14 YEAR OLD BOYS AREN’T THE GOSPEL – For Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week (this year the focus is body image)

14 YEAR OLD BOYS AREN’T THE GOSPEL

The year we held a Madonna competition I was flat chested
Boys said; Asprins on an ironing board
Girls said; You can’t dance with us
The exclusion felt … hot pink and slimy
I wore black elastic bands on my wrists to hide the snub

The year he asked me out because Zoe had said no
He said; Zoe is taller than you, you look quite SQUAT
He said; Zoe has tanned skin, why do you always BURN
He said; You give good head but it’s a shame you aren’t Zoe
I threw up in the bathroom to hide the shame

The year my best friend taught me how to binge and purge
She said; You’ll soon have a waist as small as mine
She said; When you feel sad put your fingers down your throat
She said; Skinny is the new superpower for girls
I quit dance class because I didn’t have the energy anymore

The year I tried to stop giving a shit
I said; Fuck it. I’m me. I can’t be anything else I WAS BORN THIS WAY
I said; I may never love myself enough but I’m damn well not going to destroy me
I said; Hate the image in the mirror, at least love the inside
I said; Someone will always want to put you down, don’t give them the power

The next year I still didn’t wear bathing suits, I still walked with my shoulders rounded
But I didn’t have raw knuckles and I didn’t survive on the opinion of 14 year old boys

A decade later at an art show we meet again, he’s going bald
He said; You look fantastic. I don’t remember why we broke up
He said; I always thought you were the hottest girl in school
He said; Want to fool around behind this Van Gough?
I quit listening and wished I’d learned not to at 14.
What you think is important then, usually is not.
Try to love who you are. Perfect is an illusion and 14 year old boys aren’t the gospel. We don’t all have to be Zoe.

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Turkish delight

alexander-yakovlev-dancers-everythingwithatwist-17I didn’t have time to un-knot my hair or brush it down

it used to hang to my thighs and I had to cut it

when the sickness came and I was green with bile

all those years I held my hair as my calling card

for I had nothing else

so when you see me this way you know

I’m not pretending anything anymore, this is me

this is the girl you once loved

I remember thinking I was old back then

what a laugh

and time is a cordial of horrors and trickery

what we need to know is, it’s all in the eye of the beholder

so if I feel tired and beat up now, remember, I tell myself

in ten years I will rue the day I forgot to dance

I dance now

bare footed with dirty soles

to the memories of

our liquid union

and planes do not fall out of the sky

the day is quiet

despite the tornado in my mind

I would let you in and not let you out

shut inside me like a favorite book

chapter marked by the sinew of my want

clasp you tightly with my muscular need to belong

within your kaleidoscope, a star in your universe

behind these accoutrements and forbids  I burn electric

you never get too old for longing

I want you to take me in your arms

crush me into sugared pieces

eat each one and never spit me out

I want to become you and stay

inside your candied warmth

where amber things are less real

set in time to wait out storm

but you care about them more

as part of your compass, to set your destination

I was born of your desire

I am now without wing

soon I will fade into pieces

and nobody will pick them up to eat

 

 

Moonshine

(inspired by finding an old photograph of a fancy-dress party I attended at University that I hadn’t seen in years)

One of them is me

but which holds the key? Later perhaps we

shall know our fruiting journey through

maze of youth

and slow pull of stocking

for kind of touch best found

in satiny afternoon glow

outside I hear my dim-eyed neighbor

mowing lawns until he aches silver

because his wife has turned away

nobody touches him anymore with

the dreams of yesteryear

so we sprint toward each

invisible finish line

with emptiness in our hearts

filled with busy distraction

nothing lasting, nothing to

endure or sate cold claim

of climbing into bed

unwanted or alone

the feel of darkness, our shroud

from terrible disappointment

and then

then I had it all and didn’t know

standing on the precipice

we laughed at our indomitable

facility to thrive

not yet diseased

not yet rawboned with stretch marks

nipping their silver lines like unwanted lace

or sagging pieces shaking to no

good beat

not yet diminished on shallow waxen wheel

of male adoration

though for me this was never

a piece I wished to carve for myself

it was the love of a woman I craved

like first drink from fountain

on a hot day with no clouds in sight

languorously we exult

in

crocheted certainty, time will stand still

make for ourselves exceptions and grand entrance

the labor of hope so easy and lubricated

then

we’ll never be shaken off

like a dull wet thing

nor left to gather dust

as something once favored

we are surely, gleaming warm heads

of our own personal state

if I could have heard the warning

should I have been able

to listen?

likely not for

day is long and hour far

we take lovers for bread and jam

hate yet a curiosity

our parents live robust

we can yet still, the freedom to

go home

there are structures protecting

the hollow timber of our hearts

from these days what we can we learn?

as growing up and away

truth becomes stretched and gray

friends falling away

the bounty of never-never coming to claim

her inevitable duality

delight in youth, for contrast is cruel

all should have its value

but we are flippant with our boon

and when the cold night comes

we usher ourselves to greater darkness

in the strangeness of change

not able to see what is portent

nor later

the freedom

released from expectation

to unfold our wings

take flight

no more a shining thing

but something effervescent

and filled with

light

casting its thrall

as long ago, diving for pearls

we claimed the moon

Behind your eyes

DSJPQ56W0AEq2Dl.jpg largeWhen I stopped dancing full-time and entered delayed puberty

my breasts swelled like a lily in a pond

at first it was kinda cool getting attention from boys

then I hated how they jutted out and called ahead

like car headlights

slowly tracking, flashing, blinding

in those days of Flashdance and Fame

the three L’s; leggings, leg warmers, leotards

loving in the afternoon, running to studio

dancing with the smell of sex on my stomach

other girls ate salad and cardboard

threw up in the bathrooms

bound their breasts with cloth

I admired their long necks and sinewy thighs

the tightness of their waists and flat chests

my own puberty felt like something out of control

foreign and unwanted to me

I wanted the lean girl of childhood back

the one who climbed trees with one hand

hung upside down

eating apples

there was too much

attached to owning breasts and thighs

even his circle of me dimmed

looking at some of my friends

the ones with slimmer hips and shoulders

still in their girl-doll-bodies

I with my woman seeping out

became a thing of disgust, or so I thought

when I carried his child, my breasts grew even more

wetting the front of my nightshirt with wasteful milk

his eyes took in the sum of me and disgusted

he looked away

always preferring me hairless and skinny

like a girl not a woman

no make-up, wearing little thin things

someone he could control

so I had a sickness in myself

of warped images, desire and lost babies

starving myself beyond the pale

it wasn’t hard, I had little to lose

soon I ran for buses on the breath of feathers

circling my waist he’d say

you remind me of Audrey Hepburn

being tiny, I decided it had been a dream

no child, no loss, no lack of desire

he sexed me every night until sate

leaving bruises on my legs and arms like

vampire bites

but always turning his head away

like he was thinking of someone else

when he left me for that girl

who was dark-skinned and voluptuous and healthy

I realized being a little girl didn’t keep me safe at all

after that I never gave myself away

to people with eyes that looked straight through me

or hands that grabbed to own

a piece of me or what I possessed

though I had no idea what

that was

lying by myself in a small room

smoking hashish in the dark listening to

Tunnel of Love on repeat

I tried to turn my heart to glass

only my body wanted to be awoken from her slumber

a virginal boy, with no grace and long hair

filled my nights and my bed for a time

I taught him how

to roll the perfect joint

and study, where time ended and pleasure began

once he asked

why do you bind your breasts every morning?

they are beautiful

I turned from him

my skin burning with secrets

and did not ever reply

for who can disclose the litany of pain?

as it lies

like a sleeping child

behind your eyes?

We Will Not Be Silenced – available now

The Anthology, We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay and Art is now available via Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Will-Not-Silenced-Experience-Harassment/dp/1732800006/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543429811&sr=8-1&keywords=we+will+not+be+silenced+the+lived+experience+of+sexual+harassment

PLEASE consider purchasing a copy or several as proceeds go toward sexual assault awareness, education and prevention and you will be actually making a difference with your purchase. We worked hard to get this project completed by the holidays so it would be timely given all that has happened this year.

All four editors of this Anthology met on WordPress and many of the contributors to this amazing publication write on WordPress and call it home. I really hope I can count on my WordPress friends and family to show some support of this much needed Anthology. ____________________________________________

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray. The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to do something after the strongly triggering Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings. Ultimately, they decided to advocate, educate, and resist through art.

They opened submissions for only two weeks to women and men around the world. The response from writers and artists was overwhelming: the final anthology includes 166 pieces of writing and art from 95 contributors around the globe.

The editors decided early on that this was a project of passion and compassion, not profit. 70% of the royalties raised above the publishing and promotion costs will be donated to organizations that provide services to sexual harassment and sexual assault survivors. The editors have prioritized making the book accessible to as many individuals and organizations that could benefit from it. The retail price is only a few dollars above the publishing cost to keep the 300-page plus Anthology as affordable as possible. They have also created a Wish List so that individuals and organizations such as rape crisis centers, gender studies departments, and public libraries who might not otherwise be able to afford copies might be able to receive one.

The truth matters, our stories matter, and you can help.

We Will Not Be Silenced is available in print and Kindle editions.

 

Special thanks from myself to WordPress’s own fantastic mind Merril D. Smith for her incredible foreword to this publication.

wwnbs-back-cover-11-28-201846678690_155228305437748_4067142774418309120_n

Follow her

candy age 30Sorrow

A switch we pick by hand

Green is lighter

Darker leaving deeper brand

Sometimes it’d be more honest

To have all the pain beaten out

Spare the rod and you find other ways to store grief

There is ecstasy in many forms of relief

As I think of being touched, tears fall unencumbered

Surely to live without

A love well rehearsed

With no marked destiny

Empties the soul of hope

Keep busy and years will go by

Spindling days in the weft of your knit

Lift your head, remark in surprise

No longer wanting

No more remembered the fusing intensity

How it felt when we were the center

Watchful of nothing

Save the pleasure of music & movement

My hips creating circles of you

Our fusion, endeavouring tantric joining

Flesh to smoke

Curling into mosaic

Hair flung in silken entreaty

Measure and flow the symbol of motion

Quickening, relinquished, they do not know

How we set fire to the deluge

Marking pleasure in thrown pieces

A museum of moments, giving me

Your pomegranate lips

Open for me, this place of silvering eclipse

Only when I feel that drumming surge

Does life throb with meaning

Turning on all illumination

In the faces of you, as you catch

Your breath

Surprised to have surpassed

Even the dream

Digging your fingers into my flesh

Whisper illegible words of prayer and violence

Sadness flung to shadows

A redolent unapologetic stomp

On the glowing beast of memory

That had us repeating patterns

Like carpet weaver’s bound to their task

Eyes dry from staring at the repetition of

Under, over, thread, knot, tie, begin again

Til finger and thumb grow calloused and hard

No room for miracles, no sight for change afar

Break your yoke, release iron about your throat

As it falls, jagged pieces, heavy loathsome

Collar of habit, look up at mantle of stars

See the brightest? Follow her

Election Day

vote

Do you get bored hearing about it?

I’m sorry.

Only … I’m not sorry you get bored and glutted on the subject

I’m sorry you’re that kind of person

Because it makes you like so many others

I wouldn’t wipe my shoes on.

The other week I met your doppelgänger in a bar

we were sharing a corner and I made mention of

the recent killing in our town of a gay person

the roll of your eyes reminded me of all the times

I tried to talk to people about matters that were important

they said; Yes, yes, I’m listening

and desperately sought a way out

but when it comes to your time to talk about what you

find vital

I bet that bar is well-worn and you sit deep in your drink

discussing and pontificating your subjects

like the right to shoot deer out of season and why

you must always have an AKA 47 in your arsenal

despite the fact it would spoil the meat

on such occasions I am tempted to enquire

do you believe in zombie apocalypses is that why

you are a prepper or

do you just want to shoot people who

don’t do and think what you say?

Someone like me perhaps? Come on I see it in your

tempered dislike

I keep my mouth shut most of the time

just like your wife who tires of your drunk

jokes at the end of the day about how a good wife

should give head

she’d stand up to you and throw your ass out

if it weren’t for her fear of being alone

as if some big lug of meat and venom would be any loss

most of the time you miss the toilet seat on purpose

and you stash your porno mags beneath pizza boxes

in the freezer, that’s kinda disgusting really

just like you when you eye underage girls coming

into Starbucks for a latte in their short grey school skirts

and wank in the communal bathroom

pretending nobody knows what that ammonia smell is

whereas the young woman who was killed

stabbed in the chest 30 times

by unknown assailants

did no more than walk on a trail path

one afternoon to get some sun

it was deemed a hate crime because someone heard

them shouting taunts of DYKE DYKE DYKE

but you wouldnt’ care you’ve done it yourself

any time a woman said no to your

tragic advance

it matters more that you can own guns

keep immigrants out who you think

will steal your job

drive your big ass truck

even if your taxes are going to wars that never finish

walls that won’t do anything

hate that only begets hate

groups of our population are being vilified and denigrated

like it’s a sport

you’d join in if you weren’t sitting drunk off your ass next to me

rolling your eyes at my words

there are some things you cannot change

and you are proudly one of them

which is why I never fail to vote

in the hope people like you and your voice

do not drown out the others

if we fight for rights and win

it’s our duty to never abuse that right

by apathy and not going out

because it’s raining and boo hoo I’m

tired I’ve had such a long day

how about another bigot instead?

I’m much more fatigued by minds who care not

about those they trample on

so vote, vote, vote

and you won’t even need to

change his mind

your words will be heard