Resume of my Failures — Rebbecca Brown

 

 Resume of my Failures

Address: top floor of a brownstone
containing a kitchen ceiling about
to collapse, a hole in the closet leading
to rotting rafters, permeated with cat
urine from a stray I rescued who
unknowingly had two kittens in tow.
Current Job Description: Reading about current
events in “today’s society” in essays written by undergraduates.
Gesticulating and convulsing to convey semi-valid points.
Wondering about the capacity to listen. Dodging certainty.
Scurrying and worrying, to and fro.

1976-1979
Defecated quite often, and couldn’t do anything about it on my own. Completely dependent on the mother.
Drooled and bumped into things. Had no language at the time to describe this. Toddled around and stepped on a
bee. Many illnesses wherein the body, filled with goo and effluence, let itself be known.

1982
Auditioned for a school performance by dancing to Taco’s “Putting on the Ritz” with an umbrella intended to be a
cane. Was so nervous I peed my pants and had to have the mother deliver a dry pair of blue jeans.

1988
Flummoxed and reeling, Michele R and I pulled one another’s hair in the schoolyard. Peers circled like agitated
bees. This event ushered in an era of inexhaustible skirmish. When it came to choosing which member of the New
Kids on the Block would be my favorite, I got the last pick.

1989
A friend and I borrowed her mother’s car. Propped up on a pillow at the driver’s seat because we were twelve and
she was only 4’11”, my friend and I drove around the neighborhood frequenting 7-11s. This was the first time an
institution noticed I was missing.

1990-1993
Lots of smoke (no mirrors). There is no magic in the throes of adolescence—just a burgeoning body and vehement
words that rattle around the heart like chains.

1994-2001
A previously unacknowledged series of successes. Melody and cognizance, poetry, slips and slides.

2001
If I were to have married you, I would be the wife with children who swim in that glistening pool of the backyard
California sun.

2001-2002
Moved to a place I could not understand. Missed out on the content of many vibrant conversations. I did
understand when a boy repeatedly called me “cheeseburger baby American cheeseburger fuck you baby
cheeseburger.” Slapping a cheek translates to Czech.

2002-2007
Fiddled and twirled to music made with vests scraped with metal spoons. Canoed through the bayou with a man
who kept alligators in his room. When we first met, he pulled to the side of the road to catch a snapping turtle and
collect a bleeding snake. This was not the last time someone displayed dead animals to me on a first date.

2006
With broken skull, bleeding skirmish, thunder, lightning, rain, can I call this failure? I would never again find bliss
in the serenade, flowers losing bloom, the longing looks and danger from someone known not any longer.

2007
The last time I saw her, I delivered cruel words. I didn’t know her body would be wound round a tree where the
wind rushed in.

2007-2014
Oh New York, the lure of gleaming. I was offered a full-time position, but could not bare the dreggy south again.
I stayed in the place with bright lights, blinking.

1978-2015
Hello goodbye hello goodbye hello goodbye again and again and again and again.

For Further Information, Do Not Contact:
Former lovers turned disaster, the aunt who lives in a trailer in Arkansas, my sister.

***

Rebbecca Brown’s debut novel They Become Her was published in 2014 by What Books Press. In the past, she received an Honorable Mention from the Academy of American Poets, the Timothy Adams award for creative writing, the Rachel Sherwood Prize for Poetry and First Place in the LACC Writing Contest for Creative Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in print and online journals such as American Literary Review, Confrontation, Requited, H_ngm_n, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry and Ekleksographia (among others). A former Fulbright-Nehru Lecturer, she is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Western Kentucky University.