I wrote a poem called In Blues and Golds that was published on Sudden Denouement a few days ago and one of my dear friends, Rachel of Bruised But Not Broken, read the piece and was inspired enough to write a piece around a couple of the sections of my original poem. Upon reading Rachel’s poetry I was taken aback, quite literally struck dumb for a few minutes while I soaked in the power of her words. When I could finally speak, I asked Rachel if she would consider allowing me to play with both poems and combine the two and without hesitation, she agreed and I am blown away by how it has turned out. We hope you like our collaboration: Selfish On Sundays
And Rachel, thank you again my dear friend and warrior soul, it’s an honour to sit with you in words and soul.
God, I am selfish.
I am a selfish lover,
and a selfish friend,
and I am a selfish saint.
But am I selfish on Sundays
when I break my bread
and remember that girl
and her tingles,
and every prayer I whispered,
when I was running
from scared into terrified?
I am a selfish lover, because the first hands to love me,
I am a selfish friend, because the first friend to show me
the self, loved with her hips and not her pulse.
But am I selfish on Sunday, when her own blood
stands before me, and I morph the memory
into something beautiful for the sake of the baby
that came from her womb and with his innocent eyes
looking into mine, I silence them.
I was unselfish when
I was terrified in that tunnel,
and I was high on those vibes
when we met.
The electric terror and tiptoes,
the sweet sound of bored teenagers
breaking trust and all the rules.
We smoked her stepfather’s cigarettes
and drank my mother’s wine,
and we spray-painted our names
inside each other’s secrets
in golds and blues across dirty metal,
and then she laid me down.
I was unselfish when I lay there and let her merge
the trauma carried in her muscles, into mine
and told my sister to turn away so the memory
didn’t stain her eyelids, so she didn’t feel it.
I was unselfish and terrified
that time I said yes
when I meant to say no,
but her fingers were quick
when my resistance was weak,
and I was two seconds to thirteen
and a lifetime from knowing better.
What was I when I let her lips press down on mine,
still carrying the stale taste of the beer from his tongue
and I swallowed both their shame?
And now I can’t help but feel sorry
when I remember her then,
under those flickering lights
a block away from home,
and the way we kissed.
That kiss that stormed the skies.
That kiss that shook the plains.
That kiss that had her speaking
of tingles and first love,
and body rocks.
How my body wanted to deny her,
but my hands ground down her hips
and I needed her to know I knew him too.
And I’m still selfish on Sundays,
when I look back at our prayers amiss the tears
that were our words and I still taste her wounds.
That kiss and those tingles,
on that body from a lifetime ago,
are now ravaged to bits
in a home somewhere,
eaten by the degenerate mouths
of degenerative diseases,
and here I am,
still selfish and terrified,
at breakfast on Sunday,
saying a prayer and wondering
if the tingles her body is wracked
and wrecked with now
can come close to the ones I gave her
in blues and golds, way back then.
© Nicole Lyons 2017
© Rachel Finch 2017
Rachel is an old soul bursting with young energy, her work is a glorious mix of heaven and hell. She writes with a soul shattering, ethereal, raw edge that holds nothing back. As the founder of Bruised But Not Broken, Rachel has helped thousands of people find a safe place, reach out, and tear the shame from their stories. A true humanitarian, Rachel is one of my heroes and I am grateful to call her my friend. Follow her on IG and her blog.