It’s all I know to do – Candice Louisa Daquin

Silent men are often admired

for their ability to endure quietly without complaint

whilst women who speak out are many times, vilified

behind their backs described as;

“that obnoxious woman who talked too much”

I lived with a silent man most of my life

he stared out of windows and when people died, his lips did not part

later on I realized it was a form of cowardice, not strength

later on, I saw how when good people say and do nothing

everything is fractured

if tomorrow I died, the people I have most admired

spoke out against tyranny and oppression

they even shared a confession or two

if they were female they were oft lampooned

if they were male they became more popular

because everyone loves a male sharer

this world is not kind to its daughters

its daughters are not kind to their sisters

it isn’t a gender battle but if it were

we have lost as we take on more, for less and less

sometimes I wonder if we had greater freedom

when our shackles were tighter

this is true of gays too, I can’t find within their collective

anything to be part of anymore

the world has grown strange and with it, myself

I heard on PBS yesterday half the world has been born

after the year of my birth, I am becoming less relevant

I could have told them I knew this already

by the way boys glances grow dimmer and there are no girls to love

for girls hesitate when you show them your heart

theirs is an unsure game of glancing round corners for prince charming

even as you stand proffering a depth they’d delight in

if they’d but give you a chance …

how ironic a man would make better match

yet you couldn’t stand, all that maleness

if I could become a creature instead of a human

I’d be a wolf

run with night pack, my loneliness obscured by trees and fur

if I could turn into a sea creature, plummet into water

or rise like a bird until clouds swallowed my shadow

for what succor is reason and what comfort, words?

when the world is a caustic, sharpened perpetual blade

and friends want friends who don’t resemble you

things you used to like, are lost in the figuring out, of how to get through

I used to fake it better and could wear a push-up bra for 12 hours without scratching

now all the edges are blurred, you left me in the fog to see my own way home

a place I no longer know, it has photos, but no key to open

I do not belong in my own picture frame

it’s been so long since I recognized an absence of pain

we used to laugh until our sides ached

sitting by the river watching the tanned folk preen and shake

their expensive personas

I liked the muddy waters best and all the out-of-the-way bars without names

I liked being nobody special and yet, I knew myself in a way I haven’t since

they took anonymity and gave it a new toll highway

when it’s my birthday save a slice for me, I’m not yet back to eating

I haven’t been made love to by someone who wanted to, in years

there’s emptiness behind the storage of sin and loose bolts, where you tried to squeeze in

I see your outline like a defeated smoke signal

we walk out to the table of earth, above the world

where you say you own nothing and have it all

my heart is heavy for all the suffering, that’s why I speak, even as you

stay silent on your boat, watching for ripples in the surface

I am beneath water, pushing air and words upward

it’s all I know to do

the curse of the confessional poet, hot whispered glares of disapproval

as they tut and turn away, their pigeon necks, bent and cooing

“she’s putting it all out there, for shame”

and you know what I think?

I think the shame is you

JUSTICE – Candice Louisa Daquin

woman-speaksx750Today my sisters and brothers

there is simmering fine-grained rage in the quiet pockets of woman all around the world

rage has not left the room

it is bottled in corners like a fizzing drink about to explode

rage has no accent or specific color

it owns the language of all who came before

it is the woman who is violated when there were only five humans on this earth

it is the child who is taught to condemn women as their first lesson and does not understand

why the woman who nurtures him is trampled on

rage is a quiet supermarket and a grocery shopper

who stands at the canned beans aisle with tears pouring down her face

for she would rather spend hours picking out canned goods than face

the ire of her husband and the laws that do not protect her from being beaten

black and blue

maybe rage does have a color

maybe rage will not always be contained in petticoats and corsets and push up bras

maybe it’s taken too long (oh yes it has taken too long)

but the souls of the witches, the souls of the healers, the souls of the mothers, the souls of the daughters

and their good sons, and their good sons

are rising once more

they clamor to be heard

in the infernal din that is society today

with perpetual noise nobody is listening, apathy has multiplied

nobody knows what is being allowed to happen

or they turn their faces thinking if it’s not trending it doesn’t matter

this doesn’t apply to me I am not a feminist

I am not a victim. I am not a survivor. I am not oppressed

I will not take part in your embarrassing crusade

they are content to post selfies in sexualized poses to gain

imaginary power and control

by the time they learn their folly it may be too late

if one of their kind is raped, they turn like a swarm of locust against her

you must have done something to deserve that, you are weak

did you drink? did you wear a short skirt? did you stay up too late? did you let a boy into the house alone?

then you caused this to happen and you can’t come crying to me

it wasn’t the choices of the male

after all; boys will be boys

we teach them that don’t we?

with hyper masculinity and shame

we teach them that don’t we?

with pornography and permission; if a girl is lying there, you can take her

even if she says no or is unconscious, go on it’s okay she won’t mind

rape isn’t as bad as murder, what’s all the fuss about?

animals rape animals, it’s almost natural

we teach them with our legal system that blames the victim

makes her stand scathingly beneath lights and attest her truth

to a room full of disbeliever

if she is lucky enough to get that far

usually the police office will say

love, don’t you think you should go home and sleep it off?

you may feel differently tomorrow when you’ve realized

the part you played in your rape

after all … all girls lie don’t they?

what about our poor sons?

what about our vulnerable men?

don’t they deserve some justice?

absolutely say the guilty women

now there are many rights and protections for men

women, they work twice as hard once again

just to be believed

to prove what they say, because she could be lying

what motive does she have? Maybe she just hates men. Maybe she’s a lesbian!

what motive to destroy the lives of young boys just starting out

after all, he’ll grow out of it … won’t he?

like the average 80 victims of a paedophile?

he’ll just spontaneously stop doing it

or maybe, he’ll realize he has societal permission

after all wasn’t it said in the Cosby trial

the jurors were not convinced by the room full of women who came forward

they believed he Cosby was guilty because he admitted it in a private hearing on camera

“when he said what he did, I realized he had to have done it” said one young juror

it seems the deafening voices of the women were not enough

how many voices? How many women will it take?

what about the boys though? our boys? why is this all about women?

boys get raped too and when they do, nobody listens, this is true

it is about men because men do 99 percent of rapes

boys who abuse girls, grow up to be men who abuse women

the supreme court is the highest court of the land

if we allow men who have abused women in

to become more embittered by their battle to get there

soon rights will be crushed under their malice

but isn’t it fair to give him a chance? After all he didn’t go all the way?

does it take that to justify? What happened to morality?

would you want someone who had done this to your daughter, sister, mother

on the supreme court?

why do we believe her?

did you LOOK INTO HER EYES

I did

I saw her tremble

no woman

no woman in the world

would stand up in front of the universe and say what she said

if it were a lie

it’s just too awful

political shifting aside (as we all know both parties are doing it and care little for the rights of victims and everything for the machinations of the political beast)

she will have to go back to her burned out life

a pariah on the run, homeless, shamed

if we don’t stand and say we believe you

who will?

if we don’t finally stand together and stop picking apart words like

feminism, womanhood and equality

and realize it still doesn’t exist

we are the only ones who can make it happen

if we don’t all have the courage of Christine

we may never make this world a better place

for all of us

women and men

boys and girls

no is no

sex isn’t violence

existing isn’t permission

to rape me or try to rape me

it’s not okay

it’s not okay

if you think you should be given a free pass

because I cannot produce 1000 witnesses

because I didn’t die

because you have changed

there is forgiveness and then there is consequence

there is right and there is wrong

not all men are rapists

not all women are victims

but in order to survive

we need to decide

what we are willing to tolerate

I don’t tolerate a network of naysayers

who take rape as seriously as forgetting their lunch

who think it’s okay to support someone who has those lack of morals

let’s change the system

let’s get all the debris out

it’s true those attracted to politics are often, the egomaniac, the narcissist

but not every man attempts rape

not every woman is a liar waiting to tear him down

let the good ones back in

and when a woman stands up

do not be a voice in the crowd jeering her down

do not automatically assume she has an agenda

other than trying to seek

justice

For the unjust – Candice Louisa Daquin

No

the meek did not inherit the earth

the unjust did

they built towers, tore down land, put up artifices

to their glories

giant gnashing flesh consuming machines they were

so long absented from Eden, Hades, Siddhartha, Zarathustra or Paris, TX

they no longer knew what was cruel cruel CRUEL

she knew, as she placed carefully and with some delicacy

her head in the proverbial lions jaw

she smelt salivation, a drunken lust to abhor

even as she stood her ground, smiled, did not give an inch

felt the carpet of the world being pulled UN-magically

with the wormy writhe of tongues imbibed on sarcasm’s quill

addicted to stabbing in the back, anything not approximating themselves

for the unjust then

it is enough to say

I know you

when I published my first poem, you

wrote your friend; ‘she thinks she’s something special but she’s trash’

I asked you to your face

why did you say this? In the same breath turn to me and smile?

I would rather you told me point-blank

the barrel of a gun is more honest than a knife behind your back

had you told me what you really thought of me I would have said

that is your prerogative

your opinion, you can share it when I am gone

but don’t pretend to like me at the same time

do not kid yourself into believing you are splendid

for the unjust

may play that sick lyre of spite

one moment hold you up, while planing your defeat

I have had so many times, this cold feeling in my gut

now it is part of who I am, to mistrust

when you have taken that, I have nothing left to lose

shock me once, shame on you, shock me twice, shame on me

you were embarrassed, outraged to be caught

I felt no need to forgive what you did not believe was wrong

no the meek did not inherit the earth

the unjust did

I see clearer than before

when object to pinch and humiliate

it was once said, they cannot hurt you if you do not care

but I care

for no truth will be spoken without risk

so I risk

in speaking I know there is much desire to stifle and shame

though I have never understood why some find it necessary

for the unjust then

you rule this thin world

I am just a voice

if I could vanish perhaps I would

but then you’d have gotten what you wanted

so I persist