Wake up angry, rub the wrinkles around your eyes. They don’t go away. You’re angry. You’ve been waking up angry for years now. It shows.
There are scratches on your skin where you can’t stand yourself. You brandish them to the world. ‘This is what you have made me.’ This is what the world made you - strong and wild-eyed and built on insecure foundations. This is what the world made you - angry and determined.
You glare at men irately in the street and take up both armrests on public transport. People side-eye you as though you’re unreasonable. A woman sits next to you. She looks tired. You let her have her fair share of the armrest.
Someone opens the door for you on the way to work. You say thank you. They slap your ass as you pass by. You have never wished so vehemently that you could take your words and wrap them around someone’s throat and twist and see their eyes bulge in fright. In your head, they echo words that you’re sure you’ve heard leave the mouth of half the female protagonists you’ve ever seen on screen. ‘What are you going to do to me?’
So, you admit it. ‘Do to me.’ I am going to do something to you. You aren’t going to want it. I’m laughing at you, not with you. This is to you, not with you, and certainly not for you. Remember that.
You stop choking them. They fall to the floor, gasping. You aren’t sure whether they’re trying to catch their breath because you used force against them or because you stood up for yourself and it actually scared them. You blink: in reality, there was a second where you decided whether to turn around and say something or to keep walking. You were unsure which would give them power and which would set them straight. You are already halfway down the street. They are still staring at your ass as you walk away. You are sure that both of your options would have empowered them, so you may as well have given them a bruise. But you are already gone.
You’ve been waking up angry since you were ten and you saw someone on the news talk mention women. What was ‘feminism’, and why did his lip curl when he said it? you wondered, and you searched, and you found red.
You found rape statistics, classroom statistics, boys-are-more-confident-than-girls statistics, why all men want their girlfriends to do anal, why you should please him, mothers taking their daughters to self defence classes, MRA speeches, pro-life opinions, the condescending and harmful thoughts of men before you in chalk on a Google search and the sudden knowledge that it would never hurt a single one of them.
That stranger who commented on Beyoncé’s picture saying exactly what he’d like to do to her will get hired straight out of college. Slack-jawed teachers will jokingly berate their students, preaching ‘boys will be boys’, before frowning pointedly at bare shoulders and skirts above the knee and ‘shouldn’t have risen to the bait’.
When you were ten, you found red, and you’ve never given up red since. Red in your mouth, red in your veins, red in your underwear. Red. Red on your fingernails, red on your lips. You put away nurturing pink and calm blue for another day. Today you wear red.
And when he had crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him.
Nosferatu, 1922 | F. W. Murnau.
If this isn’t the scariest shit, then fuck you.
Seemingly forever we are let down when the same monster of American sexism and racism betrays us again, again, again, and yes, again.
We still have not learned, but why we have not learned it is a question simple enough to answer if we understand the basic human needs of community and meeting all the material/emotional necessities therein. Being loved and valued is essential to our well-being. Having been born into a culture which marginalizes our human needs — for all but the few who narrowly fit its dogmatized narrative of humanity — changes nothing of those needs but the frequency at which they will never be met.
Because our natural needs have been and will continue to be exploited, the oppressed peoples of America… are faced with the impossible dilemma of seeking love and validation from a white supremacist hetero-patriarchal culture while simultaneously aiming to abolish it.
I welcome the winter winds to choke each flower at it’s stem.
Now is a time of darkness. Let darkness come.
n. the moment of realization that your quintessential self isn’t going to show up, which forces the role to fall upon the understudy, the humble kid for whom nothing is easy, who has spent years mouthing their lines in the wings before stumbling out into the glare of your life, which by then is already well into its second act.
If that doesn’t put the finest point on it you’ve ever seen/heard, I don’t know what does.
I’m so sorry baby,
that you fell in love with a murderer.
I’m sorry for the way my black soul swallows yours whole.
Do you feel like a willing victim
when I rob your heart from straight through your chest?
And does it turn you on a little,
my fixation with all the blood I cause to spill?
Do you ever wonder how I wear you out
but never seem to tire of crushing things to dust
with a heart as hard as steel?
I’ll tell you a secret though , which is more than I would do for anyone else;
Do you see the way I pulled you in again?
I’ll tell you though baby, that my heart is not of steel.
It’s made of stone, you know, porous though it doesn’t feel.
I’ll soak up the blood baby, and I’ll keep it with mine
and you can convince yourself that it feels just fine.
Go ahead and convince yourself, I haven’t got the time.
So maybe I’m a criminal but you always loved a thief.
Just the same, I could never steal your tears away and don’t you dare give them to me
because just maybe
baby they are all I really need.
I haven’t been there in years
To our corner of the cemetery
So in my mind I can still find you
Smoking German cigarettes
And stuffing the butts into the hollow of that tree.
Too young to smoke anywhere else.
Now I think I’m too old not to quit.
I never could bring you bad news.
But your best friend isn’t good.
I wished you had called her.
I wish you’d call me too.
You’ve never even seen where I live.
Nor I you, no matter really.
I’ve never been home without you.
Our souls have grown used to “I miss you.”
But in the deepest parts of me,
Something is missed or missing.
Aren’t you searching for a part of you?
You’re earnest and ardent.
Hands to God,
all steadfast and Swollen Stigmata
With swelling pride
Ice shards to stick but melt in your throat
In Fevered flame residing there
Careful you don’t drown in the residual
I probably want to try
Taking my tiny intellect
On torch lit odessey
I find you compelling