As I mentioned in my first post of the year, I may share some of my previously published (as opposed to works-in-progress) writing. There’s not a lot! Here’s the first one. It looks long because of the way WordPress formats lines/paragraphs. Please scroll slowly so you don’t accidentally skip any of the lines. Poetry is meant to be read aloud, but obviously this is up to you.
“Rediscovery” first appeared in Babaylan: An Anthology of Filipina and Filipina American Writers, co-edited by Nick Carbó and Eileen Tabios, and published by Aunt Lute Books in 2000. Before this, I’d published some really bad poetry online, which you can probably find if you look hard enough! Lol!
I’m only posting the first half of the poem, because I’m unhappy with the second half, which I find tedious. I plan to cut the second half entirely, so I may need to change the poem’s title, and definitely edit the beginning of each stanza and play with the ending. If you want to read the entire thing, you can probably borrow the book from the library. So, here it is, as it appears in the book (which doesn’t include the image).
“Rediscovery” by Barb Natividad
Sometimes I miss blaring Blondie tunes after stepping out of
the shower, towel-drying my skin, blow-drying my hair,
absorbing the music through my pores, while applying
black liquid eyeliner along the folds of my eyelids,
followed by mascara swept across the lashes, blush
along the cheekbones, lip liner, devil-red lipstick, and
loose powder to hold my face in place.
Sometimes I miss rolling black fishnet stockings up, first one
leg, then the other, held in place by satin garters barely
concealed beneath a mini-dress, sometimes Spandex,
sometimes velvet, always tight, always black; and I
wore boots always, since the night some guy
approached me, said his wife liked my boots, and I
raised my left foot onto a ledge and ordered her to kiss
that boot — and she did.
Sometimes I miss dancing all alone in a go-go cage, apart
from the crowd, and a part of the crowd when suspended
from outside the cage, hanging from its bars, slipping
inside, slipping outside through the bars; and you could
feed the animal that I was, through the bars, feed me
anything from the bar.
Sometimes I miss downing one shot, then at least another of
some liquor, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, sickly
sweet, thickly burning down my throat, and washed
down with icy cold, or lukewarm flat beer backwash.
Sometimes I miss occupying the far-end restroom stall,
snorting coke up, first one nostril, then the other,
sometimes through a snipped-up straw, sometimes
through a rolled-up bill, crisply burning up my nose
til icy cold blue numbness filled my head.
Sometimes I miss surveying the scene, above all heads,
suspended in the go-go cage, gazing first at one face,
then another, searching for my night’s prize, whom I
would entice to drive me home, drive me all the way
home — even better if stolen from beneath some other
chick’s nose — doubly dared; and dared, those devils
The narrator has a dominant personality, and yet by dancing inside a cage, there’s a part of her that’s submissive, as well. Because of this, I feel that I’ve achieved balance in the poem.
In case you’re wondering, this is autobiographical and describes my lifestyle in my early 20s, pre-diagnosis, which you can read more about here. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this.
Did you lead a self-destructive lifestyle before you were diagnosed?
If you have any questions or thoughts regarding this poem, I’d love to hear them.