Listen: Kate Durbin’s “The Hills”
Kate Durbin’s “The Hills” is today’s featured poem on the Poem of the Day Podcast. Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles-based writer and performance artist. She is author of The Ravenous Audience (Akashic), The Fashion Issue (Zg Press), E! Entertainment (Blanc/Insert Press), and, with Amaranth Borsuk, ABRA (Zg Press). She is founding editor of the online journal Gaga Stigmata, which will be published as a book from Zg Press in 2012.
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Close up shot of office building on Wilshire Boulevard. The sky is blue behind the gray building. Interior shot of office. A woman stands with her back to the camera. She is wearing a black cotton empire waist dress and a necklace with large gold balls. Her hair is long and blonde. The caption reads: “Whitney.” She is looking at a bookcase, which wraps around the entire frame. The bookcase contains issues ofTeen Vogue and Vogue US, coffee table fashion books, and modern vases in white, pink, and olive green. Above the bookcase are posters of Teen Vogue covers, including the first issue of Teen Vogue with Gwen Stefani on the cover. Whitney Port turns around and sits down at a metallic, lightweight desk with no drawers and a large Mac desktop computer. Switch to doorway. A woman steps into the room. The caption says “Lauren.” She is wearing a black and red floral print halter dress. Her hair is long and shiny and brown. She is holding a Blackberry in one hand and a red canvas satchel in the other. She is smiling. “Hey,” says Lauren. “Hey,” says Whitney. Whitney half-smiles and looks down at her desk. “Look at you with your own desk,” says Lauren. “I know, so official,” says Whitney. She looks at her desk and tugs at her bra. “Oh my god they moved everything around in here,” says Lauren, walking across the white carpeted floor. Her legs are long and tan and she is wearing black high-heeled Christian Louboutin pumps. “I know,” says Whitney. She looks Lauren up and down while Lauren’s back is turned. Lauren looks at a shelf of colorful cashmere sweaters. A microphone pack is visible in the back of her dress. To her right is a garment rack of designer dresses. To her left are two large screen computers and an inspiration board with fashion photos pinned to it. “It looks good though,” Lauren says. “And all the clothes are more organized and everything too,” says Whitney. “Like all of the sweaters and the shoes back there.” Lauren is sitting at one of the intern computers. She sets down her Blackberry after looking at a text message. “I’m so proud of you in your new job,” she says, smiling at Whitney and resting her chin in her hand. “Thank you,” says Whitney. She is smiling at the CDs she is stacking. “You’re gonna be my bossman?” Lauren asks, turning her head from Whitney and flipping her hair over her shoulder. She moves items around on her desk. “Supposedly,” says Whitney. “How are you doing?” Whitney purses her lips and continues stacking items on her desk. “I didn’t tell you what happened?” Lauren is no longer smiling. She threads her finger through her hair. There is a pause. “No,” says Whitney. She is looking at Lauren. Lauren taps a pencil’s eraser on the desk and says, “I started having my friends come up to me and just telling me like really like rude horrible rumors and like the next thing I know…” Camera switches to Whitney, who shakes her head in disbelief, then purses her lips to blot her lipgloss. “All the exact things they were telling me like ended up like on the internet,” finishes Lauren. “Horrible,” says Whitney. “And,” says Lauren, gesturing with her hand. Her fingernails are short and painted black. The black paint is chipped. “It got back to like Laguna and my parents,” Lauren says. “What were the rumors?” asks Whitney. “They basically were saying that like me and Jason made like inappropriate videotapes,” says Lauren. “Oi,” says Whitney. Lauren sighs. “Who does that?” asks Whitney. Lauren shakes her head. Whitney shakes her head. Lauren looks at the inspiration board. “I just could never understand hating someone so much that you wanna do something like that to them,” says Lauren. Whitney looks at her desk. She clicks the mouse next to her computer. She swallows. “Have you heard from Heidi lately?” she asks, clicking her mouse again and blotting her lips again. She looks from her computer screen to Lauren. Lauren looks at Whitney and shakes her head slowly.