Nina Simone - Don’t Explain
I find this song terrifying. Sometimes I can’t listen to it. The open purity of emotion slices fast and deep. And even though that fear - the jolt of bareness - is something I ultimately aspire towards in my work, I just get so afraid of not coming back up, getting lost.
please describe where you are right now
I am home. I am near a window. There is a wind moving outside. There is a sun falling on everything like a clumsy animal. I hear a dog barking. It’s not my dog, but I wish it was.
when did you start writing? what do you enjoy about writing and…
nothing like a nun with a speech impediment
i recommend the whole series. she’s so wonderfully passionate about art history, even if her opinions about beauty and love and war are patriarchal and disturbing sometimes, it’s sort of interesting to see all this from a nun’s perspective.
I have a question, will you be my friend? You can say no. You can say we are colleagues, professionals. You wanted to talk to me once. I wanted to talk to you twice, and more. I don’t know how you felt about that. Could have been pity, or fear, or guilt. All great motives. I was very open. Too open, I realize. There are times to talk about the weather but I forgot that. You are not open. You are a weatherman even to yourself. I’ve never seen your face. I’ve never heard your voice or felt the awkward tension in your arms if we hugged goodnight. These are some of my thoughts. I would squirm in delight to hear some of your thoughts. It’s understandable to think where is this coming from? Well, it’s coming from me. I feel things. I think you feel weird about me. It’s okay. I am weird. But I am considerate. I won’t screw up your life. I keep to myself. But I don’t have a lot of friends right now. And I have a lot of love to give. Could you handle that? Could I trust you with that? I don’t know. You would have to tell me and I would have to believe you.
it’s called BASIC DRAWING and it’s not too long so it won’t take you too much time to read.
It’s humid days like today when I’m already headachey and dizzy that I really miss the once painful, now pleasing tingle of anesthesia crawling up my face and the anachronistic pure smell of lemons as I hold the inhale as long as I can and then slowly, slowly let it out handing over my existence willingly thinking “take it, thank you” before I blackout.
From the Twenty-One Love Poems
Sleeping, turning in turn like planets
rotating in their midnight meadow:
a touch is enough to let us know
we’re not alone in the universe, even in sleep:
the dream-ghosts of two worlds
walking their ghost-towns, almost address each other.
I’ve wakened to your muttered words
spoken light- or dark-years away
as if my own voice had spoken.
But we have different voices, even in sleep,
and our bodies, so alike, are yet so different
and the past echoing through our bloodstreams
is freighted with different language, different meanings–
though in any chronicle of the world we share
it could be written with new meaning
we were two lovers of one gender,
we were two women of one generation.
One of the most beautiful love poems, to me. And why shouldn’t I relate to a lesbian poet? Lesbians have had to relate to stupid male poets forever. And now they are playing a Tarantella at the fancy party on the terrazzo outside my window. Dance that poison out. I’m an exotic young foreigner in a small Italian town yet I hide behind the curtains and pretend I’m not home.
I, of course, think about you in that Adrienne Rich poem, how you love me but love her more, and how we slept side-by-side almost to prove that we didn’t love each other. My God, the planets colliding! But our planets didn’t collide, so carefully they didn’t, even in sleep. I did hear your muttering, because you always mutter in your sleep. I don’t think you heard talking or laughing or any of my usual slumbering outbursts, because my sleep was consumed with not letting my flannel pajamas touch yours. I knew you didn’t want it, well obviously you did, but no you didn’t want it then for your own respectable reasons, and so I had a sleep without dreams.
Plenty of other times, sleeping, two women of one generation, not lovers, but friends closer to each other than to their own lovers. In these times our bodies do collide in an all-consuming sleep. An arm flopped over, a knee bent into a crook. We wake up laughing, going over the antics of whatever party or bar we went to the night before. Then falling back into silent morning half-sleep, preparing ourselves to face the city again, we put back on the personalities we wear and share and borrow like outfits. But it’s our little secret, the smudged mascara under our eyes, the late-night throes of desperation, the gross pizza we ate out of boredom when we got home, needing something hot in our bellies since nothing else would be penetrating our innards, filling up the hollowness of our guts that night. Why is it, I can rhapsodize on the love of two women who could certainly be lovers but simply are not, and I can hardly say anything about whatever love I have for you? I’m stealing Adrienne Rich’s beautiful love poem, a poem not only of love but of angst with an unjust world, and making it my own sorrow of weak men (there have been so many like you) and strong women who hold and dispense their love with care and fear, because they know the power it brings and the force that could destroy them.