re-peat! re-verse! re-hearse!


& the story of baby is this:
& the story of baby is this: & the story of baby is this:

baby has been living on the streets for 1 year & 2.3 months & 4 days.

she’s got a backpack (north-face) which holds her entire livelihood:
1 tooth brush
1 toothpaste tube (tom’s of maine)
4 sweatshirts
3 pairs of socks
2 jeans (diesel)
2 pj bottoms
1 tank
all her money (38 dollars, which comes in the form of a few crumpled 1 dollar bills
& hundreds of round sacagawea coins
which land in her coffee cup, which she uses to shake & rattle
& ask for money$ …)

most days, she sits on the corner of 4th & main – whispering into her cup,
humming a song,
gossiping w. sacagawea,
playing her harmonica & snapping some tunes
w. chickadees & chipmunks & grasshoppers,
& other street-dwellers who are more than just scenery
but who’ve become baby’s friends.

one day,
baby meets a girl named jenny lowenberg –
and the two strike up a conversation & w. in minutes baby captivates jenny
w. the long & tragic story of how she ended up crunched on the corner of main
sleeping on a cardboard box, rattling a coffee cup
& smiling w. 3 very rotten teeth in her front mouth.

geeeeeeee gollllleeeee says jenny

& before long jenny has whipped up a story,
gathered bits of bramble & wood
& built a store-front charity – aka money collection campaign – w. pieces of baby’s story
… & pooooooooofffff

there she goes – baby is made & remade: baby becomes a “charity case”
a piece of social justice propaganda, a sexy homeless gal w. a sexy story
a toothless bitch who somehow seemed less bitchy & witchy,
although remained very clearly & very really, toothless.

baby often heard jenny lowenberg tell her story,
& the story sounded like a technicolor nightmare of a lifetime movie,
replete w. gene wilder as evil stepfather (aka willy wonka)

in a top hat & sporting a dapper wooden cane.

“baby was 16 when …”

“drugs & crack & an abusive bipolar stepfather”
… “no, no, crack not coke” … “no, no” … “crack”
… “yes, yes” … “bipolar w/o lithium” … “rapid
cycling” … “began when she was 10 & stopped
when she was” … “homeless” … “yes.” … “jingle,
jingle, jingle” … “salvation army” … “no, not the
creepy santa clause” … “really sad” … “please
give your support” …

jenny loved to talk abt baby & all the suffering baby bore. she never talked of her own
(suffering) because baby’s seemed so goddamn spectacular and jenny’s seemed quite
drab by comparison. Bipolar! Homeless! Lesbian! it all seemed so fun, it all seemed so
fucked & jenny could not get enough. such an insatiable appetite jenny had for baby – for
consuming baby – Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! – Finger-lickin Good! – that she swore she’d
become positively swollen w. suffering …

… but: it was not suffering jenny consumed, but spectacle

& spectacle had its origins in … POWWW !!! KAAA-POPPP !!! KAZAAAM !!!
… & every advertising wing
of every international media conglomerate
that told young girls what was fun & what was not
& who was pretty & who was not & what to feel
& what you should never, ever, ever feel …

& so jenny wrote baby’s story & jenny spoke baby’s story & baby’s story became
“baby’s story” & “baby’s story” became baby’s ststtttorryyy b/came babys–
strrxxstorxxxssssssssyyyy b/came baby’s ssstsstssttttsssssss-sss-torrrrry b/cm ba—-

& what became of baby?
& what became of baby?



& the story of baby is this
& the story of baby is this: _______________________________
(noun, adverb)

“re-peat! re-verse! re-hearse!” first appears in Standard American English by Elisabeth Houston, published by Litmus Press. Copyright 2022 by Elisabeth Houston.

from ( g h o s t g e s t u r e s )

The doll was small, about a foot long, with a cloth body and a 1920s-style, plastic Kewpie face. She was pitch-black like the new moon.

To Black Girls Everywhere

“There are letters to us about finding things and people, about how to lose other things and other people. There are books to us, prayers to us, for us.”


Eat beef: the west wasn’t won on salad.