- “Neither a lender nor a borrower be”.
First, I met him, the lender,
and he killed everything in me
that wanted to receive.Then, I met you, the borrower
and you killed everything in me
that wanted to give.
Now, I meet people and I am
neither a borrower, neither, a lender
Love, when it exists,
is a choice that was made, and
I accept this tiredly,
resignedly, and I know that
I do not know how to choose
who to love
but maybe there is justice
because neither did he
and neither did you
- “Making Pasta”.
my Somali roommate learned to make pasta in Italy,
where she was born (there is a large community
of Somalis with knowledge of Italy due to challenging circumstances,
and migration due to a civil war – you should read up on it) but anyway,
she learned from a Nonna that the best way to get it “al dente” is
you throw the spaghetti against the wall
to see if it sticks, and I burst out laughing the first time she did it,
in our kitchen,
I squeaked, from behind the stove
looking up from the nest
of rat shit, hair, and bits of fluff, the cats can’t get here –
“if it fell down? How do you know it won’t fall?”She shrugged and said “Well I only throw it against the wall
when I have a feel for it – you get a feel for it after cooking lots”
I don’t have a feel for anything, I muse from the rat nest.
I don’t have a feel for anything.
I think about the leftovers of the past, carefully
collecting mould in tupperware from middle school lunches
i’ve kept them all stored and stacked dutifully in my nest
This is a nice apartment, I think.
Someday soon I’ll have a better one, I think.
I nibble on the thoughts collecting dust,
I chew on old tissues and dead girl meat.
Who, do you think, is the top selling woman of colour poet in North America?
It’s amazing how truly intersectional the approach of self love, cliché, and a good marketing strategy can be, I muse.
Actually I’m not laughing. Why shouldn’t brown women get to be just as average as the average white male poet? Sarah Hagi wrote “Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man” , and she’s absolutely right, but I suppose there is nothing wrong with doing one better, going one further, why not have the talent too of a mediocre white man and be lauded for it? #mediocrity
4. “It’s intimate”,
he said a little uncomfortably. “I’m just – not ready yet? it would take me some time before you stayed over – even if it was just staying over and we did nothing – it’s intimate…”
“Of course, I completely understand,” I lied. I don’t understand after all, because when did I ever understand intimacy or trust? I thought I did, and the universe kept up its “stop hitting yourself in the face? why are you hitting yourself in the face with your own hand? haha stop punching yourself in the face!” game for years so of course what the fuck do I know about any of it.
Of course I don’t believe him. There’s no reason to believe men until they give you a reason to believe them. follow through. you don’t owe strangers your trust.
(In another universe, I said once, on the phone “It – what we had – wasn’t it intimate?” “Yes, I just – can we just slow down?” He asked. Of course, it ended, because I didn’t trust him to slow it down, I trusted him to ghost and disappear and that is what he did)
And then I clarified, “I mean, I only asked because it’s not intimate for me -or I guess it’s not that intense to just stay over – but no I get it – that it’s intimate for you.” I mean, nothing is intimate anymore. Here is a man for whom cuddling is intimate. I respect that he wants to wait. I am also incapable of intimacy no matter what we do or don’t do.
I wonder about all the milestones in my past, shifted around, they look like pebbles in the distance there are no towering stories in my life because nothing ever matters, and nothing ever has a meaning, and everyone told me I was too serious growing up, and I needed to lighten up, and I think about how nothing means much to me anymore. like “I love you” is worthless after him. Like “let’s be exclusive” is worthless after you.
5. “Of men and meaning”
Do men even realise, how they strip the magic and meaning away from moments, how they turn intimacy inside out, spill its guts blood soaked along the bedsheet, do men realise how they turn everything they touch to ash, how they strip love of any significance at all. I think about men’s inability to promise anything. How guiltlessly they lie. I think about the banality of women’s lives when we must share it with men. Never doubt how little he has to offer you, it is always less than you think possible.It is always closer to nothing than to anything. It is always more meaningless than meaningful. It is always more worthless than anything to treasure. It is always more ash and dust than precious. I used to think my capacity to build was greater than their capacity to ruin everything around them, and I don’t think that’s true anymore.
I think the project of men is to ruin love again and again and again – for themselves and for others until nothing is left.
6. “nothing is left. ”