Because the World is
by Silver Meteor

Disclaimer: Moulin Rouge belongs to someone generally more talented and rich than me. If I owned Moulin Rouge, then their would be a music number about possums and blue pumpkins. Maybe the Duke would sing it. Anyway.

Maybe I have read too many fairy tales. Maybe no one will believe me.––Francesca Lia Block,



I.


I have a picture of my mother. She is wearing a
pair of wings and I have a sharp silver sword and
we are both wearing lace,
and little golden crowns.

I like photographs,
a soft memory held captive by a pretty silver
cage you can wear around your
neck. Hellie'd sell it if she saw it,

and then the soft memory would be swept away by the harsh cold winds that steal away the babes in the night.

I only look at it at night.

That's one thing about Hellie. She shouts and farts and cusses,
at me a lot. She says You little whoreling shaddap and pay some respect to your betters
are you listening to me girl I'll whip you come here where is your wits, girl?


She'll get mad cause I don't remember things. Like Mr. Paycheck,
who comes every week to give Hellie money an' then I'm
s'posed to say Hellie is a good mom when she really
could be better at it
and wash my hair and say
Yes sir No sir If you say so sir. He asks
Well, what did you learn in Church last Sunday
and I'll say I forgot to go
cause Hellie had the Whip out and I was hiding and
Hellie'll say Hawh, isn't she a duckling?
and say
later when he leaves
Come ere girl you wanna get whipped?

Or when she sends me to pick up her payment from
Mr. Bread who makes her bread
every week.
On the way back I forget what I'm doing with it
and eat half. Then I remember and
leave the half-eaten bread crust on the door and
hope
she forgets or she won't care knowing that
she will
so I run like I won't ever stop and go

look to steal her something pretty.

Hellie likes things that are pretty, like
broken glass and fake fur and pretty tin coins.

I tell her they're jewels and fox
and worth a whole lot.

And she always says, What the hell is this shit? and throws it in the
garbage bin, but she always
takes it out again when she thinks
I'm not looking.

The reason I don't bother to remember things like what Hellie tells me
is cause I like remembering about my mom better.

This is what I remember:

A far-away kingdom, with two towers and a giant
booming genie,
a castle full of dancing princesses,
strait out of a faerie tale.
Every night there was a ball, and kings
that were young
and old as their tongues and older than their teeth,
came and watched the night spin away into
oblivion.

Where every room was filled with beautiful things,
each one dazzling and desirable, and
each one and all
of them
worth less than anyone would ever think at first.

And their were two Enchantresses:
Both beautiful beyond any woman,
any goddess,
one dark midnight as the other was fiery dawn.
One both young and old and jaded; the other just
young and too naive to
know she would be jaded
one day.

One of them was my mother, and I
lived there with her and
watched her cast a spell on the kings
every night.