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short but not sweet a collection of sour writings

dahlia dandashi

“Short but not sweet” is a forthright dialogue presented in a series of confabs. It was written in an effort to navigate my constantly-evolving ego and sense of individuality. Each conversation helps to translate intimate thoughts and feelings exploring my identity as a creator, an individual and a woman. The metaphors make meaning of rather mundane musings that I have struggled with; “I’m not inspired, a man doesn’t like me, a man loves me, I want to create, I feel used, I’m confused...” and transforms them into more illustrated back-and-forths. "Short but not sweet" was curated to simply explore my body, my mind and my power.


1 Will I ever overcome myself? Bored-ridden and foul-mouthed, My skin red and rocky with craters Like the Texas nowhere. I can only give love once I am filled with an infection, I can only give love when I am selfish in need.

2 I see you in my coffee. Raw, honest, unforgivable, alarming, black. I dip my toes in for a taste And your alligator claws tear at me. I did not mean to obstruct your morning. I just wanted to be near you Or in you It’s all the same. Ground me up like cinnamon And I’ll throw a parade for all the little beans That trot on by And one by one We will bow at your feet.

3 At age 23, I met her on life 7 Licking her wounds and misplacing the salt over And over And over Like a broken, spitting faucet. I am living my life through the chaos in books Marking myself with rouge every instance I feel the least bit ill. In my dreams, I throw a parade And all 8 versions of myself are invited. The neighbors do not know me, but they know I live next door. I associate myself with the evening hours And use the moon as my reflection. ......

Mirror, mirror Give me back my familiar body. I miss my breasts and my long hair And the water that keeps me cool. I must not stray far from myself. I can’t have my legs forgetting my arms Or my head forgetting my face Because then I'll find myself locked outside Calling for my neighbors Or life number 8 To let me back in.

4 The men try to code which way they can maneuver me best So I can fit into the caves of their mouths with ease One bite, and they can swallow me whole. But I stand at the front lines Resistant, impenetrable, And in more ways than one. You won’t survive. I eat excuses like you for breakfast And the rest I chop up like fine meat To store for later.

5 She comes out to play on Wednesday nights, Hot, yellow flames breaching out from the top of her head Hungry like a blood-thirsty hyena.

I am only desirable for so long I burn the timber even before it is able to hold roots. Lovely? Lovely was my mother. I live in stasis, my arms and I Only coming out in the evenings so we can evade the crowd. The oven between my thighs stays hot and angry. My lack of interest is my vice, My emerald eyes out with a full set of teeth.

6 He’s praying to a God he doesn’t believe in Just so he can kiss my sweetness But he does not know how sour I’ve been cultivated to be. I bite back Canines and all, Acid yellow and salt-plagued teeth. Yet, he worships me So I peel Seedless Juicy I peel I peel I peel

7 Tonight There is no art in my poetry and no poetry in my art. You can grab a hammer, jam it at my head But I will not understand. I will not improve. All I want to do is hate myself in a bathtub of bubbles And fake that I have direction or the will to create. I do not see God. I am no good. You should toss me out. Or maybe I could be baked in the oven at 400 degrees And an idea will rise by tomorrow... There's an idea! Who knows? I could cook myself into a genius And actually make baba proud

8 I saw him dry up in front of me Right before my eyes! Prune like a shy apricot. Go go go! We have no time to lose! Let's salvage what we can before you get bored Or I dry up just the same. When I have a daughter I'll tell her to use her ass as a weapon But to keep her dress on Because if it's not about her ass It's about her breasts And never about her brain And why she's thinking what she's thinking. Grow grow grow! We have nothing to lose! It's rotting anyways I'm rotting anyways

9 Even at 16 I made the big boys cry My teenage self a confident liar in lust and love. I belong at the park or museum All by myself So I can scare away the blue birds And overdose on shitty coffee. I took the lies they painted on me And made it my own art. I really have become quite a piece of work. I am what I always hated to hear The tepid phrases "Inspiration, soulful, beautiful" And made you believe that's what you are too. Don't you know I'm a fucking liar? 16 with no prospects 23 with no morals A congenital liar before my first period.

10 I am floating in my tub My chest open like honey-colored treasure. All of a sudden I am on the rue (avenue) when I see Billie. She tells me to keep watch of my faucet. What am I doing here? I speak French but Paris is not for me I like men but they fail to leave an impression. They are only here to drink from me but never to stay. The avenue is a place for women like me For all the versions of myself I have grown to love and hate. The one that speaks Arabic The one that lies The one that loves The one that forgets.

And one by one We wait in line to be washed with soap Before the end of my bath Before the water overflows Before I wake up

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