Trigger Warning: rape, abortion, involuntary confinement, forced drugging, eating issues, racism
The here and now is a prison house. We must strive, in the face of the here and now’s totalizing rendering of reality, to think and feel a then and there. Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.
Jose Esteban Munoz
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.
The girls are in the library. Even the voices only some hear are quiet. Reading and note-taking furiously in journals bent softened from their usual abode under shirts and waistbands. Hidden text.
The forest creatures gather underground inside the root tree cave away from The Natural Elements and look deeply into each other’s eyes. Communicating telepathically the way animals do, they sigh and whisper and share.
The girls want to know about Stacy’s abortion. Shy virgins, butches and sluts sit in a circle with her, sit on pillows in a quiet room and listen to her. Stacy says when she got pregnant the second time it’s ‘cause she got food poisoning and vomited the expensive medication. Couldn’t keep water down. Spit up.
She says semen is a poison to her, men pull out and spit poison on her, poison on her, poison in her, poison on the sheets. She is angry now. She says the second time she got pregnant he left her. She says it cost over $500 and she had to work double shifts. She says she ate pills in a clinic, different poisons. She drove herself home. Stacy says 3 days after the second pill her mom opened the door abruptly. “Get up.”
These girls were deserted in this desert and they never get dessert after dinner but they are allotted one honey packet and day and 3 pieces of fruit.
The doctors the adults the people who leave. They say if anyone ran she would find herself dead dehydrated a prune scratched and bruising in the desert.
The doctors the adults the people who leave. No one explains to the girls that they are in a toxic violent racist landscape. No one explains how girls of color who might try to run are in disproportionate danger to their white peers. They do say if anyone ran she would have to sell her body on the highway. There is a heavy implication she will be raped, a time additional to those rapes which drove her mad to begin with.
They are gathered in the “All Purpose Room.” The-ones-who-leave say they know of a secret out there in The Community. Everyone is given a slip of paper to confess.
The girls say ‘We are privileged enough to be confined.” Don’t ever forget to remind yourself.
At night on the twenty-foot path going back from dinner to the dorms, monitored march, the girls defiantly stop in the line one by one at this certain corner to see the sun sitting exactly on the horizon.
FREUD FREUD ADLER PAVLOV
FRANKL ROGERS PAPP
Secret songs of brawny longing. Yawning through lunch, Coreena is pinched by her hidden journal which reminds her to wake the fuck up and be nOrMaL for a minute grrrrrrrrr she strains inside herself, growling, managing factors which are documented by doctors, her captors. Grrrrrrrrrr she eats her lunch, triumphant.
The girls say it is winter their arthritis hands have been scribbling they love it they love it they love it the grind of their bones into bread to break later at tables at tea. She says are you mad or is it me? We’re angry we’re angry we’re angry.
THE WORDS THE PRIMPING LORD BYRON
THE OBTUSE LENT SAND THE STING
THE MEAN NUNS THE MEAN NUNS
THE VIOLENT RAT TAX MAN
THE LIES THE CRAFTS, IMPROVEMENT
THE LIMIT CONFIRMS IN STYLE THAT
ALL TRACTION HAS SEROTONIN.
Selina says, “I am the patient patient. My self worth isn’t nascent. I erase the rapists. All my friends have nightmares.”
Andrea “checks in” during a therapy group the same way for like months. The girls agree she is a political genius. Everyone has to say how they feel using feeling words not just if they feel like it. “I’m depressed” “I’m content” “I’m angry” “I feel like I’m not gonna get this stuff done on time-” “no those aren’t feeling words” “I feel worried” “that’s better, Andrea?” “I feel anticipatory.”
The girls write in their journals over and over: WE DO NOT EMBARK ON TIMID ADVENTURES. SHARKS OF THE FUTURE IN TIME THE PAST LENT US. WE ARE STARK SOUTURES REMINDING, RELENTLESS. WE ARE THE RECKONING AND THE FORCE.
We are the beckoning and the doors. Of course we are, remorseful stars, insolent.
My girls. Panic disorders, schizophephrenic disorganized type, bipolar 1 and 2, cyclothymia, dysthymia, major depressives (single episode, recurrent). GAD, GID, agoraphobia, OCD, PTSD, ODD, DID, BPD, hypochondriasis, female dyspareunia, female orgasmic disorder, vaginismus, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, eating disorders NOS (not otherwise specified), primary insomnia, trichotillomania, kleptomania, ADJUSTMENT DISORDERS, avoidant personalities, dependent personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, somataform disorder. Phencyclidine, opiod, sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic, nicotine, inhalant, hallucinogen, cocaine, cannabis, caffeine, amphetamine, and alcohol-related disorders. RAD, ADD/H/D, aspergers.
DO NOT SUBMIT TO REFORMIST UTOPIAS
DO NOT SUBMIT TO ANHEDONIA
WE LOVE YOU
WE LOVE YOU
WE NEED YOU
Someone has a cd player. No one knows how it was smuggled in. The girls who are ‘down’ sit in hiding with the machine, the girls who are ‘cool’ watch the door. “I love Kanye” “I miss Chicago” “shut up girl you’re from the suburbs” “I feel anticipatory” “shhh!! Listen.” “Taking refills of that Plan B pill, Another shorty that won’t make it to the family will, If I don’t make it, can’t take it, hope the family will, They ain’t crazy, they don’t know how insanity feel.”
JUNG PIAGET SKINNER
KINSEY PERLS ERICKSON
ERIKSON SACKS GILLIGAN
HORNEY ELLIS MYERS
MissBehave, MissDiagnose, MissUnderstood, MissDirect, MissInform, MissGender are in their secret meeting.
The girls have gotten good at saying things in their heads. They get the last word and stay safe. The girls get so good, they start communicating telepathically. Sometimes this is hard to manage in nOrMaL spaces when people start cracking jokes. [“pssssst I’m a telepathic psycho! I’m a psychopathic telos! Doctors got me on some shit and I’m feelin super mellow!”].
The girls are shimmering turquoise and gold water. Stacy closes her eyes and gets out of the car. A crowd with signs shouting. The girls are shiny cerulean noise and Stacy is Sailor Mercury, harnessing watery powers and knowledge. She is surrounded completely by sparkling indigo ocean as she makes it through the door safely.
Midnight. The girls say its midnight and they can’t stop laughing because Jane just made some joke about how Lil Wayne raps about menstrual bleeds more than most Riot Grrrls. Bahahahatheir guts hurt suddenly most of them leap toward the bathroom, all of them bleeding down their legs and laughing. The anorexics and transboys giggle about their abstention from this and keep rapping “SHE HOT AS HELL LET’S CALL HER HELEN, FIREMAN TO HER RESCUE LIKE 9/11”
They are back from the library. Someone asks are you queering utopia or rearing it? Does The Future for The Children include our teenage bullshit? “No!” the girls respond. Stacy calls out “is the future for The Child or The Fetus? Will the world see where we’re at and meet us?” “No!” the girls respond. They shriek with delight at this cathartic realization and begin stomping in a circle singing maniacally “it’s settled then!! It’s settled then!! It’s settled then!! It’s settled then!! Begin again begin again begin again it’s settled then!!”
WE ARE THE SYMPTOM BEARERS
THE SYSTEM DOESN’T SCARE US.
The girls draw circles in their notebooks with a line down the center. The infinite halo. The Moon. Their Lunacy. The girls draw little circle pills in their notebooks, the spitting image – with a line down the center. They draw round brains with two hemispheres. Binaries. The girls say the center line is a parody. What appears as an equator is a strategic signifier, for it too is a circle…
Judy laughs hysterically.
*This really is the photograph from this described stolen moment in treatment.