catcalling is not a compliment

it is not intended to be.
it’s meant to humiliate and degrade women
for committing the sin of being female,
for having bodies with breasts,
for walking through your line of sight –
in short, for existing in public
as a member of the sex class.

“If they didn’t want the attention,
they shouldn’t dress so sexy.”
bullshit. every woman will tell you
she’s been catcalled in sweats,
in oversized hoodies,
with no makeup, with unwashed hair.
women have been raped
despite wearing fucking burkas.
clearly clothing and the degree of her conformity
to the Fuckability Mandate
(e.g., feminine presentation as “sexy”
for the purposes of pandering
to the pornified male gaze)
– or lack thereof – is irrelevant.

“Walking down the street
as a woman in sexy clothes
is like wearing a meat suit
into a lion’s den.”
so you’re saying men are animals
and too sex-crazed to control themselves?
it’s not feminists who hate men.
men hate each other and/or themselves,
far more than women ever can,
and live down to their own low expectations
of their ability to be human.

well guess what? I will continue to wear
whatever the hell I want,
with whatever degree of “sexiness”
makes me feel good about myself
on any given day.
I’m not going to apologize
for having breasts,
being female in public,
or for passing through your particular orbit.
if you think that’s problematic
why don’t you try taking some responsibility
for your own fucking boner,
instead of pretending it’s my fault,
and trying to put me down constantly
in a vain attempt to raise yourself up.

catcalling has never been a compliment,
and you, dude, don’t have to act like an animal.

left vs. right

I want you to my right, but I need you on my left.
There’s science behind it and it’s legit.
When you sit on my far right side, I cannot see you,
not really.  You are a flickering ghost
half-visible out of the corners of my eyes,
one of which doesn’t work (right) and never has.
It’s not so much a massive blind spot
as a colorless, invisible mist; things happen there,
but they’re not real, they don’t register,
I can’t respond properly, as if I’m half-dreaming.

My hearing has a similar deficit,
so I’ll never be able to understand what you said
that time you spoke only into my right ear,
your words falling meaningless as rain.
That ear’s an empty shell, a whorl
of ornate spirals leading nowhere, no loving heart
or understanding mind lies at the other end,
it holds nothing but oceanic whispers
and salt-wracked loneliness.
Whatever nothing lies behind it has
as much understanding of secrets –
and cares as little for the mysterious
motives of humans – as a hermit crab.
So if you really don’t want anyone
to hear or remember, tell it into my dead right ear.
Your secret’s permanently safe with me.
Maybe it’s buried in my subconscious
and will surface in my dreams,
a long lost wreck lifted into the light at last.

I’ll probably misinterpret it anyway, don’t worry.

When you sit on my left, you are present,
almost too present to bear – unexpected,
like the best and worst gifts –
I see your true colors and can’t help but apprehend you,
you are corporeal, solid to the touch.
This is frightening;
after all, my left side is so weak and damaged.
I broke my left arm twice and my left leg once, growing up,
within the same year and a half.
So I like to keep you on the right,
safely in the dream world,
until I get to know your pressure points,
in case we start to go too fast, and I have to put the brakes on.

The left dares to presume too much; it can’t behave.
It wants to grab your arm excitedly,
touch your hand inquisitively,
a dumb ape wondering what this other ape feels like,
a mindless body hoping your body might like mine and vice versa –
the braille’d texture of my skin, the round coldness of my arm,
meeting the electric/al resistance of your muscles –
a collection of pheromones wondering if we are compatible,
bacteria trying to decide if we like the taste of this new colony.
My daring left side would stare right into your eyes
as if to find the answer for everyone who’s ever hurt me
with leers from eyes that color,
mocked me using a voice with that timbre,
laughing a laugh like that at my expense;
and everyone who will hurt me in the future
by reminding me much too much of you.

If you’re to my right I can contain you,
a neat and tidy little ghost in your dream world,
keep you safe in a box full of other half-seen expressions,
with all the eye contact I never quite made –
the times I looked at your ear instead of your eyes
to stop myself from drowning in them –
all the things I cannot bear to watch
for fear they’ll disappoint me,
all the secrets I may never be ready to hear.
They are packed too thick with sorrows, and
my heart can’t make room for any more.

platonic

for SK

You take the words right
out of my brain, and into your mouth—
I can hear you tasting them like the caramel
coins of some unfamiliar candy currency.

Myself, reversed. What was light in me
is heavy in you, obscured. The North pole
and the South, flipped unexpectedly,
must feel much as we do.

And Socrates would be proud of us,
as we work the seam that marks where we
were torn apart at incarnation,
we are Platonic in the Truth of it.

washer

Catching sight of my
self in the bathroom mirror
I know the muted horror
of stumbling on portents —
as damning as the washer
at the stream, she who beats
out the blood of the witness,
that will soon shed itself
according to omen —

I meet my own basilisk-
dark gaze calmly, as my
hands continue to scuff
at the blood that bears witness
to my recurring death-wound.

seeds

The fear of ice split my head like a melon
a creeping thought of you
gnawed in the crack
but silvery whispers, seeds twitching dark
and in the interim, warned
or warmed me on.
I’m stopped up with you instantly,
constantly; my sidelong escapes
revert to their furrow
and in the back garden
the crown of your row
your sunflower soul
blackens sweetly, slowly.
So like a good little mole,
I subvert a cold hand
to dig up your old gnawed one.

king of ravens

Your puffed grey idolatries are quick
to pick up these new diversions.
Their motley flashes a warning,
warming this cold court. They are dark
as a tarot pack, closed to your
over-quick eyes even
when they fan out like peacocks.

Their colors toll in my blood,
my sleep. Their hunched shapes complement
my thickened brain. I read
strange words in their bent
forms and blooded colors.
When they drop
like so many soured leaves
having played out a dead court
in this, my stunned one,
one of your many lackeys
scrapes them up again.

I am crossed, reversed
by the influence of birds –
the Ace of Owls, round eye sharp and
yellow as a talon,
bends his bishop’s face upon me again.

I would order them all banished,
flights of doves emigrating vexed
from the realm of your amusement,
but I am augured against it
by the Queens of old ambassadors,
their Spanish coats glinting
startled in candlelight.

Dimly can I hear
a bloodier answer – deal
another round of Ravens.
My clothes are
budding black, my hands and hooks
yellowing. The cards knock in my grip,
pecking; I toll them out again.  

(Skull) No. 1

You bare your cracked mouth
in a yellowing arc of bone.
I shine my worn eyes white
on you – pared and slender man,
and in your sockets’ sink-basin shadows
see my own drawn heart.

My gestures dwindle like the heart
of a skeleton; your broken mouth
makes my fingers half a shadow
of slim cigarette bone.
and I can’t wrap their secrets like a dead man
would – you rolled them tight and white.

Continue reading (Skull) No. 1