Before You Make Love

1. Take off all of your clothes, alone and in the bathroom. Stare at your nipples. Call yourself “Beautiful” and see what happens. Touch your thatch of pubic hair, your stretch marks, and your round belly. Call yourself “Ugly” and watch what happens. Pretend you’re on a trampoline and you just won the lottery. Touch the mirror like it’s a window and your lover is just an unlatching of a lock away. Pinch your thighs and turn around. Bend over and try to kiss your kneecaps. Ask yourself when was the last time you touched silk. Look at your eyelids. They’re drawbridges, you know.

2. If you can lick fish bones, then you can take a lover. For a moment, pretend that you are going to be alone for the rest of your life. Then buy expensive paints and color your walls orange and not go insane. If you can go outside and see a roadkill as a sign from God then you are ready to take a lover. If you can see that euthanasia is a beautiful name for a pet then you are ready to take a lover. Be a poet for a day. Be an artist for a day. Read something. Find yourself, which is behind your skin and has nothing to do with your heart and everything to do with your spirit. Pray a little, then report back to God on your findings like an archeologist. Tell your best friend that you think you are amazing and glorious. Then take a love because you’re already at the finish line and ready for a new race, which will probably deal with go-karts and infinity-shaped roads.

3. Put your hand in your pajama bottoms and reach for everything private in your life. Touch jellyfish, July hotels and loosened hair. If orgasm is a word you can’t say then find it in the dictionary and read the pronunciation key. Drink some tea, eat some chocolate, talk about aphrodisiacs until you’reblue in the face. It doesn’t matter until you finally feel your spirit so restless that it tries to escape out of your fingers and toes, it doesn’t matter (nothing matters but your body) until you can reach that. Until your spirit attaches robot wings and tries to lift your fingernails off, you have not understood yourself, and you’re not in the dictionary because you cannot be defined. And you must define yourself before you can allow yourself to be written down. So touch yourself there and there and there. Don’t stop. Please. Smile at your life before dawn, but moan at your life when it finally wakes up.

4. Tell me your lover’s name and I will tell you that you’re wrong. Listen – your lover is not bedsheets or willow trees or empty sleeves, but everything in this world without a name. Whatever is most nameless, is most beautiful. Find your best friend in a species not yet discovered, find your best friend in words not written adn those deep throat sounds that you meant to say, but couldn’t. If he says he loves anyone more than you, then he is wrong. If he says, “I love you,” immediately then you know there is an ellipsis at the end because he was just at your house in a necktie and black shoes and eyeglasses and later changed into a yellow T-shirt. If he is your best friend then you know that whenever you say, “I love you too,” he will never say “what do you mean?” because he knows about the ellipsis, he knows you just said, “I love God I love language I love bodies I love spirit I love horizon I love the Pacific Ocean I love the color of peaches I love suitcases I love sickness I love panic I love life” and Etcetera is the closest you will ever get to the meaning of your love.



About handshedown

Keighley Perkins is a Cardiff-based poet whose influences include Anis Mojgani, Selima Hill and Richard Brautigan. Her work has previously been published in "Acumen", "Elbow Room", "Erbacce", "Fire", "Northwind" and "Obsessed with Pipework". She can also be found online on Twitter at @handshedown. View all posts by handshedown

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