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

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86 thoughts on “Equality

  1. A truly remarkable, wonderful, horrible, tragic poem. Something to make us all look deep inside ourselves. Everyone is a human being, with feelings and needs. Labels are demeaning and pointless. And that whole business of blaming the victims of rape for their appearance makes my blood boil.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. This is a remarkable piece, both powerful and harrowing in its condemnation of how we attach stereotypes to everyone. I guess it’s easier to box people than to try and fathom them out. Great writing.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Speechless. Or in this case, at least for my first reading ( I hope your readers read each of your posts more than once as I do….there is so much to take in!) wordless. Beautifully written and anthemic if that is even a word. True, what you say about fragile. Often good social actors, the fragile and often silent are with all of us. We just might not have bothered to think about a person because the social act is so good. Thank you.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. My friend thank you so much for reading this. I really thought nobody would as it is long and detailed but I felt, needed to be voiced because too often someone is categorized and ignored based on some really spurious and inaccurate fallacies. There is a lot to take in, sorry! I know it’s a bit long. I like the words ‘social actors’ I must use that ! You are so right, the fragile and silent are with us always. We must give them a voice. That is always my purpose at all times. Thank you for being one who supports that endeavour you really have and I am so grateful words do not suffice. Know this. You. Are. My. Friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You did well in expressing some difficult feelings and experiences that I’m sure many others can relate to also. Your topics and subjects are always pertinent to the human experience in my opinion. ღ

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Well it was a composite not by any means autobiographical but I wanted to speak to inequality. The part about straight win enough being afraid to be my friend is true, although many are terrific but some literally believe I will jump them. I want to say, don’t flatter yourself 😉 if they knew me at all they would know I’m not the lynching kind, why anyone holds that idea seems prehistoric.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Heart-breaking … but also eye-opening. Thank you for this. It is more meaningful than you will ever know and reaches out beyond you into unknown faces and spaces. You can take pride in what you have said and how you have said it, painful as it is.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dear Roger, thank YOU for ratifying my effort. I wasn’t sure it would be received well as such themes often are considered too over done or in your face. Yet as you say, it relates to much beyond. Thank you for taking the time to read this and let me know what you thought♡

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Writing is your way of touching the world and everyone in it. Sad but so well written and expressed raw and honest. *Hell fire save matches suck a duck and see what hatches* well done sister wonderful

    Liked by 3 people

  6. You have created volumes of unspoken words that fill our minds as we read this. A damning and unfortunately accurate representation of modern society, where ignorance reigns supreme.

    I hope that one day, many years from now, someone reads this as if baffled not by its context but by the very notion that such sentiments could ever have manifested as a result of those afflictions in the first place. I am hopeful of a more evolved society, one we shall likely never know in our lifetime.

    I appreciate your work greatly.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. How DO we live through such inhumanity. You have brought forth the society that I know so well. The one where nomatter what you do, who you are, what you look like, who you have sex with, you will still be blamed, used, judged, hated, abandoned. The mold they want? I don’t even know anymore. Can’t we just be? Love who we want? Live based on ourselves finally one day without trying to make things somehow work so we are not living this life alone?
    You have touched on…not the right word…you have shared the many aspects that one woman must endure.
    I really love you for doing that.
    It could not have been shorter or you would have left out critical parts of the travesty, tragedy, and utterly disgust that others can inflict upon one living soul and then expect them to bend or be happy and chipper and bouncy and flouncy after what? Rape? Injustice? Blame?
    I could go on and on and on.
    If I have never said this before I want to say it now.
    I wish I could take that all away from you. I’m sorry you have been hurt. I wish I could take it all away and surround you with the loving compassion that you deserve.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Sometimes it seems doesn’t matter which way you turn there will be someone judging and discriminating. Best to ignore it all, stand tall and proud. You are who you are regardless of race, gender, colour, creed. We are all equal and deserve to be respected and treated as such.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. All I can say it this uus a powerful and eloquent endightment of all those who look no deeper than labels and hollow sterotypes. It so painful to be ostracised but often it is the bravest most real people who are. Sending you love…its so good you wrote this. ..just look at all the support out there. 👭💖

    Liked by 2 people

  10. 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 🙏🏼❤

    Liked by 1 person

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

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 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?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 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 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. 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 …

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 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 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  17. 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. ❤️

    Like

    1. 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.

      Like

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