You who were not born in a boat. You who can not tread water. You who do not qualify for safe passage. You who are without a compass. You who cannot take the air between your hands and feel the ions of improbability. You who have not stepped out of the satin shadows. You who remain weighed down. You who are unable to slip by. You who can stand the sudden drop in temperature. The rising air pressure. You who have opened, and then closed the door. You who remain sceptical. You have peered into the 21st century.
Or, as the women say, are you are kind?
Do you have the stuff? Are you willing to sign up for a lack of glory? A lack of sex? A lack of wages? A lack of respect? A lack of public? A lack of resources? Are you willing to lose your name? Your body? Are you okay with probable failure? A certain unremarkable life? Are you willing to fail?
You who come to us with your brightness, with your lavender eyes, with your fresh wombs.
You who arrive penniless with no direction.
You who slide out of your parents’ apartment while they are distracted by the pipe.
You who walk out of your town with a grocery bag and a steak knife for protection.
You who turn away from the empty but well-meaning, from the small and well-meaning, from the militant and well-meaning.
You who set out on the highway, walking, who take a ride from a stranger and vanish.
All of you who slip through.
Are you our kind? We are so wary of the takers. We don’t want your market place values on board. We are searching for a safe corner. We are looking for safe passage. We are searching for a new world. We have a dream of glory, it is a dream of a new world outside of capital. It is a world uninhabitable by bureaucrats. It is a world marked by rituals of joy.
You can be our kind. You can. You can leave your buffer zone. You can puncture your cushion. You whose children expect other children to be their audience, you can stop teaching them to assume that others will be the legs that hold up the excess of their identities, their backs the stonework of your gardens, their bones the furniture they lounge on, their blood the sweet pink they drink.
No, I am not impressed by your Chanel glasses, by your Crate & Barrel rooms. I no longer wonder how you sleep at night. Certainly we will not share a bunk.
You who cocoon yourself in culture like a scarf, the lives attached like baubles reflecting you so brightly as you drape them around your neck, we will not share a bunk.
I don’t wonder that you will not sign up for the journey, you will pay me to take your journey, but I will not take your journey, this is a journey for the self in others and the others in the self, we have no call for a you that glints against the pain of others like pink lacquer.
You can open the gate, but you can’t make a mind leave.
You can open a mind, but you can’t stop it from shutting the gate.
from The Endurance, belladonna 2015
This is a chapbook of the project I was working on prior to, or adjacent to My Ariel. I set it aside because the concept of the book, which set a narrative of “motherhoods” as a kind of expedition, a la Shackleton’s polar expedition on The Endurance became too on point. And yet here we are. Here we are. You can download the chapbook: belladonna chapbook 2015 final.