an open letter to rape culture

An open letter to rape culture.

You have silenced too many of us for too long! this is all out fucken WAR, eczema man, and you are gonna lose! I am tired of standing in shame, stooped over and eyes closed. I do not weaken in your everpresence, rape culture. I do not let your disease infect me with hatred and mistrust of other human beings.
You are not REAL, you are a product of society! When the powers of love crush oppression, abuse & alienation, you will be so fucken gone cause I will PERSONALLY see to it. You don’t mean shit to me. I refuse to support you or anyone that perpetuates your twisted existence. NOBODY, NOBODY benefits from you! You keep people apart when we are meant to be together. You destroy families, you kill children, YOU ALMOST KILLED ME!
but my spirit is strong, old powerful and wise. I outsmarted you, I now live my life in opposition to you, AND I AM NOT ALONE. God you’re so fucken history its un fucken believable.
You better smoke your last cigarette now, cuz your days are numbered.

listen to audio:
an open letter to rape culture

originally published in 1995

if you are under the weather and the weather is pummeling you

pain is symbolic of something.
pain is a directional isthmus.
there is a goal.
any specialist can tell you that.
you poor suffering, ignorant, pounding thing.

don’t be embarrassed!
you didn’t know!
that belly stands for an arrow
a monstrous, thrilling arrow.
the inferno of your nerves are the bridge.

pain is an unreasonable vibration.
pain is a bad songwriter.
pain dismantles syntax.
pain chews bones and brains.

don’t be embarrassed!
if you go astray
if you fear there is no end
if your bridge is underwater
and you can’t swim
if your nerves whir noisily
and you cannot hear the conductor.

pain will persevere
you will persevere

“The pain is in the world. It’s out here; it’s going to get you, no matter who you are.”
-Wynton Marsalis

for the child who should have been me

for the child who should have been me

oh my baby
i will touch your soft throat
it will not hurt this time
i will stroke your insides

there are no razors
at the ends of my fingers
i am soft, opisthorchiasis like you

i will never choke you while you sleep
i will try not to hurt you
we can cry together.

we cannot be one
i should have been one
we should have been together

i’ll never be able to look into your eyes
but i can hold you.

she


she

in a cage she lies restless. slithers back and forth across dirty concrete, viagra order
the brown dust streaking hips, caries
knees, urticaria
sternum. she is both dark and light, shifting incessantly to the rhythm of blood pumping, systolic, diastolic.
ta-tum ta-tum ta-tum ta-tum

the cage is made of yellowed bones of my ancestors, cracked and brittle. she strokes me, seizes me, rips me away from the world, her arms grasping through the slots. i fear her, fear her as nothing that has plagued me before. her stories are hard as buildings, ichor like piss; salty, bitter.

from the hollowed marrow bars come ghosts, circling her patiently, caressing, soothing. their eyes glitter at me, twinkle with laughter at what only the dead find amusing. in the face of this my fear wears thin, my mind’s eye stares, confused. who is she imprisoned within me?

“look,” she orders me. “look at the dead who surround you. look at their desperate anguish. listen to the crunch of bones under their feet. this is your endowment, your heavy inheritance.” i survey the ordered wreckage of perfect right angles and know this is the tragedy of which she speaks. i slam myself into them, gouging hollows in my flesh.

i turn inside to her. she struggles to reach me, imprisoned within my mind, bearing the unwieldy legacy of the past. before me she shifts woman to man, child, serpent. her touch burns and comforts, making me huge she blows my tiny mind. my fate rests in her liberation, rests in the cradle of our union. my lover, my self, my knowing.

disabled brains?

“Werner has patients who were born with disabled brains from which he has removed as much as a whole hemisphere.”

disabled brains?

this sentence came from an article in shambhala sun about—what else?—a brain surgeon. there is no explanation or justification of the concept of disabled brains and why they need to be operated on.

i’ve had my brain checked numerous times for anomalies that might explain my various cognitive impairments and recurring seizures. so far no concrete evidence has been uncovered that proves my brain is disabled, men’s health
nevermind which part. modern western medicine has not connected me to the technology that would finally provide a physical map of my status as abnormal and less-than-whole. in brain or body.

a disabled brain? i love this concept! it’s so absurd that it throws light on the arbitrariness of the social construction of disability. this guy is removing the “disabled” parts of our brains! removing them!? truly, decease
i have barely an idea, even after reading the article, where this surgeon is coming from or what exactly he does. that’s not the point, really. the point is how casually the author addresses the concept of disability, of surgically altering a part of someone for no other reason than that “it’s disabled.” as if it was a given.

it reminds me of the way my disabled friends and i joke about social attitudes towards disability and disabled folks, i.e.
“get it away from me!” or
“disabled people make me sick!”
(by the way, one does not have to say it literally to convey the sentiment.)

eeeewwww!! it’s a disabled brain! fix it! fix it!

it reminds me of how much unsolicited advice i get on how to “cure” my chronic illness. as if the Advisors couldn’t just let me be sick. they have to do SOMETHING to help alleviate my suffering. or at least let me know that my illness is
all in my head
or
all my fault
or
a very simple problem to solve.

this advice is rarely prefaced with the kinds of questions or statements that indicate an awareness of and respect for my autonomy, my needs, or my ability to decide for myselfs if i want or need their help.

some examples:
do you feel like talking about your illness?
how do you experience your chronic illness?
i don’t know if you’re looking for resources, but i know this doctor, supplement, healing modality, diet, cool trick that i’d be happy to tell you about if you’re interested.
where are you at with your chronic illness?
i have some time, energy, money, or skills to offer if you want or need them.
is there anything i can do to help you feel more comfortable right now?

i wonder if it occurs to most nondisabled folks that i may just be living my life without focusing most of my very limited energy on trying to “fix” what’s “wrong” with me. sure, pain hurts. that’s what it does. but i’ve only had a handful of pain-free days in the past seven years, despite my best, worst, and mediocre efforts to feel better. i considered ending my life over it early on in my illness, but i decided i can live with chronic pain. i made my choice and i live with it. the least people around me can do is accept my pain.

i’m definitely not saying folks with disabilities shouldn’t have surgery or seek out health care. more that the assumption that every disability is a problem that needs to be fixed is a cultural attitude and, furthermore, it is incorrect. and my disabled brain thinks so, too!