Brief meditation on the current news and the nature of survival. (Heads up for topic of sexual assault/triggering/Epstein.)

♦ ♦ ♦

Yesterday, I read the charges filed against co-defendents Epstein AND Trump for their numerous violent sexual attacks on the same 13yo girl in 1994. It was awful, but I’m used to awful—and the almost-clinical tone of most legalese is generally easier to get through than more evocative writing on the same subject.

And then there were a few words, a halfway-rendered visual image in my head. . . suddenly I’m dizzy, light-headed : my arms are burning : : it hurts to breathe : : :

More than 12 hours later, I still can’t say to you what those words were. Not that I don’t know, you understand. I am perfectly clear what tripped the trigger, but they are surrounded by a giant bubble of silence and darkness that threatens to pull me back in each time I reach to pull those words out.

I’ve been here before.

Maybe you have too. In which case, we both know we’ll be here again, at some unpredictable time.

Expectation of the unexpected.

Continue reading “Awe”

Brief Political PSA Regarding the Inadequacy of GOP Responses to Most Recent Evidence that their Presidential Candidate Gleefully Engages in Sexual Assault

Quick reminder:

We as a society are no better served by benevolent sexism than by overt misogyny.

[Relevant background, for any who may have missed and wished to view the latest “bombshell” evidence that the Republican candidate for President—a serial adulterer who raped his first wife, stands accused of raping a 13yo girl, and sexually harassed scores of women employees, in addition to those he outright assaulted—is less politician, more rapey, racist, bigoted mass of sexist pond scum. NB: while the video clip released by WaPo does contain “vulgar language,” far more problematic is the sexual violence Tromp (sic) describes and enthuses over.]



GOP Leadership?

Take note:

I have no more interest in being “championed and revered” by my government than I have in being crotch-grabbed by it. [1]

“Hitting on a married woman” is not on par with sexual assault, not even close—a point easy to miss if your primary concern is with insults to “our wives and daughters” rather than to half the American citizenry. [2]

And when you express your concern as “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner”—then spend the rest of your weekend huddled in presidential debate-prep with the man who so described us—you confirm that window-dressing matters to you more than substance. That you are willing to see me as a p***y to be grabbed, just so long as that p***y-grab is not talked about. [3]

In sum:
Do not revere us.
Do not pretend to own us.
Do not clean up your language in our presence.

Just stop pretending you are not an equal sh!tstain on our polity to your man who would be king.

To borrow the words of Jessica Valenti:



[1] Thanks but no thanks, Paul Ryan.

[2] Swing and a miss there, Mitt Romney.

[3] Awww. The feeling of disdain is mutual, Reince!

Once More for the Cheap Seats

I am usually a fan of Shaun King‘s work. He has done — and continues to do — invaluable reporting on police violence, anti-black violence, and the Black Lives Matter movement. But in his recent piece about the Daniel Holtzclaw trial, King really misses the mark.

(Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City police officer stands accused of sexually assaulting 13 black women, one of whom was only 17 at the time, and has pled not guilty to 36 counts including rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and stalking.)

King’s tone-deaf support for Holtzclaw’s victims demonstrates once again why an intersectional analysis is absolutely vital when one is discussing sexual and gender violence.

Daniel Holtzclaw last month. Photograph: Sue Ogrocki/AP (via)

Continue reading “Once More for the Cheap Seats”

these are what prayers look like


what they did yesterday afternoon

by warsan shire

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like:
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered


♦ ♦ ♦

Warsan Shire’s “what they did yesterday afternoon” was first published as a part of ‘Riot Pieces,’ a collaborative project by writers and other artists in response to the devastating and deadly social unrest that occurred in England from August 6 to 8, 2011.

Did you know that August 2011 was a time of devastating and deadly social unrest in England?

Because I didn’t.

Or if I once did, I have since forgotten.

November 12, 2015: Terrorists attack in Beirut. Many are killed, many are wounded, and countless more are devastated. A nation is in mourning.

November 13, 2015: Terrorists attack in Paris. Many are killed, many are wounded, and countless more are devastated. A nation is in mourning.

November 14, 2015: I read the last two stanza’s of Warsan Shire’s poem “what they did yesterday afternoon” circulating on social media. I don’t know what poem they are from or why they were written, yet still they bring me comfort.

It is good to find words that can speak for us, when we are in mourning.  Continue reading “these are what prayers look like”

Coming Out of the Quiet

Deray McKesson — Black Lives Matter activist, founding member of We The Protestors, “curator, connector,” and Twitterer extraordinaire — gave a speech on Saturday at a San Francisco gala hosted by GLAAD.

McKesson spoke about the protest in Ferguson, and how those early days grew into a movement. About what it means to love himself as a proud black gay man. About the power of Twitter as a force in fostering community and sustaining activism, and how social media has enabled those who have felt alone to find one another — and to make their voices heard.

Because I believe this speech is too good not to be heard, I am sharing it here.

Because I can’t be the only person who prefers reading to listening, I also transcribed it. (You’re welcome!)

Because I proved unable to control myself, I have added emphasis to certain passages below. Mostly these’re the ones I want to run through the streets shouting into people’s faces, so I figured a font change was the better choice. (You’re welcome again!)

Without further ado — take it away, Deray…


A year ago in St. Louis, we never thought that the protests would spread the way that they have. We never thought that people would rise up in their own communities. We knew that people were going to stand with us in St. Louis, but we didn’t know that it would spread. But it did. And here we are.

In those early days, we made two commitments:a commitment to stand today, and a commitment to fight tomorrow. We made those commitments despite it being illegal in St. Louis to stand still. We made those commitments despite being arrested for what we knew was right. We made those commitments despite being teargassed and shot at with rubber bullets. We made those commitments because we knew that we were on the right side of justice.

And those commitments started as commitments of protest. Protest is confrontation, protest is disruption, protest is the end of silence. And for us, the protest began in the street. But protest is so many things.

I think often of this tweet:

Continue reading “Coming Out of the Quiet”

Tomato, To-MAH-to


Or, to modify the expression: “You say ‘bold’ — I say ‘milquetoast banality’.

“You” in this case refers to Tom McKay and/or his editor over at, who just published an article about Hillary Clinton’s speech yesterday under the click-baity title:

In One Quote, Hillary Clinton Just Took a Bold Stance on Race in America

Let me spare you the trouble of clicking through. According to the article^, Clinton’s so-called “bold stance” consisted of saying the following:

…our problem is not all kooks and Klansmen, it’s also the cruel joke that goes unchallenged. It’s the offhand comment about not wanting ‘that kind of person’ in the neighborhood.

Dunno how bold that sounds to you? seems quite pleased — they superimposed the quote over an image of Clinton’s face and everything.

To me. . . well, I’ma let Captain Janeway express my thoughts on the leadership contained therein:

eye roll captain janeway
Starfleet is not impressed.

Only in a political atmosphere where not one GOP candidate would at first acknowledge that the killings at Mother Emanuel were racially motivated (the stand-out copouts for me were Santorum calling it an assault on the “religious liberty” of Christians, Rand Paul blathering about people’s misunderstanding of “salvation,” and Huckabee declaring today that the government-sanctioned flying of a traitor nation’s Confederate flag in 2015 is “not an issue” worthy of comment by presidential candidates) — I repeat: ONLY in such cowardly and deceitful company can one deem “bold” the obvious truth that many individual racists exist who would never think of slaughtering a bible study group.  Continue reading “Tomato, To-MAH-to”