A Letter to my Future Lover


Don’t worry, when I say lover, you might be afraid of what that might mean, because there is nothing worse than a (brown) woman telling you she needs you or wants you. (Believe me, I should know – I hate it more than you.) (Brown) women have learned this – we know that admitting our desires vulgarly announces that we are people, and this of course is false.

Shh, relax: I know I’m not a real person, so you have nothing to worry about. Why do you look so shocked? I saw what flickered in your eyes before “shock” settled in – slithered in – like a mask: there is always something strangely relieving about seeing discom­fort with truth slide around in (white) men’s eyes before settling into something socially appropriate.  It’s gratifying. My own laughter bubbles up ruefully: you see, even this truth – my truth –is something you validate with fidgeting to make real. Any solid(ar)ity in my thighs you feel, the softness of my arms and the way we seem to connect is a conjurer’s trick meant for this night only – your trick in fact. I bet you didn’t even know you were a magician, a wizard, a mage. Such is your considerable power.

And what you touch, you make. And what you don’t touch was never real anyway. Treat me like religion, pick a part and pick apart and choose the parts you want – like a holy book I won’t turn to offer pages you have no inclination to read but I don’t mind if you thumb over your favourite paragraphs over and over again – all books like to be read, if not in entirety, at least in parts.

And ghosts don’t suffer requests for permanent solidity – not that we get those requests to begin with – but the way we move through doors without opening them means goodbyes aren’t necessary and you don’t have to get up to open anything, lock anything, or offer awkward formalities about staying in touch. Ghosts can at least be taken for granted in our permanent impermanence.

So lover – handsome – cutie: breathe easy, breathe light – I am not heavy or dense like rich chocolate. I am no metaphor for tasty things. I am barely skin, thin, thinner still; do you think people can vanish as easily as I do? Silly, beautiful liar man: your startled naiveté is wonderful to see – I try to measure its depth in the pools of your eyes to see how much art or effort or genuine truth is reflected in your face. Naiveté is a luxury item; what is it like to afford it, I wonder. Will you make me explain in such crude words? Then have it: people are flesh and fire, lust and trust, who will one day fade to dust. I am third world fascination, fetish air and laughter.

So lover – handsome – cutie: breathe easy, breathe light: These are just convenient words for what we do, because language doesn’t exist to let you know that I am made from air, your desire, and your (hopefully) artful fingers on nights we meet, and that I take the shape your tongue traces.

Be careful what you trace.

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