poetry

There’s a Little Zipper Under Your Chin. {poetry}

 

There’s a little zipper just under your chin.
There. It’s really small, let me gently pull at it
Let me pull that zipper down
Let me unzip your skin
Let me unzip mine too and you can step in
Let’s spend the day in each other’s skin tones
Let me walk the world in your skin color

Your milk chocolatey black skin and my pale alabaster white
What a day we’d have
What things we’d see

Let me unzip your skin and let’s both be free
You free from oppression and unfairness
Me from guilt and non-identity

I would discover what it means to have to fight for something
You could experience the unending need to search.

I could join a clan of people so powerful wearing your skin.
I could dance with them, connect through rhythm and pain,
shared injustices and disadvantages.
I could find identity in cuisine and music.
Use language anew, with fresh cadence and originality.
I could feel inspired by an ancestral lineage drawing on centuries’ worth of rich cultural heritage
thick with texture and flavor.
I could find a strength I’ve never had, a standing upon shoulders,
an inheritance of soul-filled-people who have battled for every breath of freedom and opportunity.
Struggled and suffered to find their worth, pushed and fought to prove their place.
I could feel the agony of systemic discrimination.
The deep, consistent painful throb of receiving repetitive blows from the bigoted narrow-minded.
The eternal ache for loved ones whose lives were taken too soon,
smote in rage or violent aggression,
their light snubbed with the ease of extinguishing a candle.

You could experience my pale confusion.
The endless searching for who you are and how you fit in.
A passed-down feeling of guilt for all you have
and yet never feeling worthy of enjoying the fruits of your ancestors’ atrocious destruction.
The pseudo-superior entitlement and the empty promise upon which it stands.
A house of cards cemented together with tea leaves, clotted cream
and blood, so much blood.
You could feel my desperate need for connection and community,
historically created only by alignment with religious sects,
their very rules founded upon male patriarchal principles so harsh
and restrictive your expression of self becomes squished, diminished and compromised.
The feeling of always yearning for a return, a yearning for a home or place or land you can call your own.
You’d experience my education, my warm cushioned landing of opportunity,
doors opening and smiles greeting your every step
but when the smiles fade and the doors open, you’d feel the heaviness of inadequacy,
the impostor syndrome,
the constant never-ceasing always-present nag of guilt.

Let me unzip your skin and you mine so we can fully experience it.
So I can know your eye’s view,
smell your nose’s understanding
and ultimately profoundly and deeply comprehend
how it all feels.

***

Josette Eales is a poet, writer and actress. Originally from South Africa, she now lives in Los Angeles. Her work is an exploration of shadow, and an expression of her most true self. Her latest project, Josette Into The Light, is a collection of poetry and essays, the culmination of all she has discovered on her journey back to herself. You could contact her via Instagram.

***

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