I realise I haven’t posted anything on here for a few weeks, so I just wanted to tell you all that I’m still alive, happy and healthy (well, Freshers flu was difficult to avoid but I’m recovering fast) if a bit knackered. This week I have started a new job, alongside hosting the first two Aloud events of the year with Bethany Sanderson (the best and most supportive Co host I could ask for) and sorting out university stuff in general for my upcoming 3rd year studying a joint Politics/History degree. Because of all this, my time for actual writing has been somewhat limited. However, while staying in Edinburgh during the Fringe in August, I did do a little, and I was able to debut a few new poems this week at Aloud. So, without further delay, I give you a poem I’m almost afraid to post because of its feminist connotations (and you know, being a feminist on the internet isn’t allowed). This is Safe Space.
speaks to mine.
Girl with diamond eyes, woman
who inhales fiction like oxygen, stores secrets in dog eared pages,
there is a screaming in your body that should be heard.
Let it speak.
Every parting of your lips or ink drip, every
conversation we share over beer or bourbon,
doesn’t it taste like a revolution on your tongue?
feel like home?
Just this small room, your wide eyes
and all the things it isn’t safe to say outside.
in a vacuum of understanding and compassion
because we don’t wanna hear what they have to say, because what they have to say is
Is venom, is lie, is wrong,
so behind these white walls, we
too exhausted to keep defending our own breath.
to keep repeating gun trigger words, feel them lodge in our gut,
and be told that bullets, little girl, are just a myth.
They don’t exist.
You have been told the shrapnel in your stomach is spreading by
who look like doctors, like teachers, like change,
but the minute you leave this safe space, it is
Pretending not to know that every time you speak
is an act of defiance,
that your voice is a danger, a weapon, a missile,
that each statement, to them, screams genocide.
Because wanting to speak makes you Hitler,
because wanting to be heard makes you murderer.
because they cannot picture equality,
just an upside down patriarchy
and they are terrified of living as we have.
speaks to mine,
but it is quiet now. Fragile.
Easily splintered after years of being told that your voice
is not wanted.
But I want it here.
And I will not question the sweat on your brow, or how difficult it feels to keep speaking.
Some days, I am too tired to defend myself.
Let slut whore bitch walk by without blinking,
let them tell me equality is here.
It is taking so much.
It is taking
and I do not know what more I can do.
But these moments,
with a pint in our jammies, talking
Shelley or Steckel, Plath or Wollstonecraft,
it doesn’t hurt so bad.