I will not write pretty when Donald Trump is president. I will be hard and sharp and nasty for real, not for respectable, white feminists. I will eat pussy in bathroom stalls at gay clubs and I will not wipe my mouth or brush my teeth when I go home. I will fight in the streets when Donald Trump is president. I will fight dirty, I will tear at hair and rip flesh with my teeth. I will yell back when men yell at me. I will yell louder. When I attack them I will aim for the crotch. I will not say ‘sorry’ when Donald Trump is president. I will not stay still when I hear racial slurs. I will not let Islamaphobes off the hook. I will mail my dirty tampons to Mike Pence. I will smear my period blood on KKK hoods. When Donald Trump is president I will hurt anyone who hurts Black women. I will hurt anyone who hurts trans women. I will not write pretty. I will not be pretty. I will make my body a nightmare and I will make sure everyone knows. I will do cocaine and drink until my teeth rot down to the gums. I will howl our bus windows at night when I’m hurtling through South Central. I will not let neoliberals rest. I will give communist literature to my fourteen year old brother and three different daggers to my sixteen year old sister. I will not fuck men when Donald Trump is president, but if I do I will not let them come.I will use words like 'cunt’ through mouthfuls of blood. I will not patch up my scraped knees. I will not clean up my messes. I will be so ugly that just the sight of me will have you scream your throat raw.
I Will Not Write Pretty When Donald Trump is President, by Rachel R. Carroll
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One - A neon sign on my forehead saying yes, God, I want nothing more than to have a threesome with you!
Two - It is not my fear to say I’m a lesbian. Queerness does not come in stages; this is not my 30 day free trial period before upgrading to premium membership.
Three - It is not being straight just because I have a boyfriend. Difficult as it may be to wrap minds as straight as yours around anything, my partner does not determine my sexuality any more than wearing a green shirt precludes me from liking blue.
Four - Confusion. There is no uncertainty in the way her lips work like whirlpools or how his hands hold hell fire against my hips.
Five - It is not greed, because let me assure you: my one man is about all that I can handle more often than not.
Six - A choice. This may surprise you, but I didn’t opt into a community where hallway harassment and back alley bloodshed are creating more and more graves for smaller and smaller coffins.
Seven - An invitation for you to excavate my sexual history as if my past lovers were one pornographic artifact after another. Do me a favor and go jack off somewhere else.
Learn three clean jokes. Learn your grandparents’ birthdays and anniversaries. Learn the address of a friend who lives far away; write her often. Learn more than is necessary about your favorite poet. Learn how to sew a button back onto a shirt and the basic necessities of keeping a garden. Learn the little boy down the street’s favorite color. Learn about as many religions as possible. Learn your father’s favorite movies and your mother’s favorite songs. Learn the best possible way to keep a secret. Learn how you best learn. Learn how you best live. And do it.
my 17 year old self’s response to the question, “What should everybody learn?”
When I’m at parties I’m every overdone YA novel I read in high school and it’s not on purpose I swear but I just so happened to have a Smiths phase the first time I tried to kiss a girl and she said she was straight. Someone in my eleventh grade English class once told me “You seem to really understand where Holden is coming from.” First of all: how fucking dare he.
My problem if you want to get right down to it is that yes I’ll reach for a single glass of wine first but if it’s gone then sure Jack Daniels and Coke sounds fine but if you’re out of Coke that’s fine too. In line with avoiding cliches like the plague I’ve never so much as held a cigarette but I still carry a lighter in my purse where my caution ought to be.
Things happen to me twofold: what’s here and then you. I hardly ever get high unless it’s funnier if I do and calling you then is no different than it is on Tuesdays. (Maybe. Maybe it is. Maybe slower.) If I accused you of losing sleep over smoke in my lungs, would you make fun of my metaphors? You filthy fucking hypocrite. Come kiss me goodnight.
Let yourself come to a stop.
Bow your head under the stream of broken hymns
pulsing and pulling their ways through
terminals, customs, bagel shops -
you have never seen motion so human.
Not at this hour.
It is 4 AM
and your flight leaves soon.
You wonder if these halls,
catacombs of curvature,
have heard more honest love confessions than chapels.
All the times you wrote sonnets against Metro rails -
does he read them, anymore?
The smell of coffee is strong enough
to keep you from feeling the need
to buy it. You will probably
fall asleep on the plane, cityscape sprawled out
beneath you -
How can you ever expect to hear
when people tell you goodbye
if you don’t look out the window?
The clock on my stove read 12:50 AM,
and I had made you coffee
(well, you see, I hadn’t made it,
my mother did, earlier that morning,
but by then it was stone cold,
so I heated it up and fixed it the way you liked it,
a little bit of sugar and a little bit of creamer,
but I went a little heavy on the creamer)
and my brother was in the next room
and both my parents were asleep upstairs
and my sister had been gone for three days
and I didn’t care about the boy messaging me on Facebook,
at least not as much as I told you I did.
So like I said
(did I say? you understand)
we were in the kitchen
and that was probably for the best
because we’d ripped up all the carpet in the living room the week before
and so the whole house felt different
and my feet were cold from the concrete
and you put your head down on the table
and asked me to play with your hair
and I did
and I cried
and I looked anywhere
but at you.
A Goodbye Note Without Metaphors, by Rachel R. Carroll