What if today I chose to write for myself?
What if I didn’t pick metaphors that would pull the heartstrings of readers or make sense to sensible minds? If I did choose to write for me, and me alone, I think that I would talk about how cold pools always make me feel sad. I would say that chlorine reminds me of tears because both always manage to sting your eyes. But I wouldn’t talk about the day when I was seventeen with my feet dipping into the side. I wouldn’t talk about how my dog walked up next to me and was licking my face when I was told that she had died. How I couldn’t think of anything but the shriveled skin on my toes and the wet tongue curling around my ear. I wouldn’t, because it would hurt too much. Instead, I would just say that pools make me sad. Pools always make me cry.
And then, what if I got the courage to continue? What if I swept the pen across the paper like a lover, letting the ink become an act of passion, not necessity? I think that I would write about lying in grass fields and watching the ants crawl over my thighs and how it felt like home. It wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me. Oh, but I would think about how she was next to me and how the ants bit my leg and she got up and swished them away. I would think about how it was a hundred degrees and sweat was dripping down the slope of her Grecian forehead. I would think about all of that and I wouldn’t feel the need to explain it because writing about the ants making patterns on my always-too-pale skin would tell the entire story to me.
So then I would get brave. I would get courageous. I would compose an entire poem about the smell of bleach. About the way it stings your nostrils and smells like a cover-up. I would rant about how it’s a fraud. How bleach just smells like something to hide. I would compose metaphors that made no sense because my three seconds of bravery wouldn’t lend me the time to write about the hospital on the corner of 5th and Main. How the hospital room should have smelled like death and decay but smelled like bleach instead. How it was just a lie and I hated it more than I hated the white sheet being pulled over her golden hair.
If I were to write for me, I would talk about subjects that don’t hurt.
I would write about driving at night and singing during the day.
I would write about broken noses and scarred lips.
I would write (and it would still hurt.)