Mercury 13

Mercury 13

Everywhere I look, women are shrinking,

it’s prolific in our postures in pictures

as if the perceived size of our hips,

lips, thighs or tits

is the potion of female liberation

like possession of the perfectly plucked or painted eyebrow

somehow proves we don’t need feminism now

because we can also wear trousers

and we sometimes get pockets

but we can’t enjoy these clothes,

they’re constrictive, and society is addicted

to our size,

so we’ll be made to feel shit in them anyway

whatever the scales say,

but go for what’s comfortable

and then we’re criticised for coming as ourselves

and not in the smart tight shirt, pencil skirt and stilettos

that showcase our skills to meet this job spec

better than a man can.

So, sorry, I stand corrected,

women can take up space

when they’re not perceived as a threat

but just a pretty face,

throw on some lace underwear

and men can stare at our chests

for a page in print.

I’ve took the hint,

breasts are there for aesthetics

and men can do what they like to them

but we’re shunned for using them

to dare feed our children

in a public place,

seems some men support our free the nipple campaign

only as long as they get a taste

and womenspreading is just seen

as when a woman spreads her legs,

it’s still about men filling our holes

and not about us reclaiming control

of our space and our bodies

for all the times it’s been taken away.

When my space was invaded through an act of rape

I thought I could never again exist in this body and feel safe,

danger lurked in every touch

in any place

on any date

and at first I’d just smile and put on a brave face

because I had no clue what to do with all this rage

and statistics convinced me

that fighting back increased the chance

my life would be left in the hands of a man

like with domestic violence

a woman is most at risk when she leaves

and in taking back her space

and having the opportunity to be free

she could end up six foot under the ground,

so tell me again that we don’t need feminism now?

See you might think that we don’t

because I’ve got the ability to speak

but outside of this poem

sometimes this voice is weak

and it’s quiet, and it’s sorry for taking up your time

and I doubt anyone would want to hear these experiences of mine

and I think I don’t deserve the lights

and the stage and a mic,

I’m still at war with myself and every day is a fight

to create my own space, in a room of my own,

I want to join the grrrls at the front

and get out my comfort zone

taking action, and not just writing poems at home.

I want to see more women in politics and on panel shows

and on bookshelves and in stand up and as CEOs

and as leads in films that pass the Bechdel test

and on the front line and going to press

and in magazines for our talent, not whether we looked good in a dress,

and on our own at nightclubs

because our ass won’t get grabbed

by some creep passing by

who tells us to smile when we just want to cry.

Instead the world will give us our slice of the pie

and the more calories the better

because this stands for our rights,

and we’ll show up for ourselves,

tell stories, create music, make art,

in honour of the women before us who couldn’t

and for those women amongst us who still can’t.

The Weight of Space

The Weight of Space

‘Maybe you should take a nap’

I say

hoping it will confine your sadness

to just one room of the house

or how with your sleep

we find temporary peace.

You wonder how

I can spend so long

lying in the bath.

It’s the only door with a lock on.

Sometimes it’s my only escape.

If rooms had porous walls,

like a sponge

I’d beg them to soak up all your melancholy,

then saturated,

let it trickle out to the ground

and water seeds

who will blossom in its memory.

If it were mine,

I would give the sun to watch you glow,

because I’d rather live in darkness

my whole life

if it would just keep you warm.