I didn’t know a rotten thing could live so long.
Could rise to such power and outspokenness.
Could have so many supportive branches.
Could drag women themselves into its systematic hell.
I didn’t know we exchanged one devil for another.
One prison for another.
The same old rotten tritone that engulfs us in shame.
But it’s your hands. Your words. Your dogmas.
Your words plus the intent plus the sentiment.
When we entered the working force,
I didn’t know that we needed to surrender to your dirty depraved minds.
Because you think a title puts you in charge.
Because you think your title legitimises bad behaviour.
You think sending us our payslips entitles you to something greater.
You think that you own us.
I didn’t know that your degenerate abuse was so tolerated still.
So very much without consequences.
I didn’t know you were a father, a fiancé or a husband.
Could you even be a friend?
I stand amazed. Am horrified.
How can your behaviour be the one that’s normalised?
How come I think that I’m the one causing drama when your hand is where it shouldn’t be?
When your phrases are meant to hurt me?
Let me work in peace. Let me work in peace.
The pseudo-magician disembodying me.
Eliminating everything that’s in-between, my heart and soul, solidarity and dignity.
You reduce me to your vision. Shallow and surreal.
Let them talk. That’s how they talk.
Water off a duck’s back.
How come the man with eight rotten hands gets all the protection?
This is not a newspaper issue.
This is on her mind whilst she’s walking to work.
Feeling him approach. The affect.
He’s the cancer on his way.
And he’s nourished and fed but he never bursts.
No, we do. We are the ones who burst.
For better or for worse.
We are the ones who can’t sleep at night because his hands are still there.
His rotten, misfit pretentious notion of power. Undeserved.
That works its way up to the very arc.
Where to go, where to go, but home, and then back to work.
Where golden ideals splash against the walls and our dignity rots away
Amongst the faeces of rats, and we smile,
Because we inherited that reactive behaviour, because it’s expected, the charade,
Because we want to live, because it seems like the easy way out,
To give in to a little death one piece at a time, because we’d rather burden ourselves,
Than be in real danger, than talk about truths.
Bothering us all. Disable them all.
But it was never us, never did we initiate this dance of dust.
Never did we agree; they make themselves willingly blind.
And we are taught silence and acceptance, normalisation.
And we give birth to cancer, the prancing authority figure,
Standing so tall as he makes us feel so small,
And is applauded for it.
“Lament for Icarus” by Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)