This has been THE longest TRUE LIFE game of Rumplestiltskin ever thought imaginable! Alas, dear impish troll, there are no more riddles, no cons, no jokes or tangents left to cloak and veil who you are.
What a great Grimm story and parallel to a life too true to situations I have the pleasure of watching unfold…like origami in reverse. Your page lies flat for me to read aloud. The story reads so different from the sounds that slid around the corners of the folded paper once puffed with pride.
The days of fancy folded pretend goodness are over. Now that I can read the secrets you once tucked inside your guise, there is no salvation, no rewind button.
The worst part is that your shame will be forever associated with the names of those who share your staples.
The fall of a fairy tale origami empire…
my body is covered in hieroglyphics; not a single lie is told, each mark bears the truth. each smile & tear, each battle from youth, each teacher & love lay over my flesh like a map of my path, the glory & the wrath; the passes & the beatings, the meetings & the leavings; all the times i lost, along with every win; pictographic memories all sprawled across my skin. yeah, i’m held together in stitches of ink, if you don’t like my flavor, then don’t take a drink. i proudly wear my scars & stripes, the story of my life. i am a storybook cracked wide open, telling the story of how i became, beautifully broken.
There is a light that emanates
from thoughts of you
which sends embers of
orgasm through my psyche.
Your smile touches me
deep down inside
and tickles the
clitoris folded between my legs of
inspiration on the left and
brutal truth on the right.
Climactic acknowledgement of
pushes up and brims out of my heart
with force unstoppable.
I am lit by your light.
He likes me ’cause I’m:
Different. Breakable. Needy. Tiny. Forbidden. Smart. High and low class. A good conversation. A challenge. A conquest. Conquering. A conqueror. Sexy. An affirmation of life. Caffeine and sugar. A consolation. A man. A woman. Interested. Interesting. The giver. Accepting. The exception. Non-judgmental. Special. Exciting. Dirty and innocent, but not naïve. Indecent. Wrong and right. A reminder. A secret. A lie. A comfort. Uncomfortable. Someone to care about and for. Imaginary. New. Old. Home. Lost. The good kind of bad. A drug. A drug addict. Love. Loving. Unloved. A leader to follow blindly into a tree, if I justified it well enough. A childless mother. A motherless child. A mirroring monster. A good lay. Sad. Open dancer wide, but virgin tight. A surprise. A lesson. An addiction. A simultaneous reason to live or die, together.
He likes me ’cause he(‘s):
In the dark. Breakable. Breaking. Partially broken. Needy of the same. A drunk. Lonely. Afraid. Lost. Needs love and affirmation. Wants to feel without feeling. A student. A master. Pleasing. Pleased. A conqueror. Unsure of himself. Only believes in my inevitable success. Trusts my truths. Can deny me. Can run away. Can be proud through and or above shame. Glued together. Falling apart. Feels alone. As broken as me. Not tied to me. Can’t hide from me. Doesn’t have to explain to me (but does anyway). Can’t feel too much. Likes to be on edge. Can pretend he doesn’t treat me like an indentured servant. Doesn’t have to love me “like that.” Feels suicidal. Can be a part of my life. Is addicted. Afraid of falling from his knees before me. Can pretend. Has power. Can fuck and run. Feels dirty, too. Definitely scared to death of me…but also brought to life by me.
Rachel McKibbens is hands down my all time favorite poet and inspiration for doing what it takes to hang your truth out there on a microphone’s amplification from center stage. I was introduced to her work over 10 years ago when she first began performing. The university I attended was 2 blocks from a coffee shop called The Ugly Mugg Cafe.
Once a week at the Ugly Mugg there was a poetry event with an open mic, a feature, a break and then another open mic to sandwich everything in there nicely. The event was put on by two guys who called themselves, Two Idiots Peddling Poetry. It was here at the Ugly Mugg where I experienced spiritual awakening and rejuvenation for the first genuine time EVER. I was finally at church.
Back then, Rachel was not married, therefore not McKibbens yet and so she went by only her initials, RAC. I showed up every week for the possibility of catching her on the mic and she was usually there with all her might and children in tow. She was the one original idol from which I drew strength and unapologetically decided to follow the path that felt right to me. She was a kick ass mother who showed up every week with one kid on her hip usually (or breast feeding) and another walking beside her. She had long black hair with bright red bangs and arms nearly sleeved in tattoos already….and she never ceased to be brilliant and honest.
One day, she read this very unflattering poem about an experience from her childhood in which her father is described as mean and violent at a Thanksgiving dinner (I believe). The day she read this poem, her father was in the audience.
I was so awe-struck with admiration that I can say that moment changed my life.
The Ugly Mugg was where Orange County California’s National Slam Team came from and so even though I had been writing for well over 10 years already (I started writing poetry, very intently at the age of 9 or 10 and was 20 by this time). And even though I was there every week during the school year…for over a year already, I had never actually read on the mic. I was way too intimidated and frozen with awe.
But, when Rachel read the truth as she experienced it and just laid it in the lap of her father who was responsible for the trauma the piece captured….my whole being changed immediately. After that night, I stopped obsessing over the half-hearted teenage angsty mush that I had been so familiar with. I went back to my dorm room and wrote about my truth, with my dad, unapologetically and with full commitment to healing myself at that time, in that space. I stopped hiding my reality to save face for fear of who it would hurt or make uncomfortable.
That’s when I can say that the true sharpness of my gift slit my entire potential right open, letting me out for air with total relief, like I had been born again that evening….or born for the first time ever, set free from the cage of secrets that were not mine to keep.
I will be forever in debt to that singular experience, for it was that powerful.
These days, I watch this video performance of a piece by Rachel called, Last Love. It is like a prayer to me. I feel the intense reality of each word as it meets the next and the next, every unseen punctuation mark and the breaths between.
This poem is my Hail Mary prayer.