Writer in Residence · 08/07/2013

Ke$ha and I Stumble Down the Unlit Sidewalks At Night

Reading like a series of short notes penned by a deranged fan to a message board on Ke$ha’s Family, taken individually, these pieces might read more like prose poems than flash fictions. But taken together, a character emerges, one far more interesting, even, than Ke$ha. Not only are these paragraphs funny, inventive, and full of lovely details (a hundred-yard slip-n-slide), they come from one of Atlanta’s hardest working young writers, literary impresarios, and book sellers.

+

Ke$ha and I Stumble Down the Unlit Sidewalks At Night

If my daughters don’t call you Auntie someday I’m going to be pissapointed. I want to fill those girls to the brim with my adventures with Aunt Ke$ha. So full with stories that their tears will be glitter and Jack Daniels. I’ll tell them Once, your Aunt Ke$ha and I threw a party at a bar and the polar bear carolers confettied the floor with cigarette-scented newspaper clippings. Or That time Aunt Ke$ha tried to help me become a nanny. Ke$ha, let’s have a staycation and eat potato chips and drink wine coolers and watch reruns of Who’s the Boss?. Let’s throw a parade down Highland, we’ll wear nothing but stilettos and glitter and glow-in-the-dark paint. You can be the drum major and I’ll play a red tambourine. Ke$ha let’s get so drunk that we won’t be able to find any door knobs. Let’s get so gone that tomorrow when we do it again we will relive a distant memory.

+

Ke$ha, You are Really Rocking those High-Waisted Skinny Jeans

Ke$ha, a confession. When we first met I told you your jacket was badass when I really should have told you how hard you were rocking those high-waisted skinny jeans. You handed me a flask of Beam like a salute and said it was a hand-me-down. The jacket, not the flask. Ke$ha I want your hand-me-downs, even the twice handed-down ones. I want to wear high-waisted skinny jeans the way you do, Ke$ha. Let’s get my thighs tattooed with ivy and children in fox masks. Ke$ha, a confession. I once dated a nude model with cauliflower ear. He was mostly handsome, and left me for Africa. He made so much money sitting in his birthday suit. Ke$ha, if you gave me your hand-me-downs I could disrobe in front of a class and still feel like a queen.

+

Ke$ha You Make Me Feel Brave Enough to Say SEXY Out-loud

Ke$ha, if we didn’t like each other so much we would make great rivals. You would be a terrifying rival to have—you with your saucy accent and leopard print dresses, a knife in your garter. I’d love a signature weapon of my own, though I’m not sure what it would be. I saw a girl selling tamales out of her bicycle basket in New Orleans. She wore a machete on her thigh. She was our height Ke$ha, five-foot-three. It was damned fierce. Caution is a stranger to you, Ke$ha, it was a stranger to her too. Why fear the unknown when there are so many things we will never know? We are all shadowboxers Ke$ha, and I need to work on my left hook.

+

Ke$ha is as Ke$ha does.*

Ke$ha brims with ambition. It rolls and boils over the sides of her kitten-glittered dreams. Ke$ha, please be an unstoppable force—a volcano, a tsunami, an avalanche—pick your element, Ke$ha. Look for solutions everywhere. Solve mathematical proofs in your sleep.

Ke$ha, I imagine you lying fetal in a bed that is not your own. I imagine your fingers furiously tapping on a Ti-83 calculator covered in Lisa Frank stickers. In high school you giggled and doodled through calculus. You exhausted your teachers and stared out of windows.

Ke$ha, you’re built for big things.

Ke$ha can be hazardous. Birthed from a long line of bloody fisted scalping slayers—Ke$ha often forgets things like limits and her diminutive frame.

These violent animals from which she was birthed fell victim to a cornucopia of temptations—royal ruby stained cherries, plums full of scarlet, cascades of orange nectarines and apricots. Ke$ha inherited their weakness. It is in her blood.

Ke$ha burns the skins of peaches. She casts them in the fire and counts to one hundred and three. She grabs them out barehanded. She gobbles them up in an indulgent and passionate fury.

Ke$ha is mostly disciplined.

Ke$ha is a cowboy in the center of a panicked herd—lasso raised high. She whispers incantations under her breath: the wind to guide her lariat around the cattle’s heavy veined necks, for God to take her nightmares away.

+

Ke$ha Alights!*

KE$HA you make my insides feel like !!!¡¡¡!!!¡¡¡!!!¡¡¡!!!¡¡¡ — which means either I’m jumping up and down for joy or I’m very bad at morse code! Good thing we are not soldiers, Ke$ha—our unbridled enthusiasm would either get us both mortally wounded or would end every war! Good thing we don’t believe in war, Ke$ha—we believe in water fights instead! Ke$ha, let’s build a slip-n-slide 100 yards long, let’s set it up in the backyard between two aggressive sprinklers! Let’s fill up 563 waterballoons and throw them at the cars passing through the neighborhood! Good thing we don’t believe in neighbors—we are surrounded by strangers or undiscovered friends but nothing between! Good thing we don’t believe in grey areas Ke$ha—it’s been the same since the notes we passed to boys in homeroom: it is either Yes! or No!

+

Ke$ha and I Frolic In The Backyards of Our Neighbors^*^

It takes twenty-three minutes to twist and weave the peonies into satisfactory crowns. Their bulbous sepals balance delicately against our foreheads—descended halos of amaranth, fandango, and carmine. We are the sovereigns of your backyard, Ke$ha and I. Imagine us barefoot and sheathed in white eyelet. We reign over the firefly twilight with hushed laughter. You can spot us in the distance, breaking apart pinecones and making wishes on their brittle corpses. We play croquet and badminton, and douse our bellies in dandelion wine. Darkness descends and we continue our antics—cartwheeling through beds of clovers.

* Originally published in Coconut 17

+

Laura Relyea is a writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She has reviewed books for PASTE, Creative Loafing, Fanzine, PURGE Atlanta, and elsewhere. She is also the Whipcracker and Momentum Chief of The Inman Park Squirrel Census, a venture that was named one of Kickstarter’s Best of 2012. Her fiction and poetry has been published by Coconut, NAP, and BULL’s Choice Cuts. Her forthcoming chapbook, All Glitter, Everything, will be released by Safety Third Enterprises in October 2013.

+++

posted by Jamie Iredell