For a long time I equated being good with being silent
I was told to hold contradictions in my mouth
speak up but stay silent
speak up when you have something to say, but don’t say the truth
don’t speak your fear
speak so you can be heard:
I have a rage inside me which has yet to find its limit
it crawls up my back, claws out my eyes and spills from my mouth
I war with everyone around me
words ripping//eyes tearing the way through my day
I dropped a bottle of perfume
My grandmother gave it to me when I was a child
it smells strong like lilac and it stained the tapestry
I can’t help the smell
and the bottle I kept safe for years is now gone
like the woman who gave it to me
and is that a sign or just a bottle or a combination of the two
a reminder from the ancestors not to forget them, telling me,
sometimes bottles break
when what’s inside needs to be let out
The box where I put us spilled open
the cat knocked it off the shelf
mischievous beast, meddlesome Bast
I think she’s tired of her protective ways
longing for ancient days of war-torn destruction
she seeks to make a battleground of my heart, for revenge
Yesterday, Bast asked me to pray to her
for protection, she said.
Politely, I declined
Now I glance up to find her watching me
she sits on the shelf where I’d hidden us away
casually licking her paws, feigning nonchalance
but I see her eyes gleam
they laugh as she watches my fingers
scramble to collect piece after piece of us
shattered and whole, they slip through cracks
in floorboards before I can retrieve them
forever lost to dust & fate
& the Will of the Gods
I cut my finger on your face,
it starts to bleed & I look up
Bast stops licking her paw
she’s still staring, and I can hear her eyes whisper
‘Now will you pray?’
I sent a boy a poem last night
not about him, he just asked
he said it was pain full: two words
I thought it was a mistake but it wasn’t
the world is full of pain
brimming and it keeps coming
we spawn our own disaster
moment after moment
each atom, each babe
we teach what we know &
what we know is pain
despite all the disparate voices,
rushing rivers, sprawling trees
shouting for peace
I still have the bottle of wine
I bought to help me write
its just sitting there
waiting for me to make a decision
I look at it and perceive it as beautiful
& I don’t know if this is because of the wine
or the glass
or the fact that I picked it
for its name: Dark Horse
zodiac of my birth
fate full day
so I’m reading this bottle as a promise
&& I’m reading this bottle as a threat
They called her hair windswept when it blew across her face. Salome’s mother always said it reminded her of a wise woman, walking along a shore. Her baby, bound for greatness. Salome’s mother always told her she could do anything, be anything, sky’s the limit. I guess Salome took her seriously. You could often find her walking along ledges, arms spread wide. Everyone thought it was to steady herself, but now it seems maybe she was doing something else. Practicing, testing her limits.
It was a neighbor who spotted Salome first, slowly making her way up the top of the cliff. He saw it from the edge of the village where they lived.
Ital was sitting on his rooftop, warm clay beneath his hands and feet as he leaned against the edge, pulling on a hand rolled cigarette. He watched Salome’s slow progress up till she reached the cliff’s zenith. He thought to call for someone, Salome’s mother perhaps… but when Ital heard the voices below, he realized that he needn’t bother. Already the villagers had begun to gather. Some shouted and pointed excitedly, while others murmured prayers and judgements.
Salome’s mother was among them. She didn’t seem as bothered as he would have expected. Though she did have a calm sort of concern about her, steady like a river. When her eyes found and fixed on her daughter, they remained there, unmoving.
Salome took a deep breath. Then she took another, and another. Closing her eyes, she began to center herself. She knew everyone in the village thought she was mad. Even across the distance she felt them waiting, judging, felt their eyes on her. Taking a deep breath, she sat.
The sun rose in the sky, it burned hot and persistent against her dark skin and she welcomed it. Salome had always found that the sun opened her up, connected her to the world around her. She thought of the Sun as one of her lovers, it provided for her a spiritual, sensual experience.
A breeze picked up on the cliff, carrying the smell of dust and dried grass and wildflowers up from the valley below. Salome inhaled deeply, savoring each breath, letting go.
The sun had set. Salome noticed only after she opened her eyes and found stars glittering over the village. Some of the villagers who gathered earlier had since set up tiny makeshift camps. A handful of blazing fires raged haphazardly in the mouth of the valley. She imagined they were cooking food on them, making love by them, drinking wine off one another, dancing and laughing. She felt the threat of jealousy tug at her chest.
Salome could hear the drums. Could feel their beat thrum through her body. She wondered distantly when the music began, it trembled the earth beneath her, Gaia’s heartbeat. Lightning bugs danced around her and crickets added their notes to the drummers’ song.
When Salome stood up again, the moon was glittering over the valley, making playful shadows among the rocks and creatures below. Things scuttled and scurried making patterns in the dirt. She could still smell it on the air, sweet and clean, like after a heavy rain. The dirt felt cool beneath her feet, it grounded her. Salome took one step, then another, until she was at the very edge of the cliff.
Then, she leapt.
I had a dream that you walked away from me
Your eyes slid from my face like a sliding glass door
Clicking into place
On the street in front of you
You were wearing a black baseball jacket
With a black baseball cap
Cocked to the side in the way that you do
Always leaning, always swayin’
And there was something in your eyes
Which leaves me wondering if
Dream has finally merged with reality.
Blackness is not a thing that is easy
It builds you
Brick by brick
Bricks hurled at windows and cars and sculls and arms
The same arms that will pick up those bricks
Slather them in mortar and add them to the strength that is our being
We all wear it differently
Own it differently
But its there
In our blood and our bones
To be black is to know a sorrow so deep it stems from a place that has no end
No true beginning
Just pulls us forward
It’s fire that burns beneath our skin
Lighting us up
Running like lava through our veins
A constant promise
An ever waiting truth
I don’t know how to rewrite my narrative
I don’t know if that’s true
I dont know where to start
I dont know if thats true either
What do I know then ?
I know that loving myself is going to be hard
Loving myself is going to take work. It will require me to breakdown a lot of ideas I have about myself. Loving myself will require me to unlearn destructive behavior patterns and learn the cause and affect they have on my life. Loving myself will require me to have grace and loving tenderness with and for myself, in all my incarnations.
It’s an interesting feeling. Learning you’ve spent months falling for someone who could actually have never loved you back. One of those, “huh.” moments.
I’m over here feeling myself out, talking to my emotions like,
“Yo… are we good? Cuz I feel fine. But I don’t want you coming back here in like, six months messing my shit all up. Talking about ‘missing them’ or ‘broken hearts’ or whatever. Like, I’m feeling good…so…we good?”
And it feels like they’re just looking at me like,
“Yeah. Ok. Have you MET us? Good luck kiddo.”