This one is for me.
Not for elegance and eloquence, but for something else. The rougher edges and hollowed cores of pieces of me I left by the wayside.
For years of stories lurking just beneath the surface. Scribbled fragments on the backs of serving paper and greasy placemats. She says, over and over. There is still a part of my soul that is the she that speaks when I whisper, “she says…”
My creative heart blurs. When did you lose your fire? she says, accusations like summer heat blistering the tips of my fingers. I never left, she says. Where did you go?
I grew afraid and went into the recesses of myself that I built years ago to protect the people I love from the things they love the most about me. Spontaneity, creativity, drive. The spark that lights the fire that burns for days. Shock waves and tectonic shifts. When did I become afraid of the part of my heart that makes me most myself?
This one is for me. For the me that comes, resurfaces with the dawn, bleary eyed and broken in the way only the calmness of night can wear down the cracked and splintered fragments in the shattered shards of stars burning in multitudes across the haphazard places where my skin touches the sky. I am my own constellations, the gravitational pull that guides the movements of my hands.
She is not afraid. But then again, she was never real, not in the way that I would have wanted her to be. She was the caricature of self that held the complexities and multitudes I could never be, looking to the world through these tempestuous eyes and sighs, hard, at this skittish skin she finds herself trapped within. She is the fiery heart that I could never claim, the wild-eyed child that rises up and takes her space, so certain and sure of herself in a way I never knew how to be.
I see her in others and ache, feel the pull of her yearning outward to be more like them, more like me, more real, more whole, more fully everything that she once dreamed I could be. It’s not too late, she says, and I want to shake her off, but she has never been one to be ignored.
Say the words itching in the back of your throat, she says, the ones that sound both bland and yet ricochet through the core of your spine like lightning splitting a tree that died and yet remained upright long past it’s time.
She holds sex like power, wields language in tones too sultry to work in these vocal chords stretched and pulled and yet. Wear the dress, she says, drop down to your knees and worship with tongue and lips and skin like we were made to praise the glory of the ways that bodies collide. She rolls another cigarette, rolls her eyes.
Tell him that you want him beyond the capacities of language to express, not because sex is accessible or required but because you are more real, more alive in those moments and because it was that fierce streak of pride that he fell in love with.
Who is this shivering, frightened thing that looks through my eyes to the world and sees only danger? Where is that part of me that flung words like gasoline and smiled at the way skin shivered in scent of sulfuric burn? She smiles deep within, settles long and low and deep.
Take it in, then, she says. Open wide, not in shame but in reclamation of desire. I was always the heart and soul of your desires, the ones you fear and mute and stifle and pretend do not exist. Reclaim them, then, and in the bargain, you find me.
She is, she was, she says. There are no people left allowed to called her forward and yet. She is as much a part of me as the nerves that twitch and tingle beneath her fingertips, the suggestive smiles and smoldering eyes that come when she dances.
She is my freedom, the driving force behind the whirlwinds dancing in the sinew knitting my form into something coherent. She the pulse in my cunt, the burn in my eyes, the dance in my hands, the catalyst of words tossed like breadcrumbs.
I will tell you what you want, she says. And when I am done, you will beg me for words, and I will lend you my body to speak.