Mental Health Day on Sunset Boulevard

by Gabriel Ricard

Emily and her huge teeth
had to learn the weird-waitress-
in-a-small-neighborhood-being-eaten-
alive-by-the-bigger-surrounding-one-
way that you can’t just decide to go to Hollywood,
because that’s easier than telling everyone
that love is just the worst fucking kind of social contract.

And then staying right the fuck there,
with her feet on the ground,
and her heart dividing to conquer the fact
that her teeth were making it impossible
for anyone to take her seriously. Back home,
or in Hollywood,
or in her inappropriate uncle’s place
in the dazzling, dynamic Hamptons.

Everywhere she went,
it was either something about those teeth,
and god, can’t you just get them fixed,
or it was something about the way her legs looked.

The way she smiled,
or didn’t smile.

The way she was awake,
or falling asleep on what seems like a train.

The way she would push and rub her lips together,
whenever she had a moment to herself,
until the upper lip started to bleed a little.

She made it to Hollywood though,
and she made it to a lot of other places,
until what seems like fairly recently.

She got away from most of the men in her life, too,
and no one can take away from her
the fact that she did it on her goddamn own.

No matter how you feel about teeth,
or waitresses,
or people who don’t really want to be actors,
you have to be impressed by what she did

without a whole lot of fucking help.

 

Artist: Unknown

Gabriel Ricard writes, edits, and occasionally acts. He is a columnist with both Drunk Monkeys and Cultured Vultures. His books are available from Moran Press, Alien Buddha Press, and Kleft Jaw Press. He lives with his wife and assortment of deranged ferrets on Long Island.