Before you get too far into this poem, I wanted to pre-emptively say: this is an old poem. I think about two months old. Despite the frustration I express in this particular poem, my partner is actually wonderful and this poem doesn’t include the conversation we had later on the night of that particular day in which he did his best to listen to me explain my mindset and understand my experience. This poem was actually written more out of a worry that I hadn’t explained myself properly or well enough (I struggle with on the spot verbal communications quite a bit. I’m getting better) and a desire to so, if only really for myself.
That is all I wanted to say. I give him some shit in this poem because that’s how I felt in the moment this poem is describing, but he is actually fanastic and incredibly caring. I know none of you know who this person is but I still didn’t want anyone thinking ill of him. 😛
In the storefront window
Of a local second hand shop
There is a beautiful green dress.
I have been coveting it
For over a month.
I feel self-conscious of my covetousness
of my materialism.
But I rarely feel pretty
No partner’s kind words will so quickly undo
What all of the others’ actions have done.
I like to imagine myself in that dress
Feeling like a woman, and beautiful
Not androgynous, and other.
I know I did this to myself.
I groomed me into something feeling strong
Something feeling fierce.
Something that intimidates
And fights back.
This is how I claimed me again
Pierced and inked to mark my trail but
I want nothing more than acceptance—to be seen
As someone un-other.
I have learned that in a dress as beautiful as that
I have a chance to be a beautiful woman
But that to be a beautiful woman
I must sacrifice carefully cultivated strengths.
Even if I could I would not
Buff away my tattoos.
I am unwilling to
Loose the piercings.
I will not fit into the dress but I want to try—
A snake skin to don and make-believe
I am the beautiful woman embraced.
I will buy the dress
With the small sum I made
Selling a story this summer
And I will put it on and surprise my boyfriend
At his next gig.
I will savor the rotation of
Hunger and captivation
In his eyes.
I will feel special and good.
I receive an email.
Time has come once again to pay an installment
On the dreaded student loans.
My stomach falls.
Since losing my job in December
I’ve been trying to find another
And resisting the voice that tells me to return
To loathed fast food jobs where I’ll hate me
Hate my co-workers
Hate my bosses
Hate my customers
Just like I did before—
I followed the plan.
No one cares about experience, education or skills
Only one’s proficiency in boot-licking and ass-kissing
I am learning
And I’m too proud to accept
Going back to where I was
I still hate myself:
I just don’t want to go back.
(I never wanted to come back.)
My savings pad me.
I’ve been very careful.
For the moment I can afford
To be picky.
I am lucky in my home
The friend and family that took me in
Like an orphan off the street—
For the moment I can be picky.
It only means no fruitless indulgences.
(I only want to feel comfortable in my skin.)
Sometimes I want to peel my skin off
And leave it behind—
Typically those days
The sadness throbs in my fingers
So that I try to pull them off
To toss them in the fire—
Without my skin I could crawl away
Unravel intestines and viscera
And put them on display.
“Look at what’s inside of me,”
“Look at what’s been hiding there the whole time.”
I cannot peel off my skin
Nor crawl away
Nor hide in a cave
I will try to be human.
Though I do not feel very human today.
I will bide the time wondering
How such small things
Can break right through
Like bolts from a crossbow.
I guess bolts from a crossbow can be
In the end I will be proud of myself
For giving it such a valiant try—
I am a sparrow flying
Against the wind
Until I am, unwittingly, the butt of the joke.
In front of the whole room
Every drunken one of them.
I am the joke.
No “delicate flower”
I am un-lady like.
I am not a keeper.
I should not be wanted
nor longed for
And in this state I have a hard time disagreeing.
My boyfriend goes along with the joke to avoid ruining the bit
And I no longer regret not buying the dress.
I don’t want to put it on for him.
I no longer even want to put it on for me
It was a silly fantasy
A little girl playing dress up
Making believe to be
Something that was never me.
Too animal to beautiful woman be
Too inclined toward fighting
I’ve taught myself how to be un-silenced
In the face of the overbearing, the silencing
But here I cannot speak.
Frozen like the grass in winter
Under the heel of some un-noticing boot—
I am the butt of the joke
And I am alone.