Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NPM Day 19 {Pretty With a Pistol}

I wrote this back in 2009, concerning a certain terrible breakup. I posted it as a "note" on Facebook. My poetry professor, and English adviser at the time, casually commented, "Is this written by you? It's great. The aridity has its own values and assets and we profit from the Moroccan Street experience, don't we?"

I didn't ask him to read it, but it wasn't the first/last time he commented on my poetry. It was the exact kind of validation I needed. I thought I wanted validation about my failed relationship. I wanted people to tell [unnamed terrible boyfriend] that he'd made a mistake, and we should get back together.

Ya'll know me a little, by now. I get invested in people rather quickly. Even 8 years ago, that was true.

I was just barely beginning to allow myself to be angry about the situation when I wrote this poem. I'd spent almost an entire month simply wishing I could still be with [unnamed terrible boyfriend.] I managed to fly home to Washington for spring break just a few weeks prior to this piece being written, and at my mother's Bible study I asked everyone to pray that I could "get him back." (I was young and INVESTED, okay? I want all of my relationships to work out, no matter what. I don't give up easily. I'm gonna end these parenthesis before this blog is like 50% excuses for loving the wrong person.) And after all the talks with my friends, even amidst a thousand other encouraging voices, I recall my friend Marianne (may she rest in peace) shaking her head and explaining how silly that was. She said he had treated me poorly, that he didn't deserve me, and that if he didn't understand how artistic and incredible I was he wasn't worth my time. But her most important sentiment: "I'm angry at him for you, even if you aren't!"

So when I look back on it, I am kindly reminded that my heart was being heard above the nonsense of my sadness. In a time where I felt confused, disappointed, and rejected there were trusted people outside the situation who knew what I needed to hear, even if I didn't want it at the time. I needed to feel angry about how I had been treated, not about the fact that we'd broken up. (I am, obviously, glad we broke up. I married Joey, after all.)

So here you go. The Moroccan Street experience.

Pretty With a Pistol
April 1, 2009

Today is one of those blue-sky, wide-open types.
Just a reminder of how much I love the desert,
the sandy wind all abrasive against my skin.
I miss the spice in the air and rattle snakes
warning us to never go into the long grass.
Days and nights blended under that sun.

We don't have to go stay at that city, though.
I could never make anyone enjoy that heat
as much as I did. Your heart is much too closed.

But maybe we could go somewhere else for a while.
Let's go to Moroccan Street, just you and me.
Brick houses will shade us where there are no trees,
and everyone will greet you with a foreign smile.
We'll dress up and sweat in the dusty afternoon.

I've always wanted to wear a fancy gown
and drag you into the incense-flavored sunset,
to dance and fade into a cool midnight.
You never gave me the chance, though.

When I look back up into the blue canvas of sky,
and look back down at the gray slab of cement,
I am reminded that I'm not going to the desert again.
But if I could go and we danced in the sunset,
I'd dance you into the middle of the burning dirt road

and I would shoot you straight through the heart.

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