To him via text: A speechless man is a lovely thing at times but right now is when you should tell me what it is that you need.
To him in my mind: Every time that I give a little bit I immediately want to pull myself back completely. I don’t know how to give in and stay in. Help me.
To him on a thought loop that I will never share with him aloud: I finally watched the movie that you recommended and because you recommended it, of course I’m going to think that the story has something to do with you and I. If so, it’s horrible and beautiful and tragic. If not, still, same.
To myself: When you are used to being ignored there are some aspects to being seen that you begin to abhor. Being seen means that you have to become something- a label- a category of some kind so that you can be identified and easily decided upon- what to do with. There is a comfort in the pain of invisibility- yes, it hurts to be alone but it will dull, once you realize that you can move effortlessly without being noticed. Because of the body parts that I have and the shade of my skin and the country that I live in, on those rare occasions that I am seen; it’s usually when I have done something that the person who sees me disapproves of. I’m a decent student, a tax payer, employed, I don’t do any hard drugs or hang out on street corners or commit any serious crimes. I am a mother and a teacher and a consumer and when I am doing these things, I have my safe shell of invisibility. A few times in the past when I have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, or stood up to say NO to people who purposely tried to inhibit people with my body parts and skin color, I have become visibly the enemy and called names meant to stop my actions and possibly existence. This makes wanting to be invisible, even dead, a viable and preferred option to a constant berating that will come with full unadulterated views by idiotic hordes. And you have no idea why anyone is calling you these names but you get tougher about it- you start to let them roll off of your back onto the ground because after all, this person doesn’t know you and ignorant people, not much smarter than chimps, do ignorant shit, all of the time. You keep to yourself, and live your life, doing what you want to do, outside of the center of attention. It’s peaceful-ish. Unfortunately though, you know that if you are seen what they will say to you, or about you immediately… so you do everything in your power to make sure that on those times they cannot say that you have committed any sin, that you are disheveled or uneducated- you make certain that whatever they say about you negatively is completely and totally false, just by your speech patterns, the way that you carry yourself, your tastes that you have acquired, without much help, on your own, in the darkness- a second layer of protection against those ignorant monkeys who for whatever reason, categorize you negatively because they have taken no time to understand themselves, let alone, you, whose only fault is being slightly different, from them. As a writer though, you are an observer- you try to look at things objectively and reasonably- you try to transcribe it just as it happened if it is real life with very little subjective overlay. As a poet however you know that you can only open the door a little, and let them smell the bread baking, let them see the girl in the corner sobbing, let them hear the floor creak and close the door so that they have to use their own minds to draw the connections from the images; to fill in the gaps and create a picture from it that all of us who exist in this time or any other can understand, see and feel the humanity of the thing. Nobody likes poets but poets. So I live with yet another disadvantage. Not only am I a brown skinned female in a systemically racist and powerful country but I also am a sensitive, near-sighted, poor, overweight, nerdy, depressed, bisexual poet. Labels. And Categories. Some, that people can see and others they simply infer. Words that make me worse in the eyes of the majority, with no hope of acceptance or normalcy, merely tolerance if I do what I have always done, stay quiet for the most part, and out of the way. Maybe around two weeks ago, I liked a photograph on a social networking site of a stranger’s whose posts were shared onto my timeline. This person sent me a private message not asking, but demanding that I remove my like and share the post. They did not want likes you see, only shares- likes were an insult, I guess. I asked the person what the big deal was, foolishly, but I was curious- and since we didn’t know or couldn’t see one another, I thought perhaps since I’m old, this person can explain to me why this is the case and perhaps with new information, I might follow suit in my postings on the site. Really, I wanted to say fuck off, assclown or screw you, bastard like the savage that I have been raised to be but because I don’t want to be seen in that way ever by anyone, I thought the latter and only stated the former. No one knows what goes on in my head, other than the few people who read anything that I might write down. This person decided to go to my page and look for pictures of me and then came back to the private message to yell at me once again about changing the way I had responded to their post. This time- he (or she for all I know) said UNLIKE MY POST, YOU SLUTTY FAT NIGGER. GET CANCER AND DIE, BITCH.
I knew a few things from this which saddened me- that this was a young person in 2017 and that wherever they were from- anyone my age or older simply doesn’t have much time left to get so riled up over such pettiness, especially when our lives and our families lives do not depend on it and we have lived so long without the medium, that if it went away tomorrow entirely, we would not be lost. This person was lost over this and therefore, young. The saddest part is that this person’s caregivers or loved ones raised him or her in the 21st century to think these things about people that they have never met and it is ingrained in this human now. He or she went to look at me first- saw the labels and categories of danger that he or she had been taught to inherently hate and used choice words that he or she thought might control or change my behavior. I simply blocked the person, after laughing at them of course and went on about my day. It didn’t even raise my blood pressure. I felt no malice- it had happened before, it was bound to happen again and my defense system for it is so battered and strong now nothing like that can really ever get in…until I think about one of my favorite topics, love. Do you ever know if you love a racist if they are very careful to hide? As a careful person, I think about this. I know very well that I am in love with a young person. A young person who does not look anything like me and actually, in my country, has all of the best labels and categories that a person can be afforded. Not until today, waiting for a text response, did the issue of the young person who hates me for no reason even come back into my mind and feel heavy. The young man that I love is more like me, the inner workings and patterns of me, than dislike me- although outwardly we are probably exactly opposite- we never say racially charged things to one another and probably don’t even think them as much as other people seem to, its a matter of knowing a couch is just a couch and sitting on it. We play a game with love; he and I, and probably everyone- testing patterns we have learned in childhood over and over with different people and the person that I am usually enamored with is the same person almost always- someone beautiful, someone a little dangerous and scary to me, someone brilliant, who knows more than I do about some particular topic, someone a little on the outside of what every one else appears to be doing, someone who’s day and night does not begin or end based on what I am doing thinking or saying- someone emotionally unavailable in a lot of ways- someone that I would obey, someone that I can pine for, without ever having to really be with, so I can stay safe and never demonstrate submissiveness from my favorite spot- the shadow stage left and not dead center stage with vulnerabilities hanging out all over the place. This man is no exception. What frightened me is the ignoring me that I actually crave and allow him to do, why do I do it? Does he see me like that young person so upset over an internet sign of approval, sees me? Does he see me at all? Do I ever really want him to, him or anyone else? If we were in what the normies would call an acceptable relationship, would he have stood up for me? Do I secretly think that no one would be proud of me, that no one actually likes or loves me, including myself, so safe is better than accepting, in a way that I wish others would, a person that I don’t even find worthy in my own mind? Do I love him because, I’m not supposed to? Because it’s the biggest fuck you to every diluted, terrified and heinously sick, racist person in my country? Am I one of them and don’t even realize it? I don’t have answers for my own questions. I’m attached to him by my own tether, to every lover I have ever had for that matter- I think now that they have all despised me in some small way and that was okay because eventually everyone gets left alone, especially me. No one can hurt me alone, no one other than me and I’m used to my own abuse. If he ever told me that he loved me, I wouldn’t believe him anyhow. I’m simply not built for it.
To me: I’m craving pancakes. I always do when I miss him. So I’m having brown sugar oatmeal packets as a sweet substitute.
In my head: Am I just a lonely older woman, easily susceptible to anything? Fuck. Maybe. No, no, no that’s not it but …maybe.
He texts me back: I can have him, any way that I want to, however I want to, from this point forward with whatever means are at my disposal.
I’ve …just… died.
In my heart: I may never feel hungry again.