I know of a place where if I take a deep breath through my nose, it is sharp and crisp and old. The air tastes crinkly. Old stories whisper around me, beckoning me to come closer. As I shed tears, the ground around me bleeds and I am in an ocean of my own musings. As I fume, the air becomes hot and red. As I listen to the music the air sings, every wall comes crashing down and the bleeding ocean at my feet parts way.

I am transported to this place. I can smell the mature, non-fiction reality of coffee. When I was little, I used to pick strawberries from the backyard and douse them with whipped cream. Now, I explore the world of bitterness where tastes don’t require me to mask them with vanilla and sugar.

The world of coffee grounds me. It forces me to plant myself within the soil of the world. It reminds me that there is no imagination without the understanding of reality around me. It tells me to be mature; I am old enough to leave coffee black, with milk and sugar just in my imagination. And it tells me to remember the Biography of Assata Shakur and the ignorance of the Bluest Eye that Pecola so desperately desires. It reminds me that I can show Nancy Drew the way to the Lilac Inn. But she won’t listen to me because I’m not white. I am Educated of my worth and of my privilege. The sky is grey and when I finally take solace in its melancholy flavor, the sun peeks through. Here Comes the Sun. This is the sun that tells me of my future — that the taste of coffee will linger. I can see my breath in the air and When Breath Becomes Air, I am reminded with fervor that life is too short to shy away from the people I love. 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am 

swept 

by the howling gust of wind. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

And I know of another place pages away where if I take a deep breath, I can smell the buttery clouds of whipped cream. And if my tongue dares escape my lips, I taste the air that is so sweet it hurts; old memories that hug my heart but pierce it, too. I am transported to this place. I can smell the sweet, fiction imagination of whipped cream-covered strawberries.

 

imagination

is my strawberry heart

who knows that 

solitude is my own

creation, 

and my childhood mind

plucking strawberries

is my happiness

 

I can climb the grapefruit tree from my old house on Franchere Place and feel the laughter bubbling inside of me as my baby brother swings next to me. I can imagine the reality that once existed and fashion it in any way I desire. I can sit under the Sorting Hat and anxiously await the decision that will determine my future. I swing to the next branch of my own Whomping Willow and take my place in the Wishing Chair. I hope to travel the Enchanted Wood with the Famous Five. I can taste the butterbeer flavor of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans as the highest branch on the tree swings me to Baloo. I haven’t seen him in ages. And Nancy is my friend, girl detective. The air sings about a Whole New World and a life Under the Sea. I shake away the magical stories as I perch on the branch, looking for the owl that no doubt carries my Hogwarts acceptance letter. I continue to swing, purposely reckless with the hopes of earning my own lightning-bolt scar.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am 

swept 

by the howling gust of wind. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

Dear Visitor,

I am writing to let you know there is another place I know. But this is my first time here. If I take a deep breath, calm washes over me. I only know calm because I know what it is to be angry with myself. I know what it is when everything around me is hot and red. And now I know when everything around me is gentle and blue. In my nose there lingers the smell of sand and on my lips there is a salty breeze. In this place I know that my hair is tangled by the wind, in all its natural curls and coils. This is the place where I finally know that I can nurture my corkscrew ringlets with spoonfuls of shea butter and an abundance of love. I’ve put down the red, hot straightener clamp that once pulled unapologetically on each strand, forcing it to conform to a standard of beauty that was never its own; it is missing in the blue around me. The air makes music that is blue and I decode the vibrato notes of the slow cello. 

Wishing You Were Here,

Visitor

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am 

swept 

by the howling gust of wind. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Each place is 

So  ng    s        t   h  a t          rem  i  nd            me         of     m y      asp  i r    a-a-a     tions.          (x2)

 

Notes that 

D

R

I

F

T                               (tempo rubato)

off the page and form a path that I must not lose sight of.

 

Letters,

To myself and for myself and by myself. Each envelope tastes different as I Sign, Seal, Deliver. Coffee lingers. Whipped cream doesn’t, but every so often my mouth recalls its flavor, beckoning me to revisit. Grapefruit is bitter, but each branch I swing across reminds me of something so sweet.