A tribute to Jan

He came to me,

suddenly, unapologetically,

said, ‘You’re mine.’

There was no courting,

no flirtatious glances

across the room.

Sounds were sucked

out of the world,

colours dimmed.

.

My insides wept,

pleaded and begged,

‘Not me. Why not

the next girl in

the next room,

the redhead down

the hall? Why me?’

.

But I looked in his

blackhole eyes,

stared into his

sunstorm grin,

said, ‘Fuck off.’

He only smiled,

terrifyingly,

charmingly.

.

The first thing

he took

was my strength.

A step out of bed,

the floor pulled out

from under,

an endless fall,

time seemed to linger

to watch me fall.

I broke a hip.

.

The next

he took

was my hair.

Locks like

wavy autumn leaves

littered the bathtub

the pillowcase

the kitchen floor.

.

Then

he took

my time.

Brunches with my

daughters, dinners

with my lover,

afternoons in the golden sun,

Christmases, weddings,

birthdays.

.

He then became bold.

Moved on

to my plans, my hopes,

my appetite

for flavours and for life,

my dreams

became shattered

reflections, harvested

through fragmented

hours of the night,

my smile,

damn how I missed my smile.

.

But for all that he took,

he knew I wasn’t his,

not yet,

not truly,

he knew I wasn’t his

until I decided so,

and I hadn’t decided so,

until I finally decided so.

Until I finally

took his hand

and let go of my lover’s,

my daughters’, my life’s.

.

But I sure as hell made him wait.

One dark night

Her face is perfection

Imprinted on my eyelids when all I want is darkness

Her face is poison

And thorns that I drink and lie on again, again, again

Her face is that ghost

That hovers when I look in the mirror

My face

Then her face

What I could have been

But am not

Her face is hatred

A ball of fire

Heat that expands

Rises from the inside

My gut burns with this hate

It fills my throat, my head

I slap, I slap

This face that I hate

(My ears ring)

It’s not that I want hers instead

I just hate

Purely

I will burst with this hate

I will kill with this hate

I hold, I hold

I slap, I slap

Until, finally, it flows

The drips start off slow

But it flows in red and white

The fight is no more

I let my hate flow

I help my hate flow

Furiosa Fever

furiosa

So. I love Mad Max: Fury Road.

Or more precisely I love Imperator Furiosa.

The one-armed, kickass goddess.

For the first time in my life, I leave the movie theatre feeling empowered.

Empowered by an action movie!

And I wonder, is this what I’ve been missing out on?

Are men constantly empowered by action movies with strong male leads (aka 99% of all action movies)?

Is this how it feels to be a man?

So I do my research. I ask my male companion the question.

To my surprise, he says no.

No. Because it’s normal. He’s used to it.

So that’s when it hits me.

Could it be?

That the privileged are unable to feel empowered?

Because they are already powered. Naturally. All the fucking time.

Maybe.

Anyway. I love Imperator Furiosa so much I drew her.

Enjoy.

Immigrants

Immigrants.

Three syllables that divide.

Us. Them.

First. Second.

Human. Less so.

Immigrants.

Faceless, hooded demons crossing invisible lines at the mid of night.

One day we’re just us. The next: Us. Them.

Ancient myth worshippers, lusting for pure blood. Ours. Angry. Angry. Greedy. Swooping down like an army of crows.

One minute we’re just us. The next: Us. Them.

Seeping like ink, silent, unseen, leeching, thieving. Starving rats in our sewage system.

One night we’re just us. Morning: Us. Them.

Immigrants.

Immigrants.

They are not a child. Beaten. Raped. Running for her life.

They are not a mother. Maths teacher. PhD.

They are not a lover. Full of music. Colours. Plans.

They are not a person. A house in the country. Full of books. Smells of spiced beauties. Terrible singer. Part-time astronomer. Full-time heart broken.

They aren’t.

They can’t be.

How else can we say:

Immigrants.

Immigrants.

One day we’re us. Them.

The next:

We’re just us.

Thoughts while watching Selma:

Ignorance, they say, is bliss.

It is also easy. Lazy.

An excuse.

Empowering.

It is indulgent. It is safety.

It is also a baton, carefully wrapped in spiky wires, dripping with blood.

It is also a kick in the stomach, the face.

It is also teargas.

It is also a bullet, or six.

It is also a child, with a toy gun, dead.

When does ignorance become evil?

When you make a racist joke, is it ignorant or evil?

When you enslave a population, is it ignorant or evil?

When you reduce someone’s culture into your nightclub’s decoration?

When you switch the channel because you’re tired of Ferguson?

When you say #AllLivesMatter?

Because all those white faces, distorted with hate, spitting with rage, yelling and cheering on as the protesters bled on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, were just ignorant.

Right?

But I wonder, where is the bliss in that?

not an Elegy for Mike Brown by Danez Smith

I am sick of writing this poem
but bring the boy. his new name
his same old body. ordinary, black
dead thing. bring him & we will mourn
until we forget what we are mourning
& isn’t that what being black is about?
not the joy of it, but the feeling
you get when you are looking
at your child, turn your head,
then, poof, no more child.
that feeling. that’s black.
\
think: once, a white girl
was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war.
later, up the block, Troy got shot
& that was Tuesday. are we not worthy
of a city of ash? of 1000 ships
launched because we are missed?
always, something deserves to be burned.
it’s never the right thing now a days.
I demand a war to bring the dead boy back
no matter what his name is this time.
I at least demand a song. a song will do just fine.
\
look at what the lord has made.
above Missouri, sweet smoke.

Slip of the Tongue by Adriel Luis

My glares burn through her.
And I’m sure that such actions aren’t foreign to her
because the essence of her beauty is, well, the essence of beauty.

And in the presence of this higher being,
the weakness of my masculinity kicks in,
causing me to personify my wannabe big-baller, shot-caller,
God’s gift to the female species with shiny suit wrapping rapping like,
“Yo, what’s crackin shorty how you livin’ what’s your sign what’s your size I dig your style, yo.”

Now, this girl was no fool.
She gives me a dirty look with the quickness like,
“Boy, you must be stupid.”
so I’m looking at myself,
“Boy, you must be stupid.”
But looking upon her I am kinda feelin’ her style.

So I try again.
But, instead of addressing her properly,
I blurt out one of my fake-ass playalistic lines like,
“Gurl, you must be a traffic ticket cuz you got fine written all over you.”
Now, she’s trying to leave and I’m trying to keep her here.
So at a final attempt, I utter,
“Gurl, what is your ethnic makeup?”

At this point, her glare was scorching through me,
and somehow she manages to make her brown eyes
resemble some kinda brown fire or something,
but there’s no snap or head movement,
no palm to face, click of tongue, middle finger,
roll of eyes, twist of lips, or girl power chant.
She just glares through me with these burning eyes
and her gaze grabs you by the throat.

She says, “Ethnic makeup?”
She says, “First of all, makeup’s just an Anglicized, colonized, commodified utility
that my sisters have been programmed to consume,
forcing them to cover up their natural state
in order to imitate what another sister looks like in her natural state
because people keep telling her
that the other sister’s natural state is more beautiful
than the first sister’s natural state.
At the same time,
the other sister isn’t even in her natural state,
because she’s trying to imitate yet another sister,
so in actuality, the natural state that the first sister’s trying to imitate
wasn’t even natural in the first place.”

Now I’m thinking, “Damn, this girl’s kicking knowledge!”
But, meanwhile, she keeps spitting on it like,
“Fine. I’ll tell you bout my ‘ethnic makeup.’
I wear foundation,
not that powdery stuff,
I wear the foundation laid by my indigenous people.
It’s that foundation that makes it so that past being globalized,
I can still vocalize with confidence that I know where my roots are.
I wear this foundation not upon my face, but within my soul,
and I take this from my ancestors
because I’ll be damned if I’d ever let an American or European corporation
tell me what my foundation
should look like.”

I wear lipstick,
for my lips stick to the ears of men,
so they can experience in surround sound my screams of agony
with each lash of rulers, measuring tape, and scales,
as if my waistline and weight are inversely proportional to my value as a human being.
See my lips, they stick, but not together.
Rather, they flail open with flames to burn down this culture that once kept them shut.
Now, I mess with eye shadow,
but my eyes shadow over this time where you’ve gone at ends to keep me blind.
But you can’t cover my eyes, look into them.
My eyes foreshadow change.
My eyes foreshadow light.
and I’m not into hair dyeing.
but I’m here, dying, because this oppression won’t get out of my hair.
I have these highlights.
They are highlights of my past atrocities,
they form this oppression I can’t wash off.
It tangles around my mind and twists and braids me in layers,
this oppression manifests,
it’s stressing me so that even though I don’t color my hair,
in a couple of years it’ll look like I dyed it gray.
So what’s my ethnic makeup?
I don’t have any.
Because your ethnicity isn’t something you can just make up.
And as for that shit my sisters paint on their faces, that’s not makeup, it’s make-believe.”

I can’t seem to look up at her.
and I’m sure that such actions aren’t foreign to her
because the expression on her face
shows that she knows that my mind is in a trance.

As her footsteps fade, my ego is left in crutches.
And rejection never sounded so sweet.