I’ve been meaning to tell
you how the sky is pink
here sometimes like the roof
of a mouth that’s about to chomp
down on the crooked steel teeth
of the city,
I remember the desperate
things we did
and that I stumble
down sidewalks listening
to the buzz of street lamps
at dusk and the crush
of leaves on the pavement,
Without you here I’m viciously lonely
and I can’t remember
the last time I felt holy,
the last time I offered
myself as sanctuary
I watched two men
press hard into
each other, their bodies
caught in the club’s
bass drum swell,
and I couldn’t remember
when I knew I’d never
be beautiful, but it must
have been quick
and subtle, the way
the holy ghost can pass
in and out of a room.
I want so desperately
to be finished with desire,
the rushing wind, the still
idctbqh tagged me to list ten books that have stayed with me. This is in no particular order.
- A Child’s Garden of Verses, Robert Louis Stevenson. When I was little, this was one of my favorite books, and is probably significantly responsible for my persisting love of language and poetry. The poems are full of adventure and imagination and I distinctly remember the moment I became aware of the power that words have to conjure pictures in my mind, and to take me to other places, and it happened while reading this book.
- Watership Down, Richard Adams. This is my go-to answer on the rare occasions when I’m asked to pick a favorite book of all time.
- Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison. I read this in high school and it shifted so many of my perceptions about race and privilege, which had been, up until that point, wholly unchallenged.
- The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner. I read this in college and I struggled so much with it— it’s kind of infuriating, when you first try to delve in, because so much of it seems to make so little sense— until suddenly it does. This book makes me want to be a better writer.
- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie.
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë.
- IQ84, Haruki Murakami.
- Madonna Anno Domini, Joshua Clover.
- A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf.
- A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn.
I’m supposed to tag people here, but instead, if you’d like to share your ten books that have stayed with you… please do.
Try to feel grateful for the feminist fatigue. A lot of people do this work out of sheer survival - the ability to notice your exhaustion and anger and sadness means you have space in your day and in your head, a privilege not afforded to many. So shift your thinking, consider how lucky we are to be having this conversation.
…Spend energy wisely. You already know that your activist energy - be it physical, mental or emotional - is a precious resource. Don’t waste it by talking to brick walls, this will frustrate you and change nothing. Consider doing your work in terms of specific goals. Maybe you can’t take down the patriarchy, but you can change a school policy on sexual assault, get a local pharmacy to carry Plan B, or help a friend. Feminist work is a lot more manageable in small pieces - it allows you ‘wins’ that energize, and chips away at broader structures.
Create something. A blog, a tweet, a zine, a tshirt, a march - have something tangible to scrawl your energy across.