On Toxic Masculinity | Three Poems from OnBecoming

While perhaps not obvious, one consistent thread running through OnBecoming is my coming to terms with the reality that the patriarchy is not men, the masculine in men, the masculine in women, the masculine in nonbinary, or masculine in any form of life. From you to me, the toxicity that arises from the patriarch impacts everything – from mountain to flea. 

Toxic masculinity brings harm.

OnBecoming can appear as a sexual assault story. The story of a woman harmed, who held secrets, and rose above circumstances. It is that. For me, as the puzzle maker of this collection, I hope it is more than that – for all our sakes. These are pages full of pronouns and genders, fathers and brothers, partners and perpetrators. In deciding to tell this story, I promised myself I would not isolate any form of life, that I would do my best to honor everyone’s healing in these events that entangled everyone. This is my story as much as it is a man a court would name perpetrator, my therapist- gaslighter, me – co-victim.

Below are three poems from OnBecoming that I dedicate to my co-victims.

It’s Poetic Justice Until We All Lose Our Eyes

My story 
is so familiar, 
I forget and roll my eyes.
Devil in savior’s clothes
Selects scared women,
To satiate he’s primal power - a peculiar brand of joy.


his ego & impatient impulses
blind him.  his triangulated
pitted fruit gather, with
selfless, patient pistols resting
at their Soldier Hips.
Protests him out of town.

Our story
Has a modern twist with
An ancient form of NEVER FORGET:
As in, forgive as if Our lives depend on it,
because they does.

If we are to distort the ideal of power,
We must choose to call him Savior
and wash our calloused feet
as well as his. Disgusting
for some, I see.

It is clear to me, the matriarch of
his chosen polygamy,
that the Collective Voice uniquely
hears this silence within this noise.
The humming humbling mumble

Perhaps there is no means to this end.
Perhaps the devil’s clothes were a costume for him.
Perhaps he has yet to take it off since that glowing October day 
when his mother bought it as a reward for keeping quiet.
His  coveted, covert-emboldening
mass-produced, polyester Batman suit.


Faithing with My Tidal Power
Truth exists 
in the inebriated scream
rising from the cave
man's soul.
I hear, most often, 
A lonely, mournful howl and
Shame-inoculated raging whispers.

With a humble drop of my shoulder's chip,
nestled as the distant moon,
I realize the power this fraught 
cycle brings to man's toxic stalagmite-
encrusted insides.

The mazed cave of secrets fills.
Toxic drink floods,
a sweet detoxifying tsunami for
the shadowed soul.

It is now time for me to go, 
to camouflage against blue sky.
The sun is rising, and
it is light's time.

I am still here, out in full, 
even when in parts -
Faithing with my tidal powers.

Steadied by a universal knowing-
intoxicating rays of pure sunlight 
invite the belly cave 
close enough to the edge of safety, 
relinquishing control to the imagination.

Once a cave, now a star-lit pore
on the surface of man's already 
beautiful, canvased skin.

Preference Over Judgement
Puppy love
First love
Unrequited love
Pining for first love, love
Pining for first love lost, love
Pining for the second love lost, love
Pining becomes love, love
I hear someone in every song, love
Addicted to love, love
Addicted to the novelty of falling into love, love
Promised love
Pay off for your dysfunctions, codependent love
Separated love
Divorced love
You cannot be who I need, projected anger, love
I cannot be who you need, projected shame, love
Trauma inoculated - fear of abandonment love
Trauma inoculated - I overshared, shameful and regretful, self-hate, and inch away from love, kind of love
Pathological altruism, codependent as fuck love
Turn towards each other love
Turn away from each other love
Turn against each other love
Letting go of any love but self-love, love
Forgiving, humble, deeply rooted in higher purpose love
Accepting you, just as you are, taking responsibility for myself love
Surrendering into my soul love
Love that never was, mind plays tricks, love 
Love that never will be, star-struck and seductive tendril, love
The universe sent you to teach me something love
Octopus momma, 
starving to death, while staying with her eggs kind of love
I will carry you if you sting my predators, 
crab and anemone kind of love
I trust you to not eat me if I clean your teeth, 
eel and shrimp kind of love
You will travel far on my back if you eat my ticks, 
parallel path, buffalo and bird kind of love
I can pick you out of a crowd of look-alikes, penguin love
I will wait by the shore each year, to dance, mate and 
nest with only you, Albatros kind of love
A pride of lions, communal love
I will wake you up, play with you, protect you, 
and accept your scraps, grateful dog and depressed human kind of love.
Doing the dishes love.
Making time love
Remembering details love
Friendship love
Holding space with open ears love
All of you is exactly what I love, love
I cannot handle all of you, compassionately stated, love
I cannot handle all of you, shamefully stated, projected anger, love
Orgy, what finger in what hole is irrelevant kind of love
Medicinal flesh kind of love
I adore the shape of my skin kind of self-love
My body is but a vessel for love, love
Consensual, controlling sex kind of love
Powered sex, collapsing into vulnerability kind of love
Kissing only love
No kissing allowed love
When we kiss, fall into myself and be fully present with your fall kind of love
Kill for you love
Depart so you can love, love
Letting you go love
Born of you love
Born of other love
Sibling love
Favorite sibling love
Rather not have you as a sibling love
Parental contract love
Parent is my person love
Hold the hand of the passing love
I release you, love
Grieving love
Pain sparked growth self-love, love
Falling into love, love
Rising into love, love
It's all rising because of love, 

It’s Poetic Justice Until We All Lose Our Eyes first appeared in Reclamation Magazine (2019)

Preference Over Judgement first appeared in Indie Blu(e)’s SMITTEN: This is What Love Looks Like (2019)

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