I’d like to take you on a journey from birth to death.
No, not from living to dying but from
baby to friend.
And this I guess is my soliloquy, to you from me,
because I finally see that you are inside of me.
You sat me at a table and laid out a blank page,
you gave me a crayon and told me to map my own way
You held my little hand as I
scrawled back and forth and when we were done you
kissed the page with red lips and pinned it to my heart to guide me.
No compass should chart the winding routes I take or the journey I make,
you just gave me the pallet with which to colour my slate.
And all of this time I thought I had been following that map,
I had folded it into pieces and put it at the back of a drawer,
to come back to for sure.
I held it inside but never really saw because blinded
by possibilities, I never checked for more.
And now, stuck to the floor
I can almost reach the door if it wasn’t for this last stage
this last phase of the game,
call out my name because as I realise now
You always check the reverse side of the page.
So this little girl, she went back to that drawer.
She slid it open and the hinges had whined,
and she hoped against hope that it was still inside because
it had been years since she had decided to backtrack the tracks of her life’s trajectory
up until now
it had all been perfunctory.
That means shallow and without much reflection and just like mirrors
I was surprised how much of me was rooted in deception.
But now, I have taken that map,
pinned it to the ceiling so if I want to read it I have to reach up
because I’m done with kneeling.
And that’s on you.
You gave me the height without those high heels.
You held my hand as I dangled off the edge of a precipice and that kiss
that you pressed to the page we drew together,
well I have taken that kiss and pinned it to my lips.
So every word I speak is no longer a cheat, and yes
that did come with a few slaps on the cheek
but you’ve always experienced the show from a front row seat I think interactive
is an understatement.
To say the least.
Cause you got sprayed with the spit and the shit of my fits,
picked on and called on to take part in the pit but now
move a few rows back.
Just sit there and sit.
No longer stationary I run
between earth and sea and back and forth across the course of my topsy-turvy mappery
and now I want you to see
through my mind’s eye how you and I have travelled from point A to point B.
held your baby at your breast
took in every shuddering breath.
I drenched your chest
with tears and you absorbed the fears of a childhood earmarked by the throwing of spears
whose only intention was to lift the suspension of my belief in myself.
You told me to keep my hands up, baby hands up.
Remember to wipe from front to back.
A little girl on her black plastic bike all garbed up
in mom’s nightie and tights.
A little too baggy at the time – but she grew into them
and never really out.
Because even as a preteen, teenager young adult and in-between
she was still playing dress up.
And did I mention I messed up?
Maybe I didn’t fess up.
Blame it on the dog
or a number of other excuses through which I stumbled
tumbled from a practiced tongue that nearly
always got me out of trouble.
At the time, mine didn’t fit quite right
so I tried to zip your skin up over mine.
Fingering through your wardrobe was like paging through the chapters of a book
I had always wanted to write but
could never muster up the courage to ask to borrow.
Because I was DAUGHTER. I was Titled.
And therefore entitled to type with unbridled maniacal insight over a page
you had hand written for yourself.
But you kept saying – hands up, baby hands up.
And no matter what, I always got a postcard.
I was in, and you were around and then
I was home
and you were out of town.
All the landmarks were the same
but land never really marks the place.
We crawled after traces of names left in spaces drowned out and tainted by previous exchanges
ecstatic when static
but trapped by the placid.
Our routes were mapped on thin strips and it took a while to come to grips
with the fact that our maps were Photostats
disappearing crayon replaced by varying shades of black.
They crisscrossed, converged, ran parallel and diverged but were always submerged
We viewed each other from below and from above but never
failed to see through each other.
We may have been ghosts in the night but
we bumped shoulders left and right.
Our fights to survive were not isolated plights,
they were always underlined by the ebb and flow touch and go of the clasped hands
perched on the shoulders we gave each other.
were light as a feather.
But weighed down inside metal shells
buttoned at the collar
zipped at the crotch
and always, always
waterproof around the eyes.
So while my hands were up
– baby hands up –
your hand lingered on my cheek and I curled my body around you
like a fern in the spring and just like John Martyn says
you came to see me and I see the things that you bring.
Cause I wanted to relieve myself of the relief of not being myself,
but we both learned there is no escape
and the only thing to do is shake the fear of being that sits on the self
behind the peanut butter
and the bottled MSG
and the labelled disparity between you me
but you pushed those aside
and saw how scared I was of just being me.
As a kid I had a habit
of breaking my own hand just so you would grab it
but what I didn’t see when I looked away was
that you were holding it anyway.
have been the strap that I used to snap my bones back into place.
I have straightened out that leg I pretended I couldn’t stand on.
I’ll lower those hands you told me to keep up
but only so that I can take yours.
And together we’ll walk tethered
to the past but only
so that it keeps us on path
towards that end
which is already inside of you and me –
that ever-changing, evanescent, ever-present
Now our maps are no longer photostats
and nor are they pinned to the ceiling,
etched into the backs of our hands.
And that kiss? The one you pressed to my lips?
Do you remember it?
I have swallowed it.
You are so far inside of me
that if you ever dangled off the edge of a precipice,
I could get to you faster than the ink in my pen drips.
Our skins may be less than seamless,
but seams, seem less meaningful when you need seams to breath
and it seems to me that our point B’s
are in all of our seams.
if you ever need to hold my hand
if you ever need to borrow my shoes
they were already yours.