Virtual Open Mic III

HONESTY IN CHAOS

I. A dusty garden of radishes So hot they burned my tongue My dead father’s deader dreams Long gone—and yet, I pluck them up Dig through and crack the clay Til my fingers bleed and I can again Feel the fear of losing everything I’ve worked so hard to build. II. I’m afraid—hide under the bed and Wait for monsters to come and devour All I am, cover my ears to block out The thunder of wanting you I can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t think Of anything but wanting you And losing me, of trusting you And losing myself I can’t say whether I’ll advance, will stay, Or will crumble, bits of earth, Shattered clay, Scattering to the winds. III. Yes, I have read, and I Have wandered, wondered, Pondered— You want an answer

But I can’t, I don’t, won’t, Can’t, may, no, maybe Can’t know my own heart What I do know is heat, Summer lightning jumps In my pores when I hear Your voice, whispering, In the frenzied agitation of my atoms. IV. When summer comes, It’s a world of sweat, of heat, Blistering like those Sunday school shoes That cut into your feet, you scream For freedom, as it drips off your brows, Slicks between your thighs, your eyes Blink once, maybe twice, to clear The way for what you hope— You hope. V.

I had a dream, you don’t know, It was only three weeks ago Of you and of me, and we were Walking, hand-in-hand, I didn’t understand when I awoke, I thought, how awkward it would be To tell you— Because, in the heart of me, I was home, I was safe. Felt whole, felt things I’d never felt before, And I thought it funny—how odd, Let me tell him, but I— Knew better. VI.

Apparently, the chemical necessity For honesty is 1.5 bottles of wine, So here is the truth of me— I am in love with you. And every bit of fear I have That burns me, incendiary, Burns like flames on kerosene— I’m being honest Take what you want of me, I trust you, I hate you, I want you— I want to trust in you, I am trusting you now, I am weak, I am small, I am yours—for as long As you want me.

IF ONLY YOU KNEW Why are you so weird, so often I hear Hear What made you this way So odd, so strange? If only you knew.

Who was it who made you, Made you strong, Made you weak Made you the first to speak In a crowded room? If only you knew. You don’t seem how I thought Thought you were stuck up Then you laughed, said “Shut the fuck up” And your smile grew If only you knew. If you only knew that painted eyes And highlighted hair Doesn’t make a woman more than fair It’s not the size of my thighs Or my straight white teeth That make me beautiful It’s the scars you never see. And you don’t see them Because I don’t know you And I don’t give one f*ck who You think I am Who you think I should be Because I was born on pine porch swings And cut my teeth on fried chicken funerals And Lysol’s death watch waiting I was a heathen in a Baptist spring Baptized and burning with questions Of why am I different Where can I go Why don’t I believe And who will love this deep dark strangeness In me? I can shoot my mouth as easy as a pistol And still be unafraid of recoil Because I never back down from a fight But none of that matters now Because if only you knew That you, too, are strong Beautiful, powerful Able to stretch one hand to a star And another out to your brother, Sister, a stranger, If only you knew we are all At odds with ourselves And with each other And that is what we share, What can make us better Then, you would know That where I came from doesn’t matter Who I’ve been, who I am, Those can all fade easily into the ether It’s who I’m becoming who matters And who you’re becoming who matters And somehow, we all fit Into a stunning, calico pattern If only you knew.

Crystal White has difficulty sticking to the same things which is why she has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and even refrigerator magnet witticisms. She is currently working on her eighth novel, an historical novel about a sundown town in Tennessee. She has a Master of Professional Writing and works for an Atlanta digital agency as its strategy lead.

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