To The Men Who Mistreated These Women (And Their Mothers): You. Just. Got. Burned.

Melissa Gilkey

The journey into womanhood is not always an easy one. Take it from Tonya Ingram and Venessa Marco, who prove that it's possible to emerge from the flames stronger and more powerful than society ever would have expected.

*Contains strong language (NSFW)*

"Khaleesi"

us women; merely second opinion
but first appetite
are taught early how to restrain the wolves,
when the men converge
all gnawing teeth and salivating fangs
these insatiable men who snarl us out of our lineage
sabertooth non-believers who cannot consider
how loud we can be
how brass and trombone this world has played us

there is no place here to
unravel yourself for them
bow your head
unlearn your name

for those of us
who introduce
the bold- face of mouth
become a whore’s tooth
become agile breast
become unbounded thighs

I learned to be quiet
when the anvils of
a false prophet
mistook my 13
for playground

only the quiet survive

I saw my mother
give her body to a man
she didn’t even know
didn’t even love like that
my eyes swallowed the whole of him and her

and all that it meant

to know who I came from
shook loose her skin
the last time a lover begged for me beautiful
for origami hands someone
who could crease fold his skin
I told him
I was the aftermath of paper
when it bows out of pretty
when the wind smacks it straight on its back

we’ve been smacked straight on our backs

too often for someone to assume us to be fragile daughters of eve
simple creatures only of night
and the devil who plagues us

we are not only a mouth and luring siren
we are the women

who dare think of ourselves as more than a fuck
when we lend are thoughts to breath
we know often
we are speaking the words that will kill us
for we are then called

bitch
cunt
whore

never a voice
just static sound

I learned to yell
when I met the devil
he would make cigarette burns
on my mother and call it chimney
birthed me a riot
now I speak with intention
will not cower to the buildings of men
who belittle me orphan
chastise all that I have to say
it is always too much or nothing
all nag or too shy

when your voice is a shot gun: a warning
to the careless
they will make sweetmeat out of you

go ahead
I have seen hell enough times
to know its scorch
it has taught me to forge this voice into a sword
sharpened tongue that’ll carve the bones
back into your lost
your stone-jaw threat does not cause my peace to be still

this is our birthright
this is our inherit
we are women who capsize entire crowds
with the sayings of the wind
holy knuckles
full
of fight

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