a l y s e k n o r r
from MEGA-CITY REDUX
Dana and I devised a code acronym for "All The Times Men Have Made Me Furious":
Other phrases fitting this acronym:
Anthem Him Manifest
Attention, Man-Hating Mega MILFs
At the Mouth of Her Mighty
AT&T Monthly Hysteria
Money Management Fits
When I was 15 I loved a neighborgirl who loved a boy with heavy metal band patches stitched all over his knapsack—a boy who sat in front of me in English class. One day he fucked her in his car and when I found out, the entire universe shifted from the crown of freckles across her shoulders to his ten chubby, ordinary fingers and the way they held his pencil, held a can of energy drink, drummed on his desk casually, easily, as though completely unaware of what they had been permitted to do. These same fingers later tied my shoelaces to the legs of his chair, too far for me to reach when the bell rang for lunch. Though I would like to blame him, I must admit I let it happen, knowing she'd be the one to slip out the knots and free me.
Ready to leave and good'n'drunk—no sign of the Gal of my Gaze, but plenty, plenty of screens—when the wallpaper starts to shift. Stems of flowers go asymptotic, leaves split in half, and wall becomes hinged, unhinged, doored—an open black tunnel inside.
Xena: Speakeasy within a speakeasy?
Buffy: And just how easy do they speak?
Flashlight out and deep into the Unknown, Dana—Scully—plunges in ahead, believing and believing despite us.
Inside the wallpaper: yellow like we've entered the sun. Yellow faux-croc plastic chairs, yellow tile floor, yellow paint, yellow paintings, yellow ceiling, and three yellowjaundiced men surrounding a woman, or a very large cat, sipping vodka from a champagne flute. Her star-mangled eyes scatter the yellow light and we blink out of dilation and awe. Dana's flashlight clicks off.
Welcome, says the cat woman. You've traveled far?
From the North, I choke out.
I am Dr. Noisewater, she says. Like you, I first came here seeking love.
I: How did you know
Dr. Noisewater: One never knows for sure, despite what they say
Dr. N: Those optimists in love, I suppose
I: No How did you know why I came here
Dr. N: Perhaps romantics, not optimists
I: Perhaps both
Dr. N: Yes, perhaps, though a romantic is just an optimist to a certain extreme, or shortly before or after sex
I: Romance leads to sex
Dr. N: Sex makes one optimistic
I: Once I read that all great novels follow the pattern of male orgasm
Dr. N: When I was in love in New York I took it as a tremendous sign that I did not know for sure Of course at least one party will know, will gaze—
I: How did you know why I came here
Dr. N: These three scorned and perfect women
I: Conflation led to conversation, wine and a soft bed, soft hands—that which never having had makes the having paramount, tantamount, mounting climax and the thereafter details: eyebrows, curve of fingers, middle names, fears, calm smells. Novelty of a newborn who loves everything it touches.
Dr. N: Well there's no need to get defensive about it
Dr. N: Let me tell you a story
Dr. N: Flashback.
Once upon a time, all women loved only women and this was called the 1970s. There was hunger, but it was an immortal hunger, not a hunger for knowledge. Well the police got involved, then religion, and as you can imagine everything went to shit pretty fast. Before it was over I fell in love with a woman and with six different versions of myself. None of them survived. But there is still a place. There is. So when you're finished here you can look at this card and go to the address and trust me you'll find what you're really looking for, all of you.
And the card said MEGA-CITY
ALYSE KNORR is the author of Copper Mother (Switchback Books, forthcoming 2016), Annotated Glass (Furniture Press Books, 2013), and the chapbooks Epithalamia (Horse Less Press, 2015) and Alternates (dancing girl press, 2014). She received her MFA from George Mason University, and her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, ZYZZYVA, Caketrain, The Greensboro Review, and many others. She teaches English at the University of Alaska Anchorage and serves as a co-founding editor of Gazing Grain Press, an inclusive feminist chapbook press.
in issue twenty-two
a l i c e b l u e t w e n t y - s e v e n
I S S N 1 5 5 9 - 6 5 6 7