Body PoliticsBooksCultureSex & Gender

“COMMON TRUTHS: OR WHY I LOVE MY PUSSY”

August 23, 2019
As part of our August focus on Body Politics, AFROPUNK is proud to debut ‘Common Truths: Or Why I Love My Pussy,’ a new poem from Staceyann Chin and her upcoming book of poetry, Crossfire.

 

Women have always been

the center of things beautiful for me

becoming woman

has always been the center of my girlhood

 

the sum of my thighs

ankles

even my shoulders were always girl

 

when I bled for the first time

I told my best friend

 

wrapped my secret in her ear

and assured her

that this blood meant we could make babies

 

              but being girl in Jamaica

in 1980 meant I had to run faster

than my cousin’s fingers/farther

than his sweaty palms reaching for my hands

my tiny breasts had to be brave

against his fury when I refused

 

one night I stabbed him

pencil point sliding swift into his flesh

the whole house cried out

and I was proud of my yellow pencil

point sharp and without fear

 

my aunt beat me anyways

for making your cousin bleed, she said

and I cried more out of loneliness

than anything

 

the other cousin’s name

still remains quiet upon my tongue

 

I think of him

when I am sad or angry

or afraid of things that do not make noises in the dark

 

stark raving mad

he showed me his dick

told me you smell like a woman

in that little girl’s body

hips barely budding he cornered me

 

in the hallway

the bathroom

 

when I bled

I washed quick and quiet

 

years later he still smiles at me

even now

no apologies necessary

I was only a girl

 

quick and quiet girls learn

to wash the details away

bury them under briefs

 

jeans

cargo pants

 

under these panties

rests the story of these chochas

these twats/these bushes that bleed

 

on time

once a month I am reminded

 

that though I have not yet given birth

             I can

my pussy can do something

no dick or tomcat can

 

I dare you to make people

without a vagina

 

Shiva

or Man

or beast

even Jesus had to pass through a punani

 

              angels and messengers aside

Mary had to lend passage to God

or them Christians might still be Jews

 

waiting for a Christ

that was stuck up the ass of some man

who thought he could

do what even little girls are forced to do

in Sri Lanka

in Uganda

in South Carolina

 

everyday

against our wishes

we carry common stories of sons

and fathers

and cousins who violate the sanctity of these bodies

 

these breasts

this ability to make breath

from passion

or the neat decision of an intent

 

one day

I hope my belly will bloom little miracles called Andrea

or Elisha

or Alexander

 

mouths will open wide

in wonder

and terror

everyday men ponder

the magic of what vaginas do

everyday

women carry people into being

 

and everyday

even on the most petrifying day

I stand grateful I was born

bloody snatch in just the right place

today I am glad I am a girl

 

              especially since yesterday

my mother told me

go ahead and write your story

 

no matter that I will write her

in unflattering truths

write

she told me

and I hope the book sells

so you can afford to raise a daughter

with a heart like yours

 

and everything was better

between us

 

it did not matter that she left me

twice

no matter that in Jamaica

in 1972

in 1980

she chose her safety over mine

 

yesterday

she said write/my daughter

and the world righted itself

 

I wish

that every mother whose daughter

survived the burial of unspoken things

would give her permission

to say what happened

 

to write down how she endured

the terror of being a small girl

in a world that so deeply favors men

 

I wish every cunt had the courage

to bear public witness

I wish every woman

had a pen/a clear view and the support

she needs to scream

what happened to me was not my fault

what happened to me was not my fault

WHAT HAPPENED TO ME WAS NOT MY FAULT

 

Staceyann Chin’s Crossfire will be released in October on Haymarket Books

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