Caroll Sun Yang

Anis Del Toro Bead Curtain

After Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”

I need an Anis Del Toro bead cur­tain. I need it because I did not have an abor­tion. I need it so I can go back and forth through it. A thou­sand times. With chil­dren twist­ing the strands, shoot­ing imag­i­nary guns at one anoth­er, and catch­ing their arms with­in the tick­ety-tick of its roman­tic shade. I need an Anis Del Toro bead cur­tain with griz­zled smil­ing lovers pok­ing through, with absinthe in my glass, with sweet tea in theirs. I need it because Hemingway is dead and he is not my father. My father lives. He is a strong man. Like a bull. Toro Toro! He drove a cool white Cutlass Supreme with blood red vinyl seats. A car like teeth and mouth. The kind of seat that turns slip­pery with sweat. The kind of seat with gray­ing white seams that make a quilt out of ass cheeks.

Oblivious to the dan­gers of crash­ing, I stood on those seats with my arms slung over the tense shoul­ders of my par­ents. They were wear­ing seat belts. Those were some days weren’t they? Late 70’s Oakland of our lady California. There were not many Oaks. Mostly side­walks, Blacks and Chinese, gum grind, side­walk lob­ster tanks and box­es of piña­ta col­ored Chiclets. I have nev­er again tast­ed the same straw­ber­ry ice creams as I did then and I look every­where for that same taste. It is hope­less. My tongue is not young like that now.

I need an Anis Del Toro bead cur­tain because my father’s best friend dropped me on my head. In Oakland, six feet is a long way down. Time behaves so very slow­ly when you are three. So that was a very long way down to fall. An even longer way to sur­face. A pur­plish yel­low egg the size of Alaska on my per­fect child­ish fore­head. After that I always longed for Cadbury Crème Eggs on Easter. My teeth are rotting.

My moth­er glow­ered because they drank too much and dropped her baby. Her teeth are per­fect. She need­ed an Anis Del Toro bead cur­tain because she did not have an abor­tion. I kept bleed­ing. They put Vaseline all over my face. Now my fore­head is per­fect. The egg reced­ed. When I fell, all around me bombs fell. Echoes from a war I swat at like a fly buzzing in my ear.

Be qui­et and find me an Anis Del Toro bead cur­tain. Father, I don’t want to know about your baby sis­ter. The one with huge jet dark eyes and moist ringlets. That she liked straw­ber­ry ice cream like me. I don’t care if your moth­er killed her. Penicillin kills oth­er peo­ple too. Your war is not my fault.

All of our straw­ber­ry ice creams drip down our cones, min­gling with tears and Vaseline. This fam­i­ly. Those days. Todays. That is porn. You don’t have to be naked to have porn. You just have to strip behind thin cur­tains. Like this.

I need an Anis Del Toro Bead cur­tain if I am to prop­er­ly bust through them stripped and cov­ered in Vaseline and ice cream. You said you would buy one for me. Or make one. Since you are all so good with your hands and brush­es. Your bod­ies just like cool white Cutlass Supremes with blood red vinyl seats. Bodies like teeth and mouth. The kind of bod­ies that turn slip­pery with sweat. The kind of hearts with gray­ing white seams that make a quilt out of hearts. Cursing down engines and pages and can­vas­es. Your dicks get small­er then. Your mouths spit hope­less spit­tle. But my love flares. Promises, promis­es mis­ters. All I ever asked for was an Anis Del Toro bead cur­tain. That and noth­ing more.


Caroll Sun Yang holds a BFA in Fine Art from Art Center College of Design, an MFA in Writing from Antioch University and is a certifiedPsychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist. She iden­ti­fies as a hip­ster slash­ing hip­ster artist slash writer slash mate slash moth­er of two small­ish beings (no, not cats) liv­ing in Los Angeles, Ca. Her work has been pub­lished in Audemus and The Nervous Breakdown. She is for­ev­er work­ing on a col­lec­tion of sto­ries, sling­ing food at a joint where high-pro­file writ­ers tend to dine mak­ing it a some­times-unnerv­ing occu­pa­tion and writ­ing lat­er inde­ci­pher­able sticky “notes to self”. She can nev­er have enough per­son­al­i­ty-dis­or­dered friends/ lo-fi anything/ human touch/ sarcasm/ cell phone pho­to filters/ art films fea­tur­ing teens/ oppor­tu­ni­ties to use phras­es like “the-bomb-dot-com”/ Latrinalia/ frost­ing flowers/ for­ward slashing/ the word slash /cats/ bio changes. She may be found spew­ing forth with embar­rass­ing fer­vor at: and