In my notebook, I record you each in different colours, hoping this will help me work out who
is saying what, and then why you are saying it.
You are not audible; I perceive you each
like a thought. Some of you brusque and unmistakable. Others needing stillness
and intricate mental work.
I do not know how many of you formed.
Your existence has come to make sense to me, but my awareness unsettles you. You have long gone unobserved. You suggest I have made
this up, or that I have not and I am insane.
You do not have full access to my intellect
nor what I have learned. I do not have
full access to your memories.
Other core facets of identity are challenged.
I am gay, but my certainty shifts when those taught young to please men suggest resuming. You obscure my centre. You fight to my forefront and rotate your versions of our politics and age and needs and direction. You flood with your emotion and manoeuvre my body.
I scramble for ownership.
My psychiatrist notes I am here more
frequently. These instances are a sharp
spring day. In the safety of these sessions
I refer to us as us. I am to have compassion
for you. I am to thank you for protecting me
and to help you understand that the
threats have now subsided.
Your threats have now subsided.
My neurosurgeon explains that as I’ve grown older so have you. You don’t push against my spine like you used to. No more spearing my back and legs. Still, you don’t give up, like a bully. Sniping my left foot. Denying me sleep. You’re supposed to be subtle, like regret.
I’m told to monitor you. Monitor. A word that contorts my brain into a knot. I know there’s at least twelve of you in me, but not exactly where and what you’re up to and if you intend to get nasty. One thing I’ve done is observe if any of you dare to bulge. Some of you have, like you want to spring out of me. My skin has been
good, holding onto you, but for how long?
You may remember, two of you had to be removed. Do you miss them? Do you visit the hole they’ve left behind? Were you close like siblings or estranged like siblings? Do you blame me for their death? I hope not. I tried to keep them, but they were destructive. You know how much codeine methadone and morphine I took to live with them. I hate surgery as much as
For too long I’ve compared you to weeds, worse still, I’ve written about you as landmines. But I don’t want the responsibility of a gardener or the fear of a soldier. For over fifty years you sit as I sit, you eat as I eat, you dream as I dream, when I’m cold so are you, when I sweat you are hot. We share this body. This tangled mess of thistles and thorns. An imploding grenade of screams. This body we share as a team of uncertain parts. I hope you can love my body when I can’t.