imagine thick jasmine surrounding you

I love him. He smells like jasmine. Jasmine — that’s what I call him and he lets me; he smiles. I’m the only one he lets, even though all the other girls try. He said it’s okay if we never do that. I told animal thinking it might shame him, but he only touched me more. I’m quiet, and I don’t cry.

Right before animal hits me, I surround myself with jasmine. I see myself in a field of flowers, the petals tickling my cheeks, the smell reaching all the way into the very bottom tip of my lungs and propelling coughs thick with jasmine if I take too much in at once. It’s as beautiful coming in as coming out – a slow inhale and exhale, don’t cough, don’t cough, don’t lose any of it, whose entire duration I treasure. Jasmine loves me.

Get off of me, you animal, I say. Jasmine makes me strong. I lose all thoughts, all reason, and my mind clears of everything but hate. It makes me push animal into the wall, again and again. It makes me kick and scream and bite him, blood slipping down my throat. I bit off a large portion of the skin right under animal’s collarbone when I was eleven. I hid in the woods, but he found me and he — I didn’t cry. I don’t cry. If you don’t cry, if you’re quiet, people love you. They learn to love you even though your hair is kinky type 4b and will never have defined curls. More like a sponge, animal tells me. A dirty sponge. I’m beautiful, you ugly fuck, I say, to myself, not to animal. I’m quiet, and I don’t cry.

–lissa

p.s. part two of this story is here

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About lissa

writer. yogini. reader. dreamer. nurse practitioner. View all posts by lissa

19 responses to “imagine thick jasmine surrounding you

  • Princess Pointful

    Wow. I’m a little speechless right now. That was intense, but, as always, so interwoven with great details that almost make those other lines stand out that much more.

  • johemmant

    Yes, I’m almost speechless too…..beautiful work here, Lissa, though that seems a strange adjective, it’s beautiful-ugly really, if you know what I mean. The contrast between animal and jasmine, how she breathes in the beauty, how it is not destroyed for her but keeps her safe, makes her strong. And the repetition of I’m quiet and I don’t cry. I felt completely focused, completely here when I was reading, I didn’t have a single other track going….it is rare indeed when my mind stills to that degree. Exceptional.

  • Scot

    a power packed piece–screamingly good!

  • paisley

    i don’t know why i feel this but i do.. i feel as if she is being abused by her brother,, and hides in the arms and scent of her invisible hero… jasmine…

    this was so intensely written,, i feel like it would have been almost a hidden memory,, brought to the fore by hypnosis or therapy or something of that ilk.. very deep.. very well written….

  • thehappymisfit

    the repetition of ‘i’m quiet and i don’t cry’ conveys so much emotion, carries so much, so beautiful.

  • Ani

    The stark contrast and subtle repetition in this piece are powerful ways of showing the self-affirmation I imagine we all do to scrub away the untruths etched into our bones.

    Curl definition is highly overrated.

  • tysdaddy

    Yeah, this packs a kick in the throat, that’s for sure. Multilayered, yet the words and images flow together seamlessly.

    Jesus . . . this hurts.

    Brian

  • Megan

    As I read, I could smell jasmine.

  • argybargy

    Gosh, that’s powerful.

    I’m not sure you’ve ever written an empty sentence.

  • whypaisley

    i had to change my domain name to whypaisley.com please change your links and or feed as necessary

    all you will have to do is remove the – from between why and paisley,, everything else will remain the same and will redirect you to the correct page…. sorry for the inconvenience…

  • Via Negativa

    […] flyturtlefly I hid in the woods, but he found me and he — I didn’t cry. I don’t cry. If you don’t cry, if you’re quiet, people love you. […]

  • Tina Trivett

    Very powerful write lissa…I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  • Eric

    A youthful sneer in the last line. Pitch perfect.

  • Cynthia

    oh this is so heartbreaking, and the girl is
    so beautiful inside, her thoughts, her will
    to survive this torment.
    you’ve written this prose so clear and strong
    lissa. each time i read your blog the feeling
    of being deep inside your mind-heart increases.
    lissa you have an amazing talent.

  • lissa

    thanks everyone. i wrote the first draft of this piece at the write-a-thon — inspired by the energy of all the writers in the room.

    cynthia’s comment made me realize that when i’m writing i always think about what the character’s thinking or what i would be feeling or felt in a certain situation. maybe that’s why it seems like you’re inside my mind-heart. i’m glad if it feels that way because i feel like i get the closest to my true self in my writing. i guess a lot of you probably feel that way too when you write.

  • Tina Trivett

    when i’m writing i always think about what the character’s thinking or what i would be feeling or felt in a certain situation. maybe that’s why it seems like you’re inside my mind-heart. i’m glad if it feels that way because i feel like i get the closest to my true self in my writing. i guess a lot of you probably feel that way too when you write.

    You are very adept at doing this. You really draw in the reader. Your subject matter can be painfully raw or flowing & lovely…either way we are with you when we read it. Your telling us a story & we all gather…and it is good.

    I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe your words…lol.

    Anyway..your wonderful, your writing is wonderful..and your a treasure.

  • Paul

    “maybe that’s why it seems like you’re inside my mind-heart”
    It is a wonderful place to be and you conjure it like no other.

  • make believe tree house « flyturtlefly.

    […] an extension of the characters in jasmine. […]

  • Shay

    Mercy. This is a survival poem and has all of the immediacy of imminent danger and all of the things that one does to try to shield one’s self, both physically and within. It reads like a blow, and the silence after. It leaves one gasping.

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