If, one day, I have a daughter the first thing I’ll teach her is how to say - no. I’ll have her say it over and over again until her voice no longer trembles. She’ll say it softly, calmly, the way I say yes. For her, no, will be effortless. She will know that no is the end of a discussion, not a beginning of a negotiation. She will know when to walk away. She will know that no does not need to be justified, or explained, or qualified, it is a full sentence. She will know not to feel guilty when the word leaves her lips. She will know to keep her head up and her shoulders high. She will know to feel pride for choosing herself, for choosing not to give little bits of herself to people who can’t appreciate them. If, one day, I have a daughter, I’ll teach her that sometimes there is more love in those two letters, than in the eight the whole world will tell her she needs for happiness.
privileged kids go to counseling, poor kids go to jail.
The boys, they call me Lolita.
They come to me with their dark hair and beautiful cheekbones.
They say ‘Lolita, baby. C’mon, hike that skirt up. Yeah, show me those stockings.’
‘Lolita, you kill me. Turn around sweetheart.’
‘Lolita, go and grab me a beer. You’re the best chaser I’ve ever had hunny, you taste like cherry soda straight from the shop.’
They know everything of my shaky, wandering hands, peppermint lips and olive skin
but nothing of my anxious soul, my love for 7-up, my eyes that cry salt.
The priest, the one with sins falling from his eyelashes, he tells me girls like me are not meant to be loved. We are candy, made to be devoured.
I go home and I put on a long t-shirt and I paint.
I paint the boys’ dirty hands, their cigarette lips and eager but dying eyes.
I do not tell them I make them into art; I don’t want to scare them away.
Girls like me, we have blood draining out our eyes. Desire hides in the crevices of our palms,
to us love is the color black.