Saturday, May 18, 2013


A girl walks into a bar.
But before that, a girl walks out of a house at the first break of daylight. She’s spent the night with her eyes scared open, only shutting them to pretend sleep, when he re-enters the room to stand over her. He is silhouetted against the sliver of light that pierces through the half-opened door. He stands over her, no longer breathing heavily, no longer filled with rage but still very much a threat.
When he turns to leave, she allows the air back into her chest. She waits for morning, when she will walk out, never to return but carrying away the memory of his angry body as he pins her down. His palms red-hot with violence, nailing her wrists to the bed as she abandons her body in panic. She hovers above it all, waiting for it to end.
She returns home, scrubs herself clean and retreats under 2 layers of blanket. She does not move for the next three days. When she gets up again, she is frozen. No one will touch her again, is all she knows.
Two years later, a girl walks into a woman’s office. The woman talks little and mostly listens. Sometimes, she makes the girl stand up from her chair and close her eyes. She places her hands, firmly, on the girl’s shoulders. She asks the girl to lean in to her strength. The woman will hold up the girl for as long as it is needed. But who will hold you up? the girl asks. Generations of women before us, says the woman through her warm palms. Every woman you’ve ever known – your mother, her mother and her mother before that, going back as far as you can stretch your memory. Soon the room is filled with the spirit of these women, each holding the other up with warm palms, all leading back to the girl. As they radiate and penetrate through her, she begins to understand what letting go might mean. But it will take time.
Five years on, a girl walks into a bar with her friends. She knows there’s no such thing as complete healing but there’s something about this evening that makes her laugh from her belly and that’s alright for now.
So, even though he’s a complete stranger and she’s inside a Hollywood cliché, something about him makes her smile. After they’ve swapped essential stories, he will ask her out with cautious charm. She will defer her decision until she’s sober. Until her answer comes then, he will place his hand on the small of her back and she will let it remain there. Later, she won’t remember how close he pulled her or how far she leaned in. But she will relive the gentle heat of his palm on her back, staying not leaving. Not propping her up either, because for the first time in a long while, she is strong enough to hold herself up.

Read Nandita Saikia on What I've Learnt From Violence

Sunday, May 12, 2013

'Hysterical Literature' by Clayton Cubitt

This is just one in a series called 'Hysterical Literature'. The buzzwords are 'orgasm' and 'art'.

For the artist's perspective, read this Salon article.

(via @koopamandook)