He Is the Reason I Don’t Trust Men

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(Art by Linda Vachon)

 

I speak on behalf of

oppression,

obedience,

silence.

Hey, motherfucker.

Yeah, I’m talking to you.

I know what you have done and what you continue to do.  I will expose you to anyone who will listen.

You are the one who beats the woman you claim to love.

You are the verbal/ emotional/ psychological/ spiritual abuser.

You are the sadist, the rapist, the kidnapper, the sex trafficker.

You are the waste of a human life who partakes in female genital mutilation.

You are the sex offender, the predator, the child molester.

You are violent against the minds, bodies and souls of women.

You are the reason I don’t trust men.

You have become so ingrained into the collective consciousness of women that, therein, lies an innate fear, a survival instinct that keeps us looking over our shoulders, questioning the kindness of strangers.

You are the invader, the manipulator who seeks to destroy our sense of self-worth by showcasing violent and over-sexualized images in the media.
You sanctify compliance and crucify defiance.  You teach our sons to desire this.

You seek to weaken us, corrupt us so that we will never feel beautiful or good enough, and we will pass this down as a family heirloom for our daughters to inherit.

You are the reason I don’t trust men.

You have pervaded the lives of women in every corner of the world for far too long now.  You have been let loose and shown no respect, no self-control.

You foolishly believe that violence against the
minds, bodies, souls of women implies that you somehow have conquered, and will forever dominate these territories.

You are the reason I don’t trust men.

You are the one who is convinced that the force to which you operate under is somehow more powerful than the one that drives me.  Herein lies your greatest weakness because you perceive that I, alone, am driven by this force.

You are the reason I don’t trust men.

You are the one who does not understand that these acts of war against women will always cause an uprising, and that the call will be answered from another woman, somewhere in the world.

You are the reason I don’t trust men.

And the words will follow you, echoes driving you into hiding because too many voices will sound the call:
You are the reason I don’t trust men.

(This was originally written in 2012, and is a catalyst for a future project I will be working on.  I hope to collaborate with other female poets and artists about such issues in a self-published book which all the proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to ending violence against women.)

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Sacred and Profane

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(Gordon Parks.  Ingrid Bergman, Stromboli, Italy, 1949)

 

In the dark,

I become like the

priest

repressed far too long,

liberating

atop

ayahuasca clouds.

 

Skewed contours

shifting,

fluid,

I watch

illimitable relief.

 

Look at her face;

the ecstasy,

irriverenza

unrestrained.

 

Existentially,

a sliver

divides

reverie and pain.

 

I want to tear

the shadows

from all who

haunt and hollow the

alto-releivo

of your being.

 

Waiting for impact,

I scale

Rome’s horizon,

fast approaching

the moment

I left

light’s womb.

 

I am reminded of a quote that said, “Not saints, not whores, just women.”   So often, I have known instances where shame is used to disempower and silence women, especially in reference to their sexuality.  I explored this, as well as some of my own personal expressions of it in this poem.  Issues of sex, society, feminism, and violence against women have been on my mind for a while, and I hope to create more poetry and ponderings soon about these topics.

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Unabridged

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I won’t be found there.
Ever.
Supple and ready
like an O’Keefe,
I am face down,
liquid,
petals,
clawing from human,
my own true nature,
like orgasming through tears,
hardly seeing
shame and retribution
twirl
in the visceral gravity
of it all.

I don’t know
how to respond
anymore.

Swollen, moist,
age nineteen,
I wanted to drown in the
curve of her hip,
to trace an insatiable
spark.
At thirty-four,
I let it be known.

Two men
in thirty-five years.
I am called a whore.

I do not know how
to respond.

There is something behind
my eyes,
tethered,
unreachable,
freedom rocking her child
to sleep
in a burning cathedral.

I return
wearing scripture
each time
I die.

Blood Moon

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Waters in those dreams
are what honesty feels like.

Ventriloquists throw trash at my feet.
I climb the vine to the valley.
You should read Ntozake Shange’s
choreopoems
for further interpretation.

Who exactly is the lunar translator?

You rush the rivers
to your capital cities,
to your toxic waste dumps
and in the scorn and the flight
of a liberated song,
you get a marred religious experience.

Brace yourselves.

Accumulae

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Shaken
from a resonance
so sharp
where the path is so dark,
so, so dark.

I only just recalled at thirty-four
being molested at age five.
NO.

Another, I was seventeen, over steak dinner.
‘Are you religious…?
I heard you had a strict upbringing…?
You seem so much older and wiser
than your age,
there’s a hotel up the road.’
He winked like vomit.
NO.
He tried to kiss me.
His tongue felt slimy and forceful
as I tried to drive away.
He was in his sixties, I think.

Then on,
almost two decades,
different men,
same motive,
same thread of entitlement.
NO.
So on and so forth.

At first
it is
shocking,
then it is
painful,
then it is
normal,
then it is
expected.

Age thirty-five,
I shake my head,
still so lit and scarred
with vulnerability,
bitterly,
‘These men.’

Numb- rage- numb- rage.
Make it stop.
I told you no.
It feels collective.

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Copyright 2014