Sophia Field

Justification

I won’t to be your princess

I rule my own damn castle.

 

/I refuse to be your statistic/

I am flesh, blood, bone, human.

Hear me fucking roar.

 

Don’t make me the object

of your hidden desire, sheathed

neatly, behind excuses

and defenses,

 

you paint them like I give a shit

or asked for this

or asked for you ––

I fucking didn’t.

 

It’s not me who begged for the validation

of your desire,

didn’t ask to press my stomach to yours in defeat

at the gravesite where you bury

your secrets like me,

 

I’m not your therapist,

won’t fix your broken wing

won’t justify myself to you.

 

Today

for the last time

she will make her bed in defeat

 

Tomorrow

for the first time

she will raise her arms to the heavens instead

 

She will live

with no justification.

Cloudy Today: A Vignette

October 1987

I wake up to a loud, panicked knock on my door. I quickly pull on a pair of sweatpants, and opened the door. There is Maggie, tearing up.

“Anna, you’re the only person… I don’t know what to do… Fuck, Anna, I need to talk to someone or I might do something I regret.”

“It’s 2 in the morning.”

Maggie ignores this. “Let’s go somewhere private. The bathroom. C’mon.” She tugs on my arm, and I acquiesce, following her down the dimly lit dormitory corridor.

We sit facing each other in the showers. Her face is red, eyes stained with tears, mascara running. She still looks perfect, and I lean forward, ready with a tissue, and dab at her eyes.

“It’s okay. Tell me what happened.”

Maggie looks up at me with her giant hazel eyes, and a shudder runs down my spine. She gulps.

“I loved that asshole. I fucking loved him. Fuck, I thought I did. Why the fuck do I let people love me?” The tears start again in earnest, and she buries her head in her hands, her whole body racked with sobs.

“What happened?” I ask.

“Fucking guess, Anna,” she snaps. “He goes off for a semester abroad, and insists we can make it work, that long distance isn’t the end, and then I have to hear from his brother that he’s screwing some tramp, some Eastern European slut who can probably bend her legs backwards over her head, and I’m here twiddling my goddamned thumbs, waiting like some pathetic little housewife for him to come back…” she trails off, then looks down guiltily at the floor. Her head turns back up to me. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to explode like that. I found out, like, an hour ago and you were the only person I thought of to tell. Fuck, I know it’s early, I must have paced outside your door for like, twenty minutes, Anna, I did, but I needed to see you, I needed to get this shit out of me, I would have fucking exploded.”

After a few minutes, she pulls away, rooting around in her bag. She removes a cigarette, lights it, closes her eyes, and the smoke curls out of her nostrils. She does everything with such grace even when she’s falling apart. I fall out of my hypnosis and grab the cig from her, stubbing it out on the damp ground.

“What the fuck you do that for?”

“God damn it, you fucking idiot, you can’t smoke in here. You’ll set the alarms off, wake up the whole damn building.”

“Pfft. Like that fucking matters. Like anything fucking matters.”

“Christ, you dummy, yeah, shit matters! I matter! You matter!”

“Fuck it, Anna, of course you matter. I just need a damn cigarette.”

I try to change the subject before she gets herself expelled. “You’ll find someone who deserves you. I told you from the beginning that he didn’t.”

“So what? It’s my fault?”

“Shut up. You know exactly what I’m saying. He was wrong, but he’s not the only one out there.”

“Ehh… I know, but, Anna, I can’t just wait for the right person. What’s the point of a bright future if today is so fucking cloudy?”

I don’t know what to say, so I don’t say anything. I want to dry her tears. I want to put her soft lips against mine. I want to hold her tight and never let her go. A selfish thought crosses my mind: I want her to love me. I want her to know that I am that person, the one who could be right for her, to make her happy, to love her unconditionally.

It’s fucking pathetic. I always said I wouldn’t be the one lusting after the straight girls. And here I am, taking a moment that’s about Maggie, and making it about me.

This is when Maggie leans in and presses her lips against mine. They’re rougher than I imagined them to be. I can’t kiss her back, because before I can even think she’s pulled away again, her expression quickly contorting into a frown.

“What the fuck was that, Anna? I thought we were friends!”

“Mag, you kissed me-”

“Shut up, you dyke! Get away from me!”

She gets up and walks away and it’s like I’ve been punched in the throat because each breath is jagged and I can’t say a single fucking word or do anything useful but smell her lingering scent and hear that heavy bathroom door slam.

10 Hilarious Queer Comics to Watch Out For

Stand-up comedy is a tricky subject for a marginalized audience. Though we may all know queer icons like Ellen DeGeneres, Margaret Cho, or Tig Notaro, queer comics can seem to be few and far between. And in the age of #MeToo, when we are realizing that many comic icons like Louis CK and Bill Cosby are sexual predators, we are more aware that mainstream comedy does not represent minority communities than we ever have been before. Worse still is the fact that despite queer comics being underrepresented, cis-heterosexual comedians still place us as the punchline to homophobic and transphobic jokes that are often horrifyingly violent, such as Tracy Morgan’s homophobic tirade in which he says he would “stab” his son for coming out as gay, or Lil Duval’s appearance on variety show The Breakfast Club when he joked about killing a sexual partner if he found out she was trans. The occurrence of disparaging jokes against the queer community is not limited to just these two examples, either–it is disturbingly common and routine in sets from non-queer comedians to presumably non-queer audiences.

Drowned

I took a day to choose my name

To make my voice shake loud

They tell me that I’m just the same

 

They lay the bricks to place the blame

To feel no reason to be proud

I took a day to choose my name

 

The fortunate will win the game

To fit into the crowd

They tell me that I’m just the same

 

They laugh and start to take their aim

Their anger still avowed

I took a day to choose my name

 

All the advancing changes came

I feel as though I’ve drowned

They tell me that I’m just the same

 

You find our truth is just a game

A reticence endowed

I took a day to choose my name

They tell me that I’m just the same.

A Girl’s Lunchbox

First grade, first day, six years old. I have golden locks that fall to my chin and a pink shirt. My lunchbox, soft fabric, is covered in tiny purple and blue and red flowers. I place it in my cubby with my backpack. There’s probably a sandwich inside. Pretzels, apple slices, a bottle of water. It’s a normal lunchbox. I’m a normal kid; this is a normal first day.

So when we go to lunch I’m surprised at the angry voice that comes from across the room.

“You got a girl shirt and a girl lunchbox.” Forgetting these words, or their impact, is not an option for me.

Angie is a tall girl with plastic clips in her hair and a shirt not too different from mine. She is well-liked by everyone, even the teacher. Her voice, the cutting edge of her words, take me aback. She’s not the first person to police my expression, and she’s not the last. But it is a delicate moment of first-day fragility. I am scared. And because I am different, I’m vulnerable too.

Shame. Shame is what I feel. Shame for who I am and the clothes I wear. I put my lunchbox back into my cubby without eating and I fold my arms across my shirt for the rest of the day. I feel like I’ve made some crucial mistake. I feel like a joke.

 

Ocean

Her heaving sighs,

the morning rise,

my toes resting

slide onto bare wood.

 

I step into hot sand.

Enveloped, developed, tough grit

exfoliates a broken wing.

 

She tells me to breathe,

I tell her to leave.

The heavy ocean rises and falls,

screaming seagulls make their calls,

I wait behind for news of you.

10 Great Episodes of “Queery” to Give a Listen

Trigger Warning: Eating disorder mention under entry #3, and homophobic slurs under entry #10.

 

Are you looking for a great queer-themed podcast to try out? Consider stand-up comic Cameron Esposito’s newest podcast Queery, which debuted August 2017. Esposito set out with Queery determined to give our community something that we do not have enough of: a recorded oral history. Our stories and experiences are important and worth recording, which is exactly what Esposito accomplishes with Queery.

 

What I like most about her show is the diversity, which is of utmost importance when recording the history of the queer community––after all, we are not all the white-washed, nearly always cis version of ourselves that is represented in the media. Esposito sits down with queer people of color, queer people across the gender and sexuality spectrum, disability rights advocates, trans and non-binary people, and more. But not only does Esposito believe in diversity of identity, but diversity of opinion, as well. She understands that we don’t all want the same thing, or have the same views on current issues. As she says in her intro to each episode, “This is a show about individual experience and personal identity. There may be times when folks use identifying words or phrases that don’t feel right to you. That’s part of what we’re exploring here. Please listen with an open heart, and, as always, I welcome your polite, engaged feedback, and I encourage you to continue the conversation in your life and with your community.” Esposito wants to start conversations, get our community talking, and work towards a community that respects and understands each other.

 

To get you started, here are ten of my personal favorite Queery episodes. Please consider giving them a listen! And if you like what you hear, you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, join the forum on the Earwolf website, or follow Queery on Facebook and Twitter. Also, give a listen to Esposito’s other podcast, weekly stand-up showcase Put Your Hands Together.

 

Pealing

I cannot

quantify

love

as some

objective

feeling.

 

All I know

is I

feel love,

a love

that

sends me

reeling.

 

Her

face

her

breasts

her

soft dimpled

curves,

His

eyes,

his

smile,

his

cryptic swerving

words.

 

We sat

small

in a row

on the

couch.

Hands

laced

together,

hearts

pulsate,

feet crouched.

Cameron Esposito’s “Rape Jokes” and the Importance of Diversity in Comedy

Trigger Warning: post contains sexual assault mention

 

Cameron Esposito starts her new one-hour set with an honest, and, yes, funny, discussion of sexual assault: “What can I do at work if I can’t talk about your sweater?” she asks in mock confusion. Her fitting and layered response: “Work.” This is what Esposito implores for all of us in her new stand-up special Rape Jokes, which has already accomplished much of what it set out to do. Offered for free on-demand viewing through her website, its viral status has earned it glowing reviews on major media outlets, and among her fans: from devoted followers of her career, to the new recruits to her brutally honest, timely, loveable, and funny comedic style. And most importantly, the special has brought on the tough conversations that we need to have in the #MeToo era. This is not to mention the over $30,000 which it has raised––through modest donations for a download of the entire set––for RAINN, the largest non-profit in the United States dedicated to ending rape and sexual violence.

 

Esposito’s central idea behind Rape Jokes is the reclamation of rape jokes by survivors of sexual assault––including Esposito herself. She uses a fluid, story-based comedy style that weaves witty insights about her personal life with important questions about a society built around patriarchal rape culture. From growing up “very, very Catholic” with a lack of proper sex education, to being shamed into the closet during college, to her sexual assault by a friend and classmate, Esposito shows how the shame and lack of education surrounding sex in our culture works to both promote sexual violence, and to hide it from view. Esposito shows that jokes about sexual assault can be funny from the proper perspective. She urges us to understand that when rape is used for its shock value, we are only further desensitized to sexual violence, and taught that it is something to uncomfortably laugh off.

 

Borderlands /// A Poem in Three Parts

Trigger Warning: this post contains the use of slurs.

 

I. Reconciliation

I exist
at the border of two lies,
constructed only to oppose
one another.
They pull and tug at my flesh,
construct the parts of me
that make me whole,
but tear me down again.

We are the trannies,
the faggots,
the dykes,
the cunts,
the queers.
We are the ones
who so acutely
understand this lie.
Because we are the ones
who so acutely
are scarred
again & again
by its existence.

They mark us male,
they give us blue beanies
& tell us not to cry,
they tell us to live in the world
as us
is to assert,
to dominate,
through every example,
Violence leads our lives

Or they mark us female,
guided into submission
insecurity tightened into our blood
every man painted a threat
to our existence,
But further, as
the final goal,
the one that will justify our bodies,
Violence leads our lives, too.