Can't get in.
This week’s poem is by Olivia Gatwood. I chose it because I am constantly aware of my own ways of armoring myself against the world and how it changes what it feels like to be in my body. It’s like I’m always bracing for impact. And while the dangers of being a female-identified human today are still very real, I am also working on being more relaxed in how I show up in the world. Which, I am hoping, will allow me to feel more at home in my body.
How does the way you hold your body affect your inner world?
Ode To My Bitch Face
You pink armor lipstick rebel steel cheek slit mouth head to the ground mean girl. You headphones in but no music. You house key turned blade, you quick step between street lights, strainer of pricks and chest beaters, laughter is a foreign language to your dry ice tongue.
Resting bitch face, they call you, but there is nothing restful about you, no. Lips like a flat-lined heartbeat, panic at the sight of you, scream for their mothers, throat full of bees, head spun 360 exorcist bitch.
Just trying to buy a soda. Just trying to do your laundry. Just trying to dance at the party and then someone asks you to smile and the blood begins to riot. Smile and you chisel away at your own jaw. Smile and you unleash the swarm into the mouth of a man who wants to swallow you whole.
One theory is that you are born like this but I don’t believe it. You came out screaming and alive and look at you now. Look at how you’ve learned to hide your teeth. What’s wrong with your face, bitch? Your face, bitch, what’s wrong with it? Bitch face, I don’t blame you for taking the iron pipe from their hands and branding yourself with it. For making a flag out of your body bag.
Another theory is that you put it on every morning. Screw it tight like a jar of jelly but I don’t believe that either. You woke up like this and have been for years. How can you sleep pretty when there are four locks on the door and the fire escape feels like break-in bait. They will tell you home is safe zone.
No, bitch face is safe zone. Bitch face is home. Bitch face is cutting off the ladder, willing to burn in the apartment if it means he can’t get in.