TurnTables

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(Editor’s Note: the first stanza is a flip of a line in this poem from the good brother Pages Matam. Awesome poet.)

When we made love
When you decided what music to make as we became one,
You dug your nails into my back
And let passion be the DJ.
But you didn’t just scratch.
You made sure to latch onto me
Until the vinyl in my skin has gashes.
And like a good player,
I wanted to always be working when you wanted to listen to your favorites.
Little did I know just how well you turn tables.

You just kept digging
Treating me like a chalkboard
Craving my passion like a student’s attention
Whatever lessons you were teaching,
I wasn’t heeding.
I couldn’t hear them over the sound of your screeching.

But I understand now that I feel the blood dripping.
You sadist with a vendetta.
Feeding on my need to give you pleasure
For no other pleasure than for you to have the power to tear into my flesh whenever.
And I obeyed, thinking I was dominating
But you faked submission so the control would change.
Again, I didn’t know just how well you turned tables.

I still have fresh wounds because you won’t allow me to heal and have scars.
Everywhere from the near first cervical vertebrae to above the last lumbar.
This is a spinal tap gone horribly wrong.
You made sure to paralyze me
So I could never know what it’s like to feel again.
How did you do nerve damage to my heart?

Icarus with wings strong enough to withstand solar rays
But I flew too close to you and didn’t know you were ripping them from my shoulder blades
When did the Sun grow claws?
But you haven’t let me fall.
You let me give my all
My shine has faded
I went from solar-powered to being a satellite floating aimlessly
I didn’t know just how well you turned tables.

So here I am, exhausted
Resting on you because you drained me of my motivation to move.
Your nails still firmly in their grooves.
You Eve with a God complex.
Hands so entrenched in me
That you’re trying to claim the rib with interest
I thought we had a sturdy foundation.
That’s why we made love in the first place
I shouldn’t have believed in the divinity we created.
But I felt Heaven, now I dwell in a Hell I can’t escape.
I didn’t know you were so good at turning tables.

(De)Construction Paper

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I cut you.
Deep.
Too deep.
That initial incision into your side was too much,
And
It was an accident.
Except that it wasn’t.
Rather than being careful to follow our instructions,
I rushed it.
Now we’re both stuck, wondering:
What do we do with this?

It’s not too late to fix
Is it?
Surely the whole project isn’t ruined because of one overanxious snip.
It’s fine.
After the initial slip-up with the scissors,
Maybe our project needs to start from a different direction.
I won’t say there’s nothing wrong.
But to say this is finished when we’ve just begun is a bit of a stretch.

Let’s step back and think for a second.
How can I convince imperfection it doesn’t exist?
Where in the how-to is the section: “What To Do When You Taint Your Subject’s Value?”
If art has no mistake,
Then the error I just made should mark the beginning of a new era in my ways.

I don’t want another sheet of paper.
And you don’t want the shame of being taped.
So, instead of folding you over in defeat,
Let’s keep folding until we make our first piece in a series of origami shapes.

We didn’t turn something into nothing.
Art is turning something into something beautiful through imagination.
So how do you know this is ruined?
How do you know we’re through,
When cutting isn’t the only craft we can do?

Let’s just think a little harder
I’ll be a little smarter
So you can be more confident in my artistic ability.
That way, the piece we make will be so adored
That the cut I made won’t be visible.