Sunday, November 14, 2010

in safeway sometimes the music kills the mood

when i leave my house i am someone else

arms wider, chest open, waiting

captivated by assholes on bikes

breathing the stench of men who don't have to fight to be

choking on words in safeway forgetting

forgetting always forgetting to turn down the music in my ears

people stare

can of coke in my pocket, lungs full of streetnoise

duck down when police roll by

i live here

forget that i live

forget where i am

in safeway sometimes the music kills the mood

i wind down in the fierce cold fucking place where i live

i wonder what is in my throat, talk to my insides

fuck it i say, come up if you have to

i dont know these people

the man in the corner stares at me

i put my hood up

open my eyes a little wider


A Beautiful Gift

He is staring at me. The nicotine stains on my fingers.. my hair, which he finds amusing. I look back at him and wonder how he can wear a wool sweater in this kind of heat. His eyes are gummy, and I ask him if he has been to see a doctor lately.

He coughs long and hard, painfully, clutches his chest and tells me that he hasn't, because he feels like faith healing is the only thing that can help him at this point. He asks me for a cigarette and I pass one to him.

"You've never been hurt," he says, still studying me, and I wait for him to continue but he doesn't. I ask him what he means, and he repeats himself. In my mind I see myself in my bedroom as a child, and even now, rocking back and forth. The eternal me, hurting. I see all of the ways, all of the times that I have been humiliated, abused.

And I smile. "I've been hurt," I say, and want to tell him how but when I see his shaking hands I can't. I lean against the fence.

"... But I'm happy to be alive." He smiles at me and I take a deep breath, because I mean what I said. I let that happiness swell in my chest and feel it for a minute or so while we smoke in silence.

What a beautiful gift.

My own Eyes

"How are you, son?"

The voice was that of an older relative, a man

and I sparkled like a star for a moment

My dad looked at me and shrugged

"This is one of my girls," he answered.

Inside I felt a meteor hit my heart

I was eight years old

My chest still flat, my body long and lanky

my hair licking at my ears in waves that wanted to be.

Later I lay on my back in the grass and looked down at my body

There was a bump there, I saw it for myself

I let the moonlight hit my eyes and carry me away

Still later...

"This is what it feels like to kiss a boy," I told her, and the others stared

when I kissed her on the lips, my eyes closed but twinkling

so soft

When I opened them again the girls looked away and I did too

scuffed my feet against the floor and bit my lip till it bled

I walked home as if in a trance

On the way

A voice came from under my shoe

"But you're not a boy."

My polka-dot blouse giggled nervously

But later on I took them off

threw them in a heap in the corner of my room

I kept my underpants on

grabbed a sock from my drawer and opened up the blinds

My own venetian eyes drank in the stars outside my window

Beautiful Child

Beautiful child,

I tied your umbilical cord with a piece of red yarn

a tiny scarlet bow that was soft,

so soft on your sweet velvet skin

You looked up at me with liquid eyes and I knew that you knew

that my own cord was severed long ago

before I taught myself to breathe.

Beautiful child,

I handed you to your mother as soon as her eyes were open

eyes like yours, only wiser

She played with your toes, watched them turn pink

a technicolour message of hope

I knelt at your feet,

dressed in my finest rags.

I opened my mouth to speak

but you reached out your tiny hand to silence me

I didn't have to tell you

about the moment the world turned dark.