Archive for January, 2007
I am not your
prince fucking charming
despite what you might
have heard. I can slay
blue fire breathing
dragons, save kingdoms
but princesses? I rescued
too many of those bitches
one after another
slinking off with my nemesis
to go to some rock concert
while my armor
smoulders. can’t they
have gotten me
a glass of water?
If I had it my way, I would take back every time I said not I love you, but I adore you, my admiration palpable and thick as the silver tightrope between us. I would take back the times I needed you. Would take back the times you pried open my ribcage and I relaxed to let your fist close over my heart. Take back the revealing of my thin underbelly, every time I rolled over to show you how soft and small I was, a creature of defence, an animal with simple needs like adequacy. Not so hard really.
I would take back the times I launched myself into you like a pilgrimage, like an exhibition of discovery. Yes, I am an explorer. I seek to understand before I dominate.
Take back the love notes and red paper hearts sent special delivery. Take back the mornings I woke satisfied. Take back the days of shoving myself into a corner and letting you insert word after careful word onto my tongue like communion from a priest: the body of Christ. I took you as seriously.
If I had it my way, I would take back the longing, the pining, the days of anticipation. Really that was always my favorite part: waiting for you to arrive, because before you were there you would only be who I wanted you to be, which was exactly the problem, because while I woudl dream you one way and observe you another, you would rewrite my DNA to better match the way you dreamed me.
I would take back the times I let you rewrite me. As though you are the novelist (and not me). As though I am a character and you have a chart where you can fill in my attributes: likes. Dislikes. Coping mechanisms. Compulsions.
I would take back the times I told you what I want, because I should’ve known it wasn’t you and left it at that. But who knows that when you are a master at shapeshifting, at chameleoning to become what those around you need?
I am still waiting for your thin, soft underbelly, to see you roll onto your back, sit calmly and hold enough space still that I may walk right into it and unfurl my arms, uncurl my fiddlehead ferns. I am still waiting.
I am still waiting
who isn’t you -
no wonder the waiting was always
my favorite part.
I would do it differently, now, again, after this last time that I offered up my messy red heart on a shined silver platter, her name gleaming, freshly engraved. I would not go back to her apartment. I would not accept gifts of wings on a necklace chain when her heart leaps from her chest to my palm – involuntarily – and she forgets to ask for it back. I would keep our courtship in dark bars with indulgent mixed drinks, dance clubs where I stoop to knee-level and come on to every girl with heels higher than three inches.
I would not say ‘I love you’, not eagerly, would not hold the words on my soft palette like a marble, a pearl made from sand, from too much grinding. I got me a mouth guard. A machine to stop the optimism from forming sentences beginning with ‘I have never felt’ and ‘you are so’ and ‘I can’t believe’ and ‘I love.’
If she asked me the state of my heart, I would lie and tell her it is crushed in a vice-grip of regret. Of longing. But really, it is rebounding like a glacial valley, too long crushed by thousands of tons of frozen water, and she was the vice-grip all along.
She said, and I quote: you need to stand up for yourself.
And, see, this is what I’m not comprehending about myself right now. This relationship has brought me a very different view of my own self than I’ve ever had before. For example, I would have said that I was articulate, good at communicating, appreciated conflict and dealt with it well. That I was extremely loving and doting and caring. I’ve never had anyone tell me otherwise.
I hate to shift the blame to her – it takes two people to have a relationship, all that, I know. But she has something happening deeply in her that I can’t reach, can’t heal.
And it isn’t my responsibility to do so anyway. Is this really what I want in a relationship?
She is the fantasy, and I am the dreamer. Or perhaps it is she who is the dreamer: she is the one who is always creating meaning from metaphors and analyzing the superstitions that are coming between us: bread and butter. Knocking the tree spirits awake and away we beg for forgiveness for being so presumptuous that we would know what is to come ahead of us. What nausea will pass and what we will be doing to ring in the next new year. How much of this will we weather? I already know how and where our great downfalls will come: flattery. Consumption. The great flaw of sunshine on a winter’s day.She is the fantasy, and I am the dreamer. She is the dreamer, and I am the magician with the magic hat who watches from the edge of the room after she cries herself back to sleep, never knowing which magic spell will bring her back into herself.
I have created a swirling romance around her. Sweltering inside a coil of smoke, a glass wall such that I cannot reach her. But that I did not place around her. Did not choose to erect such a barrier between us. She did, when she chose to dream me. I did, when I discovered the fantasy of her was more real than the real skin touch of her hand, her thigh, her kiss.
Is it only the dreamer who comes up with such fantasies? Perhaps I would rather be a writer than a dreamer, so I can write myself into something as solid as stones.
Maybe it’s because my name never had a home, a culture, a story in which to rest, that I seek out narratives like I seek black-inked fine-tipped pens: compulsively. Maybe my dark places just need their own language in which to confess the simmer and scratch of nibs on parchment, on velum, on cotton, on wood.
This is how my body sought to become paper, this is how blades sought to become pens. There is no canvas greater than the back. No skin or hide or substance that seeks pigment, marking, branding, scarring like the epidermis, layered, regenerating so often one must lay the ink deep for it to stick.
Like the dark, the ink runs deep in me. The doom of the millennium is nothing compared to what lies within, those secrets of shame and pain and homelessness we all refuse to share, or even see.