oh, Godiva, [k]new nude


I wanted them to know it was mine.

I wanted them to know it was real.

I wanted them to know it was different.

I wanted them to know I cared and that was okay.

I wanted them to know it was theirs. Give them something
sweet, sweet nothings, sweet pussy, sweet girl
Answering, “Yours, baby” when they say,

“Whose pussy is this?”

I wanted them to feel me. Tell me how my skin was the secret behind my strength, my lust—but not my demise.
Couldn’t I be as revered as Godiva chocolate? Just another naked lady who rides a horse as a means to awaken, surprise and revolt? Or just another black girl fighting the faceless challenger: self worth?

I wanted them to hear the catcalls. And see changing faces of a girl
stuck — momentarily elated, soon vexed — suspended by the noose
of my own palms, trapped by my own stare, paralyzed by my own strut.
But she keeps walking, deciding if feeling naked was pleasing
or repulsive. Contemplating why she felt beautiful on that walk
to school but unwanted and misunderstood the moment she pushed the front doors.

I wanted them to say, “Are you a content black woman with a healthy ass and straight hair because you chose to do so?” I’d respond, “The darker the berry the sweeter the juice but you probably drink water.” Yea, someone told me light skin girls are nice —dark skin girls, not so much. I don’t remember who or why but it resonated with me. “You’re actually really pretty for a dark skin girl,” he, she, and they said.

I wanted them to know that that “compliment” was really just another reason to hide.

I wanted them to see me gaze at my aunt’s golden sheen and then at my dulling autumn chestnut with a look of disdain. With a bigger ass and slightly rounder breasts, I guess we evened out. The older, pretty, elegant one and the younger, rude, SEX-ier one. The wife, the mistress. The light, the dark. The good, the bad. The blind perpetuation in seeing my body amongst the rest with tally marks and slots of forgiveness.

I wanted them to see this body. Or just a mask.

Dammit, I wanted them to ask me which it was.

I wanted them to know shaving every three days to keep my pussy soft was a laborious task that made me feel like a commodity, a prize [and sometimes that was good?]

I wanted them to exotify my perimeter because it was too hard any way else. And if I hum or cum it was because I wanted to.

I wanted them to validate my beauty, like my skin, caress my hair, follow my hips.

I wanted them to feel this con[vex] and the woman behind it, see agency, see power, see reason.

 I wanted them to know it was mine.

 I wanted them to know it was mine but I didn’t know it was mine. I gave them my body. I gave my body to you. To the storefront windows, to the boy I loved, to the woman I now hate, to the fucked up structures that tell me light is right, to labels and presentations I manipulated, to those three guys outside of Crown Fried Chicken, to white girls with small nipples, to that dress I wear when I “feel like a woman,” to my aunt’s hips when she walks alone, to my cracked mirror on lonely Sundays, to my gynecologist who reminded me LOVE was the most intimate undress, to Beyoncé and Aalyiah’s music videos on 106&Park at 6pm that 2001 summer, to compliments that eventually made me bawl, to the one who always fucked me good, to a city I wasn’t prepared to live in, to the man whose home I woke up in and later informed me that he had found me tired, drunk and on my period in that same city, to the police officer who cuffed me because I wanted Lip Smackers chap stick, to black rage, to misogyny, to straight girl privilege, to niggas in Paris, to faded memories of nights with Cyndi and Molly, to fear, to confusion, to you.

I wanted you all to know it was mine but I couldn’t grasp how or why it was still everyone else’s. Still preoccupied with my body in your world, my cunt in your world, my skin in your world, my identity in your world. See, I used this body as much as I let them use me.

I want you all to know this is mine.

I want you all to know it is real.

I want you all to know it’s different.

I want you all to know I care and that’s okay.

I want you all to know this skin tells stories even I can’t share.

I want you all to know I’m taking it back.

This, this is mine.

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