WIP: Bassey speaks to herself

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

Inspired by a poem by the brilliant Safia Elhillo. She can be reached at www.oddballsdontbounce.blogspot.com. I have to admit that I’m embarrassed and feel guilty that so much is going on in Haiti and the world yet I feel trapped in my own head. I apologize if anyone is offended by my lack of words on the subject. I don’t know what to say. It’s all too big and I can barely comprehend the relatively minor and unimportant things that are happening. Please forgive me for not being a better person.

My heart goes out to the worried and those who have lost. I’m praying.

love someone and mean it. It’s the ‘mean it’ and the ‘someone’ that’s been tripping me up lately.


PS. Not well written. Just needed to be written.


i’d ask how you are
but i already know
can barely recognize you
these days
stained sweatshirt
hood obscuring face

eyes swollen, black rimmed
when did you become this again
broken damp faced creature
confused cracked cretin

where is this girl whose heart
was glittered upon sleeve?
who is this burgundy bleeding?
who is this dripping angst
against your bones?

you, notorious for being hardheaded
must accept this with love.
if you feel nothing else,
know i still love you
still find you worthy
on your worst days

i need you to listen
need you to remember the times
you loved yourself
remember the girl who named her birthday
tattooed awesome on the underside of pouty
bottom lip
the girl always ready with a quip or a witticism
you inventor of words and paper mache laughter
remember her?

the girl who believed with all her heart
in the good of others
where is that belief in yourself?
let me help you find her.

when was the last time you saw her?
was it the tuesday before you found out?
was it december?
was it when the boogie baby told you he loved
you; missed you
hugged you tightly around the neck

what about that boy?
this best thing you’ve ever done?
this only thing you’ve yet to fuck up.
he is still joy and wonder and compassion
and, “what’s wrong, mama?”
What do you tell him besides, ‘Nothing, baby?
Mommy’s just tired.”

He’s too young for the truth.
mommy is tired of herself.
ashamed of this life she’s offered you.
mommy, still believes you deserve better.
mommy loves you more than you can understand.
mama says none of this

instead, mama, hugs, the boy too tightly.
peppers his face with kisses
tickles the belly
plays the race car game and Thomas the Tank Engine
watches Madagascar for the 20th time
then retreats before the tears come again

let me help you find her,
for the boy
no, for yourself
you have all laughter and light necessary
you are  joke against winter
and love despite adversity
and i know that your brain is lying
convincing you worthless
wants you to believe you unnecessary

and i know what your heart is saying
not another hospital
not another cocktail of pills
not another person peering
at  you with shaded eyelids
not another breath that fears
that one ill placed sigh
will crack your fragile spirit

but if it will help…
bassey, if it will help…
if it will heal

i know you think they’ll whisper
those who wish you to fail
those who prayed that you’d break
and what of those that thought you pillar
and encouragement
those who think you’re strong
and past this
will be disappointed by this weakness
those who think  you speak
when they can’t speak for themselves
but who speaks for you, Bassey?

who encourages the poetry
the words that lift you out of bed
who will lift you out of bed?

let me help you find her

let me
let me convince you that the brain
twists facts until they resemble
a pounding against your skull

let them feed you
when was the last time you ate?
or slept without the haunt of regret
rousing you at unearthly intervals?

i love you enough for the truth
B, you’re getting worse.
do something.
not for the man who broke your heart
or the friends who mismanage your trust
not for the life that feels worthless
the empty clinging to your ribs

i feel like i’ve already lost you
but the same heard headed
stubborn spirit that keeps you fighting
keeps me here
waiting for you to create another miracle
ask God for one more favor
one more chance to recreate phoenix

i love you enough for the truth
for the worry
to search for the strength you
lost somewhere between reality
and fiction

there is still an army in your heart
still a battle in your bones
still million marching for you
if you let them

let them.

let me gather for you the strength
you think you’ve lost
i’ve been saving it
waiting for the appropriate time
let me hand it to you wrapped in glitter
and promise

take it.
love always,