Not invited

I wrote & recorded something for International Girls’ Day. Enjoy.

There’s this little kid at my school.

Dark skin.

Tilted eyes.

Always rushing through the halls

and he likes to speak with his hands.

He’s half my size,

but once,

he patted me on the back and told me

not to worry

when a kid in my class called me a faggot.

And I thought: “Wow,

this little boy,

I would call him a grown man for his kindness,

but the phrase “grown man” has

only ever stabbed me,

has never been a compliment,

for age and gender have only ever ticked away from me,

called me late.

And this kid today went around,

poking pretty coats, long hair, and nail polish,

told my friend to go downstairs because it’s international girls’ day,

before ignoring me and rushing through the halls again.

I’m glad he didn’t touch me there and then because I’m sure

he would have only touched air

and maybe

something less.

It is international girls day but I don’t know my gender

and am still looking forward to Halloween,

something about that night reminds me of witches burned alive.

Or is it April Fool’s I’m thinking of?

Or am I still playing hide and go seek with this body,

hide and go seek with my rights,

seek my rights,

seek my rights.

My school takes photos with all its female students.

Celebration means pose for the picture-

means smile and look like you’re having fun-

means hold your books like they’re candy-

means school walls with ribbons

and people who look like confetti-

means festivities with recess that looks like a birthday,

teachers who look like fun,

girls who look like girls,

the camera that looks like a baseball bat

and I, that am sitting in the middle of this room,

looking like a pinata,

a jackass,

ridiculous in pink,

chock-full of sugar,

bullseye amid sharpshooters,

like destruction and humiliation in the middle

of what’s supposed to be a party room.

Faint pink // Pastel Survival

You can read my poem below or watch the video in which I perform it: here 🙂

You, you will find
one million ways
to tell the world
you are fragile.

And this world will
stumble upon
just as many
ways to not hear.

Spoiler alert:
You’ll be grateful
noone listened.

You, you will not feel
enough comfort to
even tiptoe ’round
the subject of your
own struggle.

Never will they know
how one argument
gives you nightmares for
days- weeks;

waking up to blood
from thrashing around
in your dream, getting
up to drink water
to drown the words you
woke up with a need
to tell the daytime
monsters.

Never will they know
how your fingertips
would often carry
the faint smell of steel-
now rust;

Never will they know
how a glass breaks in your
throat every time you hear
your own name.

how, more often than
you’d like to admit,
five year-old girls make
you feel like a corpse.

What can be decyphered
from the image of you
sitting in your room-
lit candles which smell
less the label that reads vanilla
and more like just burning,
narrating half-truths of
the spread out photo album
to imaginary
people you envy for their nonexistence,
or people you know but aren’t there?

What would they make of how
you throw out all your razors
after every relapse
only because you feel
like someone’s watching;

or how while showering
for the third time today
you caught yourself in the
midst of apologizing
to your third-grade teacher,
audibly.

You beg them to explain
how come you clap, like clap
in cafes and put on
your most blank,
most confused,
most ready to be swept away by whatever you say facade,
when really,
you’re kind of being ripped apart.

I kind of know what it is for me.

I’ve trouble speaking up,
reacting, or often
demanding respect, or
the adumbration that I am…
something?

I’m just kind of too tied up to move.

But I do have something
to bring to the table.
A stepping stone not far
from truth.

It’s hidden in the way
I say yes to your last
minute plans but am late
because I threw myself on my
knees on the hardwood floor,
only stopped when my skin
turned the blackest of blue.

And I come over to
your house and kick my leg
under the table, accidentally, while
laughing at your offensive joke.

I’ll show you the bruise then,
as if you were the one
to cause it.
As if you weren’t.

I’ll plaster this paper
to my sweaty forehead
skin
and you will get but a
wiff
of your blame as I tell
you I’m late because of
what my father did.

I’ll down shots in advance
to meeting up with you
for beer.
You will see my flushed cheeks
and you’ll be convinced
I’m a fragile thing.

I’ll only dress my skin
in the faintest cotton
candy pink,
like
you can pluck out
pieces of me
as easily
as the wind;
in the faintest cotton
candy pink
so barely differentiated from white,
it’s almost not there.
so barely differentiated from white,
it’s almost not there.
I’m almost not there,
like, if I skip one more
meal, I’ll disappear
completely.

Like transparency is triumph.
Like if I pretend

to spew my very guts out
or burn in incandescence
or effervesce anything

at each and every thing you say,
one day you’ll stop poking,
convinced that your finger
is doing the bruising.
That you are hurting me.
That your hands are punches
instead of control thread,
like a marionette,
like a puppeteer pulling me further in.

One day you’ll stop poking,
and I will still be of
only the faintest pink.
This time will be different.
There will not be any
shushed audience or dim
lights,
I will reside
in a field of white,
of canvas.
of a faint,
dim,
blank,
suggestion
of beautiful suffocation.
I will have no witnesses!
A field of white,
which I will not need to illuminate,
in which I will not need to glow
because I will be of only the faintest cotton candy pink
so barely differentiated from white,
it’s almost not there.
Almost.
You can’t kill pink so easily.