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

Good girls wish to matter – Candice Louisa Daquin

Good girls

Don’t masturbate

They don’t politely rub themselves for hours

In the steam of locked bathrooms

Where no one can hear their need

Good girls

Sit cross-legged, thighs touching, wondering why

They feel bereft

Reminded that sex and its pleasures

Still considered a sin of sorts

When in doubt show comportment

Good girls don’t

Cut themselves and hide the blood

They don’t scream behind crimson closed doors

Chop off their hair

They don’t lose their shit in public and get asked

Are you okay? / Or worse … / Walked past

Good girls hold themselves together with stick pins

and butterfly wings, egg shells and lost names

tar and soot, the remainder of hope chest

stuffing leaking out like snow in 80 degrees

Even as their feathered heart and roiling ocean is fit to burst

Good girls starve the fat bits and cook them slow

God knows know how to please others

Even as they climb further down the hole

And I would say

If you are in need of feasting

Feast on me

There’s white meat and brown

Though dried up and dessicated, none the less

They invite the stranger to sup at table

Though my teeth are small and I whistle in my sleep

Good girls wish to matter to someone

And if they do not

They climb inside a foreign language

Speaking upside down in glue

Let me lap up

This spoilt milk and curdled cream

Good girls may not have been

Tenderized as well as beaten veal

Their warrior hearts may defy the need

To bow and scrape and lose identity

In rush of elbows, knees and worldly zeal

They may

Save their patchwork daughters

They may turn and talk to you on a bus

As it rushes through the traffic like a book of poetry

They may touch your arm and ask

Do you feel as I?

Would you wish to cry?

And hold it in a blue dropper

Waiting for a quiet moment to pour out

Disguise the truth of thinly held together madness?

Good girls may be caught

In-flagranti and rolled over iron bed frame

In contorted pose of acrobats anquish

Many will say afterward

What happened to her? She seemed so well behaved

Before she became a whore.slut.fool.puta.cunt

Good girls may shout

From their confines in grimy mental ward

Behind glass only appear to mouth

Words of female repression and horror

For as a man will take his wont

A women doing the same, is twice judged

By her sisters and herself

Learned behavior owned by masters

Who seek to extricate her voice

The touch of a wave as it crests

Furiously over those barriers we believe

Protect us from harm

She is despite this, a creature of the sea

When they eventually tire of her

She finds salty pathway and is reabsorbed

Good girls are black pearls

They are made by rolling in worldly grit

Until they glow dark beneath the storm

Un cadre semi-sauvage – Candice Louisa Daquin

Feminism in the late eighties

showed itself to me incompletely

a chain-smoking, pencil-thin waif

thought she was a sister

didn’t have a clean bra to burn

in the auditorium of quiet listeners

Luce Irigaray stood discussing; To Speak is Never Neutral

it was unpolitic of me to note she had high cheek bones

over vending machine chocolat chaud

with wet gloves and skinny scarfs, the outraged and the firm

discussed Julia Kristeva and her “chora”

an oeuvre of sorts

whether Simone de Beauvoir was existential or pawn to Sartre

what caused her to lose faith? Where once, she’d set her heart on being a nun

(was it true she seduced young girls in her forties?

are men penalized as harshly when they do the same?)

intertextuality, the semiotic, and abjection

Jacques Lacan mentioned once or twice

exhaling and crushing yellowed Gauloises in cold coffee

I twirled my styrofoam cup, wondering

if unconscious sexualized behavior was bred

or a fantasy of linguistics formed by men?

if we’d wear red satin panties for ourselves, if a lover were not coming over tonight?

what constituted attractive, versus appropriated?

the desire I had for a small shinned girl

who wore canary yellow bands in her black hair

it was decided Hélène Cixous held the greater respect for

her le rire de la méduse

and being a Jew whose Écriture feminine

defied the patriarchy

whilst the logic of Antilove spelt the self-hatred women have

woman as anti-narcissism resonated in my pierced ears

a love of what we do not have

though the idea of universal bisexuality or polymorphous perversity

deconstructed my simple belief

love is love

Cixous was influenced ironically by a man

Derrida who now is quoted in most lesbian textbooks as

a defining force, phallus again describing women

fortunately he understood belonging constituted of exclusion and

non-belonging was real

I had chewed my pencil

sat at the end of the room so long

memorizing the backs of everyone’s heads

maybe I wasn’t very good at being part

of a spirited group even if they were my sisters

there were times they still

looked at me side-ways with cats eye glance

you learn young, means girls aren’t always your friend

nevertheless I dwelt on the

shape of a woman by the window and how

in half-light she could appear

to shimmer like a lemon tree receiving rain

I recalled a

Paul Verlaine quote

“De baisers superficiels
Et des sentiments à fleur d’âme”

(Of kisses that brushed the surface
And feelings that shook the soul)

and wondered

if french philosophers and feminists

were as I …

limited by their longing for romance

without rules and stark observation

in the crepe listing

of afternoon