Death before birth

Amalya Penso/Courtesy

Death before birth

Kari Flickinger

Down, from the Campanile, wind through a thread of barren, settled trees, mid-city, where knife fights at may, where lovers sway, unsettle one another, explore, babble, learn what respect and saliva, and battle lines are.

They let free the monsters that grow in human soil.

A squirrel learns his tricks, with thrifty eye, fat belly and a hungry mouth, he flicks his tail to get the nuts spilling from a broken zipper of a gaunt woman’s Jan Sport, and she holds the sign higher, higher, not her president.

So long, time to pass it to the next ones, who still have sturdy hips, who don’t have the hungry tired, strung-out gasp of an ending spark. No.

They can boast, they can spread their love through electronic waves, they can parade, and plan shrewd, and hunker down violent, and their minds will shoot and flicker,

flames ripe for the catch.

It is,

darker, now.

The lessons from history are unlearned threads in a puzzle of human heritage that each generation buries further under bones of privilege, a preponderance of hesitation, and yes, hatred. Heaps of it.

They think you can’t have a veil unless a bride goes with it.

They think you can’t have awe, or love unless there’s providence guiding it.

They think you need a book before you can have a compass.

They don’t think much of these lines on their dirty TV screens — bonfires built in Oakland streets. Naked, and shaking, and wrapped around her creation. This is birth.

But there has to be a death before a birth—there’s not an original sentiment, unless the old one dies. De Beauvoir got it half-right. A spirit has to muddle the expectation of greatness to drive something to grow. You need a perfect lineup, and perfect lineage of inherited traits to mingle in a test tube, germinate, ebb, mix batter with sperm, swallow up a universe then throw it up whole until starlit high tide — the schism shines a light. You need the death of a rockstar, and a poet, the death of a democracy an outmoded ideology, before you can

“All alone or in twos…”





I am a nasty woman.

I was a woman “incapable of being a 10.”

I am a victim of assault

I am a victim of abuse

I am a victim of rape.

I am a nasty, nasty woman

I must be corrupt

And you, my friend, are so wrong.

I am a socially liberal fiscally conservative woman

I believe in the good of people

I believe that people make mistakes

I believe that there are inexcusable statements

And I know that many statements like those have been made today

Nothing can excuse you for voting for someone who has called a group of human beings terrorists

That makes you a bigot

That makes you xenophobic

That makes you wrong

A history about me

I was born into an abusive home

My entire life I was told that women belong in the house

My mom was forced to quit her job

I do not remember, but my sister does

When I was 14, I entered high school

I was flat chested with a big personality

Someone opened up a hate platform called Yik Yak

On it, a boy posted to me:

“Sorry Emily, I can’t figure out how to motorboat your personality.”

It took me three years to get over that statement

Which was when I finally grew into my body

I now have body dysmorphia

Had I heard Trump say women without boobs cannot be 10s

I don’t think I ever would’ve recovered

When I was 17, I transferred to a different high school

The day before I left there was a party

I attended and was speaking to my best guy friend about the future

He was dating my best girl friend at the time

I was crying in his truck when he got on top of me and forced his dick into my mouth

At this exact moment, a girl opened the door

And I have been labeled a cheater and horrible friend ever since

I never told

Because quite frankly, no one would’ve believed me

When I was 18, I went to a frat party

I met a nice boy

We started hanging out often

He knew I was a virgin, was supposedly okay with it

Then one night he got blackout drunk

And as I sat naked on top of him, he started smacking my ass

And saying

Why won’t you just fucking fuck me

You’re forcing me to date you

If you really want a boyfriend, go date a Phi Delt for six months

And come crawling back to me

When he doesn’t fuck you hard enough.

He doesn’t remember a thing

But I remember the pain.

I still have flashbacks

Earlier this year

I got drunk with my mom

I went to two parties and was incredibly drunk

I ordered an Uber home

A boy came up and canceled it

He said he hated my sister because she was boring, and handed me a shot

Supposedly I was to drink it to prove him wrong

This happened five times

Each time another Uber canceled

Until I wasn’t me. I was a piece of human flesh

That night I was raped

I do not remember a thing

All I remember is how badly it hurt

All I remember is screaming no

I fell into a state of confusion

I did dangerous things to my body and psyche

I hated myself

And I did not tell a soul

My panic attacks started up again

This time was worse

I would be in the middle of a gathering of my friends and would collapse

Screaming on the ground reliving the pain

So I sought help

I went through a series of detrimental habits

I broke down at work

I would cause scenes because I was incapable of stopping myself

My date last night said (during our second date)

“Trumps’ opinions on women and social issues shouldn’t affect me and don’t matter.”

I promptly got an Uber home.

On our first date, he threw Trump’s entrepreneurship book out the window

So I sent that and “Mein Kampf” to his doorstep hopefully, he will see the similarities

This entire time I’ve fought with myself over whether or not it was my fault

Whether or not the pain was worth the ego of another

And it’s not ok

But I will never tell

We elected a man this year

We let him ride his path of hatred






And we watched as those whom he attacked reacted

I watched as my international friends cried out of fear on election night

It is not that you voted for Trump. It is that you voted for Trump, and you are OK with the social issues that he clearly does not care about

You voted for a man who does not believe in climate change

Who is on trial for rape

Who could potentially backtrack on every single progressive decision America has made

And you’re laughing

And you’re happy

This man stands for (and provides a platform for others to stand for) much that I have struggled with in my life. He is validating my fears that make me want to stay in bed all day

He is validating my fears to trust men

He is validating terror.

I am a nasty woman

A nasty, nasty woman

And I have never been more proud to stand for something

And I have never been more horrified by the nature of American’s

He can go ahead and try to grab my pussy.

She scratches, and has nine lives.


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