Body Cartography

Body Cartography

Your body is a piece of parchment paper

And you are the cartographer

Inscribing small lines across it

Each line is portentous

A memory made into an etching

Of the first time you kissed a boy

Of the first time you read Leviticus 18:22

Of abominations and a promise of hell

Of the look of disgust when your cousin caught you fondling the boy next door,

Of when that cousin told your mother and she stood you in the parlour and delivered sharp slaps punctuated by “when did this start?” and “who taught you this?”

 

When you cut yourself, I swear, the first time will be the hardest. Just make sure you use a new tiger blade to do it in your room, and not the kitchen knife, so you do not forget to wash it well. Your mother could then see the streaks of blood and ask you, and you will stand there and lie and lie and mix it all up and she will almost catch you in the lie.

Also, do not try the back of your hand first. It hurts too much.

Laps are the best I tell you. No one can see them.

 

Your body is now a stage

Open

Where all the performers must leave after they are done

Sometimes you want them to stay

You are tired of these performances

Of sweat, kisses, groans and semen

Which leave nothing but soiled condoms and the stench of perspiration in your room.

And then on some nights, you stay up and scrub your room over and over

Then you draw small patterns that leave tiny globes of blood

Purging yourself clean.

 

If you can’t be a cartographer, you can be pyrotechnician. But I must warn you. Use a small lighter and not the matches your mother keeps behind the cooker in the kitchen. Do this so that you do not have to explain to her how the matches disappeared. Do this also because matches go off when they come in contact with your skin, but a lighter stays lit. A lighter will not trigger your asthma and leave you half dead on the floor choking from its fumes. There will be no fireworks sparking out of your body. Those will come under your eyes afterwards.

And if you have a blister, do not burst it. If however you do, taste the salty wetness and be reminded of how it tastes like semen, and how a god-man once said we are the salt of the earth.

 

One day, somebody will read this poem-thingy

While semen dries on your stomach and clings to the duvet

And ask you why you only spoke about your mother

You will tell him

That you remember your mother in bits

Like a torn picture

A colourful mosaic

Made partly of paper

And partly of stones

She was a cat that always landed on her feet no matter the height she was thrown from

She was talcum powder, bright blouses and musty wrappers

And later

She became a kitchen, the smell of burning beans

A howl of disappointment,

A salad of hot prayers, incense, anointing oils, bibles and a belly groaning from fasting.

And when you tell him this, he will nod and say, “That’s deep, can we go another round?”

And you will look away as he rolls a condom onto his turgid curved penis.

“Why can’t we turn on the light?” he’ll ask.

“No! I like it this way,” you’ll respond.

 

Have you ever had a cut? Of course you have. Except you grew up with a punctilious mother who locked you in at home before going to the market over her fear of the pollution of your mind, leaving you to run and run around in the house.

When next you have a cut (better done by yourself so you do not slice too deep and see the fatty bubbles under the skin), wait for two days, and then press the cut slowly, slowly, as if massaging your sex. I swear, after awhile, you will feel a bitter pleasure, something tingly, like the aftermath of a performance.

 

The lights are off in your room

Night is falling swiftly

And in the mauve-orange sky

The sun is a bright window surrounded by dusty clouds

You stand naked

A bible in your hand

Your fingers are sticky

You can smell the cloying rust

As you read over and over in the dimming light

Leviticus 18:22

A used condom stares back you from the dustbin

Limp, wet, dirty, a reminder of yourself.

 

 These lines on your body are roads

Short, twisting, broken

Where do they lead?

Are you running from someone?

What are you?

Written by TJ

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11 Comments

  1. Wande
    February 18, 08:51 Reply

    PP, is this the same guy that wrote
    the ritual prayer that time? His versing is similar and powerful. Hands down one of the best poems ever on KD

    • Pink Panther
      February 18, 16:11 Reply

      Yes Wande, it’s the same guy. And his words are just deep. Almost wounding.

  2. Black Dynasty
    February 18, 12:12 Reply

    Ahhh…. this is umm really really worrying to read. If you need someone to talk to, I’ll be happy to listen and talk too.

  3. BRYAN PETERS
    February 18, 19:44 Reply

    Deep. Very deep and beautiful too. Very sad, but beautiful.

  4. Dunder
    February 18, 20:52 Reply

    Hmm… The depth and distress in this piece… You write so beautifully but I wish it was about sweeter things. My heart is so heavy about this. Please know that there is nothing wrong about your attraction to men. You are not accursed and believe me, most people who are depressed or cutting are not gay. This to can and shall pass. Even being able to write about your pain is a step towards healing.

    Thank you for sharing but I think you really need professional help. I don’t know if Kenny Brandmuse’s organization is still running. I believe it’s called Is There Anyone In Africa? Please seek out professional counseling and STOP READING LEVITICUS FOR NOW. Fight for your person and dignity- you have sought to hurt no one by sharing your body with them and you are not a bad person deserving death. Don’t internalize messages that resound the hate and anger that you feel for yourself. I know you love your Mum but please

    Stay away from dogs that respond to the deep matters of your heart with “That’s deep, can we go another round?”. I’ve had to make that decision (not with sexual partners though) and it was not easy considering that it cost me close friends but in the long run, it made me saner. If that means no sex, please endure as that kind of intimacy is fatally expensive. Don’t cast your pearl before swine anymore.

    Your work is so enriching it hurts me that it comes from a place of such raw pain. While i was a Christian, i read every book i could- The Children Are Free, What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, Those 7 References, looking for something to hold on to. Maybe books like that can help you. I sought out every documentary on LGBT issues i know- living vicariously through people who found acceptance and won the war against hate encouraged me a lot. There were times i had to get professional help and take medication so i am not jut coming at you in ignorance- this is a road i have traveled.

    There are books that you can get online about cutting that would be helpful. I’m sure videos online as well- My google search found Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation by Steven Levenkron and Freedom from Selfharm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other Treatments. Both have good reviews but i have not read them. An amazon search will point you towards such Titles and i think you should be able to find the books somewhere on the internet. KDians who are mental health professional should please render their 2 cents.

    Please don’t give up a fight you can win. Let us hear from you more frequently and I hope you feel better quickly. I for one, know that although your mind is tortured temporarily, those lines can spiral upwards towards hope. Remember, your mother and your world may reject you but your body has been through it all, clinging tight like glue. It has earned its place as your safest fortress.

    Be safe and pain free my brother.

    • Dunder
      February 18, 21:20 Reply

      In my earlier comment, I meant to say that I know you love your Mum but please realize that she is also on her own path. You know something she has not yet come to accept- that she has a son who is gay. You can’t do the work for her but you must do it for yourself- accepting what you have realized- that you are a gay man, your mother’s gay son.

      Pretending to make her happy will destroy your relationship and only lead to more heartache. Your worrying or hers will not make you any less gay. No matter how long we kick the bottle down the road, it does not stretch on forever. Focus on finding the skills to cope mentally while she deals with her reality. he has good intentions but the actions they birth have caused you a lot of worry and anxiety. Finding the right skills to cope with her stance and your own pain will help you a lot.

    • Francis
      February 19, 10:07 Reply

      Na wa oh. Some people journey to self acceptance wasn’t small work at all. Thank you Jesus for the “easy breezy” coming to terms

      • Dunder
        March 01, 23:18 Reply

        Acceptance really isn’t the hard part. I mean, at some point, whether you like it or not, you realize you are attracted to your sex. The real battle starts with what it means- the potential of losing conditional love of people from whom it should be a sure thing; a god that hates his handwork; a society desperate to punish honesty and spill blood if chance permits; the opportunities that seem unattainable at work or elsewhere; the innate inability to perform “duties” that some proclaim are unshirkable and the deceit it would require to put on a live show for life., willing to hurt or hinder the lives of others in the process. The weight of these things can shatter the rock of Gibraltar but there are tools to lift one out of the hole and get you marching forward again. i hope this poet arms himself with them.

  5. yazz soltana
    February 19, 02:48 Reply

    Where is Foxxydevil ???
    Or has pinkpather finally cast and bind his spirit back to hell and away from kitodiaries

  6. Rigor
    February 28, 09:44 Reply

    Foxydevil may have many other user names

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