Thursday, August 16, 2012

Brought to you by the Finest in Dentistry

Futility is just an excuse for people who can't admit they want to give up.

She said "I don't mean to burst your bubble", pausing a moment to re-apply her lipstick to the tumbler siphoning gin down her throat. "But isn't it a bit unrealistic to want to be a career artist?"

"I mean, it's nice as a hobby, but you need to face facts and get a real job."

I feel a twitch at the back of my neck. It's the physical reaction I get when my mind stores something for an upcoming poem.

And in most cases...I would let it slide. I'd semi-seclude myself in a happy place and nod away the moments of this person reciting an empirical grocery list of failed artistry. I would confine myself in the bubble that she so convincingly assured me she did not mean to burst.

But this time...this time there's something about her. Something about the certainty in her voice clashing with the uncertainty in her eyes. Something about the wretched-dagger stilettos that look as though they were designed for nothing -but- bubble-bursting. Something about how her teeth are just too...fucking...perfect...

I ask her name.
She tells me.
I then ask the name of the actress portraying her.

"Excuse me?"
"You heard me. What is the name of the actress portraying Shelley?"

She looks at me like my third head has just grown a fourth head.
Clearly she doesn't understand.

"Because, Shelley. This. All this. This is a facade. It is a farce, a fractured figmentation of SOMEONE's concept of reality. See, I know your secret, Shelley. I know that you are an artist as well. You are a damn good actress portraying this caricature of life, and your practiced motions are so subtle, that we would pass them off as ideosyncracies. Notice, how you clear your throat each time you cross your legs. Notice that you swirl that G&T twice, counter-clockwise before sipping, so the ice hitting the side of the glass will be as sharp and loud as it can be. Every part of you is practiced, primped and prepared for the world around you to see and accept.

"The amount of falsehood you exhale out of that prize-winning smile, that is the culmination of what you would deem a 'real' job. And you're right. No amount of blood and spit on a stage can match that level of reality. I just can't say that I want to be a part of it."

"But the best part, Shelley, is that you spit these foundationless concerns, verbal bullets of envy in compassion's clothing, because it's easier than accepting that I have the courage to chase dreams around blind corners, while you, in your arrow-path hallway can see all of the nowhere you're going. You're losing touch with the character you're playing, because you're handing me this advice like you're my mother, and you just want what's best for me. But my mother KNOWS what's best for me. That's why she says "Daniel, I am so proud of you.""

Hopping off my stool, I pay the bartender for Shelley's next round.

I felt I owed her. Being an artist is thirsty work, and here she had just written my next poem for me.

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