Every poem is about you. Even the ones
about other people, they’re for your eyes
only. Everyone else who reads this is just a stranger
looking through the window at us.
It always comes back to you.
It will always come back to you.
I stopped going to therapy
because I knew my therapist was right
and I wanted to keep being wrong.
I wanted to keep my bad habits
like charms on a bracelet.
I did not want to be brave.
I think I like my brain best
in a bar fight with my heart.
I think I like myself a little broken.
I’m ok if that makes me less loved.
I like poetry better than therapy anyway.
The poems never judge me
for healing wrong.
In a world dominated by violent and passive-aggressive men, and by male institutions dispensing violence, it is extraordinary to note how often women are represented as the perpetrators of violence, most of all when we are simply fighting in self-defense or for our children, or when we collectively attempt to change the institutions that are making war on us and on our children. In reality, the feminist movement could be said to be trying to visualize and make way for a world in which abortion would not be necessary; a world free from poverty and rape, in which young girls would grow up with intelligent regard for and knowledge of their bodies and respect for their minds, in which the socialization of women into heterosexual romance and marriage would no longer be the primary lesson of culture; in which single women could raise children with a less crushing cost to themselves, in which female creativity might or might not choose to express itself in motherhood. Yet, when radical feminists and lesbian/feminists begin to speak of such a world, when we begin to sketch the conditions of a life we have collectively envisioned, the first charge we are likely to hear is a charge of violence: that we are “man-haters.
A lot is being said today about the influence that the myths and images of women have on all of us who are products of culture. I think it has been a peculiar confusion to the girl or woman who tries to write because she is peculiarly susceptible to language. She goes to poetry or fiction looking for her way of being in the world, since she too has been putting words and images together; she is looking eagerly for guides, maps, possibilities; and over and over in the ‘words’ masculine persuasive force’ of literature she comes up against something that negates everything she is about: she meets the image of Woman in books written by men.
The effect of male-identification means ‘internalizing the values of the colonizer and actively participating in carrying out the colonization of one’s self and one’s sex. Male identification is the act whereby women place men above women, including themselves, in credibility, status, and importance in most situations, regardless of the comparative quality the women may bring to the situation. Interaction with women is seen as a lesser form of relating on every level.
Here is what I know:
You drink your coffee black and we are afraid of each other.
Once you kissed my neck in front of your friends
and it made me very shy.
Once you kissed my stomach and I started crying.
I see the tender way you touch things and want to kiss your nose
but I keep my mouth to myself.
Your collarbones are craters big enough to fit my fist into.
You are the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in months.
I was not good to the last person I loved so I punished my heart
(I let it break and bleed out then roughly sewed it back together)
It is hard to write poems when I only know how to fuck you.
I am always trying. I am thinking of Somedays. I am saying goodbye.
You asked why I never write anything honest so I am writing you this.
Don’t worry about your body.
It isn’t as small as it once was,
But honestly, the world needs more of you.
You look in the mirror
like you’ve done something wrong,
But you look perfect.
Anyone who says otherwise is telling a lie
to make you feel weak.
And you know better.
You’ve survived every single day,
for as long as you’ve been alive.
You could spit fire if you wanted.