Early Memory of Writing
I am diligently
composing postcards. On the porch
of my father’s house. Postcards
that display the beauty
of the island. The waterfalls
in Ocho Rios. The white sand beaches
in Negril. Waiting for him
to come home. Patiently, at first,
then anxiously. Never knowing
how long he will be gone. Never knowing
how long she will leave me be.
I have come to hate
the words “soon come”
because I always believe him
and it is always a lie.
I am as precise
as possible, in describing the fun
I am having here in Jamaica.
Where I don’t belong.
How many mosquitoes bites I have on each arm,
also for precision,
and for the need to fill the postcards
with as much detail as I can,
to avoid what I can not bring myself to say.)
There are actual coconut trees in his yard, Kate!
(It is called a yard here.)
I am so sorry
that I will not be able to attend your Batmitzah.
I am ashamed
that I do not know the proper way to spell it,
or which kind she is having
because she is a girl, and not a boy,
and I am altogether disheartened
that I am not a Jewish scholar.
As many things as I can find
to write about,
as many ways as I can find to convince her
that all I see in Jamaica
Not locked rooms
or a stomach that burns
and cramps up from not being fed.
The funny way I try to relate
the time the water cut off while
I was still covered with soap.
Isn’t that hilarious, Kate?
The way I seem to always get tangled
in the mosquito net.
The way I want to reassure Kate
that I am okay.
That coconut trees and the best Bombay mangoes I have ever tasted are enough.
Drag sixty seconds inside the bus terminal
And exhale the next in Bangladesh
Surviving time travel
Is essential to the revolution
Visionaries eluding cardboard
By electing designer’s stilettos
to remain unique.
Always remember the importance of stature.
Napoleon’s complex ain’t taking me home tonight.
This mission requires expendability
Dark shades a minimum of 6’7’’
Vibrant hidden flowers
Secret admirers of 007
Hopelessly romanticizing the latest weather report
Completely devastated by the sun
Inhaling closed eyes
Underneath umbrellas in Libya
And waking in Scarsdale
Like most girls, unwise and full-hearted –
I want to tell you a story.
still growing, and ripe with
yearning. My damn spirit
in any real knowing.
Other than the miracle of pain.
Once, I believed
I was never afraid of Death. (Honest.)
I questioned his existence on several occasions.
Pain, I never questioned. I knew him, to be a truth, and a miracle.
He didn’t know how to look with respect.
The simple truth
of combat: a hollowed out stare
and dispensable affection.
I didn’t care – he smiled with an urgent debasement that sufficed.
I didn’t know much past expendable desire myself.
Deep swells of loneliness. And compromise, compromise, in asilhouette most rudimentary –
If I am with you – another body – I am less alone.
Without a self, just a fleeting floating entity, un-tethered.
in search of thatmiraculous feeling to mirror this amplified fallacy of pain.
Driving, while you direct me, through the streets
of East Oakland, looking, sweeping, canvassing
on a clear night, still silent, rehearsing muteness as a way of life.
By your side, an accomplice.
Driving through thestreets of East Oakland, looking sweeping canvassing scouring
Once, I believed in miracles.
and I never questioned
I went to the senior prom with my best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend. Later, I discovered that he had a crush on me. Ideal for him, our date. My friend was prom queen which I thought was remarkable because she was fat and a teenage mother. I wore a homemade dress that looked nothing like the picture in the magazine. Hot pink satin, the cheap kind, with clunky heavy gold lace over the bodice. It was my fault for expecting more. We stayed at the prom for about an hour. Took pictures. Gossiped about what everyone else was wearing. At least fifteen dresses her mother had made. Including mine. At the hotel, he slept in his suit on top of the covers and I didn’t even notice. The next day everyone else went to Great America to ride the rollercoasters. We got up and went to Denny’s.
Anya Pearson is an actress, playwright, essayist, poet and proud mother. A graduate of the writing program at Marylhurst University, she is the author of the play, Made to Dance in Burning Buildings, a fusion of poetic text and violent and visceral contemporary dance, which poses the question how do we heal from trauma?
Photo: alfredmoya via Flickr Creative Commons License