Being seen, being seen as a whole
person—woman, mother, body, brain,
artist, aesthetic, sensuality, mastermind—is a neat trick.
I don’t care what they say. I want to see more.
You make feminism look good.
Every word, every move is politician
I keep looking and listening for a chink to sink my hook in
I want to believe, I want to, I want to, and when I get that ballot
I’m going to twist my eyes shut
and hope you’re still human.
If you’re the overlooked face of feminism
we all know why. I shouldn’t stoop but but butt
you don’t mind so I’ll make an exception and ask what
will you do with all this attention?
If your ass could talk, what would it say?
First things first, I’m a realist
liking your song might make me racist
if I can only hear rap when it’s sung by a white girl
who thinks she invented it.
I’m going to close my eyes, hum along, and pretend you’re different.
Seeing and hearing are two separate things
Being heard and seen. It’s hard to listen with your eyes
open, like blowing a bubble and whistling dixie
like challenging yourself to an arm wrestle
at some point, one prevails or they wipe each other out.
And in this corner we have our champion
weighing in at 90 lbs and wearing a long black robes
and lacy doilies, she punches the air as she taps out
some furious, eloquent footwork. Look out, boys, the Notorious RBG
is in the house.
When I announced to my seniors that we’d read Beloved,
one student raised her hand and spat, “I hate that book.”
When asked why, she blurted something about its being
too literary, too perfect for English classes, too full
of gravitas, and I wondered, what does it take to be heard?
When the school bell rings, it’s loud and rude and I clamp my hands
over my girl’s ears to protect her eardrums. It’s silly, I know
she has her own hands and when she was born I warned her dad
“It’s her vagina and she’ll do what she wants with it.” But still
when I see you up there I want to cover your eyes so you won’t see this.
You see a mess and you run to put your foot in
You take it and turn it into something personal, turn it into
art, into Artistic Mess on Amanda Palmer
that’s what you do (and what I’m doing now)
and I love that about you.
When I was very young, I posed naked. I thought then they’d all
understand. But for years after, I was the glossy thing in the girly magazine,
the freakishly short one with the weird mole on her neck.
The thing about being seen
is being seen.
Still a girl but already you know
seen not seen, hidden, hated, what we all dare do
with faces, minds, limbs, even when we don’t really want to
be seen. They see what they see
but you point and nod to the bones, the naked bones.
Who did you enjoy seeing or hearing in 2014?