Marriage

Behind the curtain of marriage I treasure the single men I know, each one a potential gem who would surely treat me better than my husband does.

I imagine how they would listen to me as we engage in stimulating conversations over a meal they provided, how respectful and grateful they would act, how passionate as lovers, how giving and attentive.

I fantasize about men who balance their check books and clean up after themselves, men who are calm and communicate maturely, who do the damn dishes, who save money or at least spend it on their family, who let go of past hurts, evolve and hold space for me to do the same.

I try to make myself at home within the sound-proof confines of my marriage, though the walls threaten to close in and crush me; both execution device and tomb.

Within the secret tortures of my marriage, my husband and I fight fervently leading up to the moment that we arrive out our friends’ houses, quickly plastering smiles on our faces as we ring the doorbell.

My veins are scalded by resentment for all the ways my husband takes miles without giving an inch.

I scan the horizon for a silver lining, a way to improve my situation: so far marriage counseling, life coaching and me doing the work on myself have all fallen short.

Yet deep below the cracks in our relationship, I sense a fertile humus.

We share more than our sordid history together; we make a home and a family.

We are united in our love for our baby, though we often disagree bitterly on how to raise her.

We share a commitment to our life together and a vision of our future, though we put different amounts of effort and resources towards both: in our relationship, I do all the earning and handle all the responsibilities for our household.

He drags down my energy and my finances, invoking a slow and destitute death.

Perhaps I’m not in a position to judge him: maybe he is the better one and I am the bitter one.

For now, I remain hidden behind the curtain of marriage, bound to my husband and yet alone.

Prince

Tumble in the hay

Let’s hide away from the light of day

My fingers run through your flaxen hair

My other hand ends up over there

I go fish in your eyes- what a catch

You’re a fine dish, it’s no surprise that my mind’s between your thighs

Countless times I’ve denied myself dessert- the sweetness of your kiss

Though I’ve yet to taste it, it’s the flavor I miss

Though I’ve yet to be basted, I soak up your succulence

No matter how poor we’ve been,

You’ve always been my prince

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

Please don’t judge me for being a sex worker in order to make ends meet
You taught me how to dissociate from my body, how to put other’s wants ahead of my needs
You were my first violator and my first pimp
Remember molesting me at night throughout my childhood and adolescence?
You opened the floodgates for countless rapes
Remember forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do my whole life?
Pimping me out to abusive children who you ‘felt sorry for’ because they did’t have any friends
The reason why they didn’t have any friends is because they weren’t good friends. Like you, they were trapped in abuse
Oscillating between abuser and abused
Remember commanding me yet never asking or listening?
I told you I was depressed, you told me I was not
The middle school guidance counselor called you to pick me up from school because I was suicidal-
All you did was yell at me
You found out I was a sex worker by violating my privacy
You yelled at me to respect myself
Yet you never respected me and actively taught me to disrespect myself
How can you expect me to fly when all you ever did was drag me down and break my wings
You raised me in poverty
Gave me no financial resources, no guidance
I was hungry, I had textbooks to buy and rent to pay
You want to take credit for my success
I became who I am in spite of you, not because of you
Though I see the crucial role you played
At the end of the day all I can say is namaste

Sleep Talking

Long ago and far away
On a bus grinding through the night
The air thick with sweat and grime
All we had was time
Beer and ice cream on my lips
Bitterness and liquor on his
The man next to me said that I was afraid of talking in my sleep
He overstepped the boundary that I failed to establish between us
Sometimes when I wake up alone, I wonder if my lover heard me sleep-talking and left me to wallow in my past
I want to tell him the truth about my life, but I fear that he would stop loving me,
or worse- rehash it endless times and tell his religious family who would judge me as a hell-bound, lying, baby-killing whore
They’d be right, in a sense
I have exchanged sex for money and I’ve had 3 abortions, each one horrible in its own way, but not as bad as being stuck in an abusive, disempowering situation
Judge not, motherfuckers
I don’t want any man to judge the decisions I’ve made about my body
Least of all a man who is financially dependent on my career: a profession which swallowed my fetuses whole
My past is nobody’s business but my own
I don’t want to be given a hard time for the hard times I’ve already been through
I’m trying to heal and move on
I’m trying to meet myself with compassion for the trauma I’ve endured
I am strong and tough and vulnerable and delicate
My dark secrets are at once more innocent and scandalous than my jealous partners imagine
I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore so I stopped being pregnant
You weren’t supporting me by being broke and leaving me shamefully unmarried
I didn’t want to spend the weekend with you so I didn’t
I regret the weekend away because the other men treated me both better and worse than you, but I love you- painfully clear now that the hormonal storm of pregnancy has simmered down
Why do I set myself up for drama and disaster? I’m trying to heal but your rehashing of the past dredges up emotional detritus, dragging me back
My old stress addiction dies hard
I clamp my jaw
My teeth grind like a bus in the night
I pray that I didn’t sleep talk last night