the women/the men

the women get burned alive and lie in critical condition for days with burns over 40% of our bodies. burnt by an entire society. our faces disfigured by a backwards religion, families that will no doubt say we deserved it. why didn’t we see it coming? the women swallow the criticism. if we knew what poison tasted like, this would be it. bitter, heavy, vomit-inducing. like gasoline./the men get to say they heard voices telling them to burn us. but whose voices were these? was it that of his father, booming, frighteningly authoritarian? the voice that narrates the story of how a man should be? or was it the voice of his mother, telling him to stop crying like a girl and play outside with the boys? the boys who chop the tails off lizards for fun.

the women have our cars crashed into and then get shot in the face. in plain daylight, on the highway, as families drive by to do their sunday shopping, run their sunday errands, go to church to say their sunday prayers./the men are ex-police officers, who have taken vows to make us feel safe. the men have the law on their side. the men are the fucking law. with their clubs and their guns. you’re not stupid, you understand the implied metaphors.

the women get stabbed in the chest as we sleep next to our new boyfriends. perhaps men whose touches don’t burn with hate. but then again...everyone is always caught by surprise. no, not him, they will say, as our blood drips from their complacent hands. the hands they tied themselves with ropes braided together by traditions they swear must be maintained./the men are the fathers of our children. the men break into our apartments. the men get to decide when our lives should end because we are always “sus mujeres.” sus mujeres, who have no right to be with other men. and so they rationalize their crimes. la pegaera de cuernos. celos. la cabrona was asking for it. of course.

the women need 123 stitches to close up the gashes after being attacked with a broken bottle. how many stitches will we need to sew our mouths closed so we don’t talk back? or our vaginas? to keep them nice and tight for the men who own them, who decide when to open them. this is how they love us, yes? silent, subservient, and sealed shut?/the men get to have their identities protected by the police. and their actions justified by the media. a crime of passion, the television reporter says—all cleavage and hair—her fuchsia lips untrembling, not showing any sign of the weight those words hold in her mouth.

love? passion?

i have loved men so deeply i can still feel them in my skin. i have lusted after these men to the point where i imagine my hands are theirs as i touch myself to sleep when alone at night. on the cusp of love and lust lies passion. and in this intersection, there is no violence. there are no machetes, no broken bottles, no four by fours, no rifles, no hand guns, no matches, no metal pipes, no shards of broken glass, no vehicular homicides. my life is not in fucking danger when these two emotions collide. think of another term, mass media. (i will help you.) don’t place the blame on an emotion in which I feel most at home.


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