a drinking problem

By , lakewood, CA
A man built out of beer bottles instead of out of water bottles is a man with no life force in him
And there were two of them
First they took my fingers
They pulled them off my hands slowly
One by one by one
By finger by finger
And then the other hand
And I remember actively feeling that I would never again carry anything in these hands
Never again would I pull a man’s hair through my fingers
And all of this was occurring to me as at the same time the inside of my left foot began to itch
Slowly at first
And then more and more
Until I was ripping through my shoe laces and into my socks with every piece of my mind
And the memory of what it was to scratch an itch came bursting through my eyelashes
I pretended I had all ten of my fingers balled into two great fists
And with that in mind I refused to even ask for my fingers back
I alone would hold onto my pride

Next they slowly shaved off the caps of my knees
The right first and then the left
My blood ran thick, and my blood ran quick, and my blood ran sick with the scent of my pride
And in this way they ensured that everything in me came pouring out
Through the gap between my footsteps and my womanhood
Both legs exposed and draining they then pulled each strand of hair from my head
One at a time at first and then in great fist-fulls as their hunger chewed at their manhood
My bald head was burning and red as they carved along the sides of my face with their teeth
Chipping away at what was left of my childhood- buried beneath the soft skin lining my cheek bones
They licked my face clean
Their tongues were hot and dripping a melting wax along my forehead as they peeled off my eyebrows
Their transgression cleared my complexion erased my expression and instilled a depression deep within the lines across my brow I hadn’t known how to allow before now.
Bald and cut down I was sinking through a pool of memories my fingerless hands could no longer hold.

But- I was raised right. First I was cut down and then I was raised right. Right back up through the violence right back up through the blood right back up through the silence
And right back through the liquid guilt diverging and converging and transfusing and diffusing as liquids do
I know the properties of liquids. You taught me well
I understand the properties of liquid motion you taught me so well

I learned in school it’s called convection, I learned at home it’s called correction, I learned in church it’s resurrection
But it is all liquid and confusing and unpredictably abusing the natural order of things
As we thirsty animals say
We animals who turn herbivore on Friday
And carnivore on Sunday
Constantly ebbing and flowing as liquids do
Constantly shrinking and growing as liquids do
Constantly forgetting and knowing as liquids do
Permanently transparent and glowing the color blue
The color of life the color blue
The color of strife the color blue
The color of receiving and taking, the color of hunger and thirst
The color of life

Three fourths of our souls are water and drowning into each other we discover the depths we have in common and the shallows that quench our thirsts
And my liquid parents raised me right- right up through the color of life in all its hues all its shades of blues and dripping sinews off their tongues and into my soul that I might swim.

Pulled apart in all directions, my laughter evaporated the water from those foolish men who forgot to bite off my ear so I heard their fear, they forgot to swallow my eye, so I saw them cry, they forgot to chew off my lip so I took a sip.

They must’ve thought I was too little to remember, to small to retain, to underdeveloped to evolve yet into all things woman.
But in their arrogance and their ignorance they left me still able to see the blue. Still able to hear it flow. Still able to smell the rain. Still able to swallow for myself the color of life.

And my sweet liquid parents they always knew what I could do and I am long overdue for a slow swim through that sweet deep ocean blue that lives in me and flows in you
And I am holding onto something powerful.
I’m holding onto something powerful and I refuse to let it go.
They might have my fingers but they cannot dictate what is held within me
They cannot pry open the fingers of my mind
And undo its grasp on the properties of liquid motion

I’m holding onto something powerful and I know because I can taste it
This water power in me is enough to quench the thirst of all the melting children in Africa
This hydro power in me could irrigate crops enough to end world hunger
This water in me could resuscitate the titanic and cool down global warming altogether

I’m holding onto something powerful and
Every time I take a sip I scratch the itch at the back of my throat
And I am reminded of the liquid life force those foolish men forgot to drain from me.
I am bursting
And any day now that little Dutch boy’s finger from our childhood short story
Will no longer be enough to hold up the walls
Encasing my liquid life force
It’s gonna come bursting through as a matter of course
Spraying a truth only I can endorse
I’m just a soaking wet rag behind closed doors
But I dare any man to come and
Wring me out.





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