On the Mysteries of Cotton Candy Dear Person I Would Like to Remain Friends With: I was wrong. There’s a cotton candy machine in the back of my throat. It is all sugar and cloud. I like sugar. Not everyone does. A man touched my hips two weeks ago, rather incidentally, and reminded me I had hips. And skin. And that I like to be touched. When I met him in the daylight, his smile went flat. I am so tired of being after midnight hips. I didn’t feel like that with you. Maybe because it is always sunshine, never daylight. Maybe I got confused. Your default avatar in my phone is a picture of you smiling so hard, you warm my face. I been smiling, because you been smiling, a lot. I thought you were playing. I thought we were playing. I thought I felt you yank my ponytail. It is my tradition to then give chase, but never catch. Always get caught, don’t act like that’s what I wanted all along. It is a hard habit to break. I have slick wrists and good technique. I can spin pink grains of hope into a puffy fantasy so expertly, in nothing flat. I think, “Look at what I’ve done! Even I want a bite!” I expected you to bite. Not everyone does. I have mood swings. I don’t slide into My Dark as much anymore as I: use feet for brakes, pull myself to stand, walk back up the slide. But My Dark figured out my fake-out. Now, I flip quicker than a trick wrist. I am sure the moods could be controlled by the medication I don’t want prescribed to me. Little pink pills that won’t let me feel. When I valley, I don’t want anyone near that brand of stuck. What if I got some of it on them? Have you ever seen what happens to cotton candy when it gets caught in the rain? I have been telling every single one of my friends, so I wouldn’t say it to you first. Better to mask face than have to save it. You are a good person. You write full-speed baseball bats to my chest. Your heart, a beautiful landscape: all peaks and valleys, weather and carnival too. You have a smile that draws the giggle out of this self-centered, kind, gentle and usually hot-mess of a woman; you crush my capital I’s into lowercase grains of sugar, and make me spin. I said I would stop, and I am still thinking about you. Turns out, I’m not a very good “friend” at all. I miss you. Sincerely, After Midnight Hips. Tallahassee, 1998 Making a Mother Sauce in your kitchen: It is Saturday afternoon, tomatoes and heat, we are chopping them up. We are sweetening the boil with cut basil, dry parsley, white sugar. I rinse off a wooden spoon. We get giddy about something you said. I scrape the sides and bottom. We wash the butcher board more tickled than most. I add the sweated sweet onion. You are near the sink. I add a big pinch of the spicy mix. You are near my neck. I add more tomatoes. You lean against me, chest to my back chin on my shoulder zipper on my ass, tighter. The kitchen is the smallest it has been all day. Little pops of red-orange play pointillism on the counter and against the back splash. And I want to… throw my color and salt to jazz against your tongue. But will everything burn just so you can get a taste? On Listening to Meshell Ndegeocello in the Workplace Make sure you are alone. That there is no rainstorm. That there are no slow songs— only up tempo; that there is no pulse in her bass notes that mimics the pulse in your bass notes. That you are quiet with your secrets. Make sure you are alone. That you don’t know her moan, don’t identify with her moan. don’t wish you made her moan. Don’t moan. That you swallow your sexuality Make sure you don’t begin to wish; that the corners of your eyes can catch your abandoned wishes. That the shift in your panties can cover the fickle of emotion; that you don’t touch your skin in that way that gives you away. Make sure you are not actively thinking! That you don’t look for hidden meaning, where there is none, or think about the one you cannot touch! That you don’t regret in pattern That you can hope, when you hope someday you’ll hope you are not alone. Medicine (after the last scene of Medicine for the Melancholy) This is what it’s like when the color returns: broken promises, bad lighting. The couchbed sucking your face, cheek first into a yellow hickey. And she always runs, a teared-up eye shedding its burn. She will always run. Once the body unlearns shock, fluently, trust becomes a theme park fairytale. The rubble of it. The tumble dust. Lilting voice in a bicycle spoke- she will always run. Look at it. Don’t ever look away. The Night My Lover Accused Me of Seducing His Friend, My Rapist You think you’ve got the whole damned glass. The corn-husk broom pushing the shards - giant and plenty - into a planet, center of the floor The care and contemplation that goes into the removal process: whisp away, the discordant clink, the dustpan line thinner, and thinner the next time. The inspection of the work - meticulous. The evaluation: immaculate. Had to get every piece of the broken all swept up. Until that Saturday morning, weeks later. That slithery pointed smart aleck slits a bright yelp into the sleepy air. Pink center of foot, bleeding more than it should, profusely, sobbing a crimson ilk to limp on. More until it is a pattern: foot print, tile floor foot print, tile floor. Someone is going to have to clean this up too. Eight years away from the tile floor in Miami is a bus stop in Virginia, an almost familiar face, a pair of black stockings ruined with runs, soaked through, and a shoe full of blood.
October 20, 2015