The metaphor of being a female in America is riding the metro to work, and at a stop, a male enters the train, attempting to stand exactly where you stand. As if surprised to notice you when you resist him, he affirms he’s been in the space you occupy the entire time and demands you move. When you refuse, he grips your shoulder with one hand and physically moves you himself. You raise your voice in response, about him taking his hands off of you, about how dare him, about he can find his own space. But the other male passengers join his chorus and the female passengers say nothing until you are bullied to a new train car where no one has any idea of the casual assault you just suffered and no one cares.
Except this isn’t the metaphor, this is the reality. This and wage gaps and rape and abuse and body monitoring and men who are blind to this and blind to their own deficiency. This isn’t the metaphor, this is it.
pansexual fun fact #2: many pansexuals are actually connoisseurs of fine dinnerware. Not because they eat frequently, but because they enjoy appearing upside down in a well-polished spoon.
Claire has been with us since the beginning, with lines about her body, about her running eggs, about her ex-lovers. This time, she came with her arsenal in tow: a strong online presence, one foot in literature and one foot in research, a firm voice for identifying herself. We approached her to write an Artist Feature speaking to these pieces of herself and her dual identity as artist and woman. She approached the assignment with forethought & grace, exploring form, engaging rhetoric, & bringing us into her process. We were in awe of her before, but we are in deep worship now. Claire-Madeline Culkin, ladies and gentlemen.
xoxo Bee Walsh, Poetry Editor
"text me when you get home" means "i love you, be safe."
~*Altruism is a myth.*~
I’m more interested in writing poetry with people than being secretly admired. I don’t unappreciate the gesture, but I also don’t stand to gain anything from it, and if you’re to know me at all, I operate only in my own self interest.
- First I thought about how I should call my grandma
- Then I thought about how I should visit my grandma
- …and my other grandma, and my grandpa
- I thought about what would ever happen to me if something happened to my dad
- …or my mom
- or my brother. Or sister.
- I thought about how much work I would have to catch up on after having to grieve somebody
- (because that’s the first thing that occurs to somebody with this much anxiety over making ends meet)
- Anyway, then I thought about this bird I saw once when I was on a field trip to a sanctuary. It had one leg. But it was still hobbling around. It made me sad at the time, though. It still sort of makes me sad.
- I thought about how everybody always says that love conquers and thought about how lately I’ve been doubting that pretty hard
- I thought about how it was really rough for my mom when she was growing up
- I thought about my ex-boyfriend and how things are rough for him too and how it’s frustrating to not like somebody but still get sad when you think about sad things happening to them
- Then I thought that maybe it’s just because sad things, are sad things
- I thought really hard about Missouri.
- I thought really hard about that Ezra Miller movie
- I thought about what would happen to me if I had a kid and it grew up to do something dreadful
- I thought about all the kids who do dreadful things, and all the kids that have dreadful things done to them
- (that’s when I had to shut my eyes and shake the thoughts out because last time I thought about that was a Really Bad Time)
- I thought about the humiliation of when all the bad thoughts come to a head in front of the person you love
- But then I thought about how it’s also kind of nice, you know, to have a hand on your shoulder while it’s happening. That was a nice thought
- But then then I thought again about how I’m gonna miss my dog