The day I came out … all my girlfriends took one step apart
it can’t be they collectively agreed
she’s too pretty, she’s too feminine, she’s not a dyke she’s one of us
didn’t she enjoy sex with that boy in the garden? you know that party the one where
they turned the lights on and saw them straddled in tall grass?
What happened? Did you get raped? Was it because you grew up without a mom?
What happened? Did you get bewitched? Is she a sorceress? A genie? A devil?
Soon after the invites to go out on the girls-nights
dwindled
the newly minted lesbian sat alone with her shadows and her eye make up
growing stale in their plastic boxes
virile boys wondered why they hadn’t kept her straight
cleavage girls wondered if she had looked at them in the shower the wrong way
why didn’t you try it on with me? her bi-curious mates inquired, offended
as if loving a girl was loving the entirety of the species and jumping
from trees on the first female she sees, du rigor
sparkly gay boys annoyed her with their primping and their bitching
clique gay girls alienated her with their cold eyes and their own brand of judgement
you can’t be one of us you’re too long-haired, too shiny, too voluminous
they played pool and ground the chalk into the cue with the ire of exclusive groups
who don’t want those ill-fitting and new
soon she began smoking things in glass tubes because
only the druggies the desperate and the dead would let
her be
and on occasion when she was really crushed into ice and fire she’d try to cure herself
with someone unknown and faceless, grinding down with fervor and lust
neither of which she ever felt
like a poison the awakening was not Kate Chopin but
a black box with no lock and no key and still no way out
her family said …  well we always knew you were obtuse
liked to stand out, be different, not fit in, it started with
left-handedness in the cot
we just hope you won’t try to give us grandchildren
think of the shame, think of their difficult lives and step away
she didn’t even have love so how was she going to fill her womb?
at a club a gay man pushed her against a greasy wall and said
there’s something molten about you girl, you’re not gay you’re a hot bitch
and his erection pressed into her dress like a knife
you’re not supposed to want me, she whispered as he pushed harder
you like boys not girls
boys will like anything given a chance, he replied, staining her with ammonia and denial
walking home one night a homeless man grabs her from the bushes
holding a blade to her neck he tries to impregnate her
she thinks
careful what you wish for
as the slice of him burns her empty
the officer at the hospital while they gather the rape kit
all the swabs like brushes with unwilling paint
told her; try wearing pants not skirts
you’re too beautiful it is like a flower
the bees will come if you let them
and she wondered, how is walking down the street permission?
well it’s your life style you see, it causes problems
how would anyone choose a life style of alienation?
you’re good-looking enough to get a lawyer, he winks
before leaving her naked beneath paper gown
blood on her thighs, horror in her throat
to consider and condemn
herself
this is the life line of a girl who wasn’t linear
or bold or normal
or able to run with the swarm
she almost
tried to set herself on fire
to become one of those paper lanterns
lifting off the water into inky night
there were no hands to press her back to earth
they had been crossed and turned away
she didn’t fit into what they expected
what they needed her to be
were it not for you
with your wings and your fearlessness
on the day you told her
it’s okay not to be a stereotype
not every heterosexual woman will treat you like
you’re going to molest her
nor every straight man try to
put his hands beneath your panties
not every gay woman will
scorn your existence and push you to the corner
nor every queer boy loathe you
for being prettier than he
there are among us you said
people without definition or binary
who exist on the periphery of distinction
and we
will not
let you down
she wished she could tell
the pretty girl she tried to befriend who
always treated her different because she thought
you want me don’t you? you desperate lesbian
if you think you are free of bias and you believe yourself unjudging
stop and think about what you do unconsciously
with every favor to others over me, reminding
I have less worth
that is what happens without words without governance
the mistreatment almost invisible
like a paper cut
hurting more than it should
for the side-ways slice of discrimination is
often deeply sewn
wake up
wake up
she could be
your daughter
your best friend
careful how you step on this earth
without much you can
crush the fragile who only need
your equality

0 Replies to “Equality”

  1. A truly remarkable, wonderful, horrible, tragic poem. Something to make us all look deep inside ourselves. Everyone is a human being, with feelings and needs. Labels are demeaning and pointless. And that whole business of blaming the victims of rape for their appearance makes my blood boil.

  2. This is a remarkable piece, both powerful and harrowing in its condemnation of how we attach stereotypes to everyone. I guess it’s easier to box people than to try and fathom them out. Great writing.

  3. Speechless. Or in this case, at least for my first reading ( I hope your readers read each of your posts more than once as I do….there is so much to take in!) wordless. Beautifully written and anthemic if that is even a word. True, what you say about fragile. Often good social actors, the fragile and often silent are with all of us. We just might not have bothered to think about a person because the social act is so good. Thank you.

    1. My friend thank you so much for reading this. I really thought nobody would as it is long and detailed but I felt, needed to be voiced because too often someone is categorized and ignored based on some really spurious and inaccurate fallacies. There is a lot to take in, sorry! I know it’s a bit long. I like the words ‘social actors’ I must use that ! You are so right, the fragile and silent are with us always. We must give them a voice. That is always my purpose at all times. Thank you for being one who supports that endeavour you really have and I am so grateful words do not suffice. Know this. You. Are. My. Friend.

    1. Oh Sister I was so afraid it was ‘too much’ and people would roll their eyes. I’m glad you didn’t think so! I was afraid nobody would read it and it would languish under ‘boring’

      1. You did well in expressing some difficult feelings and experiences that I’m sure many others can relate to also. Your topics and subjects are always pertinent to the human experience in my opinion. ღ

        1. Well it was a composite not by any means autobiographical but I wanted to speak to inequality. The part about straight win enough being afraid to be my friend is true, although many are terrific but some literally believe I will jump them. I want to say, don’t flatter yourself 😉 if they knew me at all they would know I’m not the lynching kind, why anyone holds that idea seems prehistoric.

  4. Heart-breaking … but also eye-opening. Thank you for this. It is more meaningful than you will ever know and reaches out beyond you into unknown faces and spaces. You can take pride in what you have said and how you have said it, painful as it is.

    1. Dear Roger, thank YOU for ratifying my effort. I wasn’t sure it would be received well as such themes often are considered too over done or in your face. Yet as you say, it relates to much beyond. Thank you for taking the time to read this and let me know what you thought♡

  5. Writing is your way of touching the world and everyone in it. Sad but so well written and expressed raw and honest. *Hell fire save matches suck a duck and see what hatches* well done sister wonderful

  6. An excellent expose of awakening and a lesson to us about the perceptions we have towards gay people. Life is so much about seeing things from another perspective . I agree with all the above comments your piece is worthy of reflection from us all.

  7. You have created volumes of unspoken words that fill our minds as we read this. A damning and unfortunately accurate representation of modern society, where ignorance reigns supreme.
    I hope that one day, many years from now, someone reads this as if baffled not by its context but by the very notion that such sentiments could ever have manifested as a result of those afflictions in the first place. I am hopeful of a more evolved society, one we shall likely never know in our lifetime.
    I appreciate your work greatly.

  8. This is so beautifully written yet makes my heart so so sad😳it makes me so angry when people condemn others in this manner😳 when will this change I wonder 😳

  9. How DO we live through such inhumanity. You have brought forth the society that I know so well. The one where nomatter what you do, who you are, what you look like, who you have sex with, you will still be blamed, used, judged, hated, abandoned. The mold they want? I don’t even know anymore. Can’t we just be? Love who we want? Live based on ourselves finally one day without trying to make things somehow work so we are not living this life alone?
    You have touched on…not the right word…you have shared the many aspects that one woman must endure.
    I really love you for doing that.
    It could not have been shorter or you would have left out critical parts of the travesty, tragedy, and utterly disgust that others can inflict upon one living soul and then expect them to bend or be happy and chipper and bouncy and flouncy after what? Rape? Injustice? Blame?
    I could go on and on and on.
    If I have never said this before I want to say it now.
    I wish I could take that all away from you. I’m sorry you have been hurt. I wish I could take it all away and surround you with the loving compassion that you deserve.

  10. This is absolutely breathtaking. I’d like to echo *everything* Bethany says above. You are beautiful and unique and you deserve to be accepted and cherished for the wonderful person you are <3

  11. My heart is aching for you even more. There seems to be no justice. I’m so sorry you experienced it all. Again I wish for the power to heal your scars, to take away pain. 💕🥀

  12. Sometimes it seems doesn’t matter which way you turn there will be someone judging and discriminating. Best to ignore it all, stand tall and proud. You are who you are regardless of race, gender, colour, creed. We are all equal and deserve to be respected and treated as such.

  13. All I can say it this uus a powerful and eloquent endightment of all those who look no deeper than labels and hollow sterotypes. It so painful to be ostracised but often it is the bravest most real people who are. Sending you love…its so good you wrote this. ..just look at all the support out there. 👭💖

  14. I’m sorry for the pain you’ve experienced, especially from the cruelty of others. You have a beautiful powerful way with putting your experiences into written word. Keep on writing. And sharing. And hanging on to hope. There are good people in this world who will love you for all that you are and for all that you’ve endured.

  15. Stunning! Thank you so much ❤️
    I’m so glad you wrote it; we’re all blessed to be able to read that ❤️
    One day, may our world evolve so no one ever experiences such trauma 🙏🏼❤

  16. Derrick said it perfectly.
    I think my daughter and sister were fortunate to have family and friends who have supported them–gay and straight friends of both sexes.
    My husband and I are watching the current and final season of the British show “Broadchurch.” The case is the rape of a woman who is about 50 years old. I like the way they’re showing some of the rape exam and counseling (a bit different from the US), and how the main police detectives have debated and weighed the rights of the victim with the need to catch the perpetrator. But then another police officer–a young women–asks questions like was she drunk?

  17. because we’re individuals. though we have similarities and that would seem to bind us in this way or that, we’re not all quite the same, are we.

  18. Ow. Unconscious bias really is difficult to deal with. Even the most accepting of us is guilty in some way. Whether this poem is autobiographical or not, the individual elements happen to many people, and that is a cause of great sadness.
    But LGBT folk can also be very accepting and supportive. What I have posted below was a true experience of mine.
    “On the 15th June 2016 I stood in a city street, in the drizzle, with two hundred others. Not, this time, to campaign against the UK waging war in the Middle East, nor to oppose nuclear weapons. I was there as a transsexual woman, with my brothers and sisters of the LGBT community, to remember those massacred in Orlando.
    As we stood together in silence, I thought of the lives lost, the hopes unfulfilled, the dancing savagely cut short. I thought of how lucky I have been in life; to have received a University education; to have worked as a professional chemist both in industry and in the Environment Agency; to be married with children, and to have kept the love of my wife and children even through my transition from man to woman.
    After the silence, speaker after speaker reminded us of the need for tolerance, that even in the face of such violence we should not hate. We were encouraged to hug each other. The woman in front of me turned around and said, “You look as though you’re on your own. Would you like a hug?” We hugged.
    Everybody chatted after the vigil. There was an openness, and a willingness to understand other people. There was colour and liveliness that reflected the beauty of the world.
    And I thought, “This is what I want to achieve with my writing. That those who read it should have just a little more empathy for each other, just a little more understanding. That they should experience just a little more intensely the beauty and the joy of life.”
    This is why I write.”
    Well done, sister, for your open and honest post; I hope that you, too, will discover that our community can be generous and loving as well as sometimes narrow-minded and exclusive.

  19. Your words move me Candice. Like no one else. Power radiates through your words and they images you convey never ceases to blow me away.

  20. Never ever be afraid to be who you truly are and share all that you are: the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were because that’s what makes us who we are. And when we are truly athentic and find the courage as you have to put it al on the line we step into all that we are and all that we have to offer. You touch people, Candice, with your courage, your revelations, and your honesty, and in so doing you are serving a higher purpose. The Good Lord did not intend for us to live in a bubble seeking only what we want and/or need. Otherwise we would only come here one at a time and it truly would be all about “me” as some think. What has happened to you, be it good or bad, has gouged out your soul and given you the uncanny ability to write what we your readers benefit from and learn from and then like the white rabbit we follow you down deep into your soul and rise bigger, wiser, and better than we’ve ever been before. We must empty each day of our past sorrows, but we must retain the lessons and wisdom learned from them so that today’s cup is not filled with “bitters.” For bitters are a poison that seeks to destroy your gifts. We may be different in many ways but we are kindred spirits who have at times shared the same cup of bitters. Je’aime, Natalie 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  21. Equality, I would walk beside you, wherever the world would turn, for there is a beauty seen only by the soul, reaching beyond this moment of eternity we sadly think is our time, until it teaches us the truth of our connected-ness, how we lie apart, and long for love… Why take what is already ours, when we steal, we rob only our own selves …

  22. This is amazing. So stark and beautiful, and filled with hurt and longing. It speaks to the core need to be understood and loved for who we are. It reads like a plea. Sending hugs and the light of love. <3

    1. You don’t have any share buttons for this one. Would it be all right if I share this on my Sunday Blog Share? It’s fine if you’d rather I didn’t. Just had to ask. <3

  23. When abhorrent human traits are exposed within poetry then the interpretation is so much more powerful and moving. Maybe WordPress should have a ‘Made Me Think’ button, because the ‘Like’ button isn’t appropriate here. Thank you 😉

  24. Wow. Just wow. My heart hurts after reading this, but it is also rejoicing because of your honesty and bravery, because it speaks for so many who can’t speak for themselves. What an astounding piece of work. Thank you, for writing this – for so many reasons. ❤️

    1. Thank you for writing this you are so very kind and it is very encouraging and appreciated by me. I so appreciate you taking the time to read this poem and let me know what you thought.

  25. I hopped here from Diana’s repost at Myths of the Mirror. Crazy kismet going on here, Candice.
    First: That you could wonder if people would “bother” finishing reading this is beyond me. It pulls the reader through. I hope it finds a life beyond your blog (as it appears to be doing, even in the Shares of others already).
    This made my head spin:
    “if you think you are free of bias and you believe yourself unjudging,
    stop and think about what you do unconsciously”

    Perhaps it doesn’t seem like the most gripping bit of the piece. But I just published my own post for the week before finding this, and you’ve captured the essence of the post in those two lines: a thought that … well, isn’t in the “hackneyed” category by any stretch.
    If you get a chance, I’d love for you to hop on over. It’s not long. In addition, I included two links within the post copy, the last of which links from the word “wrong”; you may also particularly find that post meaningful.
    Keep writing honestly and audaciously.

    1. How right you are. I totally agree. It is unnecessary and only causes pain. I think how lovely it would be if we sought to cause more joy and less pain. Thank you so much for reading this I am very grateful to you.

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