ENOUGH: Rape Girl

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ENOUGH is a Rumpus series devoted to creating a dedicated space for essays, poetry, fiction, comics, and artwork by women and non-binary people that engage with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

The series runs every Tuesday afternoon. Each week we will highlight different voices and stories.

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from RAPE GIRL
Jamie Hood

XV.

Before
                      i { was } a girl
                      i           ;          { was a } Woman
Do not ask
when i was a child
for me to tell u { i }
was ever a child         i
would have to lie   & i am seeking
some honesty
                                   Before i was a girl
i was a song     o inaudibility
o to be what has not been                                             heard

THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  IS  MUTE  IN  NATURE  THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  IS  MUTE  IN  NATURE  THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  IS  MUTE  IN  NATURE  THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  IS  MUTE  IN  NATURE  THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  IS  MUTE  IN  NATURE  THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  IS  MUTE  IN  NATURE  THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  IS  MUTE  IN  NATURE  THE  FEMALE  NIGHTINGALE  i

Thus did Ovid tell the first R*PE joke

He stood up on his entire feet
The stage at the Comedy Cellar
quivered { like } a frightened girl beneath him
He squinted against the lights
He pushed his whole face into the world
He bellowed it with his full chest
(Metamorphoses in hand  tabbed for reference ;
                         o his great laughter)

Said:

            Philomela shall be transformed
            Philomela shall be arisen
            Philomela shall take flight

Said:

             Cat got ur tongue     sweet thing

Said:

             lemme give u another      { one }    baby

(& gave her another        ,  BABY) bird-tongue
lodged in mouth / no-song-having goddamn fucking bird
(like turning a woman w broken raped arms
into a penguin; telling her to fly)

Ovid would not hear her laughter
{ so she cubed a child-body; seared
it for the family stew }
He would not hear her give/tell  o
Cixousian        laughter    or what else
would erupt from her terrible maw

The press said:

                                    IS IT TIME TO FORGIVE OVID

& the world                moved on

                                                                       as it is wont to do
                                                                       as it turns    its unfeeling
                                                                                           its revolutions  yes

{ i hear } Ovid is making a lot of money
                        again
raking in the dough      as they say
rising & grinding         as they say
grinding girlbones to dust
{ i hear } he’s collecting tongues
                             selling out
shows  Who knows
                                          what happened
                                     to Philomela NoSong /
to move thee o Ovid
& no fingers                          being bird          too winged
         to complete her storied tapestry

 

 

XI.

In the cab      after—
having wandered
40 minutes        bloodied
on the street  smelling
of semen  sweat  concrete
seeking    /    witness    ; or
a ride home  & so far
from it—my eyes evacuate
            no
                 control
over This     i never have
been a quiet crier

The driver a woman…
i thank god  { whoever }
                            for This
          blessed Port
Thank the woman   bless
her mercy    after
realizing I’m short full fare
She accepts $10—all i have left
in this world   on this night
Our eyes meet in the rearview
as we pass neon lights
of video stores   which shriek
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS in bright
blues     also bright pinks
& it is then I knew she knew

Think:

she could have driven past
{ her shift was over  she’d said }

Think:

she could have dropped me
anywhere    This was her right

Think:

she could have locked me / my broke
R*PED ass in       called the cops
had me arrested  for fare evasion
This was Boston & also
this was her right

                                                           { no }

She simply nodded
Having driven in silence
w me 20 minutes or so   The
streetlamps on Boylston
also Mass Ave    then Curtis
Powder House   pass  they are
fireflies   they flicker in
& out of focus    I think
it is funny to be in an A24 film
in this of all moments  & so I tell
her
                                                            { sorry }
I hadn’t meant to cry
in front of anyone  I didn’t
mean to cry  I never do
I didn’t mean for any of This
This was my right                        ; or
so I’d thought   & silently
she nods again  letting me out
& then drives off into the night

 

 

XXX. { AFTER }

i am told not to tell

these stories    or else
my mouth might collapse    in on itself
mud pit rushing         to empty itself
                                      of void
constitution of the mud     itself
making manifest my slick shame    in/form
& content!

                   Our Holes
have always held the blank horror of Nothingness
but i say
        at least we look Nothing in its unface & take account

                 of the fact   we have never been Here
                                               or There            we never Were
                                  not really

 

 

XXXIV.

on the television
the girl  is talking                             to a man—
                                            a “protector type” { lmaoooo }
who        seven seasons previously
had held the specter of R*PE  , its poisonous wet worming struggle ,
right over the girl’s beautiful birdlike head—
& so anyways
          so she goes

THIS IS WHAT MADE ME

                                             { WHO }

                                          i AM

some other girl on some other television    says
   she says

              IN HIS IMAGE        AM i

                                                                      RENDERED

                                   STRONGER

yes

& all the girls on all the televisions
we go & we get ourselves R*PED
so we can confess     to the experience
as a kind of motivational and
/or characterological
                            foundation
                                        which is to say
                                   that which is fundamental
in composing our trans
                 formation:
our previously mute beingness    our    { how do u say }
indesirousness   is made out / to be
the basic state of Woman
R*PE thus provides our alleged personhood w context

Do i need to say

this sounds

just like something some fucking man would say
of course no one is asking me
no one is asking
                                these girls  these women

i believe i wanted for things that were mine own
before i got                       {how do u say}
motherfucking R*PED
                                                         but
see          it is so trying to remember
i should check w the showrunner

Fundament
from the Latin     fundus      meaning

                   bottom

which i guess is funny
if u think on it long enough

in grad school   a man once told me
words have a tendency
to return to their origins in the dirt-
                          filthy minds of long dead & rotted men
that      in other words,

etymologically  there is a statistically high number of words
borne of ancient shit jokes                   yes
as the great philosopher once proclaimed

it really is shit

                    all

                              the

                                        way

                         down

{ which is to say }

in marking                              rape
as foundational  to Woman
or else determinative     or else
fundament/al   to a properly Feminine Self
                     { note here the metaphysical S }
is to construct a teleology
in which our rapes are the totalizing shit of our histories
OR
{ to say }      we are Bottom Born     ; come from the dregs
                                      o my god
bless u           how we are smeared in a cosmology of shit
& ontologically speaking

                 there is no escaping                    It

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Rumpus original logo art by Luna Adler.

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ENOUGH is a Rumpus original series devoted to creating a dedicated space for work by women and non-binary people that engages with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We believe that while this subject matter is especially timely now, it is also timeless. We want to make sure that this conversation doesn’t stop—not until our laws and societal norms reflect real change. You can submit to ENOUGH here.

Many names appearing in these stories have been changed.

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