also known as a terrible lyric essay i wrote for class.
There’s a picture someone took, on a camping trip the summer after I graduated high school, before I lost that naiveté that comes from being newly free, clean and queer and with no obligations. It was night, and we were camped by six and drunk by nine. I know I was sitting at a picnic table, some boys I barely knew flanking me, but the only thing that’s clear in the photo is my smile, my big white teeth in my clumsy mouth, surrounded by vague shapes and darkness. Cheshire-girl style. I don’t even remember who took the picture, I just know that it found its way into my possession, and I kept it.
My big white teeth in my clumsy mouth. They never fail to get me into trouble. Talking is akin to fucking, really, if you just watch the way people do it. Slow and faltering, quick and light, drawing out sentences and single syllables until someone wants to scream. I talk like I do everything else, ready to laugh at myself. There was one spring night, flowers and grass and moisture scenting the air, when I sat in the dirt behind a burnt out building with a friend and her then-new butch girlfriend, and we talked for hours about anything we could get our tongues around, and I felt like I meant what I was saying for the first time in idon’tknowhowlong. When I want to seduce someone, or cheer them up, or laugh at myself, I sing to them, and that’s just talking to a tune.
I sing to them. Whatever pops into my head, sometimes I don’t even know the tune but I’ve sat through so many choir rehearsals that I can hazard an accurate guess. My grandfather does the same thing, I’m just like him in a lot of ways. I’ve got his nose, his profile. I don’t have his temper, his harshness. I didn’t inherit his penchant for fishing and beer, but I did get his love for words and the stubborn way he loves people, like the things they do that are so endearing are really inconvenient, and he’d stop, if he could- yeah, I do that. The way that he explains things, lots of gestures, pausing to collect his thoughts, breaking suddenly into song, or a joke, tangents left and right. He’s an entertainer, and that must be where I got it from. He’s under the impression that he’s always right, in that way that only someone who’s lived for eighty years can be. One of his favorite phrases is, “Well, let me tell you…,