Mr Seb CC
Fuck Your Cream Cheese
I write like someone’s watching over me when I have a timer ticking over me and I’ve dreamt of my body hovering over me, which is another way of saying: I’ve dreamt I was alive when nearly dead.
And I’ve dreamt I was dead when life didn’t feel like the sky was falling. I mean, it did, which is why death seemed like a better dream than reality.
34inch inseam, my waist fluctuates ridiculously. It all depends on how bloated I am. It all depends on how much trauma is floating through my I/AM. My self. My ness. My pickled thoughts hanging by a bird’s breath, clinging to underbellies of Flintstone’s cars, that means no bottom. I pedal with the feet like Lupe said. I push daisies up on the ways I used to write.
It’s very hard to write when I know someone is waiting to listen to what I wrote. It’s easier if I pretend that I’m not here, hovering over my body, not watching me write these words which may or may not be used against me in a martial order.
And I’ve done so much binging that there’s nothing left to watch. And yet, I’m still watching the watchmaker as he makes me a watch to watch him with.
I’m holding vigil over memories of tatted tears I never had to give.
I’m thinking of childhood friends who grew up too fast. Then we met as adults who couldn’t grow up fast enough. And we recognized one another, but we didn’t like what we saw.
When people know where you’ve come from, it’s hard to make the appearance of your new reality stick. All your falsities fall by the wayside. It’s hard to represent your true self in writing when you know that any one of your old friends could read it and call bullshit. That’s bullshit, you were never that brave. Bullshit, you never started a game. Bullshit, riding the back of the bus, same bench as the sidelines on the last night you watched your football dreams die. Friday night lights for unathletic boys – all pain, no glory.
Bullshit is what I think of when the sky is falling. Or, on some days, I see it as a blessing. The sky is falling, Covid is raining, everyone is scurrying. But I’m in no rush. You’re in no rush. This has always been your life. The sky is falling. People want to cope with it, but I just carry on.
I smile like The Joker, from a place of pain. But happiness can be pain, too. A smile of pain, not to be mistaken for sad boy hours. A smile which comes from the same place in my belly as the trauma that’s lodged there, distending it from time to time, taking me from 36 to 38 to 40 and none of my underwear fits reliably. That’s why I’m standing in the underwear aisle having panic attacks.
I know that my sky will fall at some point next Saturday morning, as it does every Saturday morning. And I know that I’ll have to climb my way out of the bed which feels like quicksand. And I’ll make my way to the kitchen, and I’ll scratch my belly, perhaps a 38, perhaps a 40. I’ll reach for my mini bagels, plain, and my raspberry cream cheese from the local racist white co-op that still has pictures of George Floyd plastered on their windows. Staring at me. As if they can’t see that their attempts at performative white allyship don’t traumatize me. I’m getting real tired of seeing my dead brother’s face on the sides of co-ops that I can barely afford to shop at. But I go there because this is some damn good cream cheese, made in St Paul, a Black city. And it doesn’t go unnoticed that this same co-op went into a Black hiring frenzy shortly after brother George died.
Before the buildings were no longer boarded, before the smoke had stopped funneling from the 3rd precinct station where it all started, they had begun hiring Black person after Black person. Almost as if to say: look, we see you. Oh, but you see me, you see us, only when it suits you. I see. Well, you’re lucky I like this cream cheese. Otherwise, I’d never walk back in here again. And I know you won’t accuse me of shoplifting because… because…. Well, actually, I don’t know if you would or not.
But you probably would. And you’d probably call the cops on me. And I might probably die. And my picture might probably replace BROTHER George’s. And then you’d hire even more brothers just like me, just like George, just like white guilt to do this and do this and do this and do this and ask me if I can be helped and do this and do this and do this and so much more.
The sky is falling, stand for something or fall in the morning. The sky is falling and my people are born into mourning. Die into freedom. Laugh with smiles so filled with pain you couldn’t hardly even call them smiles. But smile just the same. Because even though I feel worthless from time to time, I know exactly what my worth is. And it’s worth a lot more than the $3.99 I pay for this delicious fucking raspberry cream cheese. Damn this is some good cream cheese. I don’t even like bagels, but for this cream cheese I keep my pantry stocked. Stuffed like the cracks in the sky I see when I’m waking up from dimethyltryptamine dreams. If any of my old friends read this, they’d call bullshit – you never smoked DMT, coward. You better go buy some more cream cheese.
Said Shaiye is a Somali writer who calls Minneapolis home. He is an MFA Candidate & Graduate Instructor at the University of Minnesota. He has had work published or is forthcoming in Diagram, Rigorous, Dreginald, New South and Muslim American Writers at Home Anthology. His debut book, Are You Borg Now?, is forthcoming from Really Serious Literature.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.