By Any Means Necessary

My mother’s hair was high in the sixties, beehive style. A social climber, she secured invitations to every ritzy Reagan-Republican-Beverly-Hills-circle-of-influence affair. Hearing about a party to which she had not been invited, she’d find a way to run into the host at the market or feign a reason to call. She spent nights before a soiree all abuzz, a stiff drink in one hand, the other and her mouth alternating between bobby pins and cigarettes. Those days the house swirled with Aqua Net and haute couture, six or seven dresses laid out on the bed like women waiting. She turned down the sound of the wars on TV—one on poverty, one in Vietnam—turned up her nose at Johnson’s speeches. No “hick from Texas could tell her a goddam thing about a Great Society.” While scenes from Mississippi flashed on the screen, she marched to the bar for another pour. At her vanity, she wrapped her hair with toilet paper to keep the hive intact while she slept. Slender and pale, her head a cloud of Charmin, she looked like a tampon walking stiffly toward the bedroom, where she did not move the dresses off the bed but let them lie there not yet chosen while she slept sitting up in a chair beside a Marlboro, smoldering.


Photo Credit: simpleinsomnia Flickr via Compfight cc

Jennifer Wheelock

Jennifer Wheelock's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including Post Road, Lake Effect, Stone River Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems (Negative Capability Press), Flycatcher, Diagram, Quill’s Edge Press, River Styx, Atlanta Review, New Millennium Writings, The Inflectionist Review, and North Atlantic Review. She lives and works in Los Angeles and is also a painter.


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