2015/06/21

How I spent my 18th year

After I leave acting school (drop-out)
I take a job as Operations Manager at an electronics store
and start rehearsing how to be normal. I grow
my hair and nails out and learn the difference
between ash and honey-blonde highlights. I fall for
the floor manager who is 15 years older than me
and once was a trainee for the NBL but he rebelled
to go to the beach one too many times. He said he
got a spiritual connection to the sand, man,
that he measured in wrist bands from Bali
and his tan. He might go back to basketball
sometime, but his life philosophy is take it one
day at a time, like the surf, it comes and then it goes,
it flows, I flow, you know?
So day after day
I print price stickers, re-label computers, I get
manicures with the cashiers and adopt
their wisdom never get both gel tips and colours;
only girls from the northern suburbs would wear
two different animal prints; 5-inch heels are sexy,
6 inches is slutty.
When we go out for Friday drinks
with the kids from the Carrington store I drink
Jaeger Bombs until I’m ready to stand in a circle
and come on Eileen, oh I swear (what he means)
then its midnight and I go back to the floor manager's
to sit and smoke and he plays Red Hot Chilli Peppers
and ‘Under the bridge’ was written for me, when I listen
it’s like I’m listening to myself
. When I wake up
there’s permanent marker on my legs, an arrow
pointing enter here, and we laugh. No-one
ever asks why I left acting school, but if they did
I would tell them I never wanted to be on the stage
I only ever wanted the taste of other people’s
words in my mouth. Something to chew.


Caitlin Maling (Western Australia)
From Conversations I've never had (Fremantle Press 2015)

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