by: Bobby Crowley
The stinging sound of the sharpening blades reverberates into my temples. A deep humming stirs from the depths of my flesh, anticipating the fire shooting through my bones as the blood trickles down. Down. Down. I will paint with these heartbeats.
She dips her small fingertips into the paper plate of running colors. She smudges her rainbow onto her kindergarten cardboard canvas. Marking her face like a burning Mohican and running through blades of grass and dancing, dancing like a tiny gypsy in the sunlight.
I trace my pain. I sketch it’s ghostliness into reality. I barely scratch the surface. I am a painter. I form masterpieces deep within my flesh. I create when the paint rises and falls down. Down. Down. Marking the white tiled floor with my madness. I take my time. Greedily consume every bit of it before it’s time to let it go.
She spreads her arms like a hawk and soars in tight circles around tree trunks and flower patches. She watches the sky blur into the rooftops and telephone poles. Stretches her fingers out towards the world of running colors. She mixes the world like milky batter as she spins, spins, spins out of balance.
I slice open my canvas and submerge my paintbrush into the deep red rivers running inside of me. I splatter, drip, and drag it. I roll the tip of my brush gently along the sketch-lines. I smudge and blend with my thumbprint, imprinting it with my genetic mark. Each spastic heartbeat feeds my palette. I splatter, drip, and drag it. Drag it through the clouds. They turn pink like bubble gum.
She blows bubbles into the wind and replaces them with another hopeful breathe before they all pop, pop, pop out of sight. She kisses with her eyelashes and flees before the blush reaches her cheeks. Padding along in the grass feet bare and splattered with mud. She rubs it into her skin like camouflage to hide her from the boogiemen that awake with the night and the fireflies.
My monsters live inside of me. There is no camouflage that I can hide behind. I will always find myself, always lurk in my own shadows waiting to pounce, waiting to take over. I am both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but I can hide the truth. I am a painter. I can fill the cracks with my paint. I can pretend for just a little while that I am still her.
Bobby Crowley is a Queer woman with a love for all that is fabulous. She is currently working on her Creative Writing degree at Loyola University where she is also on the board of Advocate and a writer for the alt. magazine LUChameleon. She is in love with Andrea Gibson, her labradaniel puppies, and singing loudly in the shower.