AM I EVERYTHING THEY'LL KILL ME IF I'M NOT?

 

Courtesy: Emily Rose Theobald

Courtesy: Emily Rose Theobald

the mantra: you risk alienating a potential audience. i think – what white person would read a book with my face on the back? i rip off my face. i rip out my voicebox. so pretty, the thick red flesh of my new existence.

instead, i say – wow i’d never thought of it like that. thank you. assimilate me. seduce me with your brains and fill your palms with my guts. squeeze my remnants from my laptop keys. chomp them until your teeth are sharp. protein. wisdom should cut hard, cut deep, scold me for ever thinking i could say something without you.

sometimes workshop feels like relaxing my hair. sometimes workshop feels like hiding from the sun. sometimes workshop feels like letting boys flirt with me at the bar while my girlfriend gets drinks because telling them to fuck off makes me feel blades slipping through the skin of my neck, cold gun bumping my hip, getting followed home four blocks. being blamed for not being nice enough. getting her killed, too.

poor boys don’t understand consent. let’s teach them, more. money falls through drains and lands in white boy hands. all they know how to do is jack off. the cash scrapes and scars their skin and they call it masculinity. but girls lie, they moan to lesbian porn.

[boys and moms say too pretty to be gay like it’s a compliment like they don’t know that we’re really talking about my right to exist in public spaces without lipstick, tits out, vagina ready for whoever decides to slip their dick up through the hole in my jeans.]

i imagine titles of my work. the first that comes to mind is NCF after the slurs i wait to hear, feel, absorb when i walk down the street, hair natural, hips swinging even when i try to hold them still, holding my girlfriend’s hand. i should be able to hold my girlfriend’s hand and fear no words. BUT IT’S 2015

pride flags wave from straight cis white hands and i keep the pride flag we brought to hang in our apartment in the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink when the landlord comes over to fix the oven because the non-discrimination policy said religion, sex, gender, race but nothing about queers.

i never hold my girlfriend’s hand in public unless we’re at a pride parade. otherwise, i shove her away,     gently. we moved from north carolina to california and still i won’t let her touch me in public. i’ve never tasted the F and i fear i’ll break out in hives, or break into a thousand shards of glass. when white people tell me my work is aggressive i wonder

[how to tell them it isn’t for them, has never been. sometimes existing in the space between straight and not, black and white, sometimes genderless usually not feels like being opaque and transparent, at the same time.]

am i supposed to want to rip identity from throat even if it takes spine with it? throw up all need to educate by default. my skin screams kill me, please. body screams kill me when i tell you, ‘i’m here with my girlfriend.’ together, screams educator. no training needed. no desire needed. for a limited time only, $0/hour. fall into negatives quickly. pay for therapy from people who tell me race is a social construct.

i don’t know how many times i can say i don’t exist as quick and easy learning material before i morph into the space between the start and end of glass, a mirror, shut up and shut down to be nothing.