(Not) Sorry I’m Not Sorry

I have stopped trying to find myself
at the bottom of every late night glass
or attempting to find atonement
in other people’s poems and promises.

I have stopped trying to forget
the ways my mouth strained to fit
the words “I’m sorry” into it correctly
when my mind knew I didn’t mean them.

I have stopped trying to return home
to the prison of a man’s arms,
hands that never knew
how to hold me.

I have stopped writing again.
I am not sorry for not being sorry.
There are times when
it’s just not about you.

 

© Jasmin Michelle

Needle and Thread EP

Needle and Thread Cover art

Needle and Thread EP – FREE DOWNLOAD

My amazingly talented roommate Rowan from last year, and great friend, just released her EP and its wonderful!

Everyone should really give it a listen and download it for FREE!!!!

It’s worth so much more so you are REALLY getting a steal!

Promo art done by Rowan

“He was my last time”

(title from a WWIS generated status)

My mouth always seemed to be full
of empty yes’
while his tough hands tried to pry
apart lips that had lost their memory
of sweetness, of smile, of sensitivity.
I remained without myself
every moment of his crawling under
my skin. Every part of me willing
warmth up through my cold cracked scars.

He never asked for an answer,
only begged with his eyes and a simple
“please.” So I let him
hold me for the sake of filling the empty spaces
between his hands
and my cheeks. I let myself forget
the “I love you’s” left unsaid,
hanging, heavy and silent. I let him forget too.

My stomach always seemed to be swollen
with the ache of lacking.
His head resting there, ear pressed to my naval
made my heart race, the way it does
when your being chased in a dream
by a shadow that you know will kill you,
but not knowing how is what scares you most.

What happens to a voice left without a vessel,
a scream, a protest, silenced by fear?
When you have all but forgotten its departure
it returns home to remind you
“he was your last time.”

 

© Jasmin Michelle

He said, “come.”

I followed nothin’
but skin,
bones, and his teeth. I was
pulled back in. He was
big eyes and smile gleam,
soft touch, too
quiet. He was
like night.
I began to feel
sick. I was
a cloud of smoke
sitting at the kitchen table.
I wasn’t
sure I was
going to stay.

 

© Jasmin Michelle

Nights like These

There are many nights I find myself
thinking about you.
Missing you. But not
in a longing for
a connection
type of way -
not like I used to.

More like a “I dream about you
sometimes” and wish you knew.
Like last night she was in it too
the last person I’d expect
to admit needing my help.
For you.
I gave it willingly.
We all smiled
and it only hurt a little bit
less than usual.

Harry/Harriet

Harry

He
kept his loss hidden,
twinkling eyelids painted,
lips full of wisdom.
Sings the song of captive people,
he does not speak of it.

                                                      desire, longing to live
                                                                suspended in the in-between 

He needs her more than ever
now. Nurses, doctors, and priests ignore him.
Try to save
his soul.
This is their game.
He is learning to teach them
how to love.

 

Harry/Harriet

They           
know there is no place
in the system
for in-betweens.
Loss remains the same—
hidden.
They do not speak of it

                                                     there is freedom to be found
                                                            on hot nights with friendly strangers

Maintain silence and call it dignity.
Make ashtrays of his hands,
a trophy of her head.
Keep the surface decorated.
Keep the loss hidden.

Harriet

She
remembers seeing her mother’s nakedness
the first time—
a sacred exchange.
How she came to be here
a long story.
Over time a thick moss
covered her skin to                                                                   
keep her loss hidden.
She lives with the unexpected here,
the sea and the in-betweens.
She has taught us how to love her—
how not to speak of it.

                                                     five o’clock coarseness poking out,
                                                             the penis hidden beneath the skirt

 

*Lines borrowed and adapted from Michelle Cliff’s novel “No Telephone to Heaven”

A Remembering of Sorts

I watched my mother
from under water. There
was a perfume rising
off the morning sea.
She sang slow and
breathed it all in.

She watched my heart
slowly softening.

My father’s mother
once prayed for my
future—the consolation
prized possession
of my father, whose
fingers it seems to keep
slipping through.

I’ve written these prayers
down for her.

I wanted nothing more
than to be a simple
woman, delicate—
sturdy with experience
—like a white napkin
tinted a few shades
from repeated use.

 

*Inspired by lines from Lorna Goodison’s poetry in Turn Thanks.