enough about me

but enough about me
let’s talk about you
let’s talk about how you’ve shaped an image of me out of clay and mud and the pieces of last night’s dinner and a memory you had a long time ago about a person i’ve never even met
let’s talk about how once upon a time you were hurt by someone and you internalized that hurt
you forgot the details
you just remembered the pain
let’s talk about how everyone you meet is painted onto a canvas still wet from everyone else you’ve ever met
until people are just mixed up into a dull gray
or streaks of orange that were never there in the first place
and you want to be able to pick people apart
you want to be able to stop forcing everyone new into the buckets and the molds and the masks of all those yesteryears
all those yesterpeople
but we are all an aggregation of our memories
and we vomit those memories up with every person we meet
so let’s talk about that
let’s talk about how i don’t even know who you are either
how the you that i think you are is just an amalgam of everyone i’ve ever known
who shares your name
your skin color
your gender
your height and weight and language and faith and all the little bits that make each one of us us
we are unique but we are amalgams
let’s talk about how i’ve shaped an image of you out of play-doh and rocks i found on yesterday’s walk in the forest and the pieces of a movie i thought i’d never see again
and a memory i just had about a person you knew but you didn’t know you knew
and i’m too nervous about what you’d say if you knew that we had some past person in common
especially this person of all people
so let’s not talk about that
let’s just forget i even brought that up
i’m sorry
i’m sorry that i’ve mapped all these experiences
all these remembrances
all these traumas and yes
all these celebrations
onto you
it doesn’t have to be all darkness
the important part is that i’ve painted a you out of the totality of my experiences
and it has created an unfair depiction of you
a picasso portrait
and if i set you next to the portrait and said
this is you
this is how i see you
this is what i think of when i see you
what would you say
let’s talk about that
i said that this was enough about me
but i’m not sure i’ve even started talking about me yet
i’m not sure if you’re capable of truly processing who i am
we are all trapped in our own prison cells
cells of flesh and bone and blood
our brains are expansive
our souls stretch out
each one unique
but each one modeled on
i don’t even know
the beginning of who i am started long before i was born
it traces back before when my forebears thought they could own other people
and put them to work in the fields
whipping the ones who refused
my forebears decided that the africans loved to work
convinced themselves that the one who said they didn’t were mentally ill
did you know that about me
because it’s in my blood
the beginning of who i am traces back through europeans finding complex societies on this land
and killing them off
and telling the historians it was no big deal
the beginning of who i am traces back through holy wars and imperialism and poverty and wealth and crucifixion
or is it truly crucifiction
i am a spool of realities wrapped around a core
but what is the core
is it just more spooling
but i am here now
i am not just an accumulation of these facts
they course through my blood
just as your own facts course through yours
but they are no more me
than they are the version of me that you carry around
the version of me that you’ve painted onto the canvas that is my flesh
but enough about me
let’s talk about this portrait i painted of you
and how this is who i see when i see you
and how when you see this portrait you don’t even see what i painted
these misunderstandings and misrepresentations and caricatures bounce back and forth
you do not see the objective reality of what i painted
when i painted your portrait
you see it through the shattered kaleidoscope of what you think i should think about you
of what you think about yourself
and what you think other people see when they see you
the turtles are stacked
and it makes me want to scream
because i want so badly to just touch another human being
truly and completely
without the bubbles of fabricated reality that we all live within
i want to lie naked with you
not for sex
not in a sexual way
but truly naked
stripped down beyond flesh beyond blood beyond bone
down to whatever it is we are when we’re none of those things
down to that tiny little soul that lives fills the expanse of the universe
i want this but i know it will never happen
i want you to know exactly who i am
i want you to know exactly who i think you are
so you can correct me
so you can point out where i’ve muddied things up
where i added too much ocher and not enough violet
but then i realize
i can barely contain my own essence within this sack of meat that carries me around
how could i truly and honestly contain yours too


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