Friday, March 4, 2011


(mixed media on paper)

i wake up in the mornin’, an i tell ‘im i can’t
i can’t do it with ‘im, i say
we can’t do it this mornin’, i tell ‘im,
because i’m ten

that’s how i feel mornin’s, when i wake up frail an’ shaky inside
like the whole world’s made outta rice paper
all ready to crumble
that’s how i feel mornin’s, i tell ‘im
like i’m ten

so the entire bizness of sex, i tell ‘im, is not somethin’ i can do
it’s a shock to my system
to my bein’ ten

meanwhile he’s runnin’ his hands up an’ down, all over my body
like he’s tracin’ a picture of me with his fingers
tellin’ me i’m some kinda sex goddess, like in the movies
an’ he’s in heaven, he says
‘cause he ain’t never seen nothin’ so beautiful as me

an’ i’m stretchin’ out, long and catlike
the way they do when the’re sittin’ in your lap
an’ ya find that spot on their neck
and ya rub it just right
until their bodies melt into whatever shape
ya wanna give ‘em

with me, i guess it’s the touchin’ an’ the words, all put together
an’ he says,”yeah, keep stretchin’ like that , just like that “

an’ i got my head on his chest -- a strong big place
just like i knew it would be, when i first met ‘im
he didn’t have no shirt on that day
an’ i thought, ‘i just wanna lay my head down on this man’s chest
an’ rest for awhile’

an’ now he’s pressin’ up against
me bein small in his arms

an’ then it happens -- like somebody switched the channels on the tv
an’ there’s another show goin’ on
my arms are stretched out back over my head, on the bed
like i’m chained down
only they ain’t real chains
not the kind ya can see
but i can’t move
an’ he’s on top of me,
an’ i want ‘im to ram right through me
right through the bed
an’ down into the ground
so’s i can’t go nowhere
so’s i can’t be ten
or a woman
so’s i can be nothin’
nothin’ with no questions
‘cause i’m tired of questions
tired of wonderin’ whether i’m ten
or a woman

the way i figure it
all those years
an’ all those men
shoulda made me a woman by now

an’ he says he wants me to be wearin’ somethin’ next time
so’s he can rip it off me
an’ he wants me chained down for real
so’s he can do whatever he wants
until i’m beggin’ for it -- it bein’ him

an’ i don’t wonder about it then
‘cause i’m bein’ rammed into nothin’
nothin with no questions

i wonder about it later

was i ten, when he did what he did to me back then ?

was i ten ?

or did i cross some kinda line
go from ten
to bein a woman

‘cause i know there’s all kinds o’ lines, when you’re in that place
bein’ body to body close with a person
all kinds o’ lines
ways people got to keep themselves from bein’ invaded upon

there’s barb-wire lines that cut ya up bad, if ya try to cross ’em
there’s ‘lectrocuted lines that’ll shock ya into wishin’ you was some place else
there’s wooden fences ya can crawl under, or climb over
there’s ditches dug all ‘round a thing, and water an’ alligators put in there
so’s ya can’t swim across
there’s lines with land mines hidden under ‘em -- one wrong move an’ you’re blown to bits
there’s ol’ property lines datin back to god knows when, with grass growin’ over ‘em
an’ nobody payin’ ‘em much mind anymore

i figure if i did cross a line back then
go from ten
to bein’ a woman
it wasn’t nothin’ obvious
maybe somethin’ like dreamin’ ‘bout how there’s a fence ‘round a field
an’ then it’s gone, an’ there’s just the field, all wide open

an’ now, with him talkin’ ‘bout nothin’ but chains an’ tearin’ clothes off my back
i’m thinkin’ maybe i shoulda never mentioned bein’ ten
maybe i shoulda never brought ‘er up
‘cause i dunno what to do with ‘er
an’ i sure as hell don’t like what he wants to do with ‘er
with seein’ her in me

an’ it’s one thing, her poppin’ up appropriate
like bein’ wonder-filled at the sight o’ things only a ten year ol’ can see
but it’s quite another, her showin’ up in the mornin’
an’ me bein’ in bed with a man
‘cause me bein’ ten
an’ her bein’ a woman
is like two songs playin’, at the same time
two different songs that don’t go together
an’ listenin’ to ‘em makes your skin crawl
so ya make up a third song
that’s louder than the other two
an’ covers ‘em up

that’s about as much sense as i can make out of it all

i guess the heart o’ the trouble is not knowin’

me bein’ ten
or a woman
either one
or both
is just somethin’
i don’t know


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