He spat fire down my throat,
Made me an unwilling fire-eater,
Had no choice but to swallow the burning
Armies he transferred into my body,
My lips turning black, he put a lid on them,
And everything sanguine turned to ash, to grey matter,
To self-loathing, to a wipening of traces, burned holy ground,
The ruins of the rivers that carried me before he imposed himself.
They censored my mouth, reduced it to a troubled sex,
Rendered my skin, the fibres, my hair, mute and desolate.
I wandered around looking for someone to tap into my pain,
To reflect my mirror-image, my sudden blindness, disembodiment,
Someone brave enough, loving enough, to put themselves
In my skin and what you did to it,
Feel it, see it, the consequences of your slaughtering sex.
You made everything that happened before you,
Not matter, my foundations collapsed with every single one of your casual thrusts.
And you left me there amongst empty shells, nude and defamed,
Unacknowledged, wastelands of envisioned identities,
Dry, hanging there in the poisonous winds
Of your breath in my face, the shared air,
Skin on skin, you tore out all the pages and ate them,
Nothing ever happened, you redefined me and thought
You could twist the head of the past as well.
You were sure, she will never make it out of there, alive, as herself,
As a verbalising autonomy, agency, as someone who still dares to move.
You tell your story and I’ll reinvent it for you, us, our listeners.
I will not remain buried under your body.
The weight will shift.
I will put my shoes on your hands and make you crawl on all fours.
You abandoned me as I shivered and cramped and realised
That you violated all my borders, shredded what you found in sight.
Your body’s purpose was to shove mine into the oven of silence.
You wanted to see me go up in flames and wear the laureate crown.
Amidst the crippled ashen winds, my voice revolted across my spine,
Hollering against the cough, the deafening heartbeat,
The shutdown tunnels and roundabouts,
I’ll rearrange my own traffic lights.
You want to see my blood flow, thinking shards cannot be reassembled,
Into something whole, into a repositioned smile,
A new form where nothing leaks and my spirit’s intact.
What is it exactly that you think you took
When you ransacked my body?
You think you forced your darkness upon me,
But no, I’ll make the sun shine,
I won’t be lying in the bed you made for me.
I won’t be a trophy that you only acknowledge in your own silence and solitude.
No matter how many people are throttled across your finger,
Charmed, enchanted, unwilling to look at me and your actions,
I will stand behind my own body and the wounds you inflicted
Straighten my backbone to dig my way out of the twisted corner you
Put me in. There is no question mark on my sex,
I stand unstigmatised, your doubts and questions are rainwater
Disappearing into manholes.
Spare me the rhetoric, the master narrative that is never antagonised, challenged,
Scrutinised, questioned, I withdraw my body from the fatal equation
And create a new one, with a bottom line beneath your plundering activities.
And you all may take your fingers and stick them where it hurts,
You may lower your eyes when you see me,
Feel awkward when I start to speak,
Project your avid disbelief onto me,
Negating me without my consent?
Checkmate me without my consent?
Deracinate me without my consent?
You failed. Try again.
The vicious circle is not mine,
I roam through lands
Where things grow,
Where I’m not tongue-tied,
Where I embrace everything that I could save.
“Portrait de jeune fille” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)