On 'Green Girl', Faye Wong and Enid Coleslaw
Lover I lied, I lied when I told you I was through. Not now, not ever shall that be true! I wilt here in this street, babe, and turn back to you.
Oh, dearest reader! How art thou amidst these long and lonesome nights? Faring fairly well, I hope, within the warmth of your beloved covers, porcelain cradled carefully, wild peppermint leaves scolding thine belly. Gilded cliffs surround myself as I sense that inordinate wave of sadness encroach ever-closer, yet again. To its approach I feel forlorn, awash pearlescent blue, imbued with fervent sorrow, my love, of no longer knowing you. I walk bakwarde through the opaque.
Three thoughts begin to balance at the precipice, babe, as I stare solemnly at this wave. The first: Green Girl, one of the few works of fiction I’ve ever truly become embroiled in, penned by American author, critic and professor Kate Zambreno. Within this lustful, listless bliss, paper-bound by Marilyn Minter’s 2007 work Blue Poles, in spoils of shimmer, grime and grease, Zambreno allows us to sink into the pits of Ruth, a young girl-thing spritzing Desire at the perfume counter of a very aptly named Horrids.
I cannot confirm how these words succumbed to my possession, dear reader, only that they have followed me ever since, wherever I go.
Lisa Ann Cabasa in Season 1, Episode 5 of Twin Peaks (1990 - 91) dir. David Lynch.
“Would you like to sample Desire?”
Ruth, a loose form, a faceless twenty-something on the cusp of nothing, is pictured being pulled to-and-fro by the searing jolt of the London Underground. She sees, with prying eyes, an older woman adorned in gold - clutching the carriage pole to avoid flailing in the flood. To Ruth, dear darling, life is aimless. A string of happenings, barked orders by managers, dead-eyed sex. Friends and lovers unfold as Ruth is swept up in the tide, allowing her body to drift eternally.
Without necessary direction, reader, Ruth spirals outwards in a frenzied fever. Her loneliness now manifests into rage.
I love the lore of words: the unruly mythology embedded within sticky ink-print, encased in calfskin. Otherworlds of terror and fantasy are crafted boundlessly, slicing your head, heart and fingertips should you ever at all get too close. In the age of living online where we have never felt so simultaneously together and alone within one swift exhale, books - poetry, prose and fiction alike - allow us to feel understood. I look to Ruth at that perfume counter and see myself. The dreaded dread returns.
Nights ago, my love, I birthed into the world a book of my own. Grief (In Few Forms), which you may recall I spoke of within Issue #1, is ready and waiting to be read by you. Produced to coincide with Ikon Gallery’s Small Press Fair, middling musings on love and death and sex have been tentatively wrapped in baby-pink, pocket sized. Scrawled in blood-red cursive kern, raised to the touch like a wound, Grief (In Few Forms) is now ‘for myself, to heal.’
Should you want to clamber at her with thine claws, before forever-death, Grief (In Few Forms) is available, for you, here.
Faye Wong in Chungking Express (1994) dir. Wong Kar-wai.
I feel the familiar frenzy of Ruth reverberate in Faye, a buzzcut-girl painfully bored behind a bar counter in Wong Kar-wai’s pulp masterpiece Chungking Express (1994). Down a dimly lit Hong Kong street, dressed head-to-toe in lemon-yellow, we see Faye lazily sway to the sound of California Dreamin’, picking at junk food as she pleases. Faye, for a moment, is in her own world, spaced out beneath the sting of fluorescent light. Her restlessness is palpable.
I get that feeling, babe, when I wander late-night superstores, bathed in neon. I stroll through rows of plastic-packaged, processed goods, and dream of a New Now where I can begin again.
Within Chungking Express, Faye meekly seeks the affections of her polar opposite, an officer in baby blue, broken by a lost love. Faye is at once nervous and excitable, losing her balance behind the counter, biting her nails down to the bone. His unknown lover returns and leaves, solemnly, a small note with keys to their once-shared apartment. Prying and pacing, ever so briefly, Faye steals the keys for herself. Habitually, she sneaks into his apartment. Running her hands over his possessions, smelling his clothing, she lays in his bed and, strangely, spruces the place up.
I think of these notions, reader: I can fix him and I can save him.
Mother, fleshlight, therapist.
I look now, finally, to Ghost World (2001), the film adaptation of cartoonist Daniel Clowes’ underground comic of the same name. Directed by long-time friend and collaborator Terry Zwigoff, renowned for the bizarre and unsettling documentary film Crumb (1995), Ghost World epitomises the teen angst and despondency of Generation X within strip-malled Midwest suburbia. Childhood friends Enid and Rebecca have unceremoniously graduated high school, to a Summer of Nothingdom, and spend their days roaming around for something, anything, to do.
Thora Birch as Enid Coleslaw in Ghost World (2001) dir. Terry Zwigoff.
From bugging fellow classmate and convenience store clerk Josh, to stalking unsuspecting locals to pick apart and caricature, hidden within the plastic, metallic booths of Angel’s diner, Enid and Rebecca are agitated, lost, careless. “Dear Josh, we came by to fuck you but you were not home. Therefore, you are gay. Signed, Tiffany and Amber.”
Enid and Rebecca are thrown abruptly into the deep end of adulthood. Their mutual fear of the future is, in some ways, remedied by their codependency. Whilst Faye falls back into the cushioned thrill of an unknown love, dear reader, Enid and Rebecca only really have each other. As Summer passes both girls by, we see a splinter begin to form within their friendship. Circling ads in the paper for a modest apartment to share, Rebecca secures a job in an unnamed coffee house chain in order to start saving up.
Enid, on the other hand, re-emerges from her bedroom in “an original 1977 punk rock look”, complete with a crop of bright green hair and collection of pin badges. Enid, it seems, is desperate for an identity, pointedly differentiating herself from girly girls and goody-two-shoes. I sit in my room and fashion finger waves from blonde hair, overgrown. I think about shaving my eyebrows, to gently replace them with a thin pencil flick. I feel like I know Enid. Her worries and desires, her infatuation for strangers, her longing for and fear of change.
I look ahead now. It’s dark out. In a red prairie dress with matching Mary Janes, Enid sits alone at an old bus stop. The bus chugs sluggishly, screeching to a halt in the empty street, as she climbs aboard in search of her New Now. I return to the mirror.