8/7/14

Alexandra Naughton

"Party Timelines" from Jim's Daughter

What are you working on right now?
I'm working on writing a collection of short stories, tentatively titled Jim's Daughter. I also have two poetry chapbooks that feel ready for publication and I'm looking for someone to publish them.

We meet at a party. I am with Lisa and she is not having a good time because she is hungover and usually kind of miserable. We rode our bikes over here together and I am obligated to leave with her. You are standing against the wall next to me and we are watching a guy on a skateboard do a trick in the living room of the party. You are eating a donut and you ask me if I want to lick the chocolate off of your finger. I do it and say I can’t believe I just did that. We go to the landing of the stairwell and make out. I like the way you pull me back by the neck to kiss me and you like how I softly bite your bottom lip. I leave with my miserable friend but we decide to stay in touch. I bike home and wish I had stayed. You live far away but you send me an email and we become penpals, like actually write letters, because it is more romantic. We send letters back and forth for two years, each letter revealing more than the last, with promises to see each other soon repeated unfulfilled, except for one time when your friend had to be in Philly for a family reunion and you tagged along, but after three months and no response, no letters and no emails, I feel defeated, sending one last letter. Your mother writes back, a short note and newspaper clipping with your wedding announcement.

We meet at a party. I don’t like your Cats t-shirt but let you dance to ‘Talk Talk’ with me anyway, even though I usually dance to this song with Alex when she is with me, and she is with me. You lean into my ear to tell me that you think I am pretty and touch my waist and I like it. We don’t kiss but you give me your phone number and I give you my email address and three days later you email me to say that you made me a mixtape. I reply by asking if you want to go on a bike ride. You live further down in South Philly than I do. I drink a can of diet Coke while biking to your friend’s apartment and I’m not sure why we’re meeting at your friend’s apartment. You give me the mixtape and let me hold it for a second and then put it in your cassette player so we can listen to it immediately. You cook us macaroni and cheese to eat for lunch but I brought a sandwich to eat and I eat that instead. You talk about vinyl records a lot with your friend who is sitting on the floor. I wish I brought something to read. We kiss on your friend’s couch after your friend leaves but I feel bored, like I’m doing something mechanical but not electric. Like chewing. You invite me to a party a few months later and I show up with Lisa. I roll and smoke a joint in your bathroom and Lisa gets drunk on boxed wine and makes fun of all the cute scene girls at the party because they have ‘three color hair,’ she keeps saying. I hook up with another one of your friends. The next week I accompany Lisa to the grocery store in Hatfield where she steals a blonde dye, an auburn dye, and a black dye so she can dye her hair three colors.

We meet at a party. It is your party but I don’t know it walking in. My friend Naya invited me. I show up alone and you get too drunk and I get too drunk and together we wind up on the second floor landing of your house singing a Postal Service song that I like at the time. I can’t remember if you kiss me because I am too drunk and you are too drunk and you suggest that I sleep with your roommate because he is lonely and I start screamcrying feeling violated and your other roommate tries to put me to bed on your couch with a blanket and the lights off but I get up and unlock my bike and ride home talking to myself, repeating the scenario out loud with commentary like I was supposed to do in acting class that morning and only got on the second take. I get home and drink two diet Cokes while looking at my myspace page and go to sleep. I never hear from you again or even really think about you until I google my email address and see that you used my username for the title of a movie you made and put on youtube. It has 27 views.

We meet at a party. Lisa invited me and she knows whose party it is but I have no idea, I just show up. I roll and smoke a joint in the bathroom and bump into Jenny, who used to work at the grocery store where I work but got fired because she dyed her hair red, and it’s against company policy to have a hair color ‘not found in nature,’ which is bullshit because there are purplish-red flowers in nature. You are standing against the wall watching a guy on a skateboard do a trick in the living room of the party and I watch you from the other side of the room, in front of the fishtank. Jenny complains about her boyfriend and I nod empathetically. You are finishing eating a donut and you don’t notice me looking at you. I don’t notice you glancing at me because I’m concentrating on the angelfish periodically. I like the way you dress. I look down and feel my large bangled necklace with my finger and then we meet eyes. It’s getting late and I have class early the next morning so I get ready to leave, pulling my coat and scarf over my head. You catch me at the door and ask me what my name is. You live far away but you want to send me an email so I give you my email address. You send me an email and I email you back to suggest we become penpals, like actually write letters, because it is more romantic. We send letters back and forth for six months, each letter revealing more than the last, with a plan to see each other in the summer, when you move to Brooklyn. I take the Chinatown bus up to Manhattan and we spend a long weekend together walking from museum to park to diner to bedroom and you take it all slowly and I like that and I write a lot of poems about it in a notebook on the bus on the way back because you told me we would be dating if we lived closer and I am about to move to Europe for a year.

We meet at a party. You already know my name, which I feel uncomfortable with because I don’t think I’d ever seen you before and I don’t find you attractive. You tell me you were in my Survey to British Literature class last semester. I nod and say ‘oh, okay, cool’ and excuse myself to the bathroom where I roll and smoke a joint and think about holding out for chaste love like Britomart. Lisa is waiting outside of the bathroom to use the bathroom so when I open the door to come out and join the party I go back into the bathroom with her and sit inside the bathtub to roll another joint while she sits on the toilet and complains to me about this boy we call ‘spindily indily’ because he is tall and skinny and looks like he’s into Sonic Youth. After a thorough bitching Lisa and I emerge from the bathroom where you are waiting outside. You give me what looks like a hopeful glance but I’m too busy pretending to be cool with Lisa to acknowledge you. Lisa and I go to the kitchen where people we know from work are drinking and I play with the cat who lives in the house where the party is. Lisa and I leave the party and bike back to her apartment to fall asleep under her Mary Kate Olson collages.

We meet at a party. Well, actually, we meet after I leave the party. You are friends with my friend Sally who calls you to pick us up from this haircutting barbeque party in someone’s backyard in Fishtown. Sally and I took the el to get there but she thought you might know of a better party happening somewhere so you drive to Fishtown and pick us up outside of the house where the haircutting barbecue is, after I get an asymmetrical haircut from one of the girls at the party. I didn’t have anything to drink at the party but Sally did. I want to do drugs. You have drugs, some kind of pill, and we take them as you drive, me in the passenger seat, and Sally in the backseat singing along to an Alanis Morisette song on the radio. You drive us to a house with a swimming pool in the suburbs where some kids you know are tripping on acid or mushrooms but they don’t have any left over for us. You and I take another one of your pills, some kind of opioid, and everything feels warm and fuzzy, like the soft hair on your arms that I feel closing in on me back at Sally’s parents’ house on her couch. I don’t really want to, but I like feeling worshipped, so I let you make out with me and hold me when I sleep, still in my sundress and sandals. You tell Sally the next day that I am tiny and wonderful and really that’s all that I want.

We meet at a party. I am with Lisa and she is not having a good time because she is hungover and usually kind of miserable. She is so hungover that she makes a weird noise when we’re in the kitchen at the party when she sees a bottle of tequila on top of the refrigerator. She makes some more weird growling noises, kind of like a grunt and a trill, like a vocal fry of disapproval, until someone tall places a hand towel on top of the bottle. Lisa and I rode our bikes over here together from the coffee shop where I sat in a booth and drank a large Americano and Lisa opened one of the malt liquor energy drinks she bought with her fake real ID from the liquor store we all for some reason call the ‘cop shop’ across the street from the coffee shop. Lisa’s ID is a real ID but the name on the card and the person in the photo is not her, just another generic white girl, but she is never questioned on it. We came to this party to have a good time I guess, but I think we more or less just like the idea of parties because a lot of the time Lisa and I just end up in a corner talking to each other by cupping a hand to the other’s ear as if to let anyone else know that this is a private conversation. We rode our bikes here together and I am obligated to leave with her. I’m not really having fun at this party either because I don’t know anyone else here besides Lisa and I am not drunk, just caffeinated, and I’m feeling on edge, just super aware of everything. I see a green piece of plastic with a skull drawn on it in the bathroom while I’m rolling a joint and I pick it up and admire it and put it in my purse. I go outside and sit on the steps and smoke the joint. A cat that either lives in the house where the party is or visits the house where the party is comes out of the front door which had been left partially open and rubs its head against my knee. I pet the cat and think, you are the only friend I’ve met tonight. I finish the joint and go back to join the party because it is cold outside anyway. I take my coat off and put it behind a chair and I want to socialize, I guess, because I’m bored so I stand against the wall in the living room where there is music playing and other people standing around. You are standing against the wall next to me and we are watching a guy on a skateboard do a trick in the middle of the living room of the party. You say, ‘hi’ to me. I say ‘hi,’ and feel shy. You are eating a candy bar and you ask me if I want to lick the chocolate off of your finger. I do it and say I can’t believe I just did that. We go to the landing of the stairwell and make out. It is dark in the stairwell and we are right next to a window so a little bit of blue light is glowing. You have me against the wall and the excitement of the chain of events is almost too much for me and everything feels hazy but I like it. I know I like it. Someone passes us in the stairwell going to the bathroom or something but I’m not that embarrassed. I don’t remember how we got back to the party but we did and maybe that’s when we were watching the guy do a skateboard trick in the living room. Lisa finds me and she wants to leave so I leave with my miserable friend but as I’m walking out we decide to stay in touch. I bike home and wish I had stayed. You live far away but you send me an email and I ask if you want to become penpals, like actually write letters, because it is more romantic. We send letters back and forth for some time and it’s fun and exciting and we don’t really know each other but I guess we want to or at least that’s what it seems like because what else is it, a distraction, a curiosity, I really have no idea. We meet up a few times for long weekends and it’s usually fun and exciting but it also kind of hurts like getting drunk together and laying in a park looking at the stars at night or walking past the national debt counter and feeling insignificant underneath all those zeros but we eventually fall out of touch after a few years because of distance and time and I guess we’re figuring our lives out.


Alexandra Naughton is a problem. Alexandra Naughton has got a problem. Alexandra Naughton is tired of your shit and just wants your money. Buy her book, I Will Always Be Your Whore [love songs for Billy Corgan] from Punk Hostage Press, but if you paypal her (hegemonster@gmail.com) $13 she will send you a lock of hair or some weird other thing in the package. If you google 'Alexandra Naughton' you can read more of her work. Her friends say she is hella prolific.

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