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Sport 32: Summer 2004

Anna Jackson

page 210

Anna Jackson

My life when I had a life: I wake up.
In the morning I wake up
and see in the night I have written
on a scrap of paper
to Bridget
red win / love—is this
a recurring dream?
Hardly matters—
I have a recurring life
to go out in to—
already Lisa is ringing up
to cry about the latest
incident with Nigel
and I am late
for lunch with Stacy
who has just got back
from being away—
‘nothing can have gone terribly wrong
in Ngaruawahia,’ I say
but it has.
I get red wine in my hair
from laughing so hard—
we are pretty and unhappy
and loving it—
‘people would kill for
my unhappiness’
says Stacy—
a line I use later
over wine and cigarettes
with Diana.

page 211

My life when I had a life: I actually am twenty.
I actually am twenty but they are right
to wonder whether I should be allowed
in a bar and I have no ID because
I haven't got a driver's licence yet
and when it is time to go
I haven't got any money
and have to pay for my drinks
with a poem even though
I really want to be
a short story writer—it is so sad
when you get bored of a story before
you have written it, almost as sad
as when you get bored with a boy
before you have slept with him
—where did you go? Greg asks
the next day. But Stacy
promised to drink herself
between us if she must—
where did Stacy go is what
I want to know.

page 212

My life when I had a life: 12 a.m. and don't I show Jane.
12 a.m. and don't I show Jane
and undo my watch
to throw it before
my heart—
—I can't read
it says Jane and I think
that is pretty
sad but keep writing
—3 a.m. and now
I am sober although feeling
sick with all this coffee
in fact it is now 10 past 3
and I am astonished
it is not later since between
3 and now I have climbed
all over Tim's shelves
searching for new
coffee beans—
now Jane comes to the door
and I hear myself
scream and think
perhaps I am not sober
enough to write
after all—

My life when I had a life: it isn't unusual.
It isn't unusual to think Keith and Stacy
are there but tonight they actually
are there—it has to be the night
page 213 when my shawl keeps sliding off
and all my lines sound stupid.
I don't even get to pick up the fan
because Heather picks up
the fan, and afterwards
nobody comes backstage,
probably because they don't want to be
associated with such a bad actress—
‘Last show I did, the guy had these
deep eye sockets, we had three
lights along the front
and still I couldn't get rid
of the eye sockets,’ says Gordon
consoling me later, looking
like he might kiss me.

My life when I had a life: after wards no one talks.
Afterwards on one talks.
Opposite the park I say
‘I wonder what they did
with the body’—my voice
sounding high-pitched,
hearing it on tape.
As soon as we let off Rose
and Marcia—Marcia's
shoulders set—we talk,
me and Lisa: ‘it was that
remark about the body,’
Lisa tells me, watching
the rats crawl in and out of
the bin like an extension
of the movie.

page 214

My life when I had a life: Lisa drinks her vodka neater.
Lisa drinks her vodka neater
but I drink mine faster.
Likewise, our talking.
Likewise, our getting dressed—
I don't think I could get dressed
at all if it weren't for
her clothes. I spring
out of bed first thing
and usually get back before
she's up, too—
what does she do all day
in bed? I don't ask,
I talk quickly about
other things, knocking back
the vodka—this was when
we were younger.
(She still is—I was
always older.)

page 215

My life when I had a life: fun at twenty-four.
It was Bridget Orr who reassured
me, at twenty-two, I'd still
have fun at twenty-four.
Fun,’ she said, French-feminist,
with long red hair,
italics already in 1990
the new ampersand for her,
‘you can have fun
in there’—making a gesture
towards the photocopying room—
I looked to see if he was there—
but it was empty—

My life when I had a life: how Stacy it was.
Stacy always said the apartment block
where Simon released the rat
looked like a ring-binder,
which I couldn't see, except
for how Stacy that was.
Everything about Stacy was.
Including everyone else—
that's what we were—we were
who Stacy would have found, and did
since she was Stacy.