For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give names to the nameless so it can be thought. THe farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.

As they become known to and accepted by us, our feelings and the honest exploration of them become sanctuaries and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas. They become a safe-house for that difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but a disciplined attention to the true meaning of “it feels right to me.”

from “Poetry is Not a Luxury,” Audre Lorde (via commovente)

Poetry is Not a Luxury by Audre Lorde

razanlillie:

The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized. This is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are, until the poem, nameless and formless-about to be birthed, but already felt. That distillation of experience from which true poetry springs births thought as dream births concept, as feeling births idea, as knowledge births (precedes) understanding.

As we learn to bear the intimacy of scrutiny, and to flourish within it, as we learn to use the products of that scrutiny for power within our living, those fears which rule our lives and form our silences begin to lose their control over us.

For each of us as women, there is a dark place within where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, “Beautiful and tough as chestnut/stanchions against our nightmare of weakness” and of impotence.

These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and hidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman’s place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.

When we view living, in the european mode, only as a problem to be solved, we then rely solely upon our ideas to make us free, for these were what the white fathers told us were precious.

But as we become more in touch with our own ancient, black, non-european view of living as a situation to be experienced and interacted with, we learn more and more to cherish our feelings, and to respect those hidden sources of our power from where true knowledge and therefore lasting action comes.

At this point in time, I believe that women carry within ourselves the possibility for fusion of these two approaches as keystone for survival, and we come closest to this combination in our poetry. I speak here of poetry as the revelation or distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean — in order to cover their desperate wish for imagination without insight.

For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.

Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.

As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have once found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but the true meaning of “it feels right to me.” We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.

Possibility is neither forever nor instant. It is also not easy to sustain belief in its efficacy. We can sometimes work long and hard to establish one beachhead of real resistance to the deaths we are expected to live, only to have that beachhead assaulted or threatened by canards we have been socialized to fear, or by the withdrawal of those approvals that we have been warned to seek for safety. We see ourselves diminished or softened by the falsely benign accusations of childishness, of non-universality, of self-centeredness, of sensuality. And who asks the question: am I altering your aura, your ideas, your dreams, or am I merely moving you to temporary and reactive action? (Even the latter is no mean task, but one that must be rather seen within the context of a true alteration of the texture of our lives.)

The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us-the poet-whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free. Poetry coins the language to express and charter this revolutionary awareness and demand, the implementation of that freedom. However, experience has taught us that the action in the now is also always necessary. Our children cannot dream unless they live, they cannot live unless they are nourished, and who else will feed them the real food without which their dreams will be no different from ours?

Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideas. The head will save us. The brain alone will set us free. But there are no new ideas still waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves, along with the renewed courage to try them out. And we must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions our dreams imply and some of our old ideas disparage. In the forefront of our move toward change, there is only our poetry to hint at possibility made real. Our poems formulate the implications of ourselves, what we feel within and dare make real (or bring action into accordance with), our fears, our hopes, our most cherished terrors.

For within structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive. Kept around as unavoidable adjuncts or pleasant pastimes, feelings were meant to kneel to thought as we were meant to kneel to men. But women have survived. As poets. And there are no new pains. We have felt them all already. We have hidden that fact in the same place where we have hidden our power. They lie in our dreams, and it is our dreams that point the way to freedom. They are made realizable through our poems that give us the strength and courage to see, to feel, to speak, and to dare.

If what we need to dream, to move our spirits most deeply and directly toward and through promise, is a luxury, then we have given up the core-the fountain-of our power, our womanness; we have give up the future of our worlds.

For there are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt, of examining what our ideas really mean (feel like) on Sunday morning at 7 AM, after brunch, during wild love, making war, giving birth; while we suffer the old longings, battle the old warnings and fears of being silent and impotent and alone, while tasting our new possibilities and strengths.

(via bbti-land)

When I asked male interview subjects what they would like to do in bed, “ejaculation on a woman’s face” was most often at the top of their lists. But when I asked them what the attraction of this act was and whether it meant anything, their initial response was puzzlement. They had never given it much thought. With time for reflection, however, most came up with answers very similar to those of the pornographers I interviewed: it is about controlling women, doing something disgusting to them. It’s like spitting or urinating on them.

Thus something unsettling about gender relationships mediated by pornography is revealed: on-screen male domination is sugar-coated — portrayed as causing women ecstasy — which in turn arouses further desire on the part of the male viewers: the desire to experience the pleasure derived from control and aggression. And deep down, these viewers understand it. “The second you have an orgasm and that passion sinks out of your body, and you’re still watching the movie, you start to really see what’s going on,” one male college student said. “This is not sexy. This is not sex. This is not how I want to experience sex.”

Chyng Sun, co-director of The Price of Pleasure (via radicalfeministuprising)

(via mama-panther-deactivated2013102)

Every time people say something is raw and simple and tells it like it is and gives you the unvarnished truth and everything, people are playing themselves. People want to have an experience of the raw truth, and some things are more intense and greater than others, but nothing is wholly raw, nothing is the plain and pure truth. Style in literature can make itself sound like it is the plain and pure truth and this is because the author wants to clobber you with the authority of the plain and pure truth he or she is emitting. Urgency and sincerity are real. But when people start talking bullshit about “a style stripped of artifice” they are talking bullshit. Style is by definition artificial. Much more importantly, writing’s artificial. Eating and talking and crapping and fucking and dying are natural.

I’ve encountered people constantly assuming sex is good and that having sex is just something you do in healthy relationships. This creates a situation where, hating sex is a character flaw caused by those terrible sex-negative tropes society presses on you, and obviously only Bad People don’t consent to sex.
That’s rape culture. This is what environments that assume sex is unambiguously a good thing do. Saying, “It’s consensual sex that’s good” doesn’t actually fix the problem. It just creates a situation where you must be consenting to sex, because if you aren’t, you’re not having enough sex and then you’re “sex-negative”.
See, it only fixes a problem where you’re like, “Well I don’t really want to do this right now”. It does not do anything at all to help people who find sex painful. It does nothing at all to help a person who doesn’t want sex, but thinks they do because it’s been so heavily normativized they have to have sex, and have to have it in this specific way. All the, “But make sure it’s consensual!” thing does is tells the person, “Well maybe if you don’t want sex this time it’s okay, but remember you still must be having it some of the time!”
See, to actually fight rape culture you need to say “Sex is always optional. You are never obligated to have sex.” You must always be concerned with consent, and that means you must accept that the answer may very well always be no, despite the fact there’s this belief sex is the greatest thing ever.
And if someone never wants sex, then sex can’t really be a good thing to them, because it’s always unwanted.

Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.

Brian Eno (1995)

(via powerburial)

Is love an exception, the only one, but of the first order of magnitude, to the law of masculine domination, a suspension of symbolic violence - or is it the supreme - because the most subtle, the most invisible - form of that violence?

Pierre Bourdieu, Masculine Domination (post script on domination and love)

(via basedsushigoat)

My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous, which is not exactly the same thing. If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. So my position leads not to apathy but to a hyper- and pessimistic activism.

Michel Foucault “On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress.” in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow. Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics,  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (1983)  231-232.

(via Anna-Sarah)

(via dworkinclasshero)

The paradox between male privilege and male misery is often used to argue that women’s oppression is balanced by a similar or even worse lot for men. Warren Farrell, for example, writes that societies such as that in the United States are both patriarchal and matriarchal, with each gender having its own areas of oppressive domination. As with other false parallels, Farrell draws attention away from patriarchy to men as victims who deserve sympathy as much as women do.

At the extreme, men’s woes are used to blame women for the price men pay for privilege, even though the price usually is exacted by other men. Men’s reluctance to open themselves fully to their inner emotional lives, for example, is based far more on fear of being vulnerable to other men or of being seen as insufficiently manly-not in control and controlled by others-than on worries about women. In similar ways, the competitive grind, insecurity, or fear of violence that many men experience is overwhelmingly in relation to other men, not women.

Allan G. Johnson, The Gender Knot

(via commiekinkshamer)