We're moving soon, and I've been going through my files, the boxes of yellowing paper I keep in the closet with the cats' litter boxes. A flyer for a show at the Knitting Factory in 1994, a draft of a screenplay I was working on in high school, my notes from the 2003 roast of the then-Mr. Lower East Side, Eric Kirchberger ("I've never seen such a bunch of syphilitic, indigent statutory rapists as I'm seeing here tonight..."). A postcard from Sapphire, dated 2/20/94, 3:00am: "Just finished 'Girlbaum.' It is an awesome pain/beautiful book..." An article I wrote in 2000 called "Chemical Castration: Does it Go Far Enough?" A flyer for the toga party we had in senior year of high school. The 1983 draft of a suicide note. A whole folder full of the Zoloft poems, now ten years old, with titles like "bashing the oracle," and "Marmosets." Here's the only one I still like:
I wrote a poem to my love
And didn't know how to end it.
The love is over, the poem is bad;
My view of the world is defended.
Well, okay, I like this one too:
Ne me obsess pas
Ne me obsess pas
ne me obsess pas
ne me play Betty Carter, ne Patsy Cline, ne Nina Simone
ne me watch movies where people kiss
ne me think about you until I burn holes in things
jamais means never but I think it means I must
ne me remember how to say I must
jamais cut it out cut it out
toujours distracted and jiggling my leg
je must remain concentrated on the reality of the situation which is over
je m'appelle Janice
non, je ne regrette rien.
But the rest are really bad.
The old love letters. Do I keep them?, I ask the friend who's been helping me get organized. Kind of creepy, she says; I mean, you're married. But I don't keep them for the romantic thrill of it, I tell her. I keep them because I'm a memoirist. And you never know when the archives are going to come in handy. Not that I need the letters themselves -- I know who the authors were, I know what they said. Well, maybe I'll just keep the outgoing ones.
Here's an excerpt from a letter to an ex-lover I just found tonight, dated September 1997:
"I hope you find some obnoxious freaked out woman who's desperate to be attached and have kids together, I really do, so I can move in across the street and spend my life marvelling in joy how it isn't me."
I laughed out loud when I reread it.
What, said Bill from the other room.
Nothing, I said.
Non, je ne regrette rien.