a').click(function(){ if(jQuery('#comments').css('display') == 'none') { self.location.href = '#comments'; check_location(); } else { check_location('hide'); } }); function change_location() { self.location.href = '#comments'; } }); /* ]]> */ […]

  2. I found myself holding my breath between chuckles, hoping anxiously that the craziness would somehow resolve. The moments of “wind” and “breath” allowed me to breathe and hope. Wonderful images and amazing word plays. A GREAT poem. Thank you for your willingness to expose what most of us hold inside. Maybe what seems crazy on paper is the normal that remains hidden in us all.

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