Afraid

I was afraid he’d stop breathing

During his impossible naps

I was afraid he’d fall and bleed

When he started walking too soon

I was afraid his own cells

Wouldn’t stop attacking his body

I look at him now

And see

This beautiful, peaceful, happy

White son

Barely beyond a decade

Full of joy

But sometimes,

I look at his crumpled face

And see

his anger

Will someone be afraid of him someday?

I’ve been hurt by white men

Death

Divorce

Desertion

Denial

Never with such devastation

Will my son

Who looks like killers

Be someone who hurts?

How do I stop?

What do I say?

How can I discipline?

When step away?

Will I be afraid of him?

The boy I loved the

Moment he formed

Before any of him

Formed

And then we formed him

Or tried

What if

I’m afraid

Madam or Madman

Photo captured at Black Forge Coffee

Or both. 

It is exhausting having a foot in both worlds. 

This week I was a therapist and a patient. (Humble plea: Yes. Hospital workers can be brusque and harried. I know and I’m sorry.  But please try to be gentle with us. We sometimes come to work as sick as the patients.)

Sunday I sat at home alone begrudgingly doing housework and later I was a partner, far less begrudgingly listening to jazz and story idea and fears over wine. He was much a far better partner to me days before, making sure I had food and wine (there are commonalities in both my worlds) and love and rest. 

Saturday I was a single mother and a performer. 

I watched my son accept an award for his art. 

It is a better drawing than I will ever accomplish as I have zero artistic capacity in this realm. I was as proud as if he’d stood up and criticized a Congressman. Surrounded by conservative values and history, I stood observing and silent. 

Hours later, I was on stage myself, performing a movement and poetry piece I created entitled Bare. I stood among an incredible collection of  women, femmes and female-identified artists. They opened their souls and bled poetry and performance art about feminism, gender roles, heartbreak, self-abuse and body positivity. We loved naked bodies and what they can portray. I spent the night alternating. Attracted then repulsed. Laughing then crying. Unable to look away then covering my eyes because there were moments that were simply unbearable  to watch because they were so raw and real and pained. 

I don’t know if what I offered of myself on stage was any good. It know it hurt. 


And that’s usually a good sign. 


I know I was honored to share space with these mavens. 

The day reminded me of how much I try to keep myself in two places, be two people, fulfill two roles. 

Straddling worlds means I am trying to keep a grasp on everything between my legs. My thighs may be thick and strong but they can’t maintain this tonic contraction forever. 

Metaphorical muscle fail also brings to the brink the eventuality that as these two worlds shift, I won’t be able to bridge the gap and I’ll rip down the middle. Torn into halves. Unable to make meaning in any plane of my existence because I’ll be in pieces. 

I want to pull the worlds together. I want love and inspiration. Bedtime stories and burlesque with fake blood. School projects and hearing my own plays read. Kisses with passion and quiet handholding when the fears come. 

I want to be madam of my own house. 

I want to be the madman that brings the wildness in so the ones I hold close can see the feral beauty and learn of bravery. 

Madam and Madman. 

Both. 

All. 

I See Me

I See Me

 

I don’t like to see me.

 

I remember nights of towels

to catch,

blankets

to cover

over mirrors

so I couldn’t.

Catch.

A glimpse was too much.

 

Not the body.

Not the deeper.

I couldn’t see.

 

Loving someone makes

us see.

Us.

Not them.

Me.

The beauty of

the ugly.

What we look past

In our own selves.

To them, visible, a

downy, perfected smooth

under a touch,

when all we see,

feel,

know,

are the raised ridges of the scars

 

If I was looking,

they were looking,

each other in the eyes,

of the same height.

 

I could stand

the emotional

discrepancy.

 

But when the physical difference

is a matter of inches

and the year displacement

is thirty,

 

and it’s your own child,

 

at once

you don’t see your faults

Flaws

Mis-steps

Fuck ups,

 

because they’re not

exclusively yours now.

 

They’re shared in miniature,

not as boulder-ous,

overwhelming,

monstrous,

as yours.

 

But they’re still yours.

And now.

They’re his.

 

He has your eyes.

Your dance.

Your heart

 

And you see

what the

ones who looked in your eyes,

at your height,

saw..

 

Your insecurity.

Your give up at a glance.

Your blame and accuse.

Your drive to be

without

because trying

again

Is too hard.

 

Yours.

Now his.

And you can’t take them back.

 

He yells and stomps like you.

He hurts.

With the pain you know.

Both.

 

I see me,

in him.

I did that.

That’s what I’m meant,

forced,  to see.

 

He sees me,

And knows.

 

I don’t want him to know that.

 

I don’t want him to see.

 

But he sees me.

 

I see me.

 

I want him

to see.

Better.