You ask me to bring my whole self into the room

You ask me to bring my whole self into the room,
and I wonder if you know what you’re asking for. 

See, some parts of myself haven’t spoken to each other in years.
Some parts have yet to meet, and fear the day they will.

You hardly seem prepared for that kind of reunion.

Some parts only emerge from their shells to the call of their kind.
(They’re adapted to survive that way.)

To pry them open for your viewing would be death.

Some parts of me aren’t made for rooms like this.
They’d scratch up the floor with their jittering claws,
Dent the ceiling as they leap too high,
Fill the space with unruly screeches,
Until you’re sorry you invited them in.

And maybe my self isn’t a whole,
but merely a part–
a part of many
that is fully alive only when rooted into those circles and lineages

that have shaped and are shaped by it–
So no:
It can’t really live as an uprooted centerpiece at your table. 

You tell me to bring my whole self into the room,
and I wonder:

What do you think you’ve done for me
that I owe you such an impossible feat?

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If my Arabic could talk back to me:

You have the audacity
to sigh and roll your eyes at me
when I seem a little distant
or take some time to come when you call for me?

After you hid me in your closet
refused to be heard with me in public;
After you left me
shunned and neglected me;
And after all those years
When you wouldn’t speak with me
even when I called

Now somehow,
you expect me to leap back wholeheartedly
the moment you want me to be your little side bitch?

Well forgive me
if I take some time to warm up to the idea
If I have some trepidations
about touching your lips again.

Because bitch, I am beautiful.
Do you know how many artists
have drawn testaments to my infinite curves?
How many poets have blown their minds 

just trying to channel the shades
of sonics and meaning
resonating from my every syllable?
And the bits of me that felt too rough for your mouth—
that’s the stuff that music is built upon.

You had your chance with me, but do you even know what you turned down?

Nadia, ya habibti
You say you miss me
And I want to believe you
We can talk, and see where this goes
But I have to take this slow.

To Remind Myself in a Rut:

Remember:

That your turning points have never come from glowing revelations,

But from those yet-unworded fuzzy pangs of off-ness
you didn’t think would ever emerge from your background noise;
From the feelings that leaked out where they weren’t supposed to;
From the moments when your words stumbled upon the gaps in what they could say, into the wormholes of what you were missing. 

That you’ve come to feel amazing
about things that made you feel like shit a few years ago.
That you’ve come to feel nothing
about things that made you feel like shit a few years ago.
That you’ve come to feel powerfully enraged
about things that made you feel like shit a few years ago. 

That you’re feelings aren’t special.
And isn’t that great?