M A N I F E S T O for my homegirls | Caits Meissner

***Inspired by Kathleen Hanna’s Riot Grrrl Manifesto

BECAUSE we wear ripped & tight & pearl & door
knock & combat & hijab & Lancome & gym shoe &
potato sack & turban & we goddess good with
bed head & braces & missing teeth.

BECAUSE we twisted spine, we pool of bruise,
we fish tail & top spin, we curse sailors & sing
saints, spit rainbows on the pavement.

BECAUSE we walrus big, G I A N T big, steel toes
clap night big, pump heel caught trailing clouds
like toilet paper in a public restroom, naw, we
never ashamed of our tail of soot & rain.

BECAUSE we tit mouse small, hide in the wall small,
we curl Russian doll small, we trick you invisible
small, we glow worm & firefly.

BECAUSE our asses spark.

BECAUSE our tusks dig graves.

BECAUSE we make a bed of sky & sure do
muddy up our knickers, wet.

BECAUSE we cook snails & sweet tea, bend
our bodies into greed.

BECAUSE we consume until we drown

then lift.

BECAUSE we’ve been caught eating stars &
grew bright, bled into buckets & tossed
the town in red like dressing, boy

we got fists & breasts, collarbone & kick, pussy
& brain matter, we got slick nipples & throats,
eyes burned with images best forgotten in
order to go on living.

BECAUSE we’ve seen our siren sisters spread
across rock like a fish gut brew.

BECAUSE our mouths lost the words I’m sorry.
BECAUSE all that’s left is I’m angry.

BECAUSE we fly.

Haven’t you seen us rolling the wind outside
the window? We smoke the breeze. We wind hips.
Haven’t you seen us levitating in the fields?

Watch us bend down to pray to whatever creature birthed us.
Watch the diamond of our birth-holes burn a seance into sand.

BECAUSE we’ve squeezed our hardened hearts
to solid stone & we still produce juice, still want to love
this world without dying or playing dead.

Caits Meissner’s poetry has been awarded first place prizes from the Pan­African Literary Forum
and the Ja’Nai Foundation and she serves as a Founding Editor of The Wide Shore: A Global
Journal of Women’s Poetry. Published or forthcoming in various journals and anthologies
including Drunken Boat, Radius, The Feminist Wire, The Offing, and The Literary Review. In
2012, The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You, Caits’ collaborative poetry book with poet
Tishon, arrived on the Well&Often imprint. For over ten years, Caits has extensively facilitated
youth and adults in poetry and multi­media expression in prisons, schools and community
centers, and online at GrowFierce.com. Visit her at caitsmeissner.com

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