Lessons Learned Late by Brianna Bowman


In private,

I have seen men tear at their chests as if to claw out a still beating heart.
I have seen men buckle and heave, crying for their mothers.
I have seen men spit and punch, curse and beg.

And I have fucked all of you until I bled.

But I will not be your healer.
I will not be your muse.

I will not cobble your pieces back together or search beside you for the one that broke off and flitted away under the dusty dresser in the corner of your barely rented room, or the musty basement of your childhood home.

I am no nutrient, no poison either.

This is not a smile. This is a grimace.
This is a cold, sleepy stare through which the reel of your pageant plays but does not disturb.

I am learning about you, men, and not in the way of my mother. Not in the way of a mother.

In the way of evasion.
In the way of a snake in the grass.
In the way of a city, under siege.

Brianna Bowman, is a non-profit professional-ish and aspiring herbalist who spends much of her time thinking about how to divert current patterns of production and consumption and in doing so transform damaging institutions rooted in violence and oppression. She works to support new farmers across the country through community development and movement building. Her art is biographical, and an extension of her belief that we can re-visit traditional practices and infuse them with the wisdom and tools of the present to impact conversations and behavior related to the health of our relationships with ourselves, one another and the earth. While primarily working with fibers, poetry and spoken word have opened up her ability to reflect upon and process her experience as a woman making her way through the world.

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