by Ashley Makue
Your language on my tongue, ‘goodbye’ as you walk with a bit of an accent, emphasis on ‘bye’. I have written it, in your way, packed nostalgia for your trip to see him. An honest song I think you’ll remember when you pass by the jukebox with a Rand to spare for the movement of that old lover’s hands as she danced, unsteadily, falling in love, crashing into your heart. I’m having this language a problem because it was our thing, our thought on significant discourses (and of course the absolutely insignificant), our argument on life things, our song, our lyrics, words we rewrote to own, to have our own, to keep record, to playback when amnesia visits.
Your words in my poetry, you wrote ‘I want to be with you Ashley’ a kiss on my forehead, sealing the deal. You forgot to close the door when you came back from ‘we’re just friends, it was nothing’, a trail of your actions, an invitation to trace your lingering spirit, your wanting heart; needing more than I can offer, more than should be required, more than a soul tie I did, with my bare hands, plain and intricate, afraid but baring all, taking my stuff and attaching it to yours, a durable knot. Carrying me with you for the kisses on your cheeks, how it could be if it wasn’t for our alternative love. You want to stay, I know, but baby your feet have left marks on the soil outside our gate.
Your jazz in my music, you played something about needing to be free and said you we were liberated with me. An eagerly told lie because you no longer express like you used to. Your laughter stops before you are embarrassed, your tears are dried with the bathroom towel, away from me. You hide yourself from me, your ohhs are short and ahs are with a single ‘h’ for this single affair that used to be more; pairs, packs, bonds, doubles of beautiful things, things that were more than enough, more than you’d had before, and I have more for you, my heart got to proactive work, pumping blood to fill your veins when anemia comes.
Your ink on my body, you weren’t the white girl with the bob at the tattoo studio but you, you are the deeper cuts, the eternal flowers on my thighs. I could never afford removing you so you were going to stay, you were going to stay wondering, nightmares about returning to your mother’s house, left you wanting dreams to be the morning, to grow into life like wild flowers, to be rosy and sunny- lilies when she marries him and the elders plant a seed, a harvest of vegetable eating babies, unbroken, loving exactly right and never being lured by satan to homosexuality.
Your picture in my eyes, a vision of nothing; fading things, dying things. This used to be enough, I know, you need it to be so again, and perhaps this is not something you’re doing, maybe you have lost your hold on it and it shot out the window, flying away like a homeless bird, mocking the love that we remember when we’re honest. Maybe you can’t help it, an inherent need that you cannot silence, a physical requirement, your body yearning a gratification I can’t satisfy, a touch at a spot too far for my fingers’ reach, a need your vagina has, to be entered, to warm and to bear a proof of the intimacy. I don’t have a penis for you, or the interest to buy more days with plastic dildos that smell like sperm.
Your name on my ‘let go’ list and if you’re really mine you’ll come back with a cup cake and assurance that it’s not greener on the other side, that orgasms are not glorious with dicks, that Dick doesn’t complete you and maybe it doesn’t matter that your mother will always pray for your reparation, that your womb will not bear unscarred infants, that your G-spot will remain untouched, that my tongue isn’t his size and that what I give isn’t pants on the toilet sign, head to submit under, leader to follow. You’re at the door, and I can’t have you stay the night because I can’t say goodbye one more morning, I can’t throw another farewell party to be the only one of the attendees waving and admitting that you are leaving, walking in secrete paths, the trails of your feet no longer leading me back home.
Your body in my bed, in the kitchen missing the sound of the boiling kettle, the sound of home from the fridge. You are already gone. Stop preserving me, this is not a selfless favour, I can’t return it when it’s for assuaging your guilt over staying when you’re wondering. I know you wish to stay but baby, I can’t have you stay while you’re wondering because I might start wondering, doubting and questioning the adequacy of this love, the truth of it. Don’t stay when you think that Paul might be right about the wrongness of this. I don’t want hate speech in my ears, returning old discomforts and a stool in the closet. Don’t stay when you’re wondering, your palms pushing me back into hiding- into a cold solitude where my love can’t be in my presence and my poetry won’t stand the falsehood, and you’re not even around, the sweater you forgot smells of a common fragrance and you left it because you wouldn’t need it laying under his warmth and wearing his acceptance into society and the normality of his body next to yours.
Your salt in my tears- flavour and it’s been an electrifying affair, a worthy piece to share; your staying will ruin it- wind on a rainy summer’s day when we were going to dance in the rain, make out colourful butterflies with our fingers concurrently absorbing the joy of being where you need to be, a thunder reminding our hands to unhook, a hooting at the gate, ‘your taxi’s here. If it’s not everything, and I promise it isn’t, come back to me’.