poetry

These Days, It’s Not Flattering To Be Me. {poetry}

I’ve fixed my pomegranate-stained lips

into a smile

for you to focus on

while my eyes

dart back and forth,

tracing the contours of your face,

 

I’m memorizing

as much of you

in the flesh

as I can

before we leave

this space

on a park bench

where the starlights dance above,

and almond petals drift like snow,

collecting at the edges of the sidewalk

 

and we laugh, together,

when an old man yells at a kid

for skateboarding,

 

the rebelling of the invisible rules

posted out of sight,

and I keep pouring out the words,

the questions

of playful banter for you,

watching the way your eyes sparkle,

and the how of you stretching your arms wide across the back of the bench,

as you tell me

about you,

and tonight,

I am nervous

in being here —

so much I sidestep the intimacy of a dinner together

even as much as I love Thai food —

because I’ve got this mask on,

and I don’t think that I can wear it

any longer,

especially since I think you

can see around it,

but I keep trying to leave on the mask

while my darting eyes

and laughing words

share the evening with you,

as the green metal of the bench

cools my fiery fingers,

 

and, tonight, I’m sick of this glitter mask —

you know the one —

that shows

everything is fine,

because I won’t let you

see me at my worst,

 

and these days,

it’s not flattering

to be

me,

 

so I treasure these moments with you

in my world of chaos

created by me,

but I am shifting

the tectonic plates of who I am, and

I am sorry,

it’s been a slow process

for change is longer to the caterpillar

than we imagine,

 

but one day, soon, I’ll emerge,

with my silky wings ready for flight,

for now,

my pomegranate-stained lips smile,

as I play along in this dance

of words across the fine lines of invisible rules

because I’ve no choice

but to be

me

lonely in my longing,

lost in my loving,

and there’s no place

even under the light of stars

that appears as hot as fire,

but I know there’s always more heat from where the light began,

 

and yet, here, in this cool air of a spring night

there’s no space

for desire

to fall from my lips

for you to catch,

 

as we sit

 

under the stars,

and the almond petals that look like

snow, but the scent is sweet,

and fleeting,

so we part with a goodbye,

 

I carefully

stumble

back to my car,

sit in the stillness,

listening to my heartbeat:

unsteady

and pounding, pounding, pounding alive

for the first time

in years,

telling me to stop,

to just

stop this lying,

this faking a pleasant performance,

because I deserve more

after all the half-hearted

hesitations

of loving someone who never saw me,

and now I must

stop hiding

the way I’d like to

to curl into a cuddling pose

with you,

and not leave for days

or nights,

 

but, regrettably, it wasn’t the starry-night story

I wrote for myself

all those years ago,

even as

my pounding heart

tells me

to rip off the damn mask

of friendliness,

and give into my desires

that I’ve collected like daisy chains,

and gathered into a safe little space in the corner of my heart

 

that I’ve hidden from you

in my reciting

of the acceptable words,

staying within the invisible lines

of what’s expected,

and this pounding

tells me to stop the playful banter

after the other night

of stars and almond petals like snow

when I should’ve gone for the Thai dinner

with you,

but I didn’t,

because I haven’t learned

to be

me,

so tonight

I’ll slip

into my cocoon,

disappear for as long as it takes

to become the me

who doesn’t have

to wear

the mask

in front

of

you.

***

JessieWrightJessie Wright is an artist who grew up as a wild girl rambling through the Sierra Nevada mountains. She’s available as a Creative-Guide-Soul-Seeker-Facilitator for those searching to deepen their writing experiences. Jessie’s art, poetry, and writing may be found at Be You Media Group and Elephant Journal. You could connect with her via Instagram, and find her most recent poetry book here.

***

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