Arupa Chiarini (firstname.lastname@example.org) is part of a collective of
artists who run the Acrosstown Repertory Theater in Gainesville,
Black Folks Call You Mr. Charlie
live their lives on the other side of town.
They don't want the likes of you, next door,
marrying their daughters.
I was with you all my life,
you were my father, husband, landlord, priest,
I did everything you told me to -
slept all night with wire curlers digging into my head,
kept my legs crossed except when you ordered them open.
You bought me for the price of a coke and a movie,
I gave you your money's worth -
never even told you how ridiculous you looked
banging up and down like a bulldozer in the backseat
of an old chevrolet,
your pants bunched around your ankles.
When I was twenty you bought me outright.
I spent my time ironing your shirts and watching
soaps on television -
wondering how long before I, too, would be hiding
bottles of gin beneath the kitchen sink.
I typed your letters, cooked your meals,
cleaned your shit off toilet bowls,
you kept me supplied with valium and pantihose.
One night I got drunk and danced by myself in front of the
jukebox, smiling at strangers.
You dragged me out to the parking lot, gave me a black eye,
called me a drunken slut.
You were working for the Air Force in those days,
running computer programs on how to kill more people
faster, over in Viet Nam.
I begged you for forgiveness.
You know I hate you.
I finally got that point across,
progressing from ripping the shirt off your fat, pink back
to cold disdain,
playing your game enough to get by.
and I'm sure you never knew,
how much I loved you.
We grew up together.
I saw you on your hands and knees pushing toy airplanes
through the air,
standing behind trees with a Davy Crockett cap and a
What happened to you, Mr. Charlie?
When did it stop being a game?
on my deathbed
I shall wear
a black bodystocking,
long dangly earrings,
gold-lame spike heels,
going to have kinky sex
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