r.i.p. ntozake shange (1948 – 2018)

One thing I don’t need
is any more apologies
I got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yours.
I don’t know what to do wit em
they don’t open doors
or bring the sun back.
They dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didn’t nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars.
Cuz a sorry
I am simply tired
of collectin
I didn’t know
I was so important to you
I’m gonna haveta throw some away
I can’t get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries.
I’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say your sorry
call somebody
else!
I don’t use em anymore’
I let sorry/ didn’t meanta/ & how could I know about that?
Take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn!
I’m gonna do exactly what I want to
& I won’t be sorry for none of it!
Letta sorry soothe your soul/ I’m gonna soothe mine!
You were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death!
Talkin bout you sorry well,
I will not call,
I’m not goin to be nice,
I will raise my voice,
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all your secrets bout yourself to your face
& I will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways I will play oliver lake loud!
& I wont be sorry for none of it
I LOVED YOU ON PURPOSE, I WAS OPEN ON PURPOSE!
I still crave vulnerability & close talk
& I’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry!
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me!
I cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein YOURSELF

jenn wasner of flock of dimes & wye oak (2016)

The young, the old, the dead
And you and I presently
Traveling west
Chasing the sun
See where once it was
It will be again

And I have lived
A charmed life
The hand of fate rests
On my shoulder
Still I get the joke
Try to make you laugh
It speaks for itself

The child I’ll never have
The stranger on the sidewalk
All who’ve ever lived
Now are waking up
To wish us luck

When I made my plan
There were some things for which I did not account
I could not have seen myself here
In a place I’ve been before
Seeing everything all over
As if I could really know
As if I am sure
And you say it’s about time
But you know I’m not used to having enough

And there is nowhere I need to go
And there is nothing left to do
And I am sitting watching myself
Watching you
Watching the waiting

When I move to stand
My muscle memory is keeping me up
Real memory is also similarly cruel
To see his face in front of me
Out of the blue, for no reason at all
And I don’t suppose
I’ll be able to tell him how sorry I am
But like the guard settles in for another long night
I keep watch for a danger that I may not recognize
But I keep my eyes open

All I know is this
There are times when, to me
You seem to glow from within
And I wonder how this moment could possibly be
And how much was of my choosing
And what chose me
And I couldn’t care less
When it all adds up
And I feel I am closest to what I really am

And there is nowhere I need to go
And there is nothing left to do
And I am sitting watching myself
Watching you
Watching the waiting

laurie penny – cybersexism: sex, gender and power on the internet (2013)

‘In ye olden tymes of 1987, the rhetoric was that we would change genders the way we change underwear,’ says Clay Shirky, media theorist and author of Here Comes Everybody.‘[But] a lot of it assumed that everyone would be happy passing as people like me – white, straight, male, middle-class and at least culturally Christian.’ Shirky calls this ‘the gender closet’: ‘people like me saying to people like you, “You can be treated just like a regular normal person and not like a woman at all, as long as we don’t know you’re a woman.”’

The Internet was supposed to be for everyone… Millions found their voices in this brave new online world; it gave unheard masses the space to speak to each other without limits, across borders, both physical and social. It was supposed to liberate us from gender. But as more and more of our daily lives migrated on line, it seemed it did matter if you were a boy or a girl.’

It’s a tough time to be a woman on the internet. Over the past two generations, the political map of human relations has been redrawn by feminism and by changes in technology. Together they pose questions about the nature and organisation of society that are deeply challenging to those in power, and in both cases, the backlash is on. In this brave new world, old-style sexism is making itself felt in new and frightening ways.

In Cybersexism, Laurie Penny goes to the dark heart of the matter and asks why threats of rape and violence are being used to try to silence female voices, analyses the structure of online misogyny, and makes a case for real freedom of speech – for everyone.

Laurie Penny. Cybersexism: Sex, Gender and Power on the Internet (London: Bloomsbury, 2013). PDF here.