Whistler’s Mother at the Farmer’s Daughter

by: Laura Tattoo

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Lincoln City, Oregon 3/31/09
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Always pulling in just before 10,
always on the edge, always phoning
and confirming, yes, we’re on the way,
wait for us, please, we’re just around the
bend between right now and then, we’re
driving fast as wind gusts pummeling glass
and we’re hungry and tired and pressed to
the max of our endurance, we know
we’re on the clock, we just need a bed
and breakfast, our needs are few but
we require your patience, we’re
old and slow and and one of us is ill
and can’t seem to think out loud when
it comes to packing bags and the odd
stuff it takes for a weekend south of
us where me mum lives all by herself.
_
Now at the Farmer’s Daughter, the hotel
renamed for its Los Angeles twin, and
that is what I don’t get at all, it’s
some kind of joke, right? and yet it’s the
same room as before, a West Bester, a certain
je ne sais quoi, beachy charm and ultradeep
European tub and a porch outdoors where I
can smoke my heart out, and I’ll need it too
because Moineau does not sleep in hotel
rooms, she sits on the bed with the TV on
and sweats, under cover, incognito in a
hooded vest, she’s shy and unassuming,
tries hard not to draw attention to herself
as she shuffles down Hall A to Room 123
but in the end can’t swing it because she’s
Moineau of a secular order, who sings
odd songs in the morning, then acts out
a play with multiple characters and it’s a
sham of a spectacle of a dance with a stranger.
_
Up all night in the streetlights with red-hot
poker eyes, she hears footfalls and wild
animals, she’s shivering frost and then burnt
as toast, what the fuck difference does
it make when you’re shaking in your fuzzy
slippers in the bush, searching the dirt for
your lost little girl and someone shouts,
“Look out below!” and you fall down a rabbit
hole like some paralyzed Alice and you can’t
wake up out of the nightmare you hate and
every time you find yourself in that bitch of a
room, they’re all the same, the kitchen, the
bed, the carpet, and nothing will help, not
warm milk, not chocolate, not spooning in
the bed, no, thank you, no touching, please, i
think I’ll leave my body for a bit and go and
have another cigarette, it’s so hot, isn’t it?
damn, I’m like a lobster in a pot, a sparrow in
a cage, and oh god, the hotel is on fire!
“Just joking,” I say, as you put back the ear plugs
and pull the mask down over your face.
_
Ok, i have to tell you flat out, the bastards had
me on that motel shelf and I became fœtus:
I curled myself onto the center of the bed, no
blankets, sheets wet and just slept and slept
and slept and slept, until one came back in and
said, “I’ve found you a nice place to sleep tonight,
i found you a place, in the bushes!”
_
Suddenly it’s morning, and a wakening light begins
to stream through the long, wide blinds and
gold-yellow curtains, and Moineau knows she’s
survived another night by staying very quiet
and just giving herself over to tv movies and
poems and, even if her cough is bad, heck, even
the cigarettes helped, and somewhere down the
hall a man begins whistling, no tune at all, just
a shrill, long, proud noise, and now, Moineau is
opening her throat, she’s wetting her mouth and
out comes a whistle from hell, and there’s laughter
between us, like, where did that come from?
“Whistler’s Mother at the Farmer’s Daughter!”
and before you know it, there’s a comedy
routine and a crazy song about Willy Nelson on
democratic principles and the weird women who
adore him, and now we’re hysterical, repacking
the bags and eating fruit snacks and checking
every nook and cranny for our socks and cash,
leaving the maid a fat old tip, and then we trip on
out the door until the next time we need dreams
and succor at the Farmer’s Daughter. 

~ 4/4/09

Visit Laura’s website : moineauenfrance.blogspot.com