Thursday, April 24, 2014

“Ten Women I Have Been Warned Against Becoming:

1. The Girl Who Takes Up Too Much Space, always, her shoulders too wide in stairwells, her hips too big in doorways, her voice too loud in classes. This woman does not understand the art of crumbling, of curling herself tight like the spiral of a fern, soft, delicate, unwilling to reach out the ivy of her fingers to grasp onto what should rightfully be hers. This is a beast, an elephant, a moving mountain and she is capable of flattening you, she is capable of ruining you, she is capable of making you feel as small and insignificant in her life as she is supposed to be. You are this woman’s footnote to history, you are her side note in song lyrics, you are constantly interrupted by her with a witty joke you wish you thought of. I asked what the problem was with being a steamroller instead of a sunflower and I was laughed down.
2. The Beautiful One, the long hair or the slim waist or the pretty eyes or the lips like bowstrings. This woman looks good in everything because she’s confident in whatever you put her in. She’ll cut her hair short on you no matter how you like it, she’ll wear high heels and step on your opinions, she’ll look hot as hell no matter what size she is. See, the reason you can’t trust her is because women like this don’t need your permission, they’ll do as they please and get away with it. They’ll say no to you, over and over. Teach your daughters that beautiful means dangerous, teach them to distrust women who love themselves. Equate beautiful with vapid, equate pretty with stupid, take their power from them. Say they’re vain for their makeup, refuse to see them without it. These women are snakes, they are serpents. I said maybe the problem lies with you being unable to control yourself and was told to get off my pedestal.
3. A Bitch. Women are supposed to be ladies in the street but will tear skin under sheets. I’m told: Never raise your voice. Speak gently. Submit. Hold your opinion against your lips and when you admit to it, make sure it comes out as a butterfly wing suggestion. Don’t disagree. Don’t undermine someone else’s authority, regardless of whether or not they deserve your respect. Someone touches you, just move away from them. Don’t hit. Don’t talk back. Be like the ruins of Rome, only beautiful if you can’t hear your quiet death.
4. The Needy One. I have heard how others spit when they talk about how she gave you everything and you shoved it back down her throat until she choked on it, until she came back crawling and asked you what she did, until her palms and knees were scraped for want of just a little affection - never be this woman, I’m told, because she’s a joke and the joke is that she dared to have more emotion than you did. The truth is, I’m told, the one who cares less in a partnership is the one who wins. I didn’t know this was a competition.
5. The Cock Tease, certified stripper, how dare that girl look like that and not want me to sleep with her. Lust is always personified as a lady in red with a dress slit up her thigh. Lust is sinful because it’s power, it’s not asking for attention - it’s demanding it. I’m told she is the worst kind of woman, that looking good is supposed to be some kind of shame on her kin. I’m told not to leave the house in such a short skirt, not with a shirt so low, not with a lace back, not with high heels, not dressed like that. My lipstick can’t be too red, my hair can’t be too mussed, I can’t just “turn someone on like that and then leave them wanting.” I mentioned that instant gratification actually ruins our psyche and was told that being led on was “exhausting.” I said that there was a difference between purposefully tricking someone into liking you and just being attractive or friendly. I was told there’s also a difference between coffee and tea but both result in caffeine. I said, “I’ve been turned on in class by the girls I talk to but I didn’t expect anything from them,” and they said, “It’s different, you’re not a man,” but couldn’t explain where that difference was.
6. A Slut, obviously ruined by another person’s touch. It doesn’t matter how many people she’s actually been with, it’s all about the rumors she carries with her. Easy. Harlot. You’ll still try to get with her, you’ll still take her into your bed and kiss her and say things you don’t mean - but you’ll defame her name when you talk to your buddies. My father used to say “A slut is fine for the night, but the virgin is who you take home and marry.” Maybe he didn’t know he was teaching his daughter to hate her sexuality. Maybe he didn’t know that every time she’d be kissed, her whole system would shake until she felt ready to combust, shame and self-hatred shivering against her spine. Maybe he didn’t know she’d disconnect emotions and sex because he always told her, “Boys are different, they won’t care about you.” Nobody said to her that it was okay to experiment. See, the funny thing is, I’m a dancer so I know exactly where my center of gravity is. I know how hard I’ll fall in each direction. Yet out of fear of getting hurt, I won’t let a single person inside of my bed.
7. The Soulmate. Never love romance more than you love being cynical. Never show weakness, never like pink, never think maybe you might find someone nice and settle down with them. Someone will find you, I was told, And if you’re lucky, he’ll put up with you when you start getting old. Never be the woman who believes in happily ever after, never be dumb enough to think maybe someone could love you after all of your mistakes. It has nothing to do with whether or not a family is important to you and you’re in a good place where a relationship would make your life better - you’re not a princess. You don’t get married, you settle.
8. The Girl With Strength, who can outrun everyone and who is stronger than her boyfriend. “See the thing about boys,” says my daddy, “Is that you have to let them win.” I sat at home and read stories about Artemis and wanted to become the huntress, too. I wanted to howl at the moon, I wanted to slay the beasts that bested me, I wanted to rule my kingdom with bloody fists. But girls are never athletes, never supposed to be “built,” regardless of the fact civilizations were constructed on our spines and we made homes in war by the steel of our ribs. Never be strong. We are supposed to wilt.
9. The Lady CEO: because if you choose work over family, are you really a girl? How dare you fight your way to the top through every pair of eyes that bore through your blouse, through every meeting where you were hushed by the sound of someone else talking, through every time someone called you “sweetie,” how dare you yearn for something. Is your husband the stay-at-home one? I can’t imagine how that is going. He’s not a real man, after all. I don’t give it long before the divorce. How dare you decide you’re happy being single. Don’t you know you’re supposed to bear children. Where is your honor? Where is your wisdom? Who cares if you are the leader, the best suited for your position, the quickest-thinking, the one who makes the hardest clients come back again. Don’t you see? Across history, women have been terrible at success. They always lose their man in the end. (When I said, “I would rather be a famous author than a mediocre mother,” I was told, “No, don’t worry, you’ll be a fine mommy.”)
In respectful response to a poem tilted, “Ten men women have warned me against becoming." /// r.i.d 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

So today somebody thought it would be hilarious to joke that my boyfriend got hit by a vehicle in camp.

I don't usually write about the monumental occasions where you are having a pretty shite day and you're stuck in bed with a leaking nose and phlegm bouncing up and down your oesophagus and somebody decides to shovel you a mountain of dirt for lunch. This case is an all-star; congratulations on winning yourself a place on my blog. I don't know what you were thinking(trust me I wish I did) and I've done my fair share of stupid things but this takes the fucking cake. I guess it's pretty admirable how you manage to laugh off an event like this and play the game where I'm the one who can't take a joke. Sure, joking about your friend getting into an accident's a winner for sure. You know, I would never think you were the kind of person to pull off something like that, once again you get plus points for originality aside from those you scored for your stinking courage. I hope I don't have to face you again, but I know too well I'm too soft to bloody hold on to a grudge but I hope this is an exception. I said "it's okay." and I never wanted to bite my tongue so bad for telling such a lie.

Don't worry, pretty sure I'll continue to cry for the rest of the day as penance. If only I could stop trembling, and resorting to tears every time I think about it. If only that wasn't every second of every minute.

Thank you so much for ruining my day.

My head won't let me rest

I was digging into my pockets for loose change
Could've sworn my fingers brushed against your million-dollar smile
I can't get rid of you can I?
Like static in a snowstorm 
A heated cellphone against my ear
Hearth in the dead of winter 
You left your incandescence in every crease in my bedsheets
And now I can't fall asleep
I couldn't blame you, for
No flower could sleep through the sun
Sometimes I miss you like all the stars I never got to watch with you that night 
All at once, and then none at all
State of longing and then void of feeling
I am flaunting fluctuations more than the weather 
I am wearing thin 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Firm feet

I have a feeling we spend a fraction of our lives settling. I have a feeling that fraction is a good 7/8. I know dust often has no choice, but we are so much more than particulate in nature. I need to know you won't blow me away because I was ruining the gleam on your new shiny toy. Maybe there is a certain serenity in an unperturbed state. Like how we both lie in the same bed, aware of our silence but neither of us feels inclined to break it. But sometimes I wish I could wrench you out of your hibernation and tell you, don't take me for granted. My mother still tells me she loves me although it is her 19th year in doing so. Maybe 20 years down the road you won't even remember my name, and come 50, I won't remember my own. But until then, let's not rest on our laurels. By 80, let's wear toothless grins like badges of honor to show how our teeth eventually gave way to the words we never held back. I'll be the raw dust filtering through your pores, you'll be the sunlight that I somersault in.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


“What’s Genocide? their high school principal told me I couldn’t teach poetry with profanity so I asked my students, “Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Holocaust.” in unison, their arms rose up like poisonous gas then straightened out like an SS infantry “Okay. Please put your hands down. Now raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Rwandan genocide.” blank stares mixed with curious ignorance a quivering hand out of the crowd half-way raised, like a lone survivor struggling to stand up in Kigali “Luz, are you sure about that?” “No.” “That’s what I thought.” “Carlos—what’s genocide?” they won’t let you hear the truth at school if that person says “fuck” can’t even talk about “fuck” even though a third of your senior class is pregnant. I can’t teach an 18-year-old girl in a public school how to use a condom that will save her life and that of the orphan she will be forced to give to the foster care system— “Carlos, how many 13-year-olds do you know that are HIV-positive?” “Honestly, none. But I do visit a shelter every Monday and talk with six 12-year-old girls with diagnosed AIDS.” while 4th graders three blocks away give little boys blowjobs during recess I met an 11-year-old gang member in the Bronx who carries a semi-automatic weapon to study hall so he can make it home and you want me to censor my language “Carlos, what’s genocide?” your books leave out Emmett Till and Medgar Evers call themselves “World History” and don’t mention King Leopold or diamond mines call themselves “Politics in the Modern World” and don’t mention Apartheid “Carlos, what’s genocide?” you wonder why children hide in adult bodies lie under light-color-eyed contact lenses learn to fetishize the size of their asses and simultaneously hate their lips my students thought Che Guevara was a rapper from East Harlem still think my Mumia t-shirt is of Bob Marley how can literacy not include Phyllis Wheatley? schools were built in the shadows of ghosts filtered through incest and grinding teeth molded under veils of extravagant ritual “Carlos, what’s genocide?” “Roselyn, how old was she? Cuántos años tuvo tu madre cuando se murió?” “My mother had 32 years when she died. Ella era bellísima.” …what’s genocide? they’ve moved from sterilizing “Boriqua” women injecting indigenous sisters with Hepatitis B, now they just kill mothers with silent poison stain their loyalty and love into veins and suffocate them …what’s genocide? Ridwan’s father hung himself in the box because he thought his son was ashamed of him …what’s genocide? Maureen’s mother gave her skin lightening cream the day before she started the 6th grade …what’s genocide? she carves straight lines into her beautiful brown thighs so she can remember what it feels like to heal …what’s genocide? …what’s genocide? “Carlos, what’s genocide?” “Luz, this… this right here… is genocide.””

“What’s Genocide?” by Carlos Andres Gomez 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I'm sorry

"// Grow // 
Emotions drive into my heart
My mind has shifted 
To a dark place
A big green eyed monster
Awaits me 
It's not easy being you
I hate things that I can't foresee
I breathe things that I can't achieve 
You don't know the things 
Inside me
They grow 
They grow
Deeper and lethal
Like a disease that infects my soul
But you don't know these thoughts 
I harbour
I don't want you to reassure me
Don't tell me you're mine forever
But acknowledge the pain you've caused
And forget about it in the morning
I know this will never stop
Because this disease grows
It grows 
It grows
As we grow older
Deeper and lethal
It infects my soul
But I'll learn to control it
For you i'll conquer these demons
Abolish them from my kingdom
Leaving only you in the wreckage
Waiting for me to grow together"

As those words unravelled it occurred to me how in your silence, I often fail to dig deeper. I don't stop to think enough, about just how careful I am to be with your heart. But, believe me when I say it is my most prized possession. I'm a fuck-up, I'll admit, I'm muddle-headed and sometimes I forget how fragile you actually are. I hate how I can't say no to people, how I may give other guys the wrong impression while I remain, completely unaware.

I'm sorry.
I would struggle to trust myself too, and maybe it's too much to ask, but, please don't doubt me. You may think I'm out there, my heart misplaced and mind in disarray letting thoughts of you float in and out while I drown myself in the company of others but you're all I think about. I don't think of being with anyone else, yet alone think of another's arms replacing yours? I wouldn't have it. Tell me you wouldn't too. I don't mind your rage just tell me it is fueled by a heinous love for me, because I never wanted to be possessed by anyone as much as I do you. I know no felony like that time you ripped my heart from its cage and it's never functioned the same again, you told me you couldn't open up to me again. It's okay if you hate me for awhile, it's what I deserve, but please, be the one to kiss me goodnight and may the knuckles that collide with the wall be the same ones that brush my cheek as you lie beneath me. Hate me for a minute and then spend an entire lifetime loving me, I wouldn't mind. I'd want that, I'd love that.
Please just listen to me when I say fuck the rest of the world, because all that has to matter is you and me. In lecture halls, holding my hand under a textbook, we couldn't give a shit about anything else, could we? It doesn't have to change, sweetheart. I loved you then and I love you now. No amount of bad faith could make me falter. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tonight I am more in love than I have ever been
I want to say it feels more than I could ever feel
it might be a longshot but it feels too good
too good to care that idealism favours the young
i am listening to songs that seep into our pores
as we sink into each other,
that watch us as we lose ourselves
in each other's hair and i find yet another reason to stay
i want you to touch me until i have a shot at your perfection
i want you
thumbs pressing against my sides,
our hipbones brushing and
our demons kissing in the dark