Tuesday, February 28, 2023

All Dressed Up by Tarriona “Tank” Ball


I feel like shit, and no one even noticed.

Nobody said: “Aye you straight?”

Nobody saw my water overboiling, or my car running hot, or my marriage failing.

Nobody saw me failing.

Nobody noticed my tire running out of air, or that I was drowning.

Nobody saw me.

Ain’t I somebody?

Ain’t I somebody worth saving?

I dun got all dressed up with no place to go.

I put flowers in my hair.

I soaked in white lilies and honey milk all night.

Wasn’t anybody gonna tell me I look pretty or my skin smell nice?

I made a dress from a bee’s nest.

Got stung 66 times makin’ it, and still found time to get dressed.

I darkened my lashes with oil from the spill.

I made a corset of tape from all the secrets I hold together.

I stole earrings from my aunt Nessa.

One fell down the sink.

I built a fishing pole from my insecurities that went all the way down the drain.

I couldn’t find the earring, but I found some other things.

Like my expectations of men, compliments from nasty uncles, the bosom of women, the security of relationships, the holes in my net.

I was fishing for water. 

Was I too busy looking strong to be it?

Too busy tryna be beautiful than being it?

Busy putting canola oil in my hair and fish grease on my lips. Straightened my hair with heat, I whitened my teeth with a crocodile’s nail, washed my clothes with bleach for the period stain.

I made a bra strap from chains.

Now that’s being a woman.

What’s a woman? What a woman be? Is she bent over trees?

Stolen fruit, rotting misbelieves.

Is she trimmed, gold-plated with no-hair underarms?

Is she perfectly Instagram cropped? Imitated?

Should she be intimate, soft, sweet, delicate?

Or are all these things irrelevant?

Should she get what she ask for? 

Should she ask politely?

Is she traditional, more modern?

Is she wife, she wifey? Sexy?

Is she fat? Are the curves where she asked for?

Is she augmented? Is she dark? Could she afford what she paid for? 

I dun got all dressed up with no place to go.

Ain’t you gon at least tell me I look pretty … ?

Tarriona “Tank” Ball is the lead singer of the Grammy Award-nominated band Tank And The Bangas. In 2021, she published her first book of poems, Vulnerable AF.

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