Equality

The day I came out … all my girlfriends took one step apart

it can’t be they collectively agreed

she’s too pretty, she’s too feminine, she’s not a dyke she’s one of us

didn’t she enjoy sex with that boy in the garden? you know that party the one where

they turned the lights on and saw them straddled in tall grass?

What happened? Did you get raped? Was it because you grew up without a mom?

What happened? Did you get bewitched? Is she a sorceress? A genie? A devil?

Soon after the invites to go out on the girls-nights

dwindled

the newly minted lesbian sat alone with her shadows and her eye make up

growing stale in their plastic boxes

virile boys wondered why they hadn’t kept her straight

cleavage girls wondered if she had looked at them in the shower the wrong way

why didn’t you try it on with me? her bi-curious mates inquired, offended

as if loving a girl was loving the entirety of the species and jumping

from trees on the first female she sees, du rigor

sparkly gay boys annoyed her with their primping and their bitching

clique gay girls alienated her with their cold eyes and their own brand of judgement

you can’t be one of us you’re too long-haired, too shiny, too voluminous

they played pool and ground the chalk into the cue with the ire of exclusive groups

who don’t want those ill-fitting and new

soon she began smoking things in glass tubes because

only the druggies the desperate and the dead would let

her be

and on occasion when she was really crushed into ice and fire she’d try to cure herself

with someone unknown and faceless, grinding down with fervor and lust

neither of which she ever felt

like a poison the awakening was not Kate Chopin but

a black box with no lock and no key and still no way out

her family said …  well we always knew you were obtuse

liked to stand out, be different, not fit in, it started with

left-handedness in the cot

we just hope you won’t try to give us grandchildren

think of the shame, think of their difficult lives and step away

she didn’t even have love so how was she going to fill her womb?

at a club a gay man pushed her against a greasy wall and said

there’s something molten about you girl, you’re not gay you’re a hot bitch

and his erection pressed into her dress like a knife

you’re not supposed to want me, she whispered as he pushed harder

you like boys not girls

boys will like anything given a chance, he replied, staining her with ammonia and denial

walking home one night a homeless man grabs her from the bushes

holding a blade to her neck he tries to impregnate her

she thinks

careful what you wish for

as the slice of him burns her empty

the officer at the hospital while they gather the rape kit

all the swabs like brushes with unwilling paint

told her; try wearing pants not skirts

you’re too beautiful it is like a flower

the bees will come if you let them

and she wondered, how is walking down the street permission?

well it’s your life style you see, it causes problems

how would anyone choose a life style of alienation?

you’re good-looking enough to get a lawyer, he winks

before leaving her naked beneath paper gown

blood on her thighs, horror in her throat

to consider and condemn

herself

this is the life line of a girl who wasn’t linear

or bold or normal

or able to run with the swarm

she almost

tried to set herself on fire

to become one of those paper lanterns

lifting off the water into inky night

there were no hands to press her back to earth

they had been crossed and turned away

she didn’t fit into what they expected

what they needed her to be

were it not for you

with your wings and your fearlessness

on the day you told her

it’s okay not to be a stereotype

not every heterosexual woman will treat you like

you’re going to molest her

nor every straight man try to

put his hands beneath your panties

not every gay woman will

scorn your existence and push you to the corner

nor every queer boy loathe you

for being prettier than he

there are among us you said

people without definition or binary

who exist on the periphery of distinction

and we

will not

let you down

she wished she could tell

the pretty girl she tried to befriend who

always treated her different because she thought

you want me don’t you? you desperate lesbian

if you think you are free of bias and you believe yourself unjudging

stop and think about what you do unconsciously

with every favor to others over me, reminding

I have less worth

that is what happens without words without governance

the mistreatment almost invisible

like a paper cut

hurting more than it should

for the side-ways slice of discrimination is

often deeply sewn

wake up

wake up

she could be

your daughter

your best friend

careful how you step on this earth

without much you can

crush the fragile who only need

your equality

90 thoughts on “Equality

  1. I’m sorry for the pain you’ve experienced, especially from the cruelty of others. You have a beautiful powerful way with putting your experiences into written word. Keep on writing. And sharing. And hanging on to hope. There are good people in this world who will love you for all that you are and for all that you’ve endured.

  2. Stunning! Thank you so much ❤️
    I’m so glad you wrote it; we’re all blessed to be able to read that ❤️
    One day, may our world evolve so no one ever experiences such trauma 🙏🏼❤

  3. Candice, what amazing work and a tremendous commentary on bias, prejudice and stereotyping. Your writing is remarkable and moving. Much love my friend.

  4. Derrick said it perfectly.
    I think my daughter and sister were fortunate to have family and friends who have supported them–gay and straight friends of both sexes.
    My husband and I are watching the current and final season of the British show “Broadchurch.” The case is the rape of a woman who is about 50 years old. I like the way they’re showing some of the rape exam and counseling (a bit different from the US), and how the main police detectives have debated and weighed the rights of the victim with the need to catch the perpetrator. But then another police officer–a young women–asks questions like was she drunk?

  5. because we’re individuals. though we have similarities and that would seem to bind us in this way or that, we’re not all quite the same, are we.

  6. Ow. Unconscious bias really is difficult to deal with. Even the most accepting of us is guilty in some way. Whether this poem is autobiographical or not, the individual elements happen to many people, and that is a cause of great sadness.
    But LGBT folk can also be very accepting and supportive. What I have posted below was a true experience of mine.

    “On the 15th June 2016 I stood in a city street, in the drizzle, with two hundred others. Not, this time, to campaign against the UK waging war in the Middle East, nor to oppose nuclear weapons. I was there as a transsexual woman, with my brothers and sisters of the LGBT community, to remember those massacred in Orlando.
    As we stood together in silence, I thought of the lives lost, the hopes unfulfilled, the dancing savagely cut short. I thought of how lucky I have been in life; to have received a University education; to have worked as a professional chemist both in industry and in the Environment Agency; to be married with children, and to have kept the love of my wife and children even through my transition from man to woman.
    After the silence, speaker after speaker reminded us of the need for tolerance, that even in the face of such violence we should not hate. We were encouraged to hug each other. The woman in front of me turned around and said, “You look as though you’re on your own. Would you like a hug?” We hugged.
    Everybody chatted after the vigil. There was an openness, and a willingness to understand other people. There was colour and liveliness that reflected the beauty of the world.
    And I thought, “This is what I want to achieve with my writing. That those who read it should have just a little more empathy for each other, just a little more understanding. That they should experience just a little more intensely the beauty and the joy of life.”
    This is why I write.”

    Well done, sister, for your open and honest post; I hope that you, too, will discover that our community can be generous and loving as well as sometimes narrow-minded and exclusive.

  7. Your words move me Candice. Like no one else. Power radiates through your words and they images you convey never ceases to blow me away.

  8. Never ever be afraid to be who you truly are and share all that you are: the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were because that’s what makes us who we are. And when we are truly athentic and find the courage as you have to put it al on the line we step into all that we are and all that we have to offer. You touch people, Candice, with your courage, your revelations, and your honesty, and in so doing you are serving a higher purpose. The Good Lord did not intend for us to live in a bubble seeking only what we want and/or need. Otherwise we would only come here one at a time and it truly would be all about “me” as some think. What has happened to you, be it good or bad, has gouged out your soul and given you the uncanny ability to write what we your readers benefit from and learn from and then like the white rabbit we follow you down deep into your soul and rise bigger, wiser, and better than we’ve ever been before. We must empty each day of our past sorrows, but we must retain the lessons and wisdom learned from them so that today’s cup is not filled with “bitters.” For bitters are a poison that seeks to destroy your gifts. We may be different in many ways but we are kindred spirits who have at times shared the same cup of bitters. Je’aime, Natalie 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

  9. Equality, I would walk beside you, wherever the world would turn, for there is a beauty seen only by the soul, reaching beyond this moment of eternity we sadly think is our time, until it teaches us the truth of our connected-ness, how we lie apart, and long for love… Why take what is already ours, when we steal, we rob only our own selves …

  10. This is amazing. So stark and beautiful, and filled with hurt and longing. It speaks to the core need to be understood and loved for who we are. It reads like a plea. Sending hugs and the light of love. ❤

  11. You don’t have any share buttons for this one. Would it be all right if I share this on my Sunday Blog Share? It’s fine if you’d rather I didn’t. Just had to ask. ❤

  12. When abhorrent human traits are exposed within poetry then the interpretation is so much more powerful and moving. Maybe WordPress should have a ‘Made Me Think’ button, because the ‘Like’ button isn’t appropriate here. Thank you 😉

  13. Wow. Just wow. My heart hurts after reading this, but it is also rejoicing because of your honesty and bravery, because it speaks for so many who can’t speak for themselves. What an astounding piece of work. Thank you, for writing this – for so many reasons. ❤️

  14. I hopped here from Diana’s repost at Myths of the Mirror. Crazy kismet going on here, Candice.

    First: That you could wonder if people would “bother” finishing reading this is beyond me. It pulls the reader through. I hope it finds a life beyond your blog (as it appears to be doing, even in the Shares of others already).

    This made my head spin:

    “if you think you are free of bias and you believe yourself unjudging,
    stop and think about what you do unconsciously”

    Perhaps it doesn’t seem like the most gripping bit of the piece. But I just published my own post for the week before finding this, and you’ve captured the essence of the post in those two lines: a thought that … well, isn’t in the “hackneyed” category by any stretch.

    If you get a chance, I’d love for you to hop on over. It’s not long. In addition, I included two links within the post copy, the last of which links from the word “wrong”; you may also particularly find that post meaningful.

    Keep writing honestly and audaciously.

  15. Thank you for writing this you are so very kind and it is very encouraging and appreciated by me. I so appreciate you taking the time to read this poem and let me know what you thought.

  16. How right you are. I totally agree. It is unnecessary and only causes pain. I think how lovely it would be if we sought to cause more joy and less pain. Thank you so much for reading this I am very grateful to you.

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