My English Victorian Dating Troubles

Poet Analicia Sotelo
Filmmaker Maeyen Bassey

My English Victorian Dating Troubles

"My English Victorian Dating Troubles"
 
I am bad with men
because I am deeply holy: they see
right through me, they know
I wish to please.
They say I have a petticoat of needs.
Let’s ruffle up some pillow feathers.
Let’s see what they look like
laid out on the beach like
striped seagulls
after scraps
of my native tongue.
Out here, where the sand is so white,
so Westernized, how could I not
sink into it
& burn with questions
like what am I doing here
I am in the wrong book
I am in the wrong era
I am not Dorothea
I am Analicia
Why does the twenty-first century feel like this?
Like men are talking into
their favorite phonograph
& the phonograph is me
receiving their baritone: You’re so exotic
Watch out, men, says my violin
I am a Royal Bengal man-eating tiger
I will devour your pith helmets
as well as these enchiladas
piled high with American mozzarella any time of day
See, there is a white man
in every single one of us.
Yes, everyone is wearing casual yacht wear now
& mispronouncing their specialty condiments
O gentlemen
I am the angel/whore of kale chips
I like to purchase as I please
I am completely in character
So I will accept your pearls
though I may cut them off with my teeth
& watch them slip down to the sea
into the kind woman
you’ve invented
for your own troubled purposes.
“My English Victorian Dating Troubles” a poem by Analicia Sotelo. ©2016 Analicia Sotelo. Used by permission. This poem originally appeared in Forklift, Ohio. Collected in Virgin (Milkweed Editions).
 

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