You are here

A Letter to Amy Winehouse

 Bassey Ikpi

For Amy and other women who carry chaos.

If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.
-Zora Neale Hurston
this flame and flicker
was not meant to last this long
we were not meant to chase the sun this often
uncertain, as we are, that the days will occur without us
so we wake
and lift
and push
and throw our bodies across these minutes
collecting respectable stacks of time
we wish to be praised for “trying”
maybe someone will call us brave
or strong
or marvel about how we are not like this one
or that one
sure that those whispers do not touch our skin

drugs.
booze.
men that hate you for loving them.
all this to dull the ache of living.
say we are worth this trouble that we cause
say you will love us until the chaos slides off our bones
lie if you must

we like the weight of water
appreciate how tidal waves mimic our moods
carry our hearts out to sea
seek life raft
seek buoy
return ship wrecked
splintered debris
saltwater and blood stained
we try
every morning new beginnings
then crawl hands and knees back to our beds
when nightfalls
Call out to God, Jehovah, Allah
pray someone will tell Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad
anyone who answers when we are at war with ourselves.

Choose drugs.
Choose booze.
Choose men who hate us for loving them
say we are worth this trouble we cause
say if we pray hard enough this chaos will slide off our bones
lie if you must

it is only a matter of time before we stop bleeding
they will ridicule the stains on our sheets
before the ache has fully left us
they will ask us what we did to cause this
why we couldn’t welcome sun like the rest of the world
why we turn to men and drugs and booze
instead of god and work and money
nobody has the heart to tell them for us
we did not choose this.
did nothing to deserve or invite this beast in
we did not request our footprints on the sun
this chaos we wear on our heads
this life is neither punishment
nor reward
your life turns palm over fist
easy like judgment
we fight ourselves
avoid our palms
duck our fists
just so we can live the life you ease into
so that we can make it out alive
unbroken
scarred a little less

so just tell us
tell us that we’re worth this trouble we cause
say that this chaos will one day slide off our bones
lie if you must

Add new comment

PLEASE POST COMMENTS ONLY. If you are in need of an IBPF resource, please contact Aubrey @ agood@ibpf.org. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.