Amir Safi, “Brown Boy. White House”
After whose stroke the wood rings,
And the echoes!
Off from the center like horses.
Wells like tears, like the
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.
From the bottom of the pool, fixed stars
Govern a life.
— Drown, Junot Díaz
— Daphne Gottlieb, Final Girl
I would never speak to a child
the way I speak to myself.
There is nothing empowering about lessening yourself.
You are a vanishing act. Your body, the magic hat,
pulling out nothing. Your body is a clothing wrack,
your body is my favorite sweater shrunk in the drying.
Less is more less is more less I know
more less I know more or less how to love myself.
Hair loss is a side effect of bulimia.
If you are so hell-bent on losing your hair,
here are the scissors. Here is the razor.
Why don’t you shave it? Why don’t you
donate it? Why don’t you braid me a fucking scarf?
You beautiful martyr. You knuckle-kissing saint.
You are a mother bird and we are all your children
and we are all so hungry. We want to see a staircase
around your lungs. We want to hang ornaments
from your collarbone. We want nothing
to do with your softness.
They don’t show big girls in the magazines
like they are afraid to show men what childbirth looks like.
It is too real, it is too bloody.
Dear First World,
what a privilege it is to hate our bodies.
Ana, when your loved ones
carry your coffin, will they doubt
there is a body in there?
Like an empty suitcase.
A silent instrument.
I too have pulled at my torso.
I too have imagined hemming my body.
I suck it in. I suck it in. I turn off the light
before I let him love me.
Ana, imagine yourself as a little girl.
Tell her she is not good enough. Tell her
she is ugly. When she comes to you hungry,
do not feed her.
Your body is not a temple.
Your body is the house you grew up in.
How dare you try to burn it to the ground.
You are bigger than this.
You are bigger
you are swallowing yourself.
Your voice is so small.
The Victorians honored human hair
because it was the only trait of the body
that remained after death. I shaved my legs
in your shower. I hid long strands of myself
in your pillowcases. That is all that is left.
Thinking of someone else during sex
is a cardinal sin punishable by nothing.
The heart is wanting. The heart
is perpetually two-years-old. The heart
is bad at sharing. The heart is a hungry
gas tank. The heart is not a metaphor.
When the teacher asks you what grade
you think you deserve, you will always say B+.
90% of Americans will vote from Obama
because the night before the election, he will
slow dance with his wife and kiss her forehead
and we will want so badly to believe that
they actually fucking love each other.
Writing a list of ways I could be better
and writing a suicide note are the same thing.
The heart lives in a packed elevator.
It doesn’t know what floor its waiting for
but it wants it wants it wants to get off.
The Victorians believe when you write a poem
from an airplane that moment becomes suspended
in the sky forever, like a ornament in God’s mobile.
So now you know: somewhere between Phoenix
and Las Vegas, a thousand miles up, there you are
like a grocery list pinned to blue.
Some women marry houses.
It’s another kind of skin; it has a heart,
a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.
The walls are permanent and pink.
See how she sits on her knees all day,
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.
A woman is her mother.
That’s the main thing.
— Muscles of the Mind, Dorothy Allison