Annie, Call the Zoo

"Once, Helen [Keller] wanted to feel a lion. 
Annie Sullivan informed the zoo. 
A lion was fed; Helen entered its cage
 and felt the lion from its head to its tail."

Annie, tell the zoo I’m coming
to feel a lion with my hands
head to tail, I want to reach
inside its mouth and feel the tips
of teeth. I want to know the girth
of his mane, know the texture
of a lion’s hair. Annie, tell the zoo
to feed him well, for I will take
my time. I want to know how long
a lion is, I’m told even the length
of my whole body will seem small
and ever-so-fragile next to muscles
beneath (what kind of) fur. Annie

Taking Anti-Depressants is the Greatest Act of Self-Love I’ve Given Myself

I thought the unceasing self-loathing was normal. I’d grown accustomed to fighting with myself in my own head. Half of my brain said, “You’re no good. You’ll never do it.” Half of my brain said, “Please stop. I’m going to anyway. If you would just be quiet, we could at least try.” None of my brain felt well enough to get angry, to be sad, to feel much of anything at all. But this was normal. Having to convince myself that everyone didn’t hate me was normal. Struggling to do the basic human things like showering, sleeping, going to work, and hanging out with friends outside of my house was normal.

I had been semi-functional for a year this way, but I felt myself, my entire body, becoming tired of my own shit. When the thought of death became a daily source of relief, I had no choice but to start asking myself, “Is this as good as it gets? Is this how it’s going to be now?” Feeling as though life was lived through a glass wall surrounding my body, I did the most radical thing I could think to do: I decided to go see a doctor.

Just Because It’s True, Doesn’t Mean It’s Helpful (Or, Why Being Right is Wrong)

Do you want to be right, or do you want to be an ally? This is the question you have to answer. And it’s best to decide before opening your mouth.

You have to ask yourself, is the point of this conversation retaliation or communication? Choose wisely, because what you choose decides the direction of that conversation thereafter. Retaliation escalates; communication dissipates.

Everyone has the right to voice their opinion. Having a difference of opinion does not invalidate another’s. Now, I must pause to state that opinions which infringe upon another person’s right to live and exist are not opinions, rather misplaced judgments turned on their head to make the other person wrong.

An opinion would be:

Pachamama

Come, come,
run up this grassy hill with me.
Look, look,
follow my arm to where I’m pointing—
down there, in the brush,
the ant, snake, and armadillo—
there you are, there you are.

Now look, look
up at the eagle,
catching the wind, gliding.
That’s where you’re going.
Pick up the sand, the soil, the mud
feel it slip through your fingers
regardless of which way you’ve come.

Now turn, dance with me
arms up, twirling.
See the clouds building—
you did that.
Look, look
at the hair standing up on your neck,
and the lightning illuminating the sky—
there you are.

Blink,

Her spine is intact,
hips wide sway like tree branches
in the breeze and hypnotize.
Somehow she still snuck up on you,
pounced, surprised you. Open eyes —
blink, and the void before you fills.
Eyes close — it opens up again,
blink.

How to Write Poetry

Use your pen to gut yourself:
lay your intestines on the platter of a page.

Take a look at yourself without a mirror — what do you see?

Poke yourself until you figure out where it hurts,
then ooze your mucus to make ink for your pen.

Stare off into the distance until your mind is across the street
climbing up a tree with a squirrel.

Take off all your clothes, sit in the sun, ask questions
no one has answers to. Make one up, scratch it out, make up another.
Do it again until you understand why
no one has an answer to that question.

You, Woman

This is for every woman whose hips intimidated men’s heads until her mind wasn’t heard and her heart was fully spent. For every woman who lived but chose to suicide commit. This is for the women who got the shitty end of the stick. For the women from the 50’s, and every decade before, and every decade after because we still haven’t cracked open equalities door. 

Men mark feminism a dirty word while we’re still cleaning up generational traumas from shocks in the psyche ward. Because women are crazy. Woman are bossy. Woman are e-mo-tion-al. They are housekeepers wearing wife-beaters unaware of how the t-shirt got its name. Servants and baby makers, you’re only good for one thing. One hole, two hole, three - if you include my scrunchie. I hear only girls who’ve been molested like ass play but that’s just another way to repress the goddess inside of me. 

We are as diverse as patterns on butterfly wings, stronger than diamonds because we break and compress, break and compress, break and compress until we wither and explode, until we wither and explode, until we take our power back.