The Art of Self-Soothing
He thinks he’s a healer—says optimism is low risk. He provides pastoral care to the emotionally conflicted when no one asks him to…when no one wants him to. He says he likes women with tongues that move indiscriminately—a woman unafraid to chew with her mouth open. He studies how she wipes away lipstick with fingers as long as incense; nails dipped in gold; hands so soft they might as well be wet. He methodically traces veins reflecting tinged with suicidal ideation; with making you need me; with knowing you don’t want me; all cased in a brown much like his own.
I must have been beautiful to watch.
A poet, he is. He writes on mothers favored like Peter; on fathers transformed like Paul. He manipulates activism with ass shaking; uses metaphor to disguise promises he can’t keep. He writes on sons tangled between nigga and nice; intellectual and homeboy; hood mentality and higher education; to follow Jesus or dreams. He doesn’t write about the mornings my curls padded the dip of his back; how we discovered intimacy in silence; the moment I opened my heart to him when he didn’t ask me to…when he didn’t want me to. His poems never tell of his use of me as a self-soothing tactic; about how hard I fought to silence voices screaming obscenities in his psyche; how I built his comfort at the expense of my own; how our resemblances swindled him into thinking he could treat me the way he treats himself…
Optimism isn’t low risk—loving him isn’t either.