UnREVIEWED: Postcards from the Edge


and meryl streep’s neck flops around dramatically

while this terrible 80s beach cop chase music plays

and they’re driving in a jeep with the canvas top rolled down

and now I can only think about meryl streep the actress

playing susanne the actress playing the actress in the movie

being filmed inside of the movie.

 

do I have to be there? as if it’s an option. and judy and

elvis and marilyn and billie lining the white hallways,

and the neon pills…

and then shirley maclaine walks in and it can’t possibly

be real anymore

 

“the behavior might be but I’m certainly not”

picking her cuticles with her gym-toned arms and playing

verysanecrazyperson so convincingly

 

…maybe all crazy people are just really brilliant actresses

who get bored with reality young

and never find their way back

 

“I don’t know, it’s all the rage in the rehab”

 

and of course she’s a stage mom, the worst kind,

maybe, because she’s also a star so she doesn’t

need her stage daughter to be a great success.

 

“INSTANT GRATIFICATION TAKES TOO LONG”

 

and of course she cries,

and of course what she cares about most is her career –

susanne’s, of course.

and of course she’s so afflicted –

“you think you could try not being so mad at me?”

 

her mother sends her things.

suzanne does not want things.

what she wants doesn’t exist

in this or any other reality

because of the existence of things

and her mother.

 

“WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO, GO TO A HALFWAY HOUSE FOR WAYWARD SAG MEMBERS OR SOMETHING?”

 

“I don’t have a generation.”

and the producer is so stereotypically jew-y,

and they appraise her like a used car,

making sure “everything is up

to snuff” – and she offers her blood,

her urine, because she understands

her place in this economy.

 

and of course she plays a cop, ha ha – how ironic

 

and

ugh

the spotlights

the party

“my little girl!”

the fritos…

I just want to vomit.

 

and they make her sing,

 

 

and I want to vomit.

 

up at the piano, you can tell –

you can tell that suzanne wants to sing,

that she wants nothing more in the world

than to just sing and to enjoy it

because she does. but she can’t.

and the performance is adequate

in terms of vocal technique but the

obvious torture caused by her desire

to sing and her inability to do so

as a result of her mother’s wide-eyed

lip-synching makes it, in a way, masterful.

 

and then doris sings, because suzanne sang,

because they do it for each other because

affection must be visible or else it doesn’t count.

 

 

she is able to perform

because she has no reality.

this is her reality:

the performance.

for her, there is no other conceivable reality.

 

and the thing, really, that suzanne can’t take

is the fact that she wants so desperately

to inhabit the nonreality but she can’t completely,

but she can almost, but it’s never enough.

and the  drugs

well,

to be a great actress (she thinks) she must inhabit her mother’s reality

which is impossible for a naturally sane person to do

without drugs, and above all else suzanne must be a great actress

 

even though

the actresses are just things

and she knows it

 

of course, there is a noble, genuine, objectively attractive man

to distract her to another catastrophe,

and of all the things her mother can say to him

she tells him suzanne is “authentic.”

and of course doris hits on him

because it is always, always, about her

and the man is just so cloyingly perfect:

“you’re the realest person I’ve ever met in the abstract.”

 

seriously?

“you’re my fantasy and I want to make you real. let me love you.”

 

because that, obviously, is the only way.

that is the only way for her to be real – really real,

not merely authentic but cemented, firmly,

in this reality. to be in this really real  world she

must have a reliable man who is devoted to her

upkeep.

 

but of course, the man is none of those things.

 

“I’M NOT A BOX

I DON’T HAVE SIDES

THIS IS IT

ONE SIDE FITS ALL”

 

fighting with her mother

eating the pills

vomiting the pills

showing up to work

and everything is okay

because she has atoned

and all of the people

who were previously mean

are now very kind,

because she has purged.

now, everything is better.

she even fixes the old body,

ventriloquizes it with her

new, better, empty voice.

 

“the trouble is I can’t feel my life.”

 

“I DON’T WANT ART TO IMITATE LIFE I WANT LIFE TO BE ART”

 

and then she goes to the hospital

and doris is all unmade

and suzanne mothers

because that was what she was always meant to do;

she makes her mother:

she makes eyelashes and cheekbones

 

and there is a great unbirth in the inbetween.

 

but then the mirror,

and then the lipstick,

and then the turban,

and then the drama

and the me

and the my

and the I

and the press

the drama

the headlines

the skin,

the white fur,

the crisis –

 

“we’re designed more for public than for private. “

 

“OKAY. WE COULD SO SEE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.”

 

and then her mother leaves,

and then, she really sings. like, really sings.

and all I can think about is meryl streep the actress

playing suzanne the actress

playing this country singer singing heartbreak hotel the actress.

 

 

meryl streep is either the most human human in the world

or she is a perfect machine.

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