We often say, ‘there is nothing we can do’, as though any circumstance we are not in obvious ‘control’ of is something that is completely beyond our abilities. And perhaps in some cases, the statement rings true; for how can we do everything about something? How does an individual stop a rape, a murder, an atrocity, which occurs far beyond our geographical and physical vicinity? And it is then that it seems much, much easier to give up, give up our collective responsibility towards maintaining or restoring a life-state which leans towards the universally desirable. It is easy to be indifferent, and become detached from goals and ambitions which would otherwise fuel our hopes and dreams for the world, and for ourselves. Because then, we’d have acknowledged that we can’t do it all, and we would become numb with the releasing of our burdening responsibilities.
But there is still something we can do, and that is think. We can either pass by a scene of tragedy, rushing to get somewhere else, or we can let things take form in our minds, and embed themselves into our awareness, our mind-stream, our ever-flowing, meandering, endless river of thoughts which ceaselessly run through our mind (whether we want it or not). And this is where we are in charge. We have not yet surrendered our minds, and they are still our own, as much as they be tainted and battered by externalities, influences, distortions, manipulations; and yet, are we not thinking now? Are we not aware that we may change our minds about something, or that we will learn if we try to learn? Let us care about something which affects us, even if we ‘can’t’ do anything about it! Let us care, whether this be this a naive and leisured fancy of being. Because we can think. We can learn. We can reflect. And if we are to expect any kind of change, this is where we must begin.
When, next day, I found one of your earrings,
slightly chipped, on the steps leading up to
but also away from my house,
I couldn’t decide if I should return it to you
or keep it for myself in this copper box.
Then I remembered there’s always another choice
and pushed it with my foot into the begonias.
If you’re the kind who desires fragile mementos
of these perilous journeys we take,
that’s where you’ll find it. But don’t knock
on my door. I’ll probably be sucking the pit
out of an apricot, or speaking long distance
to myself. Best we can hope for on days like this
is that the thunder and dark clouds will veer elsewhere,
and the unsolicited sun will break through
just before it sets, a beautiful dullness to it.
Please understand. I’ve never been able to tell
what’s worth more—what I want or what I have.
When she comes
She pulls you close
She breathes in short bursts
Her eyes close
Her head tilts back
Her mouth opens slightly
Her thighs turn to steel, and then melt
She is perfect
And you feel like you are everything.
Men who want to flirt with women have to realize: Women live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety. It’s like having a mild case of hay fever that never goes away. It’s not debilitating. You’re not weak. You’re not afraid. You just suck it up and get on with your life. It’s nothing that’s going to stop you from making discoveries, or climbing mountains, or falling in love. Sometimes you can almost forget about it. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, subtly sucking your energy. You learn to avoid situations that make it worse and seek out conditions that make it better.
If a female stranger is wary around you, it is not because she suspects you are a rapist, or that all men are rapists. It’s because a general level of circumspection is what vigilance requires. Don’t take it personally.
If this frustrates you, try to remember that women are blamed for lapsed vigilance. If a woman does get raped, everyone rushes to see where she let her guard down. Was she drinking? Was she alone? Was she wearing a short skirt? Did she go to a strange man’s room for coffee at 4am?
A woman must be seen to be vigilant as well as be vigilant. If she is deemed insufficiently vigilant, she will be at least partly blamed for any sexual violence that befalls her. If she’s regarded as downright reckless, that “evidence” can be used to completely exonerate her rapist. If it comes down to a he said/she said dispute over whether sex was consensual, as so many rape cases do, the dispute becomes a referendum on whether the woman seems like the sort of reckless person who would have sex with a stranger.
If a woman does go back to a strange man’s hotel room at 4am, even if she only wants a coffee and conversation, she’s more or less given him the power to rape her. No jury is going to believe she went up there for anything but sex. So, don’t be surprised if a stranger reacts badly to that suggestion.” —Attention, Space Cadets: Do Not Proposition Women in the Elevator
If someone is not strongly and widely chastised and disowned for using “I’ll rape a pregnant bitch and call it a threesome” in song lyrics, then our society has a giant fucking problem.
The tree lay down
on the garage roof
and stretched, You
have your heaven,
it said, go to it.