On A Pedestal Up In A Cage

On A Pedestal Up In A Cage

The weight

of rape

is about eight eight

any less is implosion

so either deny it space

or fill it with hate

on the days

I think

that’s all that makes

up my body.

The date

of rape

is the second

or the last weekend in June

or overnight stays

and security gates

staying up late

because you can’t sleep

and bottles of cava

and tops patterned with tartan

and saying no

when unhooking your bra

at the start

you always remember saying no.

The taste

of rape

is stale sweat on a plate

and peanut butter jam sandwiches

as the first thing you ate

as you try to convince yourself

it wasn’t that bad

it just wasn’t that great

and you wore red underwear

so it must have been fate,

the taste

of rape

is shame.

The time

of rape

was thrice

between eight and eight

what a coincidence

that was also your weight

it’s a blur in slow motion

I think that summarises the notion

of trauma.

The name

for rape

is apportioning blame

to ourselves

for an act

where we were defamed

and social outcry

when we dare to show rage

and the moral irony

that our supposed lack of fight

got us here in the first place,

put on a pedestal

up in a cage.

The name

for rape

is one in five women.

The blame

for rape

is the rapist.

Leading Lady

Leading Lady

This is your gentle,

daily reminder

that yours is never

the lesser life.

Do you hear me?

You are not a supporting actress

to an existence

you no more deserve to hold;

your role is the Heroine’s journey

and the path ahead

is adorned with gold.

On Being Oneself

On Being Oneself

Saying

‘a flower doesn’t ask for permission to blossom

it just blooms’

is only half the story.

Neither does a flower ask

for permission to wilt and die

it just lets go.

You are allowed to blossom

just as much as you are allowed to wither,

for even in the garden of Eden

every flowering season contains

countless new lives

and countless deaths

yet it is still

defined Devine.

Colourblind

Colourblind

The world is grey

and I am numb

if not numb

I am drowning

if not drowning

I am suffocating

if not suffocating

I am lost

if not lost

I am found

with a razor in my hand

and an urge to press it down

to reclaim this body found

but if I am not bleeding red

the world is grey

and I am numb.

She-Wolf

She-Wolf

She has felt rage

the type that chars your guts

and leaves you bleeding

out your own eyeballs.

She has felt the explosion

of shrapnel

and the pain

from rogue shards

splintered between her bones and skin.

She knew of her orphaned dead,

speaking to their restless ghosts

till delirious

she lay next to them, near death,

in an effort to restore them to life

at the expense

of her own.

But that is not a rage

that climbs mountains,

it taught her only

how to cry tears of ash

in toxic blends of anger and acid

till asphyxiated.

Now

she leaves love notes

to her suffering,

marking the deaths

of all the possible happily-ever-afters

without a magical cure,

and with sharpened incisors

tipped in righteous furie,

she is released

to her once-upon-a-time.

Yu-Ju

Yu-Ju

It does not require a magic wand

you do not need three wishes

there is no genie with his lamp

or an idol to take your kisses.

There is no well to drop any pennies

nor holy water to bless us by

the grass is bare of four leaf clovers

and no shooting stars are in the sky.

But you have the greatest gift there is

it’s owned by no-one else,

tomorrow be a bit less predictable,

and instead

believe in yourself.

Fuck Slimming World

Fuck Slimming World

This poem speaks for itself

and my distaste for diet programmes

that program women

to project

society’s preferences

for our shape and size and self-esteem

onto the surface area of our skin

like it doesn’t matter

what lies within us.

For what happens

when we go back to basics?

Meet barbie,

I had sixteen of those

barbarically shaped

smile faked

false representations

for a woman full grown,

the only thing she was perfect for

was her plastic home.

I used to play-pretend

they were ballet dancers like me

pirouetting across the stage

like how

I was so vulnerable at my age

that I worried there were calories

in toothpaste,

or the time I watched

a teacher at my ballet school

put a single lettuce leaf on her plate

because she was ‘watching her weight’

as every other ten year old girl copied

when all we really wanted was the chocolate cake.

Then meet my mother

who measured my food intake

and commented on what I ate

till my relationship with food

was filled with hate

whilst my stomach stayed empty,

and it took till I was in college

to appreciate

that food could have a taste

that wasn’t guilt.

For my sister

this lesson came too late,

she’s spent half my life

in and out of hospital

as her body wastes away

into a state of decay

and I don’t know if she’ll ever get better one day

or if I’ll get the chance to say

to her face

that she does not need to be reduced.

But mental health doesn’t work that way

neither does mine

it just fills me with shame

that my mother’s voice

still goes around in my brain

like she still measures

the size of my waist,

and I am still fighting

to lay claim

to a body that has always

been mine.

Then I go to work

where most of the women

attend weekly weigh-ins

and they speak of sustenance

as a ‘sin’

and the bin

is full of weight watchers wrappers

but just as full as the biscuit tin

which most of them still go in

because society’s pressure to be thin

is too much to hold in

your stomach.

So not many pounds are lost

but their love of self is

and they comment

‘how can you eat what you like and stay slim?’

because they have no idea what goes on within

my own mind,

and I just wish us women

would stop comparing ourselves to one another

or instagram pictures with filters

when the only scale we seem to consistently stand on

measures how critical we are of our sisters

or wishing we had another’s features

when we were designed by the universe

to be unique and individual creatures

but instead

our insides are starving

whilst women’s magazines beat us

for looking like our genes.

Is mine the only soul screaming

to be free

of this fucking hypocrisy

that tells us to love our bodies

when we’re still compared

to the tits on page three

or the pliable and barely legal

that dominate the porn industry,

because if it was up to me

I’d like to see

a few more hairs

and stretch marks

and natural beauty

on babestation tv,

and then we wonder why

women get plastic surgery

and go under the knife

like we’re a fucking carvery,

because we’re so hungry

for some basic regard

we’re robbed of any capacity

for creativity,

and that’s how they get us

in the end.

Because there is no ‘supposed to be’

in the human body

and your power doesn’t come

from how much botox you’ve had done

or if you’ve survived the day

on chewing gum.

It depends on

your insides

and how much you feel,

if there’s joy in your heart

and wild lust for what’s real,

because we’re not man-made models

we come from Mother Earth,

our bodies are fucking miracles

so why do we shun if a woman has skin rolls

after giving birth?

Like it’s only your post-baby body

that determines your worth

as a mother?

And everyone’s got a beach body

so if you’re at the beach

and it’s hot

you’ve got nothing to cover,

and if you sit on the fence

it’ll never blow over,

and then where does that leave

the next generation of girls?

Because I want them

to be born knowing

they can run

the fucking world.