MY SAUDADE

No more than six starfish palms rolled through the waves at the same time, and there were always two waiting in the wings for their debut in this magical choreography, yearning to skip over soft pebbles and the curvature of the sand and the starfish were quite rough, not so much dancing as they were plowing through the seas, taking no prisoners and instead laughing as they skimmed over waves and pushed themselves through my hull and smirked at the barrier beaches as they sang like the seagulls until they reached the harbor…

Hermit crabs scurried into a deep cave and I watched from above as I was underwater, floating higher above and invisible like I was sunlight on the top of the waves even as I felt myself being dragged further below by the ebb tides and erosion and breaking down…

I remember myself as a tangle of seaweed being captured and pulled by the tides, helpless and wanting and voiceless. I drowned as the rest of the world watched, and as the starfish wormed their way inside of me and my eyes were a salt marsh and my heart was the eye of a hurricane and my pants were at low tide (a new record was set for the lowest tide that day). Their sedimentary deposits spilled all over my denim shorts and my blossoming sand dunes were again covered as I sat and rocked in the waves.

 I floated and I looked at the other fish around me. They swam in place, mouths wide open and silent as they watched me in the velocity zone and as my hull was pierced by sharp rocks and they did not speak. I looked out at them and I begged for help, and still they did not speak.

It was at this moment when the sun snuck behind a cloud and I was at the bottom of the ocean alone that I realized I was the only person who could save myself and gather my shipwreck and move out as quickly as I could. Their mouths gaped and I was gasping and I escaped from the starfish palms as quickly as I could and I was covered in red splotches for the week following.

It was the day of the typhoon that I realized despite my best intentions, that I would still be alone. When I was given the opportunity to name those who had watched as the wave took me over and as the starfish began to dance, I did not. I named only those who were guilty and who made me think that this might be my last moment in the waves. 

 

i think that the best thing in the world is knowing that you meant something to someone once. although now, we don’t speak, i like to think that, once, you thought of me with grace and with maybe a bit of laughter. 

but now that you’re gone, away in a different state, and even more miles away, i’m discovering what it feels like to be alone, and how good it can feel. i went to see a movie by myself, and it was intoxicating. by myself: i thought i understood it, but now i can feel it when i look out of the window and i see new york, and the only person with whom i want to travel and discover things is myself. 

you four have permeated my every pore 

and each time i inhale i taste the bitter iron of musky deodorant and axe. 

the kicker about rape, i suppose, 

is that it never leaves you. 

no matter how many partners you put between you and them, 

hours of therapy mean nothing but rain and waves against 

the inevitable power of the horizon: everpresent. 

i don’t know if i will ever feel as though being sexually desired is pleasant, 

and it repulses me to this day—the whistles, the comments, even just a nice text. 

i find myself disgusted by these words and these looks and these emotions, 

and behind each smile i can only see the bearing of teeth. 

I

i suppose its been since forever ago that i woke up to the feeling of a sweaty palm— resulting from gripping your hand all night. its been months, and its been years, but all i can think about is the way that you squint when you wake up— or at least that one time you did when we slept like children together. we had smudges of new york all over us: the grit, gristle, and i had black feet from taking my five inch heels off and walking barefoot on disgusting sidewalks that i can still feel like a suggestion across the bottom of my feet. 

II

i’ve walked alone now, sure, but always with the idea of you giving me some sort of charity-comfort-company. and yet, what can i prove with these words and careless assortment of syllables? unfortunately, i feel no sense of validation from speaking these words, and i still can no longer explain what made me walk away.  

i was looking at my feet and thinking about the distance i’ve travelled: 

the miles i’ve walked and the beats ive skipped 

and the fact that scars coat my heels. 

and then i thought of you and the miles that you’ve flown 

and how lucky i was that 

somehow

you landed here. 

its like with 

each heartbreak, 

i want to harm another part of myself. 

my piercings might as well be named after the boys i broke up with

before getting them done. 

but i am running out of space on my body 

to pierce and to mutilate

and the thin skin of my wrists 

looks more tempting than ever. 

but i suppose i must remember that 

hurting so that i feel no hurt

after the thrill of a couple scars and tissue

mean nothing at all, 

and there’s nothing left to pick me up 

after i fall. 

we were sitting in a room full of brown when i mentioned that i’d like to go pink, like a candy spun sugar unicorn version of your gothic valentine princess. and when the room was silent, you were a misinformed explorer, and suggested red. everyone clung on to this version of me that might be able to walk through their schools without ridicule, without recklessness, and without having myself exposed as an other. i didn’t have the courage to tell them that assimilation hasn’t been my goal since the time my breasts began to bug. marking myself with a pastel cross and a baby blue warrior headdress (and creating a social pariah) is my choice, and i will stand out ferociously, without appology. 

well, i’m stealing music again. trying to find truth in rhythm, and knowing that i never will. i guess i should pretend to be ashamed or act bashful, but there is no part of me which remains that tells me i should be ashamed of who i am. maybe there’s just no fight left in me, or maybe i’m just reaching a peace with who i am— an absolute and veritable thief of inspiration and experience. 

i wonder if you all will ever know the kind of shit you put me through on a daily basis, even though i haven’t seen you in years. it’s been 8 years since you raped me and i still feel dirty. i can’t go a day without taking a shower or washing myself in some way, only because i’m afraid that i’ll look down on my skin and see that your grime is still on me. ive been cutting at my cuticles to wait for the blood to come out, and im astonished that its the bright, healthy red of everyone else—- i suppose it would make more sense if it was as dirty as i feel inside. 

your smile makes me think that in this moment there could be more to life than simply getting through it and getting to the other end with a couple scratches. you’re one of the first people to make me question the way i have lived and the way that i have not trusted since the years that i was hurt and when i wore training bras. there are so many worse things i could be, i thought, as i looked at your face and saw you grin when i said something snotty (and probably rude). although i’m not going to be happy with the way that my voice sounds on a tape recorder, you made me think that i could be happy in a moment with someone’s arms around me and their whisper at the nape of my neck. and for that, even if nothing happens and your attraction is as fleeting as it should be, i would like to thank you for making me ask myself why.