Love With a Pillow Over Your Head: For Lisa Bonet (a little)


I’ve become obsessed with Lisa Bonet and Pablo Neruda. “There’s this thought in my head: Beyonce probably loves Red Lobster, but too ashamed to be seen there now.” I’m sitting on fabric I’d love to know the name of, and the plate of olives, mozzarella, and sundried tomatoes in olive oil and herbs in now empty and licked. This is what my day has wrapped up to be.

I’ve been stressing over possibly not being a poet anymore. I can’t seem to write what I want or how I want, but I find other ways to get it out. Less poetic, yes, but still with a nice flow. I am a writer. I am a student of all writers who killed at imagery and making others feel. I love, like love, Baldwin, but I’m not sure if I saw what he wanted me to see. I’ve tried, and I’m still unable to see David as a white man. Same goes for Hella, Jacques, and Joey. I saw a glimpse at my vulnerability, sadness, despair, hope, and love of life in Giovanni, though. I won’t say Baldwin failed me because I love him too much.

I want my work to be loved, but I don’t want the applause. I’ve never been nervous before a thing, but always after because I hate the pleasant confrontations. Words of affirmation are not my thing. I want the people to love my words, but not love me unless I love them back. This is why I don’t understand celebrity. I love Baldwin’s/Giovanni’s/Neruda’s/Shire’s words, but I know too little about them to love them. They understand. At least Nikki does; I’ve asked her.

It’s night in London. The rain stopped hours ago, and sidewalks are determined to be dry by morning. There’s a band playing old Bob Marley songs not too far off, and a white boy from Holland with locs singing “Could you be loved” loudly. I can hear them. I hear the neighbor panting, moaning, and howling with pillows over her face, and him with nothing over his. The one kid whose straight-from-the-islands mother works the night shift is still in the courtyard running bases alone, counting “First. Second. Third. Home” to himself. These is never silences. Eventually 3am will come, and the music and white boy will be gone, the kid will be sleep, the neighbor will have orgasmed for the last time, but the random tick near the water heater will sound, and a car will drive by, its tires letting me know the roads have not dried completely.

I leave soon. London is nice in the springtime. Paris in April isn’t so bad. Norway was lovely, and I imagine with the right amount of heat and someone who doesn’t require constant cuddling, I’d love it there all year. Amsterdam above everything. It’s time to go home, isn’t it? There’s a fight I’m missing.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I get what you mean about not wanting the applause. I’m like that as well. The joy in seeing the fruits of your labor – the smile on someone’s face, the progress toward a greater good, collective social change – is far more gratifying than any applause or recognition you can receive. That feeling you get on the inside is the reason why we should be doing things anyway, right? Unless you’re a celebrity, in which case you do it for the public pat on the back. I think living for the kudos makes it less meaningful.

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