the pleasure principle


December 2018


On Monday, September 25, 2017, I wrote down some things.
I titled them “yesterday” and “today”
So on that day, my yesterday and today went something like this:

yesterday:

He is so intimate with me, kissing me during
saying

“Kiss me”

The a/c in his bedroom hums
And I like when he smiles at me, during

Like we are sharing a secret
an inside joke
something 

I wish he would stop doing that.

I hope he doesn’t quit.

It’s confusing, he’s so contrary.

My Lyft driver takes an eternity to get me
and I bite his head off.

“hey, I’m sorry — don’t be sad,” Masood says.

How did he know?

today:

I wondered again if I’d come home from work and find Mufasa,
dead.

Maybe in the tub.

I go to the Gap outlet and try on

    a red bodysuit

    sexy boyfriend jeans

    girlfriend jeans

All 3 items make me feel
miserable. 
I look in the mirror and 
my eyes are huge, bloodshot

Heightened by my eye bare 
except for mascara making
my lashes look maniacally 
long 
My lipstick not quite right, too 
orange and
not enough red. 

What the fuck is a “sexy boyfriend” fit, anyway?

Why do I keep insisting on trying this style on —
They flatten my ass and make my figure …
off.

Everything looks awful and
I look high
but I’m not. 

Surely Mufasa isn’t dead in the tub.

I walk out empty handed,
feeling like a thief.

“Have a nice day!” the cashier calls.

I turn red:     “You too!”

My eyes burn & so does my face.
It’s too hot for September 25th.

When I get home, Mufasa is at the door. 

*

Now it’s 2018 and almost 2019.
Mufasa is dead,
But she didn’t die in the tub.
Instead it was on a cold table 
with her head cradled in my hand 
and a kind vet
taking her away
as I sobbed, 
teardrops falling on my Indiana hoodie, 
feeling the loneliest I had felt in
years.

    It was lonely like crossing the parking lot to the hospital where my mom was inside dying

                like taking my clothes out of M’s dresser for the final time

            like getting lost in Covent Garden while in London alone

                like 

        like trying on a red bodysuit and unflattering jeans on a too-hot September day because I don’t want to go home and see my dying cat who was now dead

It was lonely,
like.

I didn’t know then what I know now:
That my heart could break like that
and that Layla would soon follow
That my heart could heal like this
and that a year later
Yesterday and today
look entirely different
and the same

I’m still late for brunch on a Sunday
Parking in front of my old apartment,
almost crossing paths with my past 
but missing him, because
we vibrate on entirely different
frequencies now.
I hope for him, 
still.
Not for us, because us was a disaster.

And I’m not sad about it, anymore, really — look
Nao sings “when he released me into orbit”
and all of that pain we gave each other feels worth
something, now.
Because I’m free
of all of it.

I picked up my Audre Lorde to find a poem to fit the mood,
and like usual, today,
I had forgotten the one I had bookmarked 
some yesterday ago — “Movement Song”
                god, she nails it here:

                    “Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof

                    as the maker of legends

                    nor as a trap

                    door to the world

                    where black and white clericals

                    hang on the edge of beauty in five oclock elevators

                    twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh

                    and now

                    there is someone to speak for them

                    moving away from me into tomorrow”

— there is so much more,
but you’ll have to find it 
your damn self.

*

These days I’m writing down PJ Harvey and Erykah 
Badu lyrics in my journal
and writing a shitty poem on a Sunday that I call
THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE
because of Janet,
obviously.

    But that was another yesterday.

        today:

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