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. (climax) 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. climax 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. (chance) 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. chance 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. Change
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 Self-love 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, 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)