When I meet with my mentee through the writing program, we generally set aside time for a “freewrite” exercise. Today she selected a prompt from an awesome book I picked up in Portland. I was “supposed” to be writing from the perspective of a literary figure in a book that greatly affected my life (I chose the adoptive mother in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit)—but I think I summoned a little too much of my maternal grandmother.
Go tell it on the mountain
over the hills and everywhere
that I am the mother of my daughter
the selfless mother who adopted this
wretched unwanted child
Forget the ego! Glory be to God!
I wear modest clothes and lust only for men of
except certainly not my husband
I just can’t bring myself to pretend
On the one hand,
I know it is my wifely duty to please him
but all I want to do is please Him
I fill my days with prayer,
I immerse myself in charitable Christian communities
until there is room for nothing else,
until he is crowded out
I’m not preoccupied; I’m committed
An ardent child of God…
What made you want to become a mother?
A noble question.
I suppose I wanted a follower who
followed as I do
I couldn’t have predicted who she’d become
despite my best attempts
Why didn’t you try for another?
I am an old woman, and getting
I’m not sure I could muster the energy
with which to receive
the same brand of
What if Christ looks at me the way I look at
an estranged parent who
only wanted to bring her to God
but could not
because human will cannot always be shepherded
The crook of my staff is empty
She ran away
to a greener pasture where
I could never permit myself to graze
but the soul puts up walls where man
does not physically place them
To be fair, the parallel themes of latent lesbianism and romantic dysfunction and rigid religiosity are uncanny.
I explained how I am a bit dismorphic at the moment because I don’t look like ANYONE in my family and my mother (who fucking looks just like my aunt and my mommom) says she felt that way too because she was blonde with green eyes. White people are insufferable, I’ll tell you hhhhwwwwat.
Yeah, we suck (no sarcasm). But I’ve always thought you looked like your momma, especially as an adult!
OH U SWEET SUMMER CHILD
so remember those sonnets, you know, about one hundred and twenty-six of them, the whole thing about “shall i compare thee to a summer’s day”
written to a hot male earl, dude
in 1640 some asshole named john literally had to change all the pronouns in those 126 sonnets because they were super fuckin queer and he was not comfy with how super fuckin queer they were
also, like, casual elizabethan bisexuality? christopher “they who love not tobacco and boys are fools” marlowe? the venetian “tit bridge”, where prostitutes were commanded by official decree to stand around topless to entice men who were bangin’ too many dudes, because there were so many gay men it was becoming a legitimate social problem?
welcome to the wonderful world of “literally everyone in the past was queer”, friend, enjoy your stay
I did not know about this boob bridge. I’m disappointed that it wasn’t still there when I went to Venice.
In other news. ‘Venetian Tit Bridge’ is the name of my new all-girl rock band.
bridge of the tits~