the house smells, it smells from open door to closed door, the smell stop right at my entrance, with a step outside, a step for an escape it comes back and hugs my body. Weed, like earth that has been left to long in the open and human being human, took from it and it lost it scent, leaving behind a reminder with a puff that it does not belong to us. I live in a house owned by immigrant parents who are attempting their hands at the American dream, their daughter actualizing her dreams, light skin, light morals and light confidence completed with her white man and the daughter. Black skins guests better yet ghosts remembered only when the grips of capitalism call ever so loudly every first of the month we fork over our hard work, food money, dream money escape money, dead money, all gone with the deposit. This is now home, a bed of my own, a queen for a queen, i joke. Huddled at night, covered in sweat with the window open, the leftover space is the reminder of the starvation for company, the attempt at solitude and when it all fails, a placeholder for a week worth of clothes, a placeholder. In addition to the bed, there is a bookshelf that holds more clothes, things that have no place to go but need to stay close for privacy. There is also a rack, that holds souvenirs, dry nail polishes, a Paris jewelry box with gold overspilling with nowhere to go they hold on tight to each other. A yoga mat, a trash can, a laundry mat, a back pillow on the colorful carpet and a dusty mirror. This is the first room, I can call my own, bought with my own money, my own, It is the first place, i lay down after long bus rides, eat my popcorns with salty hands and lay outside of myself into gazes into other realities. This room holds tears like i hold my breath in public, a black body woman in American, hiding inside between in her nails, her eyelashes elongated to make her eyes big a reminder of that we have to be a witness to our own body and existence. This past week, I realized my anger toward my parents has not gone away, for a mother to protect a man who does not see her, does not see me expect as a punching back, with hands or words. Laying in the dark yesterday, after learning that the only black man who used to sit next to me and the only other black woman in our team, can no longer sit with us, the sharp anger came back and stayed on my tongue, black people caring for each other is a threat. Black women always cast as the problems. The white man’s response to want and need, a room full of black and brown people, living is a want. Needing to live is a privilege. The microaggression of white women expecting a smile from black women tired eyes. Tongue-twisting, homecoming on with every examination trying to say you are too young for this place. A call from my sister, telling me to ask better for myself, to leave the pain and to search for better because i deserve it. I say I know, but I don’t want to leave like how they have left me. I call to K to come over, to escape and breathe with me. The call back to say no she can not and i should come over and the silence to my question of corruption and k’s goodbye. I cried for five minutes, the first two minutes I held them in and the last three I sunk into a dream. When I was a child as a punishment for being a child, I would not have dinner for the night. Always only me, always me with an empty stomach with bruised knees. I woke up in tears and I cooked and ate and everything. I know now why all of my expenses are going toward food, to hold and feed a five-year-old, to smooth the tight muscles in her belly, I overeat.
you wearing the dashiki is not a sign of appreciation
you mispronouncing my name when i have worked for you for 10 months is not a sign of appreciation
you telling me to swallow the fact that i feel invisible and violated in the order to make him comfortable is not a sign of appreciation
you taking out your anger and frustration on me, when they have screwed you over is not a sign of appreciation
you referring to me as a maid and you telling me they did not mean it, is not a sign of appreciation
you saying being a strong black woman is my value and my confidence in my existence needs to be toned down is not a sign of appreciation
you not saying anything and watching the violence occur day by day is not a sign of appreciation
you making monkey noises when you see me in the midst of a crowd is not a sign of appreciation
you coming up to me and saying are from Africa and saying yes i knew it because you look African is not a sign of appreciation
you saying to my face with white teeth, my friend has that disease the one they all get in Africa is not a sign of appreciation
you saying they all sound the same, and i am the excuse because i dont know any better when i told you better is not a sign of appreciation
well fuck you and your anti black, anti african ideology
Thursdays are the hardest, to get up to put on clothes, to brush my teeth, i stare hard in the mirror looking past space and time with blank stare my mind in bed, underneath peach covers rolled into a fetal position. I water my hair, a routine that is harder on this day, pulling at the matted hair that does not want to detangle, each holding onto one another, maybe they knew the secret of this eventful day. Tears streaming down my face, i make the call, save me, I am at the point of no return. I am drowning faster than I thought possible, time has run out and I sitting in the mist of the crowd tears company. Making it to Friday is a challenge because Thursdays are lived in fear and anticipation, anxiety a tight noose around my neck cutting and cutting with each breath, until 12am to release a small prayer of thanks to live to see another day. I live in this bubble and with Wednesday around the corner, the panic starts revealing that making it through Thursday, there is a small chance I will live to see the end of the weekend.
i dream of bones growing underneath my eyelashes, white and sharp with jagged lines smoothed by days of dry salt from irritated red eyes- the night is long
you are so skinny now they whisper with pearly teeth, waiting to be kissed out of obedience, calling it their rightful honor, bones digging into ribs, i hold them close cutting myself into quarters, a whole left at home underneath the bed with the light off in child pose breathing into air pockets, working on myself, the water working its way slowly to my feets, the process of cleansing slowly meticulous measure by each breath, i hug them tight, blank eyes, wide smile, i lean back the mask in place, i let go and laugh a while and move on, same smile. At home, the water comes and goes and each time it warms to my body heat, fire slowly consuming the darkness, bring to the light to name the violence: a community consumed by look and greed, anything to be, misreading depression as fat, misreading depression as skinny. the bones over flow with salt, shiny, clean and sharpen slowly loosening for the war to come
I could write for days if it would bring you all back to me.
It always takes a long time for the words to land. So much time spent trying to sound just.. just enough that home does not slip through. But with every sentence the truth becomes clear.
Your voices rise above the sound of the running water. No no
Collecting a breath I tune it out, your anger, your ignore.. everyday this violence becomes a replica of what your swore you will never become.. yet you let him in, gave him the key.. in doing so you failed at the promise you whispered into your boney wrist as you by your lips when you realized that you mattered. A child, this was your turning moment when you begin to think about love, love for yourself
Dishes done, next shower and lay in bed. Trying not cry you turn on the light, and you look at your bed and sigh.. heavy and your sink into the bed and your bones unravel but this time.. the process takes longer than most.. your shoulder throb from weights you have no business lifting…
Reading you espace into spaces. Your mind numb with the weight of living, numb you look at the time 9:30. An hour until the dark overcomes… you try to not think and be. At ten you move, brushing your teeth, you truly to avoid looking at the mirror, your sunken eyes, redder today than other, skin like rubber, you rise. Back in bed, you lay and play day as you wait for the sun to rise and try it again