El atlas blanco de tu cuerpo.
Mi boca era una araña que cruzaba escondiéndose.
En ti, detrás de ti, temerosa, sedienta.
— From “XIII: He Ido Marcando” by Pablo Neruda
— From “XIII: He Ido Marcando” by Pablo Neruda
And if, like Yeats,
I loom: a scepter
in the South of France
to warn you of the moon—
We are excised:
but poetry is
I am simply Ghost,
haunting by the wings.
You have the stage.
Let the sunrise
Dear Peter Jackson,
Arwen asked me to say fuck you.
Between being a symbol for the woman
who single-handedly saved Middle Earth as we know it,
and allowed the most famous Man who ever lived to accomplish his God-given duty,
and tucking in her children after dinner,
she asked me to tell that you’re a misogynistic fuckwit.
Apparently she’s mad?
It’s something, she says, about the way she rides in on a white horse, gleaming,
and all you can notice is that she’s not wearing a bra. Something
about the way she speaks, the sighs that drip off the ends of words
like rain drops, the gasps that lilt between each word.
The way you asked her to speak in Elvish half the time,
because she’s so beautiful and untouchable, and feminine.
The way that after she saves Frodo from the Ringwraiths,
she falls to the ground, and weeps, and is never strong again.
The way she begs Aragorn to stay, and when he doesn’t, falls apart.
The way she waits, waits, waits for the end of the story.
The way she gives up her life for a boy.
I’m sorry; these are her words. Not mine.
I know you were just adapting the books.
I know you were just taking a character who was in two chapters of sixty two
I know you were just trying to understand someone who has one line of dialogue,
I know you were just breathing life to an image, a symbol, an idea, not a woman,
not a person, blame Tolkien, not you. That’s okay. She’s angry, hysterical,
hormonal, nonsensical. We’re all on your side.
I mean, what do I have to complain about?
I’m Eowyn: a shieldmaiden, a daughter of Kings,
a child of Rohan. I grew up with a sword in my hand
and steel in my eyes. I ride into battle, I slay orcs, I destroy the fell beast.
I kill the Witch-king of Angmar.
The one that elves of old predicted could not be killed;
the one that destroyed men, children, cities.
I scream, death, death, death,
and change the world.
I go home. I fall in love.
I marry a prince. I settle down.
I have his children. Disappear.
That’s what a princess is supposed to do.
Because all great stories end with a ring around my finger,
and a finger on my lips. The women fade into the background,
and we’re left to remember the men on the battlefield,
not the women who changed it.
The frontline isn’t always where the war takes place, you know.
Sometimes it’s in the way their eyes trail me up and down,
the way you take my body in before my words,
the way you remember the boy I fancied for a week
and not the girl I was for a lifetime. The war is in the way
you put me on a screen, the way I’m an obstacle for the men
and not a truth for the people, the war is in the fight
we have to be remembered for our words, for our souls,
not our tits.
Because I know, Peter Jackson, I know:
I am no Man.
And you never let me forget that.
Arwen and I say fuck you.
Read. Read poetry, read novels, read magazines, read the newspaper. And write. Write snippets of thoughts in notebooks, napkins, on the backs of receipts. Write what comes into your head. It doesn’t matter if it sounds exactly like the voice of the poet you were last reading; that’s good, actually. By taking what you’ve learnt from their work and putting it into your own poetry, you can see what does and doesn’t work. Write about things you’re passionate about. Write about things you couldn’t give less of a shit about. Just write, read, and above all, put it out there: it’s scary, but so rewarding. x
I keep telling myself, I want to write a book, I want to put together a collection, but then I just get lost in the amount of words I would need and give up. I’d want it to be wholly new pieces, but at the rate I am writing these days, it’s not going to happen, and I really really want to.
1. I think about you most when I am in the supermarket.
Cans stretch from wall to wall, stark lights
beat an anthem behind my eyes.
I think I am one of those cans, neatly packaged for the juice inside.
Oh, to be you. How many choices you have.
How many meals you can eat.
2. Do you rip into the meat; do you strip flesh from the bones?
Do you lick the sauce from your lips; do you wipe up the blood with bread?
3. A boy I know once told me that it’s not desecration if you’ve had the dish before. When I tried to say that lambs aren’t silent, they scream when you cut them, he laughed and told me, you’re biased, you see wolves wherever you go.
4. Secrets hide in the catacombs of my knees, shaking.
I couldn’t stand to sit next to him.
I was too afraid to stand up.
5. Men don’t wait for the moon. They have claws, fangs, fur;
even the ones who love me, the ones who kiss me gently, and sit by me
while I burn beneath the moonlight.
6. How do you tell a man they frighten you,
when all they’ve done is say hello?
7. I know your name and that is why I cannot speak
to boys with kind eyes, boys whose only crime is being named.
I can’t look at bald men without feeling sick. I can’t walk home
beside tall men. I can’t talk to shopkeepers with crinkled eyes.
I wrap terror around me like a blanket.
8. Avoidance is an instinct,
9. I avoid carparks. I avoid the backseats of cars.
I avoid kissing men with stubble.
I avoid making love with my eyes closed.
10. There aren’t any places that are safe for me anymore.
Not the supermarket. Not my home. Not my dreams.
11. My dreams are horror movies that I can’t turn off.
12. What do you do when they joke about the loss of your childhood?
How do you run when their voices bolt your legs to the floor?
13. The definition sticks in my throat when I try to tell people
why I’m angry, why I’m sad, why I am who I am.
14. I am Frankenstein’s monster, your creature, your plaything,
yours. You have pulled me from the flames.
I am forever running and coming back.
15. I am sitting down to write a poem about you. I think I have done this
a hundred times, and every time I can feel you breathing down my neck.
I wonder if there will come a time I can write without shivering.
— 'The Battle of Pelennor Fields', The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, JRR Tolkien.
I stood in the rain and cried
and smoked a cigarette and let
the water slice me open. I am a letter
and you are the paperknife. I am bleeding inside.
Cut me open and find the source. Cut me open and find
the fountain, let the river flow, let the snow melt, let the dam burst,
let me feel something that isn’t just an icy road in winter.