Slam Poem: Defining the Line
Lunch and that Cafeteria food.
Have a bag a miracle bag…with cookies.
Black colored cookies with white frosting that
I don't particularly like.
I open that packet,
The six-pack rustle of calories
Building on my butt, breasts, body.
I am nine years old.
Impressionable and overemotional
As so unused to
Defending myself the youngest of three
Lowest of the food chain, I never had to
Deal with sisterly abuse,
My mom took care of that.
Rooms, shut doors, avoidance
Took care of that.
So the whisper, when it came hit hard in
The gut- that slimy almost preteen who voiced
"No wonder she's so fat."
Shock, the awe-factor
I wonder what they say when I'm gone…
Blood quickly drains and leaves face pale
And then the flush comes,
Turing cheeks, nose, forehead and neck a bright
Blaring heart-on-sleeve red.
Then comes the recovery, the instant damage control complete with
An urgent bathroom run – yes, this is an emergency.
I spit, sputter quarterly digested food, the graininess in my mouth
Lands with a sickening plop in the white base-black rimmed
Toilet I think I'm going to be sick.
Not the first time. Not the last.
The day moves on as if nothing happened as feet find their path
Bus, home homework, dinner-
Shower read bed.
Quiet room, dark with the not so soft hum
Of a TV as a lullaby, but I can't sleep, thoughts won't die.
Anger. I fear it hate it but it
Rushes at me and I think a word I usually avoid.
But I only react as people expect, tears, whines, or
silence and a gentle blush that creeps up when I know
Someone is talking about me.
Good girl, sweet girl who feels guilty when
someone else gets in trouble or she
talks too loud too much
and someone utters that well-worn phrase -shut up
be silent – we don't want your worries our noise polluting our lives.
Years later and I hear
People call me beautiful; my doctor says I am perfect in my roundness
after all those years
Of bulimic hours spent in self-pity,
And years and years of believing that I was…
Then the truth comes softly, hopefully and with just a bit of pain when
Skinny girls – sporting white, black, tan and olive skin hues
say with encouragement
"daaaaammmn" whenever I am
Brave enough to flash a bit of skin.
Fuck you and your opinions,
And do it so well that your bubble world goes limp
And moldable and your mind fogs to distant.
Not afraid, huh?
Not so meek anymore,
I shave my grudging outrage years after
This clay mold of hips, breast, thighs and mind hardens,
Unfortunately still polite, mild and very solid.
I dig deep and
Unearth words that sound similar to those
Who I believed were indifferent to
And soon, anger isn't so unreasonable,
"Almost", "This might sound weird"
"But", "Might" and "Maybe"…
All characters that I've started removing
From my speech.
I might have a breast reduction before I'm twenty-five and I
Might prefer to drink OJ with pizza rather than soda, and
Maybe when I was little I made the Dead Sea
Grim with jealousy a few times or swallowed a few too many
In the form of comments, favors, and abuses…
But if I cut my wrist and you cut yours
We will both die bleeding the same shade of red, and,
I bet all the
six-pack shit available in the world,
That my overemotional and diverse
But strictly nurtured and defined blood will
And die faster than yours, quiet without complaint
or unfinished business or loose ends scrambling to
violently clutch me to this earth.
I will find freedom in the fact
That my existence was defined by no one but me.