My Life is a Queer Brown Femme Love Letter & Don't Ever Fuck Me Over & Break My Heart: Titles of My Memoirs, Short Story Collections, Poetry Chapbooks, Etc.
i've been going through it. i dunno if you know, but just to clarify, i get fucked over a lot. like, it isn't a fluke that happens every once in a while, it is systemic & it happens all the fuckin time. these things always involve people i love & trust with privilege that isn't being accounted for, even after multiple conversations where i do copious amounts of preparation & emotional labour. it sucks. it hurts. i'm not saying it's gonna be this way forever & ever, but it has been thus far.
last night i just got tired of holding this all in, so 1 title became 33, which i really like because my 32nd birthday is coming up & there's one more for good luck. & here i am , here we are. i share these with lots of love & a fuck you to those applicable. xoxo
*cw: self-harm talk, referencing familial trauma, & lots of feels that can be intense in this poem.
my roots are tangled & curved
complicated & dangerous
this is how i feel when
dentist after dentist says
i don’t do those kinds of root canals
15 is wreaking havoc on my life today
i hear them say 15
& am immediately transported to 15
quadrant by quadrant, my back teeth are falling ill
about a month before the pain slipped through
i shared a dream with two of my friends
prompted by a card i drew from my tarot deck
it was about teeth
my dream was about crumble
the sun burned my friend
i hoped i was wrong
front right center i am dead
i fell out of the car one evening
& broke my teeth more than in half
it was evening, & we were driving back from
visiting my mom on her break
the lamps along side the railroad track
shone matching sunset orange
& i wasn’t wearing a seatbelt as i fought
for the last taco with one of my sisters,
the youngest of whom was next to me
i assume the pothole that slowed us down was also
all i remember was arguing & then
my body wrapping itself around my sister & then
air wrapping itself around us & then
lifting myself up off the gravel &
knowing immediately that
my teeth were gone
i always wondered if we’d have found them if we had looked
that was the same time i became my mother’s mother
bore witness to the remains of her childhood,
collected her whimpers & the questions that hung like muscle
& tucked them into her peach blanket
sang her the saddest song on the radio from memory
that was the same time that i began to pull out my hair
& when i found the name
in my mother’s DSM IV
five years later
i let out a five-year-old sigh
my bald spots made the shame worse,
made my mother angry,
& i never had answers for the
found sandwich bags of hair
i would collect from the floor
at this same time, my self-hate began
to solidify a presence in my small brown body
desperately urging me to scratch my skin
til blood came to surface
this is what i did the night
i didn’t have the nerve to run away
my mom took my teal & pink backpack,
with all the zippered pockets, into the bathroom
& i pressed my face to the carpet & watched her feet
listened to her cry as she rummaged through the pockets
of things i don’t remember
except for the this:
the photo booth picture of her & i
black & white
she still in braces
my pigtails small & a top my baby faced head
both of smiling
Author's Note: This piece is obvi unfinished, but has been sitting in my drafts box for a while. I want to share now because Full Moon in Scorpio feels like letting this story breathe because not only did I survive it, I am recognizing what I can take from it now. This is important because for the years that I've carried it, it has felt so fucking unbearable, so deeply painful. It no longer has the sting of taking from me. The tide has changed, & I welcome it.
as they cut your heart out seam by seam with their soft sighs, you come a little each time, without falter or blush. you both deny you’ve fallen in love, but continue to do the things lovers do: say i’m sorry, write love letters, & lie.
you sit in their kitchen, pretending your not allergic to the cat who recklessly flirts with your legs. you are there to read tarot cards, & in exchange, they are cooking you dinner. you remember this reading for too long a time, & your heart will break more because you thought you knew them. you are both wrong & not wrong.
this is the same dinner, they will later confess to you, they should have never cooked. everything was deliberate because this is the first time they admitted to themselves how much they wanted to be alone with you. the dish is so delicious you will ask for it again three months later when they throw a birthday party for you.
when they drop the pan fresh from the oven, they’ll curse & bashful & promise not to serve you sullied squash. you are smitten & keep your ass put & tell them its ok. before they drive you home later, they tell you they have a twin sister & they share a poem with you about their sweetie. this is the same sweetie that never likes you, never trusts you. nobody talks about this, except you with yourself.
these are words they use to describe you.
on your way to your crash & burn there are lots of sweet things. there’s an almost date thing where they pick you in their car & insist on paying with their groupon. you want to wear something short because they complimented your legs that one time, but utah springs are more like a sloppy winter, & if you showcase your lovely gams too soon, that might tip them off. your motto is always play it cool, so you wear pants that hug your ass instead. nobody says a word about how much this feels like a date, but you both feast with your eyes, have each other for dessert.
you say, nobody ever tells me when they fall in love with me, but i know. & then you smile.
they say, oh, how can that be, & smile back. this is when you begin to notice that look you come to call i am the center of everything good. sweetie & i are opening our relationship. i can kiss people now, everything but hands down pants.
the next night you both go to the club you no longer frequent & you kiss them. this is the second kiss the two of you share at the club you no longer frequent. this becomes the summer of self denial.
you write poems about the first time they say i love you, how they tried to cancel plans because of a migraine, but in the end texted, fuck it, i’m coming over. you hide how much it means to you when they show up with yellow flowers & the smile you can never get enough of. you love these flowers more than any other flowers in your whole life until this moment. the yellow flowers live longer than most in your purple vase. this is the night they tell you, i’m afraid i’m not gonna be at your table for forever because i am not good enough. you comfort them with promises neither one of you keep, but you still believe the words that are coming out of your mouth.
that night, in your living room with felt for carpet, you kiss them before they go home. it feels awkward, but you both want it so much you don’t care that your lips clench with overload of desire, or that they’re dry, making your lips stick together when your kiss is done. on their way out in your stairwell they, look back & say, i love you, & you echo it back back back.
you don’t wild make out like you want before shit gets bad, but you do snuggle & hold hands at the movies & sit in their car for hours as the moon yawns across the sky. you read them stories in bed until after midnight about finding home. you stay with their twin sister for a few days in the summer summer, & then the two of them throw you a birthday party, cooking that one dinner & buying the spendy carrot cake with nary a raisin to sully the sweetness.
as some king of birthday homage, they proclaim you poet laureate of their house. it is so sweetly obvious they adore you & your words. it’s probably shit like this that make your friends assume you’re fucking. they introduce you to Dear Sugar & come to your house on Sunday mornings where you two read it aloud & cry & bear witness to something that feels like healing. they call you chosen family. they text you things like, i miss the sound of your voice. you go along, follow their lead because they are the one with a sweetie who is now live-in.