Do Not Be Ashamed
You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
"I am not ashamed." A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.
A break in the clouds. The blue
outline of the mountains.
Dark yellow of the fields.
Black river. What am I doing here,
lonely and filled with remorse?
I go on casually eating from the bowl
of raspberries. If I were dead,
I remind myself, I wouldn’t
be eating them. It’s not so simple.
It is that simple.
You Fit Into Me
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
you who once ached
with your own growing larger
absorbed by your own
When I danced,
When you broke,
And so it was lying down,
climbing the tiring stairs.
Your jaws. My bread.
what is left of you,
will be flensed of this marriage.
Angular wristbone’s arthritis,
cracked harp of ribcage,
blunt of heel,
opened bowl of the skull,
twin platters of pelvis—
each of you will leave me behind,
at last serene.
What did I know of your days,
I who held you all my life
inside my hands
and thought they were empty?
You who held me all my life
inside your hands
as a new mother holds
her own unblanketed child,
not thinking at all.
Low - Nothing But Heart
Saw them on Monday and they opened with this. So, so good.
Colin Stetson & Laurie Anderson - A Dream of Water
There were those who didnt run,
there were those who couldnt take it,
there were those who stayed in the city.
What was it? Where did it go?
There were those who laid their bodies down,
there were those who took our knifes,
there were those who kissed the grey skies.
There were those who only knew only the sound of their own voices,
there were those who knew the rules.
There were those who freed their bodies,
there were those who couldnt take it,
there were others on their own.
What was it? What was it?
There were strangers and conmen,
there were those who lived in the cross space,
there were people lighting candles,
there were people going crazy,
there were those who walked the beach.
What war is that? What war is that?
What time could this be?
My new ‘zine is done. It’s not actually about existentialism in any philosophical sense. It’s about the subjective experience of being a mixed person of colour with different national experiences. And, I guess in a way it touches on the existential loneliness of not ever really belonging anywhere, not just because you’re perhaps a weirdo, but even in the most basic sense - the reality of you.
Anyway, you can order it here:
It is $5, because it is full colour (painted actually) and photocopy costs are the devil. It also just took a long exhausting time to make, and so I’m not really looking to trade with it just yet.
I promise my next thing will NOT be in colour, for my wallet’s sake.
Also, I don’t think I know anyone in Montreal on Tumblr, but if you happen to be in town, I’m doing a craft fair with my friend. She’ll be selling her upcycled knittings and I’ll be selling mostly some cat comics.
We’ll be at :
Foire Printaniere - Samedi 31 Mai - 9h-16h.
Ecole Paul-Bruchest. 1310 St-Joseph Est.
First of all, fuck you. It’s always been like, you know, an irritating thing that you’d attempted to co-opt the language of feminism and other civil rights struggles to cloak your sexist ideas in bullshit like “Men’s Rights” and calling this sexist garbage “activism.” And for a long time, I think a lot of people like me were down with ignoring this shit because it was juvenile and stupid, but also because it seemed like this tactic was clearly the same as racists whining about why there isn’t White History Month, or homophobes trying to have a Straight Pride Parade, something that anyone with half a brain could see is transparently a way to prop up the bigotry of people who already control the balance of power in this world.
But this UC Santa Barbara killer brings up a way that this type of shit can affect people. Because, when you co-opt the rhetoric of revolution and struggle, it’s more than just “trolling” or some bullshit to make, you know, actual decent people angry. It’s language that can make a disturbed person think that defending bigotry is a legitimate struggle, that, in Rodger’s case, that owning and subjugating women is a cause worth killing and dying for. Because that’s what those words mean, you fucking garbage assholes, those words are for people who struggle from real oppression, to inspire people to sacrifice and never give up. The fact that straight white men have taken these words to rally around calcifying the bigotry that’s slipping from their fingers is truly disgusting, and now it’s more clear that it has fucking consequences.
Fuck you, you pieces of shit, fuck you.
Virginia Woolf, incested
though her childhood, wrote
that she imagined herself
growing up inside a grape.
Grapes are sealed and safe.
You wouldn’t quite float
in one; you’d sit locked
in enough moisture to keep
from drying out, the world
outside though gelid green.
Picture everyone’s edges
smudged. Picture everyone
a green as delicate
as a Ming celadon. Pic-
ture yourself a mollusk
with an unsegmented body
in a skin so tight and taut
that you’d be safe. You could
ruminate all night about
the difference between “taut”
and “tight,” “molest” and “incest.”
“Taut” means tightly-drawn,
high-strung. What is tight
is structured so as not to
permit passage of liquid
or gas, air, or light.
Morning of buttered toast;
of coffee, sweetened, with milk.
Out of the window,
snow-spruces step from their cobwebs.
Flurry of chickadees, feeding then gone.
A single cardinal stipples an empty branch –
one maple leaf lifted back.
I turn my blessings like photographs into the light;
over my shoulder the god of Not-Yet looks on:
Not-yet-dead, not-yet-lost, not-yet-taken.
Ample litany, sparing nothing I hate or love,
not-yet-silenced, not-yet-fractured, not-yet-
I move my ear a little closer to that humming figure,
I ask him only to stay.
Moon in the Window
I wish I could say I was the kind of child
who watched the moon from her window,
would turn toward it and wonder.
I never wondered. I read. Dark signs
that crawled towards the edge of the page.
It took me years to grow a heart
from paper and glue. All I had
was a flashlight, bright as the moon,
a white hole blazing beneath the sheets.
You won’t allow me to go to school.
I won’t become a doctor.
One day you will be sick.
Poem written by an 11 year old Afghan girl
This poem was recorded in a NYT magazine article about female underground poetry groups in Afghanistan. An amazing article about the ways in which women are using a traditional two line poetry form to express their resistance to male oppression, their feelings about love (considered blasphemous).
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
The Naturalist’s Last Love Poem
Ashley Anna McHugh
Nothing on earth
can last forever.
It’s become an art:
rain and the river
cut cliffs. Cold swings;
leaves fall with fervor.
Birds molt: their wings
lost feather by feather.
tides slink like fever
from shore. Immense,
they drift out further.
So, when she leaves,
the world’s small favor:
I’ll forget, by degrees—
if over and over.
This Was Once a Love Poem
This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.
It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.
Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.
Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.
It spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.
The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.
Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.