I have a friend who is really more a soultwin to me, and has this beautiful way of making me think by asking the most innocuous but relevant questions I’ve heard. She asked me one day, “M, tell me – what are you? I mean, I know you’re a writer and all that, but what are you, in life? What are you really here for? Your soul’s ‘job’? For example, I am a Seeker of Beauty. It’s what I am organically driven to do. I seek it out everywhere, naturally, subconsciously. In the descent of a red sunset, in the flavour of a mango, in the way a voice sounds when reading poetry. There is beauty to be found everywhere and I am here to find it. You see?”
I did see.
In fact, I knew exactly what she was saying. There’s something really wonderful about considering something you haven’t considered considering before that moment. It’s almost a portal into a fascinating new dimension into your own self. I had to think about this question long and hard and I really didn’t have an answer I was happy with.
“Ideas Architect”. Pretentious load of tripe.
“Emotional Emancipator”. Activates the gag reflex.
“Curator of the Sexy.” Just stab me with a ball point pen now.
This was not as straightforward as I thought. If I thought I knew myself, here was something that was challenging it all over again. What was I? What was I really made to do? I had no clue until 2 days ago. That was when I sat bolt upright in bed past one a.m. with an idea. An idea that would mean asking people to share with me their most sentimental possession, and the story behind it. It wasn’t the first time I had done something like this. Before, I had asked people to write a letter to their 16-year old selves. And then one time, I had asked people to tell me about their ‘saudades‘. All these times, I felt myself come completely alive. And why? Well, not because I am obsessed with and curious about people’s experiences beyond a healthy average. But because the act and the process of instigating them to think and feel, and search, and observe, and consider, and evaluate – feels so very right.
I realise that I am a Button Pusher. I think my soul’s purpose is to push people into acting, reacting, responding. SOMETHING. But that is my job: to catalyze. That was my answer, and although Button Pusher is not half as glamorous as I’d thought I’d end up being, I have to admit, it’s not bad. It sounds a bit gauche, I admit, but it fits well. Like the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned.
The other day on Twitter I said, “I am not here to make you happy. I am here to make you think.”
That, I think made me happy.
So, I am asking you now – what do you do? What are you really here to accomplish? Tell me your stories. (By the way, that is my other job – Story Finder, Story Keeper- but we will talk about that another time.)
I’m doing it again, I know.
If one were to woo you with flowers, one would choose wildflowers. Never roses. Never red. An un-self-conscious bird of paradise, perhaps. Deceptively frail persian lilies. An elegantly rude hibiscus that conveys uninhibited desire. (For the hibiscus is not a suggestive flower. It is blatant in its sexuality. Unapologetically wanton. It is the most beautiful prostitute in the garden.)
If one were to woo you with chocolate one would never give you a ribbon-tied box of gourmet assortments. No candied Turkish delights, no nougat-filled truffles. No.
One would give you a handful of dark mounds broken off a mountain of cocoa. One would reach into one’s pockets and pull out fistfuls of raspberries, broken with juice, that have stained one’s fingers deliciously.
Then one would ask you to clean the reds, maroons, purples, crimsons from my fingers with your lips.
If one were to woo you with music one would not choose the grandiose pretension of an operatic magnum opus, or an orchestral masterpiece. One would not compile a ‘mixtape’ of love songs. No.
One would serenade you with a flamenco under your window in the dead of night until even the wolves were silenced.
One does not woo you with the classical poetry of romantics. One does not quote Shakespeare or drop couplets by Keats. One would not speak of Byron or Rossetti. One might make references to Lorca, one might even mention Neruda in passing. But what one does, is this: one writes lines across your forearm with a ball point pen in the silence of a library, broken only by breathing. One leaves smudge marks on your skin where one has been clumsy with one’s words. And then, one drops letters into your ears one whisper at a time.
One pushes lovelanguage under your skin, inch by inch. Consonant by consonant.
One does not woo you with compliments. One does not simply say “my, how beautiful you look today.” Because one doesn’t speak of obvious things. One reminds you of those often forgotten.
One forgets to breathe. One forgets to blink. One does not let you out of one’s sight. And when asked what the matter is, one finds no voice. One stammers.
One does not woo you as one woos other women. Because you are not other women. You are all women. And none. You are not to be wooed. you are to be colonized. You are the surviving image of one’s desire. You are the compass and the direction. The instigator and the receptacle.
And when one reaches out to touch you, one can only pray that you are real.
Wordplay is a boomerang. If you catch what you are thrown, a pleasurable volley can ensue. Sometimes it’s a bad throw and what you project falls by the wayside in some non-descript pit, never to be remembered again. No matter. You try again.
I have found that when you write from the gut and send it out to the universe, you are never ignored. A stranger happens to raise their arm and catch that throw squarely, and before you know it, that boomerang has come back for you.
Sometimes, if you are lucky it will maim you in the most beautiful way.
Last night, @LeslieHeme said to me, “Come over here so I may tickle you with this feather.” I was not letting an invitation like that go unnoticed. And so it began again.
You have only to say which parts of me you want undressed.
You strip me down to the wire consonant by consonant, undo me one vowel at a time.
My mind is a porn star when you’re on it.
“I’ve drawn the water; it is warm.
Come in. Slip off everything but your voice.
That wears you well.”
This voice is good only for the cloak it throws about your neck with long strokes of a hungering tongue.
She is rhyming now. Rhyme is rhythm with a few misplaced consonants.
“Pull me down, take my pain, and wrap it in the sighs of droplets glistening on the windowpanes.”
“Do you have any tattoos?” | “Only in my head.”
“What about scars? Markings?” | “Same.”
Pain, like butter spread thin is nearly indiscernible. Hand me the breakfast knife.
Let us be done with this morning’s meal.
“A cut drawn from the keen-edge blade of your mouth, sever resonance from sound.
Ache served as the warmth of wound.”
Dispel this night with one sweep of your hand. Eyelids close upon the day.
Your hot beating heart knocks at my chest & waits.
“Though it may not speak in turns and words, know that it beats, knocks as it yearns for the calm pulse of your terrain.”
I lend you my hollow arms. I lend you my bashful glances. I lend you my torrid sleep.
I lend you my stoic, my stanchion.
“I gift you my happenstances;
I gift you persuasion of a dare; in all essences, I gift you the speech life has yet to care.”
Your body lies with silence. Your belly consummate with the weight of the unsaid.
Your lips moving slowly, I will not betray.