Two Reasons Why I Like Men

(1) The vulnerability of their legs

in shorts,

(2) The innocence of their bare chests

in August.

 Dorothea Grossman

on admitting you are an abuse survivor

It will not happen the first time you forgive him. 
Or the second. Or the third. It will not happen the fourth time 

you break down in public. When a wine glass is broken 

at a dinner party and you leave without saying goodbye. 
When a car door is slammed across the empty parking lot 

and you have the undeniable urge to call him. Tell him you miss him.

It will not happen when you write this poem. When you finally 
claim what happened to you as if it was a child 

you abandoned when you were too young to know better. 

Say it: abuse survivor. Abuse survivor. You will never 
want to say it. Why give your love such a dirty name?

                 It will happen when you try, so foolishly, to love another. 

To crawl naked into their lap like a blind child:
this doe-eyed heart you found in the garden. 

Each night, you will try so hard to touch their face. 

Your fingers will shake. You will be crying and you will not 
know why and it’s not their fault. It’s not their fault. 

It’s not their fault they are an un-swung axe.

Sierra DeMulder

A lush-bodied girl in the prime of her physical beauty. In an ivory georgette-crepe sundress with a halter top that gathers her breasts up in soft undulating folds of the fabric. She’s standing with bare legs apart on a New York subway grating. Her blond head is thrown rapturously back as an updraft lifts her full, flaring skirt, exposing white cotton panties. White cotton! The ivory-crepe sundress is floating and filmy as magic. The dress is magic. Without the dress the girl would be female meat, raw and exposed.


She’s not thinking such a thought! Not her.

She’s an American girl healthy and clean as a Band-Aid. She’s never had a soiled or a sulky thought. She’s never had a melancholy thought. She’s never had a savage thought. She’s never had a desperate thought. She’s never had an un-American thought. In the papery-thin sundress she’s a nurse with tender hands. A nurse with luscious mouth. Sturdy thighs, bountiful breasts, tiny folds of baby fat at her armpits. She’s laughing and squealing like a four year-old as another updraft lifts her skirt. Dimpled knees, a dancer’s strong legs. This husky healthy girl. The shoulders, arms, breasts belong to a fully mature woman but the face is a girl’s face. Shivering in New York City mid-summer as subway steam lifts her skirt like a lover’s quickened breath.

"Oh! Ohhhhh."

It’s nighttime in Manhattan, Lexington Avenue at 51st Street. Yet the white-white lights exude the heat of midday. The goddess of love has been standing like this, legs apart, in spike-heeled white sandals so steep and so tight they’ve permanently disfigured her smallest toes, for hours. She’s been squealing and laughing, her mouth aches. There’s a gathering pool of darkness at the back of her head like tarry water. Her scalp and her pubis burn from the morning’s peroxide applications. The Girl with No Name. The glaring-white lights focus upon her, upon her alone, blond squealing, blond laughter, blond Venus, blond insomnia, blond smooth-shaven legs apart and blond hands fluttering in a futile effort to keep her skirt from lifting to reveal white cotton American-girl panties and the shadow, just the shadow, of the bleached crotch.

"Ohhhhhh."

Now she’s hugging herself beneath her big bountiful breasts. Her eyelids fluttering. Between the legs, you can trust she’s clean. She’s not a dirty girl, nothing foreign or exotic. She’s an American slash in the flesh. That emptiness. Guaranteed. She’s been scooped out, drained clean, no scar tissue to interfere with your pleasure, and no odor. Especially no odor. The Girl with No Name, the girl with no memory. She has not lived long and she will not live long.” 
― Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde

❝ Exotic: meaning you’re “desired.”
For madness is seductive, sexy. Female madness.
So long as the female is reasonably young and attractive.

— excerpt from Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates

Amir Safi, “Brown Boy. White House”

Words

Axes
After whose stroke the wood rings,
And the echoes!
Off from the center like horses.

The sap
Wells like tears, like the 
Water striving
To re-establish its mirror
Over the rock

That drops and turns,
A white skull,
Eaten by weedy greens.
Years later I
Encounter them on the road—

Words dry and riderless,
The indefatigable hoof taps.
While
From the bottom of the pool, fixed stars
Govern a life.

Sylvia Plath

❝ Run a hand through your hair, like the white boys do, even though the only thing that runs easily through your hair is Africa.

— DrownJunot Díaz

❝ Fuck yr heroes, I’m saving myself.

— Daphne Gottlieb, Final Girl