« From "How to Write...notes that saved a woman's life" | Main | When Do You Leave The Flawed Lover—Or Hold On? »

And, sometimes it’s not metaphor.

And, sometimes it’s not metaphor.

And the pain is real, the desperation, the loneliness. And the beautiful brown girl’s desire is so strong she’s willing to pull the white boy off the street, hand him the almond oil, say, “massage my back. Knead your fingers below my skin, into the bone and connective tissue where the assault remains fresh as this morning’s black coffee. Dig in, read who I am or don’t, doesn’t matter. Just dig in, make me hurt more than the pain. Own my sadness. Cross the lines of my tongue, of my teeth. Speak while I remain silent. I have nothing more to scream at you. I am no longer restless, no longer reckless. I’ve had your back for too long, while my back bone weakened, muscle burning, nerves shooting the lump in my left shoulder down, down, down into the intestine, into the holding place of my tears.?

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha wrote, Dictee, University of California Press, 2001(originally published Tanam Press, 1982), page three:

“It murmurs inside. It murmurs. Inside is the pain
of speech the pain to say. Larger still. Greater
than is the pain not to say. To not say. Says
nothing against the pain to speak. It festers in-
side. The wound, liquid, dust. Must break. Must

And sometimes, the boy in the street, the woman in the office, the child in the classroom, the man in the moon, the plantation owner, the president’s wife, the landlord, the snake under the bed, the bed itself, are all the same nightmare.
Sometimes in a dream, dead girls become women, their brown skin kissed by their author of hope, the black wo/man of isolation, of work, of possibility, of secrets. Their screams in sync, their lives almost touching, their love almost piercing the whiteness, almost obliterating the boy in the street.
The map of who I am is behind me, I can’t see what I look like, but I can feel death turn into life.

We hear the women who have heard the women who have heard the women who have heard the women who are the women that save us. Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Graywolf Press, 2004, page 57, wrote:

“Though Myung Mi Kim did say that the poem is really a responsibility to everyone in a social space. She did say it was okay to cramp, to clog, to fold over at the gut, to have to put hand to flesh, to have to hold the pain, and then to translate it here. She did say, in so many words, that what alerts, alters.?

We are the women that save us. I am the woman.

©Sherry Quan Lee, November 16, 2007