The Pale Goth Rereads The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sing me to sleep…
Sing me to sleep…
…and then leave me alone

  —The Smiths, “Asleep”


Dear Charlie,
           I, too, spent long hours in shop class. It was
there with a teacher similar to Bill
that I perfected a French accent and carved
Cyrillic crosses onto a jewelry box I crafted.
           The other kids told the teacher
She’s carving satanic symbols on her stuff.
The teacher told them
Mind your own business.
Maybe if you learned to think for yourselves,
you’d be better off
           At parent-teacher conferences, Charlie,
that teacher told my parents I spoke decent French,
drew beautiful Soviet submarines and graveyard scenes,
and laughed when he told them
You know, conformity’s
just not her forte.
Thank God.


Dear Charlie,
           I, too, used to listen to The Smiths’ “Asleep.”
I used to listen to it on alone-in-my-bedroom nights,
when I read The Russia House and I Married a Communist.
           Boys never asked me to dances; boys didn’t call me;
boys didn’t ask me on dates.
They called me ugly
and fat
and freak.
           I wrote poetry while I listened to The Smiths, Charlie,
and I wondered how I could ever fall asleep, but before I
slipped into slumber I hummed
my second favorite Smiths song:
“Last Night I Dreamt
That Someone Loved Me.”


Dear Charlie,
you                              are
hope                            you
feel                  infinite.