This poem was in Cheryl B’s 1998 collection, Motor Oil Queen. The much missed Cheryl was born in 1972 and was a favourite on New York’s spoken word scene. She was working class and wrote about class, sexuality, feminism and swore a lot. She had a fierce sense of humour which characterised her poetry.
Her revolt was language and in spelling and using words correctly.
She read many times in the UK and influenced Salena Godden and Roddy Lumsden, amongst others.
The Woman I Was Supposed To Be
The woman I was suposed to be has long highlighted hair and fake green contact lenses.
The woman I was suposed to be has had liposuction to remove the tiny packets of fat and other indecencies from her body.
The woman I was suposed to be cries during Hallmark commercials.
The woman I was suposed to be loves tasti-d-lite, tanning salons and precious moments statues.
The woman I was suposed to be has a successful career in a professional field and/or a rich husband.
The woman I was suposed to be wears a gold pendant around her neck that says “spoiled rotten”, “princess”, or spells her name out in diamonds.
The woman I was suposed to be enjoys shopping at Pier 1 imports wth her mother.
The woman I was suposed to be doesn’t sleep around, but gives blow jobs because if there’s no intercourse then it isn’t sex.
The woman I was suposed to be represses her lesbian desires.
As I sit here writing this, I think of the many ways my life falls short of these expectations and sometimes I question my choices. How I have missed out on this woman’s life sugar highs and valium lows where dreams are kept safely locked in a bedside journal and not a hair falls out of place.
I imagine that she is still a part of me, she lives in the fat on the back of my arm and when I feel that uncontrollable urge to match my socks with my t-shirt she is asserting her prowess over me. When my cheap panties cost more than my weekly food budget it is she who has purchased them.
As a matter of fact I could blame all the ills of my life on her, but that wouldn’t be fair.
Maybe I’m more like her than I let on
maybe we are just two peas stuck in the same pod
two potheads stuck in front of the same t.v.
except that I have control of the remote.