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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't Tell Me

Don’t tell me I’m beautiful; I know I’m not.

Oh but you’re beautiful to me, you say.

Don’t tell me “you’re beautiful to me.”

When you say, “you’re beautiful to me” it means I am not beautiful to others. And if I am not beautiful to others, I am not beautiful. I know I’m not beautiful, but you needn’t remind me.

Don't tell me my body is perfectly beautiful exactly as it is. Tell me my hands are broad, yet my fingers long. Tell me you admire my long jaw that juts out, when I’m mad, like a jetty or pier reaching out, eager to meet an angry sea. Tell me my butt is plump yet tight and how surprised you were when you slipped your hands down the back of my jeans to find no silk nor rayon, no cotton nor polyester shielding my buttocks from the touch of your rough fingers, your calloused palms cupping each cheek plump and ready for juicing like late fall apples.

But don’t tell me my body is perfectly beautiful exactly as it is.

Don’t tell me you could drown in my eyes. My eyes are not deep nor vast; you can’t see the universe in my eyes. My eyes are hazel, sometimes green, sometimes brown. They are not wide, nor do they hold a provocative tilt, an erotic slant. But I have just now, in this past year of my life, learned how to wink. Tell me my wink needs some practice. But don’t tell me you want to gaze into my eyes forever.

Don’t tell me that in your eyes, I am flawless. I have more flaws than Market Street has lights, than a golf course has holes, than the Congress has scandals.

Tell me the freckles on my back are confounding, that if you stare at them closely between almost closed eyes, you can see a brown tree frog leaping over a mottled lizard. Tell me you can see a giraffe that is about to lope off into the dry savannah of skin just under my left shoulder blade.

Tell me my feet are curiously wide and it’s a puzzle that my little toe is always swollen and red, yet all the other toes are white, soft, smooth, with nails that shimmer pearly-pink.

Tell me you wonder if I ever comb my hair, curly and unkempt. Tell me when you run your hands through my hair and your fingers get tangled in the knots and the curls, you wonder what it would be like to be trapped in a fight with me. You wonder who would win. You wonder if it would matter.

Don’t tell me I look beautiful when you pick me up for a night out. Tell me my dress hugs my butt just right and you like how my black lace bra pushes my breasts up, just barely overflowing the low cowl neckline of my dress, scarcely revealing just enough of my full white breasts to make you whisper in my ear, as you hand me a cocktail from the bar, of ravaging me in the parking lot before you take me home.

Don’t tell me I’m the perfect lover for you. Tell me you like the way I rise up to meet you, stroke for stroke. Tell me you like how my body is soft yet firm beneath you, yielding yet not submissive. Tell me you like how I ride you, how my breasts dangle in front of you. Tell me thank you for the breakfast I sucked out of you, and the breakfast that came from my body. And the breakfast I finally brought you from the kitchen – the eggs and bacon and coffee and juice. Tell me you want me to eat you for breakfast again and again, but don’t tell me I’m a perfect lover.

Don’t tell my face is lovely. My nose is not a sleek and graceful one, or a sweet turned-up little button. My face is not delicate, nor finely chiseled, nor my skin translucent porcelain. My lips are not full, nor elegant. My face tells a story of time best left untold. And sometimes, even when I know others can see, I can’t keep my face from slumping into shadow, the jaw slack, the eyes vacant.

Don’t tell me I’m beautiful. And don’t tell me you love me.

Tell me when I sleep, my face looks like a ship moving carelessly to the edge of the earth, and with each breath I draw, I move closer and closer to dropping off the face, the edge, of that flat earth and you worry I will never wake again but stay in that foreign world, that strange universe where the world is not a sphere but is flat, flat, flat and you fear that if my face falls off into that edge, off that map, you will never find me again.

Compliments of another SUAW (Shut Up and Write) Session


Blogger J Cosmo Newbery said...

Can I tell you that I like your writing? Good. Thank you. I do.

February 13, 2009 1:35 AM  
Anonymous CJ said...

Happy Valentino's Day to one who can at least throw a mean hair dryer!!!

February 13, 2009 5:03 PM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Happy Valentine's day to one who is almost beautiful, almost perfect, almost....

I love your writing, and that might be my imperfection. If so, it is one with which I am comfortable.

February 13, 2009 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Cosmo - yeah, tell me you like my writing - thanks for the compliment.

Why Jack - you have a way with words yourself!

CJ: OHMIGOD - will I never live that down?

Happy V Day to all!


February 14, 2009 8:34 AM  
Blogger boneman said...

well, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, after all.
That's why so many folks wanted to see Palin win, I'm guessing, but, we hardly need a beauty contest up, now, eh?

Have you bought your new pedal powered electrical generator for the computer, yet?

February 14, 2009 1:55 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

You said it for all us women of a 'certain age'...I hate that "you are beautiful to me" line too...it really does mean...'but not to anyone else."

I loved this writing because it is true.
I loved this writing because here is a real woman who knows herself and her fine fine traits.
I loved this writing because you said not only 'Don't tell me' but you made suggestions of 'what to tell me'.
I loved this writing because it came from a woman who knows how to write and knows how we women feel about the truth finally after all those years of doubt.

Thank you.

And to all the male readers...
Please take note for one day, sooner of later, you might learn what to really tell a woman.

February 14, 2009 4:59 PM  
Blogger K9 said...


February 15, 2009 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boney: yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but no woman wants to be fooled either. haha! and palin - oh - that' a whole 'nother story.

polly: glad this rings a bell with you. truth - yeah, writers lie lke hell - but the lies always have the ring of truth - that's the beauty of poetry, fiction, etc. - it's not real, but it's true. even when material is based on biography, the "real" is twisted, but the "truth" remains.

dawg: that one word compliment - means a lot.


p.s. - this Shut Up And Write group I've joined is a wonder. I get work out of it every week I attend. something else.


February 15, 2009 10:42 PM  
Blogger Hopper said...

Beautifully written... I like the pace of the piece... good flow... keeps the reader's eyes moving along with their minds... I'd think that this would be good read aloud as performance poetry???

Compliments on your blog... hope these words find you well...

February 17, 2009 12:14 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Pleasure to meet you Hopper - thank you for your kind words. I'm curious how you stumbled across my blog. I don't cultivate an audience much these days (once did) - so you must have found me via some random swoop through cyber space?

February 17, 2009 7:44 AM  
Blogger Angela Marie said...

This is beautiful...
So beautifully written.
And makes me feel comfortable with my imperfections... and in that there is beauty.

Thank you

February 25, 2009 12:13 PM  
Blogger firebird said...

Terrific writing! I can relate to your feelings about the easy "standard lines" not ringing true...better to feel that he really sees YOU, then you feel loved for your true self.

'Course, I wouldn't mind an "I love you" or "you're beautiful" once in a while, preferably before I'm on my way out the door for the last time--

February 27, 2009 7:00 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Hello Angela Marie: Thanks for dropping by and for the compliment. Glad you liked the poem.

Hey Firebird: I need to drop by your place and see your stuff - I've always loved it so much.

I've been reviewing this piece a lot lately and am wondering now about the part with the face - and "tells a story best left untold" - seems so ... cliche.

Ah, never satisfied am I. But it's the whittling part of writing that is the most fun sometimes.

February 28, 2009 8:44 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

boyed: we didnt get griffey jr. though he's old, he is such a statesman and all around good guy -he would have been an asset. snowing in the ATL today -for some reason, i thought of you.

March 01, 2009 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Snow made you think of me? Must be the "artic" of arctic tern that did it.

But, SNOW? It doesn't normally snow in Atlanta ... does it? Am I completely stupid (don't answer that!).

How are the Braves doing at spring training?


March 01, 2009 10:39 AM  
Blogger firebird said...

Bird--the face telling a story of time best left untold--it's not cliche, because in the context it has many levels of meaning.
On the surface, it seems to refer simply to the "aging" that we don't want to dwell on--so our "age" is usually left untold--
but you are making a subtle call for it to be acknowledged--so there is a bit of irony here--

Also, the story of those years that left their mark, is best "left untold" in a relationship, since too much past history can overwhelm the present...

I like the conciseness of this line, and the words have a good ring and rhythm!

March 03, 2009 5:37 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

....still 'don't tell you'?

Oh, it's OK. Most of my ex sister in laws wanted to give me a kick, too.

March 04, 2009 5:57 PM  
Blogger Ardlair said...

Hi Bird.


keep good

March 05, 2009 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Nice to see you. Hope all is well with you. I will have to swoop by your roost and see what's up.

Firebird: Hmmmm...I hadn't thought about the line that way - I'll have to ponder that ...

Yes, Boney, still. I do post irregularly these days. Am writing regularly, just not posting regularly.


March 06, 2009 6:43 AM  

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