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Elizabeth Anne Hatmaker

Norton, Jan. ‘47


Don’t see her cause it’s gonna make you sick,
Eye the line and not the fissure when you walk by
Keep your bile in and forget the failed beyond, keep,
Keep to the page, radio and newspaper accounts, jazz artist Bob Belden—(,11.95, free shipping for orders over 50), "a sad and lingering mystery" to the ear.

It’s enough to make you sick so

Don’t soak it up (in any old alleyway, in the grandeur of hotel bars, www,even.) Beyond the pale of decent bile, lie gashes of lots and lots, lots of summer,

the winter, "It’s Beth for Short" and the hoped-for come-on type laugh, confidence is makeup, charmingly in the bathtub, but not here, and hey, it’s not a woman, I agree. What, then? It’s own ugliness and our destiny, "high risk" is a victimology

out of step w/soldiers sad every day, limping like deranged school girls. "Loneliness is

a city of halted construction and shades of makeup yet to discover out of time." – A blurb from an unpublished noir. Too much so that the edible scent overpowers.

Nausea is power in every orifice.

Lots and lots of her is das ding. You couldn’t see it all. Beth’s point of origin is past

Exposed, wishing through bile, gristle drained in the space between her—

I’d say "between her legs" because she is a salacious melodrama, drained though she may be. It wouldn’t make it easier, liquid, that is, without our larger lack of containment.

It’s a song, a pukin’ song, the drainage from your eye and nose backed up in your ears.

Oozing’s too pretty a word, full of admiration if you hear it a certain way, from

certain angles. And they say she couldn’t menstruate anyway.

So how can I go on, beyond the corner, into those nether-regions of girls,

and the songs played there, Street Corner Serenade (available 19.95, no CODs), music

to dance to, the theme song from Dragnet, Jimmy Somerville singing about loneliness before dusk falls. How far into it before the stupid songs fail me?

I could make it up. Dare me, ‘cause I’ll do it and what a dirty little freak I’ll be if I could pull it off. I do suffer nausea more than other women, a condition I came to in my early twenties, often worsened by recurring sinusitis. Also, I’m a pop enthusiast. Song after

song I’ll listen to. My eardrums may burst.

I’ve seen the photos. Pre-, Post-, enough to point to the gaping six days of during. I don’t represss that she had been forced to eat her own shit. I’ve seen the sidewalk littered with her. Beth, May Tate, Jeanne French, Evelyn Windham nee Winter, Georgette Bauderdorf, Janice Knowlton (if you believe her account), Sharon Tate, Dorothy Stratton, Nicole Brown-Simpson—always her, the miracle of pronouns keeps her off our lawns, even as the word resonates on the tongue.


I get hate, too. I got a call once, a man making a sound. . . . Nooooooo

(shit, I can’t recreate it). . . like a noise I heard Roberts Blossom utter in a film called

Deranged, about Ed Gein (recently released w/Motel Hell on "Midnight Movies" DVD),

a sound made early and jarringly, the wounded remainder of what boys do but we’re not supposed to hate ‘em for, even though that creepy sound is a narrative not reduced to a snarling pronoun in spite of itself.

Nor her.

I’m qualified for rage, I tell you. I got the girl rancor.

I want to be the Aggie Underwood of my generation. For historical scholars, she’s the reporter who posited the infamous Bauerdorf link. She compounded the problem into the Short/Bauerdorf murders murders. Like Tate/Lo Bianco or Learner/Loeb or Simpson/

oh, what’s the guy’s name? He’s from Chicago. Pullman? No, Goldman. We went to the same college.

I want girl community. A free exchange of idea, laughs during the rough stretches.

Drinks with Beth at the Biltmore, shootin’ the shit about the Meford/Somerville line

along which we both once lived. How’d ya get along working with all those boys at the Hearst papers, Aggie? How did you tie it all together and, if you tried, could you tie more to it? Did you know you name is a marble? Does anyone know where the love of

God goes? Soldiers and sailors line the streets all night long.

I want to puke in the gutter and then write a story about it the ways those boys do. I want

the story to come out of my own runny body.

Elizabeth Anne Hatmaker’s work has appeared in (or is about to appear in) ACM, Epoch, L’Bourgeoizine, Bird Dog, and Mandorla.




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