“The Pissing Contest” by Laurie Frisbey

Let’s make this a pissing contest.
Place your bet with mine.
I’m bound to win if winning means
a longer yellow line.
‘Cause yellow’s the color of smiley faces,
Daffodils and sunshine
not drugs (well, maybe some)
and sex and violence
when you’re young
and nothing yet makes sense.
But wait, slow down.
No passing me till I break down.

Yellow lights.
Caution.
Double yellow lines.
No one saw it coming
or they ignored the signs.
Either way, they all were blind.
My life,

a car crash in slow motion.
Could no one stop it?
Not on yellow.
Not on yellow.
Most can’t help but gawk
as they drive on by

Now we stand together
talking side by side,
comparing notes
(I wrote the book, heck)
competing for the title
of most wrecked.
So did your mother marry
men who crossed the line,
and hit on you, like mine?

Narcissus never looked
so pretty as the day
he found her, just like him,
plucked her from the ground,
then fucked her at whim
until she withered
then slithered away
in new skin
from where she left me,
(never looked) to begin
(at anything) again
(but herself)
as she always did.

Did you crouch in the dark
and hide your eyes
from things you didn’t want to see?
Hoping they were just bad dreams?
Cover your ears to muffle the rifle?
Cover your mouth to stifle the screams?

My line is growing longer.

Did you hear him call her whore?
Browbeat?
See him put his fist through the door?
TV?
Leave her used and bruised, bare feet?
Shoot your dog, hogtied,
strung up in a tree
for stealing little sister’s shoes
and running down the street?

No. You didn’t.
That was me.

It could’ve been any one of us.
And it was all of us in a sense.
I can’t remember innocence
through the virulence.
Lines in the snow.
Lines of snow.
What’s the difference?
At eight, how did I know?

There was a (double air quotes) man
who took personal matters
into his own hands
while driving us
in the bed of his old truck.
Couldn’t help but steal a glance or two.
He caught me in the rear view.
Tried to mind my business
but he didn’t give a fuck.
He winked at me in the mirror.
Secret shared.
Secret feared.

Yellow lights.
Caution signs.
Lines grow deeper over time.

What I saw, tried to ignore
but curious, I wanted more.
Watched in awe
underneath the yellow blanket,
one eye covered.
He got up, stood in front of me,
yanked the blanket off,
and hovered.
I often wonder what he thought
as he flashed––
more than a knowing grin.
and fought to box me in
and hang his welcome sign
in the open window
to my young soul.
How bold?
For an eight year-old?

Did I win yet?

Gripping, milking rhythmically,
gliding, shiny, slippery,
as if greased with melted butter
like his voice as he uttered,
“Is this what you wanted to see?
Huh?
Is this what you wanted from me?”
Inches from my face,
so close I could almost taste.
I turned and covered my eyes,
buried my head in the seat and cried,
“Please stop.
Please.”

He drove right through yellow lights.
Ignored caution signs.
Crossed lines.

I dreamt I tied him to a tree
but one day unexpectedly,
winding road met rising sun,
blinding over horizon,
intersection met reflection
off a loaded rolling gun,
crossed a yellow line head on.

His life,
a wreck in slow motion.
And death
more than a childish notion.
Couldn’t stop.
Not on yellow.
Not on yellow.

To hell with him?
Fucked if I know.
I won this pissing contest though.
Piss on him and piss on you.
The daffodils are all dead, too.
Sex and sunshine are all I see,
except for right in front of me,
a never ending fucking yellow line,
but at least the smiley face is mine.
I win.
I win.

 


Laurie Frisbey is a writer from Brewer, Maine. Her first published piece recently appeared in the “Write Like You’re Alive 2016” anthology published by Zoetic Press. She has blogged for the Bangor Daily News, but currently maintains her own blog and shares her work at LaurieFrisbey.com.

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2 comments

  1. Oh no! That was fucking awesome. The first stanza has the same rhythm that the Sorting Hat uses in its poems, but it quickly got all fucked up. There are so many good bits of rhythm here and so many powerful images. Well done.

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