Daughters of the Dirt / Sarah Higdon

What I Can Tell You about Marriage
poetry by Diane Fleming 

When I was married, I gave birth to three crack babies, one of whom was lost in Space Mountain in Disney World. He is the best off of all.

My husband, the honky dope dealer, was cheap and that was his best quality.

What I can tell you about marriage is, donít marry anyone who says they know a new way to make a million quick, but theyíll need to borrow a few thou up front. And donít marry a guy named BobÖ or a Bill.

She went to the Central Market Cafť to escape matrimony. She dined on sushi and Cobb salad, transformed herself into a fat Austin girl thinking he wouldnít want her but he was hard to get rid of. He took advantage of her generosity, her ability to mediate and bake a nice pie. She slept with her best friend; she got drunk at the car wash. She got a graduate degree in Comparative Religion. She was a good woman and he just wouldnít leave.

What I can tell you about marriage is, donít marry anyone who farts when they pee, who says they canít have sex because they have the big game tomorrow and sex will sap their vital juices. Donít marry anyone who licks
his plate every time he eats and then licks yours, or who is named Bob or Bill.

She wore socks with sandals, she developed fibrocystic breasts, she bought new glasses, she smoked clove cigarettes. She swore on her motherís grave, she opened his motherís grave just to prove his mother wasnít seven feet tall with the brain of Einstein and the heart of Mother Teresa.

She became born again and quit shaving her legs. She got a PhD in Foreign Policy and she made him read Ulysses, aloud. She bought One Hundred Years of Solitude -- the book on tape -- and played it in the car. She took a vow of silence. She traveled by way of trapeze, and wrote fiction that featured him. She put chicken broth in his vegan supper. She threatened his sobriety, she revirginíed herself. And he stayed.

He was hard to shake.

Marriage, however, is a wonderful adventure that everyone should try at least once, like a trip to the mental hospital, a night in jail or LSD. Marriage will remove any false sense of control you think you have. Marriage will make you fond of sleep, long solo baths, and reality TV shows. Marriage will make Joe Millionaire start to look pretty good. Marriage will put 30 pounds on you the first year, and take 30 pounds off you when you get divorced.

For those who survived the Virgin Suicides, there are the Marriage Suicides. Death by butter knife, death by suffocation from the tumbling books of a packrat husband.

Can screaming kill you? If so, all the married would be dead.
As bleak as the above might sound, Diane Fleming admits that she's sorta happy at the moment, and in a new, non-marital relationship.  This piece, which was written for a friend's wedding... ahem... was one read aloud at AustinMama.com's Mother's Day celebration, Screamin' in the Freezer, and received an enthusiastic, if not 100% commiserative, round of applause.  Mama loves Diane Fleming.