Both dead girls and ghosts already have your number. But a dead girl won’t call you. A ghost doesn’t have to call.

The ghost is soul lingerie. You can see right through her. She slips through your fingers.

The dead girl is all bawdy. A dead girl is real. Heavy. Sooner or later, no matter how strong you are, your arms will tire, and you will have to let go. And the dead girl will say, I told you so.

You have to try hard, work harder, scrub and pray and do all sorts of things to get rid of a ghost (depending on, of course, who she is and why she’s there).

Dead girls leave you. They’ve already left. Dead girls are past tense. You had good times. You made time. The time of your life. Once upon a time.

Ghosts are timeless. A ghost can be right here right now. But with dead girls, the biological clock is always ticking.

Science may try and assert that there’s no such thing as ghosts. That may be true. However, sooner or later, half of the global population will be dead girls. Or already is.

The most important difference between dead girls and ghosts — perhaps the only one you need to know — is this: The dead girl still has a heart.

Daphne Gottlieb

Why things burn

September 26, 2019

My fire-eating career came to an end
when I could no longer tell
when to spit and when

to swallow.
Last night in Amsterdam,
1,000 tulips burned to death.

I have an alibi. When I walked by
your garden, your hand
grenades were in bloom.

You caught me playing
loves me, loves me
not, metal pins between my teeth.

I forget the difference
between seduction
and arson,

ignition and cognition. I am a girl
with incendiary
vices and you have a filthy never

mind. If you say no, twice,
it’s a four-letter word.
You are so dirty, people have planted

flowers on you: heliotropes. sun-
flowers. You’ll take
anything. Loves me,

loves me not.
I want to bend you over
and whisper: “potting soil,” “fresh

cut.” When you made
the urgent fists of peonies
a proposition, I stole a pair of botanists’

hands. Green. Confident. All thumbs.
I look sharp in garden
shears and it rained spring

all night. 1,000 tulips
burned to death
in Amsterdam.

We didn’t hear the sirens.
All night, you held my alibis
so softly, like taboos

already broken.

Daphne Gottlieb

feminine protection

November 29, 2016

a-diary-portrait-danny-galieote

oh honey honey I’m telling you – a woman’s work is never
done. why that guy who gave me the once-over twice
pumping his hands under his overcoat –
well, his eyes don’t open so well
since I sprayed him in the face with my
Miss Lady Aerosol Pump Superhold Formula Hairspray

and then that guy who felt me up on the subway, well –
blame it on my Lady Eve Press-on Manicure Nails in Sin Red
and something about that kind of fruit, why
that adam’s apple just fell right out
ripe and red into my hand

and that guy on the corner calling me everyday
with his hey baby baby doncha wanna baby baby
doncha wanna piece of me
and I said yeah baby baby yeah I wanna piece of you
and took off a one-inch slab of his tongue
with my Non-slip Grip Lady Schick

and oh those guys who tried to jump
me on the way home oh don’t you know
these things always end in tears
I was so sorry to lose my favorite pair of Foxy Lady
Five-inch Patent Leather Spike Heels – it’s going
to be a while before I get over that one

but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do
and don’t even start me on what happened
the night that guy broke into my sanitary
pad it took me hours to clean off my Curling
Iron, my Nail File, my Tweezers, my Just-For-Me
Sandal Toe Queen Size Control Tops are still hanging out to dry

and what with all the screaming
I’m lucky I didn’t get caught red-
handed with my Pink Comfort-Tip
Scented Double-Barrel Super-Plus Sawed-
Off Tampax but Thank God for
feminine protection.

A girl never knows when she’s gonna need
to soak up some blood.

Daphne Gottlieb

Hurt me to do it…

May 25, 2015

littlewolf

“come back so i can say yes this time do it again now that i know what to call what you did

this time i’ll be ready i like it rough now and i’m done with romance i never met another man who loved me so much at first sight he had to hurt me to do it”

Daphne Gottlieb
Why Things Burn

DEEDANCE

I was 14 and madly in love for the first time. He was 21. He made me suddenly, unaccustomedly beautiful with his kisses and mix tapes. During the year of elation and longing, he never mentioned that he had a girlfriend who lived across the street. A serious girl. A girl his age. A girl he loved. Unlike inappropriate, high school, secret me.

The next time, I was 15 visiting a friend at college. It was a friend’s friend’s boyfriend who looked like Jim Morrison and wore leather pants and burned candles and incense. She was at work and I wanted him to touch me. She found out. I don’t know what happened after that.

I was 19 and he was my boyfriend’s arch-rival. I was 20 and it was my lover’s girlfriend and we had to lie because otherwise he always wanted to watch. I was 24 and her girlfriend knew about it but then changed her mind about the open relationship. We saw each other anyway. I was 30 and we wanted each other but were committed to other people; the way we look at each other still scorches the walls. I turned thirty-something and pointedly wasn’t invited to a funeral/a wedding/a baby shower because of a rumour.

I am a few years older now and I know this: There are tastes of mouths I could not have lived without; there are times I’ve pretended it was just about the sex because I couldn’t stand the way my heart was about to burst with happiness and awe and I couldn’t be that vulnerable, not again, not with this one. That waiting to have someone’s stolen seconds can burn you alive. That the shittiest thing you can do in the world is lie to someone you love; also that there are certain times you have no other choice – not honouring this fascination, this car crash of desire, is also a lie. That there is power in having someone risk everything for you. That there is nothing more frightening than being willing to take this free-fall. That it is not as simple as we were always promised. Love – at least the pair-bonded, prescribed love – does not conquer all.

Arrow, meet heart. Apple, meet Eve.

Daphne Gottlieb
Let’s Just Get This Out in the Open