flowers music and painting

i.

i draw little flowers on my arms, hands, and fingers
creating a tattoo sleeve bouquet of blossoms,
reminding myself
that i am never just what they tell me
i am
that this is not it— that this can’t just be it—
that it is indeed absolutely possible
to be that quiet, outspoken,
queer, beautiful, weird, body loving, body hating,
sorta not korean, really corean,
hip hop kpop gospel old school country music loving girl
that smart, reflective, know-nothin’ bubble girl
that girl who had an identity crisis last year after highlighting her hair blonde
that girl who hates the academy
is trapped by the academy
but speaks in theory
and is freed by theory all the same
that chameleon girl who has fluid, translucent identities that don’t always match up with her stories
that taurus something-rising girl
that girl who has a lot to say but prefers to listen
yes when i am drawing flowers on my arm, i am remind myself that more than a face exists behind the mask i wear

ii.

i play her cd again, quietly taking in her song
this song is my story
our story
“open your heart sister
and sing along with me..
won’t you share my song?
…we’ll sing a song so sweet it’ll make you get up off your feet”

outside it is raining
i look out my window and wonder how my plants will fare
or how i will fare when the skies break open and all comes down
but right now, in this moment,
there is nothing more that needs to be said
so i listen to the music
and nod at the words,
being quiet, sitting still
taking this beautiful voice in

iii.

i pick up the paintbrush
it has been five years—five whole years since i have painted!
(how did that happen?)
hours go by and i paint with oil, with love, with happiness
still listening to the song and sometimes drawing flowers on my arms
searching for that place where stories are not held back just because they’re complicated
where hope sings louder than sorrow
where every truth spoken is appreciated and reaffirmed
where community is more than people who show up for a meeting, but the ones you claim and love
and who claim and love you
i travel to that place
of liberation
of joy
of hope for freedom
to be myself, to love myself
to allow myself
to possibly
love this
and until then
i paint

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