Sunday, September 2, 2007

fancy and toxic

This, also, is from Shelley Jackson's Half-Life, which I am still reading because I read slowly. But which makes me stoked that I read slowly! Because I'm glad I haven't finished it yet.

Her stiff skirt showed dirty white lines where the caked shit stretched, cracked, and the fabric showed through. Once it had been a party dress, cheap and frilly and synthetic. It was the sort of dress Granny called "fire-retarded"- it would kindle all at once with a fwhomp, set your hair on fire, then disappear and leave you naked, except for sticky black plastic boogers that would sink into your flesh as easily as needles. It was the kind of dress little girls wore at beauty pageants and Mexican weddings, the kind you found hanging in plastic bags in cheap stores in the Mission. It was fancy and toxic, like a wedding cake frosted with petroleum jelly. It had so many pleats and ruffles that its surface area was incalculably large, like a brain's. I read an interview once with an artist who made drawings about child abuse. He said the most volatile words in the English language were "little girl." When the prosecutor pronounces those words, the courtroom goes crazy. This was the dress that went with those words: a language dress, a hallucinated dress, from a grown-up's dream of little girls.

Maybe when I finish it I'll elucidate specifically all the ways Half-Life resonates with me, but I doubt it. I just want you to know that I'm gay for Shelley Jackson.


mordacious said...

...&...we part ways just about here....

imogen said...

Oh, also there's a part about goblin astronomy in there somewhere?