When she does not find love, she may find poetry. Because she does not act, she observes, she feels, she records; a colour, a smile awakens profound echoes within her; her destiny is outside her, scattered in cities already built, on the faces of men already marked by life, she makes contact, she relishes with passion and yet in a manner more detached, more free, than that of a young man. Being poorly integrated in the universe of humanity and hardly able to adapt herself therein, she, like the child, is able to see it objectively; instead of being interested solely in her grasp on things, she looks for their significance; she catches their special outlines, their unexpected metamorphoses. She rarely feels a bold creativeness, and usually she lacks the technique of self-expression; but in her conversation, her letters, her literary essays, her sketches, she manifests an original sensitivity. The young girl throws herself into things with ardour, because she is not yet deprived of her transcendence; and the fact that she accomplishes nothing, that she is nothing, will make her impulses only the more passionate. Empty and unlimited, she seeks from within her nothingness to attain All.

Simone de Beauvoir
The Second Sex

beautiful women are bad

January 2, 2020

A farmer wants his son to be afraid of beautiful women, so that he will not leave home too soon, so he tells a story about how one drowned his brother’s cousin’s friend in a lake, not because he was a pig who deserved to be drowned, but because beautiful women are bad, and also witches. And it doesn’t matter that she didn’t ask to be beautiful, or to be born in a lake, or to live forever, or to not know how men breathe until they stop doing it.

Catherynne M. Valente
Deathless

We are volcanoes

December 28, 2019

When women speak truly they speak subversively — they can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth,  as human truth,  all the maps change.  There are new mountains. That’s what I want – to hear you erupting. You young Mount St Helenses who don’t know the power in you – I want to hear you.

Ursula K. Le Guin
Bryn Mawr College commencement speech, 1986, published in the essay collection: Dancing At The Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places.

GOD, his tasks

December 15, 2019

Please, let’s reconsider
God’s expectations of pleasure.
How we are lepers
in our colony of want.
How we would murder
our child in exchange
for our own small death.
A drop of iodine in a bath
becomes a gauzed elegy
for how we can’t help but love
who we want to save.
In a train station I am wife
to hundreds of men
who have feelings
about their bodies.
God wanted pleasure
to be a dead clam
that doesn’t open
in boiling water.
A slick body that hides
itself between the hinges
of duty and need
until it wastes away as a wrinkle
on the stretched skin
of a life.
Once we were so wet
we glistened
whether there was light
or not.
When God called
our bodies territory
we became terror,
we became the story
that every child
in their monstered
sleeplessness never wants
to be real.

Meghan Privitello

our truths

December 15, 2019

Within us is the potential to be fleshed out again as the creature we once were. Within us are the bones to change ourselves and our world. Within us is the breath and our truths and our longings — together they are the song, the creation hymn we have been yearning to sing.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Please Wear Proper Attire

December 12, 2019

I lost my virginity to a blue lake. I was trying to make love waterproof. Water is not the only tongue that can’t resist short skirts. We can avoid the circumstances of beauty until we stand next to a waterfall and realize it speaks in sentences. Milk cartons were built in response to clapboard houses on the sides of mountains. In the surrounding farmland, cows were bored. They nearly milked themselves. This is just another circular story. The house, the cow, the milk, the carton, the house. Just like the woman, the love, the future, the failure, the woman. The safety of raincoats is temporary. How many times have you fallen out of love outside of a bar in the rain? How many times has your raincoat saved you? I swore off men who carry symbols in their front pockets. I know the excuse My symbol hurts, not tonight & My symbol is running, I have to go catch it. Everything is tired of trying to become everything else. If electricity has anything to do with it, I’ll be a good wife and take the blender with me in the bathtub. The shape of the fire will depend on which one of us is turned on.

Meghan Privitello

I Have No Power

December 11, 2019

I have no power to change you
or explain your ways
Never believe a man can change a woman
Those men are pretenders
who think
that they created woman
from one of their ribs
Woman does not emerge from a man’s rib’s, not ever,
it’s he who emerges from her womb
like a fish rising from depths of water
and like streams that branch away from a river
It’s he who circles the sun of her eyes
and imagines he is fixed in place

I have no power to tame you
or domesticate you
or mitigate your first instincts
This task is impossible
I’ve tested my intelligence on you
also my dumbness
Nothing worked with you, neither guidance
nor temptation
Stay primitive as you are

I have no power to break your habits
for thirty years you have been like this
for three hundred years
a storm trapping in a bottle
a body by nature sensing the scent of a man
assaults it by nature
triumphs over it by nature

Never believe what a man says about himself
that he is the one who makes the poems
and makes the children
It is the woman who writes the poems
and the man who signs his name to them
It is the woman who bears the children
and the man who signs at the maternity hospital
that he is the father

I have no power to change your nature
my books are of no use to you
and my convictions do not convince you
nor does my fatherly council do you any good
you are the queen of anarchy, of madness, of belonging
to no one
Stay that way
You are the tree of femininity that grows in the dark
needs no sun or water
you the sea princess who has loved all men
and loved no one
slept with all men… and slept with no one
you are the Bedouin woman who went with all the tribes
and returned a virgin
Stay that way.

Nizar Qabbani

Celibate Mouthwash

November 14, 2019

God forbid! a girl admits she’s lonely.
But for a guy? — Oh, that’s so sexy.
God forbid! a woman’s never been with the same man
For more than 3 months
There must be something wrong —
Why has she been sitting on the shelf for so long?
Oh but for a guy, yeah, that’s just normal;
He’s a playa & playas wanna play.
She wants to play too, this little playette,
Oh but when she plays, they have a dirty word for it
— Slut! Shhh…
Now go rinse those lips out with celibate mouthwash.
God forbid! a woman is deemed weak for being
Emotionally vulnerable.
But when a guy is? —
Oh, he’s so sensitive.
These double standards make me want to vomit.
Oh, but god forbid! I’ve already gone through the
“eating disorder phase” —
Now I’m a head case.
There’s nothing I can do about it at the moment
‘Cept write this truth in verse
And lay back on my bed—hiking up my skirt —
Oh, and god forbid! I might even touch myself.

S J Goldner

true witches

October 23, 2019

The world needs more witches. Women who fly in their dreams, and who have decided to rid themselves of everyday labels and walk free. Woman who can laugh out loud and ignore the people who call them crazy – because they have renounced submission and merged with the natural world around them. Women who have left captivity and risen – now they will stop for no one, they are invincible and without doubt. They are transformed. They are true witches.

P

Memories

October 17, 2019

As a young man I was little more than a piece of flotsam on the sea of life. There were girls, women, some passionate, some not. I remember waking beside one naked young woman after a Friday night party in London. I had the vaguest recollection of leaving the party with her inside a cab. But now I didn’t know where the hell I was. I slipped quickly from her bed, gathered up my clothes and escaped to the bathroom without disturbing her.

Memories are built like this: a simple atlas containing maps of the past. The world that touches you is fact and fiction; a strange mix of truth and lies. Because I had lied to the woman, and she had lied to me: it was the way of the world.

That morning, still half-dark, I walked freezing cold streets completely lost. Eventually I came on a milkman and asked him, Where am I? I’m lost.

And he, smiling, said, Finchely Road. Following his directions, I located the Underground station and passage home. God bless the Tube. But milkmen are no more.

I often became lost in Venice. At night I left the wooden shutters open, and night noises would enter my bedroom uninvited: music, passing voices, the wholeness of the city that shimmered on water like a dream.

Then, an earlier time, in Paris. A girl running, her breasts swinging as she ran, her hips swaying. Like the wine in my glass when a tremor runs through it. Memories are nothing more than recordings of laughter, of tears, of momentary passion: they’re like holiday photographs, or footprints in damp sand. They are like bite marks on my body in a rumpled bed.