If You Can’t Handle Me at My Di Prima, You Don’t Deserve Me at My Kerouac
(for the guy who said he likes my writing better when I “leave politics out of it”)
Lemme tell you a secret —
I never leave politics out of it.
I get it, you think it’s hot when
I write about sex, drugs, punk
You like it when I’m the babe
with tits and red lipstick and a
short skirt, who loves to drive
all night and get wasted and find
cute strangers to fuck.
You dig the dusty rainbow
handfuls of pills and the highway
lines stretching on into the rock’n’roll
night and the sweat-slicked bodies
of lovers past and future.
But it’s all fucking political, man.
When I write about living inside this
body that was deemed female, this
body that can give birth, this body that
bleeds and hurts and seeks out pleasure
and adventure, it’s political.
When I speak about identity and how I
still don’t understand how gender works
because sometimes I’m a girl, sometimes
a boy, sometimes both or neither —
When I describe the bodies I have
pressed mine up against, about thighs
parting and orgasms howled, or write
about putting my body on a train to
nowhere with only a few bucks and a
switchblade tucked inside my boot —
When I tell the story of my abortion,
unrepentant, how it wasn’t a choice
made from tragedy but simply a night
of drunken passion gone awry, or the
story of the unraveling that left me
wandering the streets of Chicago,
stoned and hungry in the bone-breaking
cold — it’s political.
When I write about my crushes, or
the reasons I cry, the longings I choke
on like pills and the fears that leave me
gasping in the dark; when I describe
the way my blood roars like a diesel
engine when I hear the bass line of
my favorite song…it’s political.
Maybe what you mean is you don’t
like how overt my politics have gotten.
But even that’s nothing new. Man, if you
were really a fan of my writing you’d
know all about the old days.
The days when I was known as
Disobedience and wrote zines about
marching through downtown Chicago
waving my upside-down American flag,
protesting the TABD, protesting the war.
When I wrote about serving steaming
pots of chili at Food Not Bombs, about
prison solidarity and anarchist dance
parties. When to vegan or not to vegan
was the question of the year and when I
questioned if I could even call myself an
activist cuz I mostly wrote about, like,
lurve and shit.
I write what I experience, what I see, and
sometimes it’s undisguised and sometimes
it’s a whisper between the lines but I never
leave politics out of it.
Lemme tell you a secret —
There is no way out of a spiritual battle.
There is no way you can avoid taking sides.
There is no way you can not have a politics.
I guess it’s easier to be less overt when
you’re a straight, white, cis man but the
choice to leave politics out of it is, in itself,
a political choice, man.
Everything’s political, and if you can’t dig
that you don’t dig me. If you can’t handle
my rants then you don’t deserve my kicks. If
you can’t hang with my wild yawping
battle cries, the only kicks you’ll get to play
voyeur to will be the kind that involve
my boot to your groin.