This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from BABE by Dorothy Chan, released by Diode Editions in 2021.
Content warning for sexual violence
Five Sonnets for Red Lips: Goodbye, J.
I throw up thinking about you, the way you’d insist on dragging me to the dance floor like a doll you call Beautiful or Pretty Lady or The One, anything dainty or floral or feminine, when I just wanted you to call me Dorothy, as in my name, as in Yellow Brick Road, as in Judy Garland in gingham and pigtails, as in florals are the most overrated virtue of fashion. Judy, inventor of red on the silver screen. Red, the color of my lips that you kissed when I asked you to join me in bed—me, wearing a fuchsia fishnet bodysuit, when I thought this was going to be special. When I thought you would never, for as long as the Earth moved, do that to me. Red, the color of your face when I told you to stop. You were hurting me. You didn’t want to stop. Red, the color of your face once you did stop, and said, “No, that’s not how things work.” Red, the sound of your voice. Red, the color of my face, the worst feeling in the world. But it’s my body. I don’t plan these things. I react. I wish. Why didn’t you pay attention when I told you about my stress, about feeling forced to feel feminine, about women being allowed to change their minds. Fuchsia, the color of my bodysuit that I’ve now worn for someone else. And for someone else. And for someone else. Red, the color of my lips, brighter and brighter in every photo I send now, tongue sticking out, tits looking sculpted by a Roman artist, my new lover says, and I’ll need a Cherry Coke over my breast soon, how you never sent me photos over a screen— all take and no give. And I can’t believe I let you touch my breasts with your clumsiness— how you nearly knocked a table over at the sushi restaurant before the squid salad and sashimi came, but I should have known you’d throw your size around, overpower me, pin my wrists in bed, throw me down. And I throw up thinking about you calling me Princess or Temptress like a video game character with double Ds and a high-pitched moan. Or Dream or Gift or Apple of My Eye, like a celebrity baby, when I’d rather you just call me Dorothy. Or Baby, because it’s no frills, two syllables. Dorothy, as in friend of Dorothy, as in code for gay man, from the Golden Age of Hollywood, as in Judy you’re a forever icon, and girl, you help me sing my way out of any misery, dance with the New York backdrop behind me, in grays that become blues that become violets, and one morning, I ask my new lover if he spells gray as “gray” or “grey,” but back to the point: Queer, my identity you tried to erase, because girls who like girls also can’t possibly like boys. Or men. Man. The word you think you are, but are you really, giving dirty looks to other men at bars. Red, the color of my face when I think of you. Red, the color I now see in vibrations and tremors and throbs that don’t come because of you, because red is not only anger, but also, orgasm. Because red is the color of Chinese good fortune, and I’m telling you, goodbye forever, J. Red, because stop. Red, the color of Chinese strength and beauty in that moment I feel red. Oh, that moment.
Latest posts by sundresspublications (see all)
- The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: about:blank by Tracy Fuad - March 28, 2023
- Sundress Reads: Review of This Body I Have Tried to Write - March 27, 2023
- We Call Upon the Author to Explain—Zoë Fay-Stindt - March 27, 2023