Every day I cook food and place it on an altar where I’ve centred your photograph. Please worship me even as a false goddess, give me sanctifying kisses. Deny me food at all times unless you are spooning it into my mouth. Count out how many times I must chew. Only your hands may pour my wine. Calculate my debts of tenderness. Tear up the cobblestones between me and purity. Appoint the times I’m allowed to weep and lick stray unsanctioned tears off my cheeks. Sunburn away loneliness. Tie me down if I refuse to nap. Disappear my poetic virtue: drag me to you by my legs, rip my stockings off. Bridge the distance to the altar with my body. Signpost my aches (knife sharpening available). Skim stones over my body. Give me a love token in your gang colours, to wear in my hair. Master, subpoena me. Regulate my body temperature for me (I’ll keep you warm with my blood). Dominate a satellite. Help me overcome the insomnia of waiting for you to put me to bed. Dress me in ready to wear bloodstained fashion (dress me in a hint of blood). Sink your playlist into me. Put all the like thumbs up on Facebook in my mouth.
Throw me in a concubine harvester. Break me / mehndi me. Tell strangers at parties my clinical diagnosis is whip lush. Hold us together, skin to skin, like mango cuddling ice cream. You were not designed to prevent injury to anyone, but I would let you bite the insides of my cheeks for me if you could. I’d let you re-pierce my ears and lip and tongue. Secure my discomfort with silk at my ankles and wrists. Tell everyone when I took your name x-rays showed up with it chiseled into my rib. Sext your friends the x-ray. Lick my palms to put the fire out. Make me stand naked in a window through three sunrises and three sunsets, then tell me you forgot the words to the spell.
I wrote my name on every day in your calendar and then I left town. Be the last one to kiss a missing person. I shatter a glass of milk. You wonder why you can’t make other women smile during sex. Wonder if you were ever even in on the secret. Jump my vulnerabilities like a bush fire jumps a creek. Miss the stillness of rain I collected in tea cups, miss how I rainwashed your hair and cradled your skull. Beg me to come back to you because I make you strong and you like the way I sound when I moan, “I relent, I relent, I relent.” Sometimes I say your name.
Love me and reassure me, let me be enough and too much for you. You be the one to submit, for once. I am waiting to have it coming.
Arabic calligraphy for a tattoo in my Inbox. Drinking gin with lemonade and watermelon. Falling asleep to rain, waking up to rain. Dream that I am at the bottom of the ocean, then flung violently by a wave into the sky. After the wave another wave, of broken glass and ring pulls and plastic fragments, shells. Dredged up debris arching out of the ocean like a polluted rainbow to find my naked skin. Debris sticks to my body like magnets, until I am concreted into a mask. A body that stiffens and sinks. Whales always rescue me in my dreams. Sometimes I am on a boat and the ocean is a storm or a tsunami and whales swim up underneath the boat until the boat breaks up. Then I am in the water, swimming with them. In other dreams I hear a song I can’t translate and an old woman is tattooing my chin and lips black with a bone chisel. When I wake up I think if I live to be her age, I will get this tattoo. I am always armoured with lipstick. Nude lips don’t know how to lie. I lie with silence. The second dream I had last night was about rape, and the dream after that, and the dream after that. I seek out the thumb of a new master. I am prepared to beg: make my body forget, how does a body ever forget. His opposite is a good man I’m afraid to touch. The ruin I’ll bring him in my fingertips and mouth that itches like a vein remembering heroin. Drowning because it’s the only time I feel like I’m not drowning. Drowning open mouthed, my body rained in. I haven’t forgotten how to swim, I just want to stop.
Cyndi Lauper Fearless a cappella
I don’t know why I’ve never posted this version before because I listen to it all the time.
He is testing me in the same way I test people. Are they enough, are they strong enough for this? I am never enough for anyone that I want to love me. Or maybe I am too much. I want to bite and kick and scream at him. He says, you should get angry, don’t forgive me, why aren’t you angry. I want to soothe his body with the warm palms of my hands like I would a child. He is young and beautiful and his body is powerful but he is so vulnerable. He makes me want to protect him from darkness and hurt. I want him to use that darkness and ruin me as much as he can. When he is light hearted, when he smiles, it’s almost a shock. The nicest of surprises and then I’m not sure which side of him I like more.
He says, we should be very careful, I might go too far, I want to see you bleed, I want to see you cry, I might go too far. The boundaries I enforce are for his sake, not mine.
For someone I’m not in love with, I’ve already written too many poems about him. I gave up another man because he wouldn’t give me (the bratty sub) what I wanted. He didn’t pass. I have no tests for affection, happiness, intimacy, love or tenderness. I have spent too long with those needs as planets transiting around my body, until they are pulled away to another woman or I can no longer see them in the sky. I will love to come and the longer it doesn’t, the more I turn to masochism. I am more afraid to tell you all this, exposed, than I am afraid of any sort of physical pain. I am afraid to say out loud how lonely it is without love. I used to think it would be so simple. If you want to be tender with me, apply in writing. I’m starving.
He tells me what to wear and how to pose and my eyes burn the edges of his photographs. Since childhood I have been so self reliant that sometimes it is a relief to be told what to do. I’ll never let anyone tell me how to think. I want to tell you, I am often happy. I live up to the Joy in my name. I make my friends laugh. I bring light and love to the world. I nurture. I could make you very happy. I am just worn out lately.
A friend tells me, we need our poets. I cry. I want the friends who offer comfort and love to know that I am here, still breathing gratefully. I have retreated to the quiet.
Psychologically, I am already on my knees. I need to be annihilated with sex. I need the distraction of mistakes, but strangely, with him I feel none of the dread I have with past mistakes. Submission is the only way I have found to be physically and spiritually free. I create my own gods, but only the ones I can bare to see destroyed. He takes my instruction, he learns from what I tell him about how we can harness the dark. I have lived and survived worse and he helps me soothe some of it. I don’t belong to him and he doesn’t belong to me, but as much as I try to stay away I can’t give him up yet. I wait to fail a test, I wait for him to push me away like he does to everyone else.
We are broken mirrors to each other. My body is the tuning fork of his desire. He doesn’t make me happy, but he takes away enough of my fear that my body is an empty slate for happiness again.
Soon, in the time it takes you to have a change of heart about me, reader, I will write that it’s over.
He tastes sweet. In an explicit message, he observes, “it was like you needed it to live” and I want to reply, this is how I am born and born again.
This is the only time I’ll ever explain a poem to you.
Last night I walked back into my room and the artist was sitting naked at my desk putting on foundation and lipstick in my makeup mirror. I asked him what colour lipstick (deep pink) he used and he said, “three different ones”. His lips look beautiful painted, they rival mine. My foundation perfectly matches his skin tone. I watched his fingers work eyeshadow brushes and paint his eye and cheek in a large blue triangular tear. I painted the other side in silver.
Then he painted my face, more gently than anything else he’s ever done to me. He said he saw some kind of Nordic woman warrior in my face. He was intent, patient, when I moved he’d command, “Hold still”. He told me not to talk so I wouldn’t ruin his precision. He worked in silence while I was lulled into a state of calm. He asked me, “This really turns you on, doesn’t it?” and I murmured yes as he traced a brush over my face. My face was hues of blue and purple and gold and silver and then he took a red lipstick and traced lines from my face, down my neck.
Later while I removed makeup from our faces he pulled me naked, backwards into his lap, put himself inside me. I don’t think I ever want to get used to his size, for that first thrust not to be pained and sweet. His makeup stained fingers left rainbows on my body.
Today I delight in and nurse small hurts, a tender throat where he held me down and choked me. His hands are so large they fit almost the whole way around my neck. Impressions of his bite on my neck and breasts, cleavage covered in bruises that will dictate more modest clothing choices for a while.
The backs of my thighs and my ass are covered in bruises and welts from where he took to me with his hands and leather belt, over and over. The largest bruise is where he broke skin and it bled. He flogged all the fear and panic that I’ve been living with for months, out of me. Today I am calmest I’ve ever been. I slept better than I have in months.