the kind I promise to keep to myself so I can be more honest with the page
I’ve opened up
(this sounded better in my head, in the shower, free styling, hold up, let me just fin—)
I saw your name today
I saw the place on the piece of paper
with my poem on it
where you wrote your phone # and name down
for the first time all those years ago.
I adore you still and it tears me apart still
this loneliness is so lonely because no one understands and no comfort comforts me.
I have more eulogies to write
for my dead friendships and relationships
than there are grains
of jollof rice
in all of the Naija Delta
when they come to my funeral,
if they come to my funeral,
they will whisper bad things about me inside the paper thin walls of their skulls
they will call me a bitch
they will call me stubborn and unforgiving
it will be true.
there are only so many cliffs you can jump off of on faith
and walk away from unscarred
that shit makes you hard
if you promised to jump with me
but I look up from the bottom of the cliff
and see you
at the edge of the precipice
I’m not who I used to be, I don’t know where she went
I used to be nice.
this is a dangerous poem because I have to write it and I don’t know how to.
all this pain churning in me, I articulate and narrate the intricacies of this ache to friends, they’re sympathetic, some: empathetic, some: deeply compassionate, some: politely
offer me their best “it will get better” speech
but it doesn’t, my love
we just forget
that’s not better. that’s forgetfulness.
I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what I want you to say to make this better
when you’ve loved one person
and then they’re gone
there’s nothing to say
this poem is so dangerous it says frightening things,
causes racial poem profiling, makes you shiver and
clutch your imitation Louis Vuitton clutch
as each word inches closer into your personal space.
this poem is socially awkward
and bad with boundaries
walks away without making the first move
this poem won’t call you the next morning or listen to your stories
this poem is dangerous cuz she treats you as well as you’ve treated your worst
this poem shares secrets:
like missing your mother, I miss her.
I don’t believe in happy endings and I don’t think it gets better
I don’t pray and I don’t feel me anymore
sometimes I don’t believe in God
I want to be held and can never find the words to say that
except in dangerous poems and on stage
I don’t have peace, I’m not patient
I’m not self-centered enough and I’m too ill-mannered
I lost something somewhere,
I don’t know what and I don’t know where
but I’m pretty sure it’s everything
I want to run away
I won’t let you in. I’ll let you think I did
but I won’t.
I don’t trust you and I never will.
I only like you half the time.
I want a big wedding but I don’t believe in love anymore
I want kids but I don’t want to give birth or raise them.
maybe I could just parent for 10 key life-changing moments—
I think some men are cute. seriously. if they could fuck like a dyke, I’d holla.
this is a dangerous poem because you should know better
than to expect me to ever
write down the worst of it.
I have more to say but my homemade granola is sitting in my yogurt beside me,
side eyeing me,
I’m gonna go watch cartoons.