thanksgiving 2016 in the time of fascism

I spoke to my parents again and am going to go to Thanksgiving. I tried to explain that I don’t feel like I can talk to them because they always yell (and then sometimes I yell back) and I’m tired of the yelling. I don’t think they will ever change at this point or understand what their vote for Trump and hate has done but they are my parents and the only ones I will have.

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To my father, a poem

Sorry I haven’t written in a bit, still horrified at this election results and trying to process all the damage and hate. I wrote this poem because this rise of fascism makes me confront the fascism and hate in my own life. It’s a rough draft and a work in process.

To my father

This is your America now
Where you can say freely
to your daughter marrying someone not white
“What if the children turn out black?”

I didn’t speak to you for six months
it wasn’t enough
I put those feelings in a box
and stored it in the attic of my soul
but now those beams are bending
under the weight of all your cruelty

I am going to stop acting nice
because you haven’t been very nice to me
my entire life

You have made it clear over the years
that you will never help take care of a grandchild
but now you ask for them
too late, I cannot surround any child in your hate
neither you or mom are anyone I could depend on
the costs are too great

I have no support from my involuntary family
I’m the only beam assigned to carry the weight of family
as my two brothers receive all your help and respect

Every day I see less difference between you, dad,
and our future dictator

You always claim the world is ending
because your world is ending
because you are eighty
and now you have a leader
who may truly end the world
either by nuclear fire or rising tides
and you don’t mind because you will be right
and soon you will die.

But I won’t go down without a fight

Dad, you rarely call me daughter but son
To paraphrase Voldemort, I am the spare
I do not matter, only my brothers
I was supposed to stay at home
and take care of you and mom starting in my twenties
I had no right to have my own life

After all, I am the core of the support network
called upon to tell my older brother
to complete his school work
but then accused of over-mothering

I was a girl and now am a woman
I am the lesser sex
and you are not religious

“I should have brainwashed you when you were young.”
When none of us went into your financial business
“You would have never known the difference.”

Throughout my teenage years
you repeated Rush Limbaugh’s slurs “Femi-nazi”
I tried to explain how hurtful those words were
You wouldn’t listen so I reached my end and said,
“How would you feel if I called you a guinea?”
and you threatened for weeks to ship me off to a mental institution

If my husband dies before me and you are still alive
I will move as far as I can from the menacing reach of you
I haven’t trusted you for twenty years or more

When I was nine, I jumped up and down on the diving board
and screamed I hate you
I don’t remember why
You have never forgiven me
but this happened when I was nine
at the start of my cousin molesting me

I am tired of forgiving your hurts and barbs
to the point of ceasing to exist
I’m done hiding in plain sight

“I’m disappointed in all my children,” you declared
Unbidden and denied a minute after said outright

I say now what I wish I said then
“Well, I’m disappointed in you!”
You have never made me feel wanted
you have always made me feel less
because I’m of the female gender

“You should be stronger than that.”

When I wanted to leave a family reunion
my molesting older cousin showed up at
I was sixteen
It had been five years since he last abused me

You re-write history when it suits you
“He only tried to kiss you right?”
No, he was working up to raping me
He threatened to kill me if I told

You didn’t protect me
but I didn’t hold it against you
because once I told, you and mom you stopped it
but over the years you chip away at what happened
to make yourself feel better
and me worse

You said recently
that you guess you still couldn’t go to any family reunions
as a rebuke
like I should be so thankful you don’t
now, I say go and be with your own heartless kind
the rapists and rape apologists
boys will be boys
and boys can do whatever they want to girls
because girls don’t matter
I don’t matter
I’m the spare
I’m less
I’m only your daughter

You are no father of mine

I want to hurt you the way you have hurt me all my life
I know it isn’t right
I know it will only feel good for a moment
I know you will never understand my pain

You will only hurt
because I have angered you
you will not hurt because I hurt

So many days I have been sure you never loved me
because if you love someone
how can you treat them like this?

You will probably never read this poem
but if you do, know that my love too
is now conditional.

 

Needless to say I’m not going to Thanksgiving. I’m not sure I can ever talk to them again. I’ve had enough. It’s so overwhelmingly personal. I’ve put up with it through the years, brushing things aside because I wanted to keep the peace and continue a relationship with them but what it took me forever to realize is that they don’t really want a relationship with me not as a person, not as an individual, not as someone who they keep hurting over and over again. Anyways, hugs to all. Talk later

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