Pocket-Sized Feminism by Blythe Baird (Poem#15)

Pocket-Sized Feminism
by Blythe Baird

The only other girl at the party
is ranting about feminism.
The audience: a sea of rape jokes and snapbacks
and styrofoam cups and me.
They gawk at her mouth like it is a drain
clogged with too many opinions.
I shoot her an empathetic glance
and say nothing. This house is for
wallpaper women. What good
is wallpaper that speaks?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
whose coffee table silence
will these boys rest their feet on?

These boys…
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if someone takes my spot?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if everyone notices I’ve been
sitting this whole time? I am ashamed
of keeping my feminism in my pocket
until it is convenient not to, like at poetry
slams or woman studies classes.
There are days I want people to like me
more than I want to change the world.
Once I forgave a predator because
I was afraid to start drama in our friend group
two weeks later he assaulted someone else.
I’m still carrying the guilt in my purse.

There are days I forget we had to invent
nail polish to change color in drugged
drinks and apps to virtually walk us home
and lipstick shaped mace and underwear designed to prevent rape.

Once a man behind me at an escalator
shoved his hand up my skirt
from behind and no one around me
said anything,
so I didn’t say anything.
Because I didn’t wanna make a scene.

Once an adult man made a necklace
out of his hands for me and
I still wake up in hot sweats
haunted with images of the hurt
of girls he assaulted after I didn’t report,
all younger than me.

How am I to forgive myself for doing
nothing in the mouth of trauma?
Is silence not an active violence too?

Once, I told a boy I was powerful
and he told me to mind my own business.

Once, a boy accused me of practicing
misandry. “You think you can take
over the world?” And I said “No,
I just want to see it. I just need
to know it is there for someone.”

Once, my dad informed me sexism
is dead and reminded me to always
carry pepper spray in the same breath.
We accept this state of constant fear
as just another component of being a girl.
We text each other when we get home
safe and it does not occur to us that
not all of our guy friends have to do the same.
You could literally saw a woman in half
and it would still be called a magic trick.
Wouldn’t it?
That’s why you invited us here,
isn’t it? Because there is no show
without a beautiful assistant?
We are surrounded by boys who hang up
our naked posters and fantasize
about choking us and watch movies that
we get murdered in. We are the daughters
of men who warned us about the news
and the missing girls on the milk carton
and the sharp edge of the world.
They begged us to be careful. To be safe.
Then told our brothers to go out and play.

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Pocket-Sized Feminism by Blythe Baird (Poem#15)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s