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Two Poems by Ashley Makue

Can I Return To Me


Can I return to me when I have been gone so long and am not sure where I ran off to? I remember giving myself to a man who blew rose petals out of his mouth and smelled of Island summer with blue oceans, hot sand and pineapple trees.

Found him in bed with some girl when I didn’t know I was old enough to be cheated and betrayed, asked who she was and he wasn’t keen to answer. Shouted that I deserved to know who he was giving me over to.

I asked who she was and where she was from because I intended to recollect myself from where she’d gone with me. I had hoped to call her and ask her to meet me for lunch so that we could discuss giving me back what is me.

Some man I met, who said things he wasn’t and sang songs he knew nothing about. And I knew he wasn’t alla that, and neither did I want him to be, just so he could keep my bed warm and visit me over night so I’m not lonely. He wasn’t supposed to take anymore than I gave and he didn’t make me aware when I started giving everything.

He threw me to the wall when I asked what Sabrina with the ponytail and boobs too big for my bra was doing in our bed where I give myself to him. I wasn’t picking a fight, put your guns down and tell me, brother, and tell me how you could’ve given me over in an oversight and not even cared to let me know that you no longer had me.

And I woke up mad as hell, my hole is bigger and baby I never asked you to fill it but had hoped you would leave it as is and have nothing to do with tearing my walls down. I don’t know what I’m doing, shit ain’t deja vu, it is a man who gave me over to skirts and I hope you only shared me with women because I gotta private thing for breasts and a dead fascination with penises, also cannot take my love in the hands of another careless man.

This is not about AIDS or another STI that celebrities campaign about. I don’t fall asleep in the night because I’m scattered everywhere. Tell India to come back from Asia so we can do a formal transfer of my goods back to myself. I have a cheque for your worth and you’re the price I pay to have myself back.

Stop! Don’t hurry out. I would like to clarify, don’t take when it ain’t offered to you. I offered my vagina and you received my heart. Fuck is that all about? Dain’t your mama teach you not bite more than you can chew, cuz you can’t chew this, man I can’t take this and I was born tied to it.

Open your suitcase and let me see if you didn’t pack anything of mine, a picture dated 2007 when I had nothing for you cuz you already had alla me. Do you understand, what I am screaming about? What is it you think you got? Loyalty? Me! Now how bout you go find me where you put me so I can have something to give.

Here! You can have you back. I got you back from Lyn next door. Got tired of your shit and faking orgasms so I found something to really satisfy me. Girl next door who ain’t pleasant for shit but does so much better than you and wasn’t gonna give you to no one cuz you would sag her pockets.

She asked me why I stayed and I said I couldn’t leave myself to find nothing and so, honey, I ain’t beggin’. Don’t you see, I’m not down on my knees. I want me back, and you know what you did with me, so fetch me and bring me back.

Can I return to me when I’m ready to treasure my sweetness and sing about my curves and stuff? Can I have me back when I’m prepared to keep her and vow not ever give her away to some nigga whose name is too shallow for my piece?


Songs for My Heart To Beat

Was going to give me up anyway; take up your name, satan and your demons,

Had already practiced the loss of me, gave it all up for unending yeses and sleepless nights with legs spread under you, stockings on the floor and shoes about on the bed, feeling sorry for Mary who left town to be with Jack, singing love songs in bars no one visits, reading old books about what could’ve been love, painting bloody hearts in a recreational art gallery,

Was going to pack my passport in the purse I stole from my grandmother’s closet with notes for being unbreakable. Was gonna give myself over without a fight, hand me over unpacked and unrequested. Was gonna come by and make dinner with raw steak and leaves from the garden that does not have until winter.

Was gonna let you have me, you said those words you know you shouldn’t have, slapped my face when I was waiting for a semi-warm embrace, shot me in my face when I wasn’t trying to hide. Had me tied up with muddy scarves from your first interaction with a woman who wouldn’t say yes. Had me tied up and I stayed because I wanted to.

Would’ve went with you anywhere, had already packed my lilies and roses at the bottom of the suitcase with my scented lace underwear and six bullets for safety,

left my peanut butter and jam sandwich in the fridge and I was gonna have you when you were nothing for filling.

Wasn’t even gonna pack my ponytail or the memories of me riding horses as if men who’d go anywhere I directed.

Left my stilettos, the red and the gold for the prospective model daughter you gave me unintentionally.

You had me when I had given myself away, then fought to keep me when I wasn’t going anywhere. Had me buried when I was going to sing my obituary and pray to the gods for rest, was going to sing to the dried trees for life and all sorts of joys that I never could’ve drawn from you.

Sang songs for my heart to beat on that long train course when we were getting nowhere. Had apple juice with cookie-cut bread and I wondered, asked myself and all my crutch could know, that and the breasts you sucked roughly and rudely, stealing from our child whose name you have not called. Our child whose laughter you have not seen. Our child whose face you have not learned.

Songs for my heart to beat, I waited too long, cried too late, and you had me when I gave myself away. Shot me dead when I wasn’t going to struggle for the gun, when I could’ve pulled the trigger on myself.

Songs for my heart to beat and you killed me when I was dead, sex with a dried corpse, hope it pleased you so, made you cum and moan excitedly, completely satisfied. You killed me when I was dead.

Songs for my heart to beat and I picked you because you would toss me around and bend me to and fro. I found you where I went searching, only place you could be found and I went with a rope to pull you back to shatter me.

Songs for my heart to beat and I never thought it was you, never once looked at you as the manwhore who broke me, never once blamed you for my gloom and doom. Hoped you wouldn’t take credit for something you didn’t do, you didn’t do it, you did none of it.

Songs for my heart to beat and I know you miss me, had some love there didn’t you? Some sick, broken, ugly love. Tied to my cries and muffins for breakfast, which I made with two teaspoons of spit and half a cup of piss for all the shit you were never gonna clean up or apologize for.

Songs for my heart to beat and I want you to sleep well, I want you to have good dreams and wake up to sunsets and storms of what you did because I let you.

Songs for my heart to beat and I hope you realize the bars and iron are not the only prison that binds you to memories of me.

Songs for my heart to beat and I want you to hear them, these songs, hear them and understand what I warned you against. Songs for my heart to beat and I hope you see why I was leaving. Songs for my heart to beat and I hope you know that it was never you.

Songs for my heart to beat and I can imagine you singing along to me.