No Easy Togetherness (I remember)
We never sat in witness of water kiss rocks
in the presence of night dressed silhouettes of Manhattan.
But on that June 28th summer day,
we laid on the heads of grass looking up at the graceful lush arms of trees
and felt the breezes that danced in ripples across the lake’s skin.
We moved fluid
in stillness and phantom heartbeat drums,
when our legs started to doze off to sleep.
That was the first time I hung out with a guy I liked and solely had fun.
Days later, I called
coaxed you into a relationship–I mentally did not want.
The next time I saw you, I was delivering a self-centered breakup
and my chocolate eyes whispered sorry
’cause my lips knew nothing about infidelity
just another guy’s kiss
I saw your heart bleeding its loneliness into the air
Then, I said
Goodbye…with my back
A year later,
You blew into the shriveled lungs of our communication,
spoke to me with confidence and wit,
stood six feet, intrepid bravado.
In the first close proximity, with an accidental shift
my impatient curiosity initiated the awkward euphoria
You kissed me, like I hid self-esteem in the confines of my cheeks
I kissed back as if I did.
I asked, what are we now?
You said, I want you to be my girl,
like a toddler who did something wrong and did not want to get in trouble
the deadly sin your lips crept into my heart did not allow me to object.
To my delight
we soon were making bedrooms out of public parks.
On bench beds,
you were humid sensual touches, I was fog skin
underneath our night comforter.
I knew I did not love you as much as you convinced yourself you loved me.
You love with fixed distance, an obscure sense of freedom and partial honesty.
Love exists with emotional bonds and sweat only cements skin.
In the rare moments of conversation,
I saw you verbally birth pain you did not acknowledge.
I tried to walk away, but in the lifetime of nows
you would grip my shoulders
like the edge of a cliff you might fall off of
back up against a tree, a gate or building wall
then move your body fervently
with passion and a tinge of tender sorrow in your tongue,
making the line between good and bad inscrutable.
I knew I had to let you love yourself
So, I said
Goodbye with the recollection of your body heat.
Relapsing adamant farewells and gone forevers
I said one more time,
when you pleaded that we were perfect for each other–
knowing I still could not reciprocate love only desire and
everything I wanted you to be, needed you to be
were qualities other guys possessed.
We enjoyed a cold Prospect Park hangout of uninhibited laughs.
You asked, Do you miss me?
I said no
I did not think it was appropriate to tell you
I miss you with the wetness between my legs and the fever in my flesh.
We went to eat
and ended up fighting with chocolate pie filling,
you got the last assault by luck and stealth.
I got on the bus,
wiped the last of us from my face, rode back to the sensibility
I ,once again, ignored
when you felt too intrapersonal and beckoned to me that you changed.
Sitting in a single window seat
I thought about our last graze of flesh
how indelible it is from my imagery and line breaks
how you’re still the same and I’m the same
and the only difference is the month.
I think now,
that I may have done wrong by you
that living with you in rewound time was infinite
especially when the clock was your heart
and the hands were my libido
manipulating minutes to the moments I wanted most.
I never understood
why you lived in my fantasies but never vacationed in my dreams.
I should say sorry, but I remember
with clicks and keyboards we said,
means nothing–unless you have said it
The Benefits of a New Language
That woman turned around to say, you speak white. And at that time my 9-year-old mind only knew English. And is white a language? And I had never been exposed to the tongue of the brown brick poly-eyed structures across the street because it was off limits. And then one day an 11 year old cinnamon skin but spicy cultured Puerto Rican girl in my class befriended me, giving me entryway, the password: You Wildin’. And then I was seen as someone that was part of an esoteric clan. And then I met Parris, Tiffany, Brittany, Shaquanna, my older siblings. And beef was no longer what you ate but what you had, ODin’ did not relate to drugs− unless it did relate to drugs, you play too much was not the same as when your mother said it when you’d rather play Game boy than eat. And as quick as it takes you to say Yo! son I’m really not wit’ you I knew Chulie. And we’d talk in the hallway of 423 on the 8th floor about the guys we’d do everything but talk to. And at that moment head was no longer a body part but did involve that body part, hop was not followed by scotch but by over that gate while playing Manhunt, jumped was a verb you did not want to be the indirect object pronoun of. And then I got accepted to a school in Williamsburg, where people spoke East New York, Brownsville, Red Hook, Bushwick, Clinton Hill. And being there taught me how to play the Anthem while I saw the Dance. And at lunch I’d always hear my classmates talk about what went down at the Junction. And so one day I took well engineered metal named J high above cars, moving at an express speed, going in the direction opposite of the one I was accustomed to. And when it stopped I got out and saw eye candy of different colors walking around freely. And they were wrapped in saggin’ pants, Polo shirts, North Face book bags, Prada sneakers, Gucci belts. And at that point poppin’ was not a verb but an adjective or a greeting− if you wanted it to be, mad was not an emotion but another word for very or a lot, deadass was not at all a term for a deceased buttock. And slowly but surely Brooklyn grew bigger with undiscovered places. And I learned that Flatbush, Canarsie, Crown Heights, Bed Stuy guys had their own variations of “stop frontin'”. And that didn’t matter ’cause it always got me to do the same thing. And my estrogen lips with their testosterone lips in free cribs− whether in fall, spring, winter, summer, always thought with kindled beliefs of not stopping. And soon public transportation and metro cards caught on to the lingo ’cause the F to 179th Ave knew that “come thru” did not just mean a visit. And the 4 to Yankee Stadium also understood. And it might seem like the vernacular was in everyone’s mouth but it wasn’t. And because of that, I had friends that were not allowed to come where I live or to parties where We Takin’ Over, A Milli, Disturbia, Get me Bodied, Stronger intoxicated our spirits like vodka does the body, while round thick hips pushed narrow ones against a wall. And move rhythmically further making anatomies want to be explored . And you know, after all that wildin’ I never learned how I speak “white”.
[Footnote: This is a spoken word piece.]
Rules To Being A Woman
· Wear red lace panties and buy sexy black lingerie.
· Grow your hair long.
· Do not bite your nails.
· (Pretend to) Know sports .
· Shave your legs.
· Wear sexy heels all day. If your feet hurt don’t show it.
· Practice safe sex methods.
· Be great in bed.
· If you are going to wear make-up make it look natural.
· Know fashion, like fashion.
· Be fashionable.
· Fishnet stockings and leather and skin-tight clothing are sexy, but make sure you do not look like a whore.
· Do not own more than 1 cat. It is better if you own no cats.
· Your hips must be shapely, legs have to be gorgeous, lips have got to be full.
· Your job position cannot be one of power.
· Cry when you are heartbroken, or menstruating, or watching chick flicks, or because it is Tuesday and the wind messed up your hair.
· Curb your libido. No man wants to marry a slut.
· Spend hours at the hair salon, and then go to the nail salon for another few hours.
· Flirt and entice a man, but do not seem like you are easy.
· If he is not willing to pay for everything on the first date stop dating him.
· While eating ice cream out of the carton, read romance novels with a secret desire for a handsome man to rescue you.
· Be needy, be jealous.
· Be gentle, kind, and caring.
· Get married and have a big fairytale wedding.
· Recognize that he is man and you are wife.
· Make your man laugh.
· Stimulate your man intellectually.
· Cook flavorful food, and dessert so you can keep your man from cheating.
· Call him, love him.
· Have his children, all of his children.
· Raise his children.
· Forgive your man for any and all transgressions if he gives you roses, chocolate or jewelry or any combination of the three.
· Read Vogue, and Cosmo, and Harper’s Bazaar.
· Wash the dishes, vacuum every room, clean the windows, water the garden.
· Nag your man about not taking out the garbage. Say what you don’t mean, yell, argue, and fight with your man for trivial things, confuse him.
· Be a woman.
[Footnote: This is a spoken word piece.]
on the floor
with his arms around my body
while watching the Saturday marathon of Psych
Age 17, Grade 12
Girls Write Now