Tracey Emin - It was just a kiss
- How do I say I miss you in a way that will make your heart ache as mine does?
neon lights from Petra Collins first solo show
Pablo Picasso, Woman with Yellow Hair (1931) / Vampire Weekend, Step (2013)
“How do you feel today, on a scale of one to ten?”
Ten always meant I’m super, thank you
and one was always not today, Mrs. MacAuley, not today.
But I never liked numbers, they would always
twist and rebel against my mind so I chose
to speak in colors instead.
January third - I am the color
of mint chocolate chip ice cream
but I’ve eaten all the chocolate chips.
I am calm.
February seventh - I am a bruise of
blues and violets today. I think it would
be best if I sat by the window.
These are unhappy colors.
April eleventh - I am turquoise, I am magenta,
I am every color in the rainbow.
April thirtieth - I am gray, I am silent.
May first - I am orange, the color of melting
creamsicles on a beach in July.
June twelfth - I am as yellow as the school bus
that will bring me home to summer. I am free.
Twelve years later, I still use colors.
The winter makes me feel cobalt blue, the ocean
turns me a seafoam green. Violets and purples
leave me uneasy and scarlet is a fever of fury.
Some nights I drown in shades of navy, denim,
and cornflower but other nights I meditate in forests of
harlequin and shamrock.
you leave me a blinding white followed by a soft yellow:
the color of sunlight after a period of darkness."
- Kelsey Danielle, “A Diary of Colors”
she will sing it to me and scream it at me
and I will never tell her to quiet down
she will say it when I tell her to go to bed
when I tell her she can’t have anymore candy
or watch anymore television
“no” will be my daughter’s favorite word
not only will I teach her how to say it
but I will teach her to repeat it over and over
again until every single atom in her tiny little body
hums with it
If it makes her less soft than the other girls
I will take her to museums and show her
what marble and stone can become
I will brush her hair and let her wear whatever
whatever that makes her
she will know
that the world has been built upon “no’s”
upon rejections and refusals and swords
if this makes her a warrior in a field of
flowers, then she will walk without fear
of being trampled on
the first word I teach my daughter will be
and when she grows up
in a world that tells her
she can’t walk down the street by herself
that “no” will be heard
it will roar and echo down the block
and she will never be told to keep
she will not know the meaning of the word."
- The First Word I Teach My Daughter
SHORT STORIES ABOUT EX BOYFRIENDS
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
- Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal”
By the time we are young women, we are tired. Most of us are drained. Some of us enter a lock of silence because of that lethargy. Some of us lash out. When I think of that big, blooming heart we once had, it looks shriveled and worn out now. When I was teaching, I had a young student named Mariam. She was only 11 years old. Some boy pushed her around in class, called her names, broke her spirit for the day. We were sitting under a chestnut tree on a field trip and she asked me if a boy ever hurt me. I told her many did and I destroyed them one by one. I think that’s the first time she ever heard the word ‘destroyed.’ We rarely teach our girls to fight back for the right reasons.
Take up more space as a woman. Take up more time. Take your time. You are taught to hide, censor, move about without messing up decorum for a man’s comfort. Whether it’s said or not, you’re taught balance. Forget that. Displease. Disappoint. Destroy. Be loud, be righteous, be messy. Mess up and it’s fine – you are learning to unlearn. Do not see yourself like glass. Like you could get dirty and clean. You are flesh. You are not constant. You change. Society teaches women to maintain balance and that robs us of our volatility. Our mercurial hearts. Calm and chaos. Love only when needed; preserve otherwise.
Do not be a moth near the light; be the light itself. Do not let a man’s ocean-big ego swallow you up. Know what you want. Ask yourself first. Decide your own pace. Decide your own path. Be cruel when needed. Be gentle only when needed. Collapse and then re-construct. When someone says you are being obscene, say yes I am. When they say you are being wrong, say yes I am. When they say you are being selfish, say yes I am. Why shouldn’t I be? How do you expect a woman to stand on her two feet if you keep striking her at the ankles.
There are multiple lessons we must teach our young girls so that they render themselves their own pillars instead of keeping male approval as the focal point of their lives. It is so important to state your feelings of inconvenience as a woman. We are instructed to tailor ourselves and our discomfort - constantly told that we are ‘whining’ and ‘nagging’ and ‘complaining too much.’ That kind of silence is horribly violent, that kind of insistence upon uniformly nodding in agreement to your own despair, and smiling emptily so no man is ever uncomfortable around us. Male-entitlement dictates a woman’s silence. If we could see the mimetic model of the erasure of a woman’s voice, it would be an incredibly bloody sight.On a breezy July night, my mother and I were sleeping under the open sky. Before dozing off, I told her that I think there is a special place in heaven where all wounded women bury their broken hearts and their hearts grow into trees that only give fruit to the good and poison to the bad. She smiled and said Ameen. Then she closed her eyes."
- A Woman of War by Mehreen Kasana
Someone who adores me because I can’t tell a ten buck bottle of wine from a $20 glass. Someone who finds it charming that I’d rather have a Mike’s Hard instead of a beer, and who doesn’t think it makes me any less of a person. Someone that finds it hysterical that one makes me quiet, two get me tipsy, and three have me drunk. Someone that loves me when I’m quiet, and tipsy, and drunk.
Someone who won’t see past the fact that I laugh at my own jokes, often before I get to the punch line, but who sees that as a trait that catapults their love for me.
Someone who will never ask me the question “Where were you?” Someone who knows that I think these three words consecutively should be removed from the English language, and who already knew where I was to begin with. A simple, “Missed you last night,” will do. Because they will have actually missed me.Someone who knows when I need No Strings Attached and when I need (500) Days of Summer, Parks & Rec, or Grey’s Anatomy."
- The Thought Catalog