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Because we have the right to create and distribute work that critically considers the world around us and our place in it as young women and as women of color. Because we have the right to let others know what we think, connect with those who feel the same way, and educate those who disagree. Because we have the right to acknowledge that we have been oppressed as women and as women of color and to encourage other women to identify and fight against oppression in their lives. Because we have the right to help cultivate a strong female community at K College, in Kalamazoo, in this country, and in the world. Because we fucking hate patriarchal, hierarchical, bourgeoisie, white supremacist society that tells us we're weak. Because we have the right to not speak, and listen, and shout at the top of our lungs, and be acknowledged and respected. Because we have the right to wear our hair naturally, cut short, legs hairy, short dresses, or low cut shirts without being ogled. Because we have the right to flaunt our sexuality and visions without consequences, threats, or fear. Because we love our fat, bony, curved, muscular, soft, pale, dark, golden, beautiful selves. Because we remember that what we do to the earth and each other, we do to ourselves. Because our anger and sadness and empathy and love is valid, and we won't apologize for it, or let it be burned out or turned against us. Because we believe the change will not be televised, tweeted, posted, tagged, blogged about, painted, sung, scrawled, or published. Because we believe the change starts from within. Because we believe in the inherent dignity of each and every person. Because we believe in a better world with our whole spirits, minds, and bodies, and imagining and working toward one is what we do.


10 Things I Love About You: 1. I love that you can’t help but smile at me-if you’re mad or pretend madwhenever I smile at you. 2. That you always pick up my hair from the bed and throw it away because you know I hate it. 3. That when I make fun of your morning wood you always, always, say, “That’s what happens when you wake up next to a beautiful girl.” 4. How much you love my feet. 5. That you ate the sandwich I packed on our hiking trip (and proclaimed it was delicious) even though it was completely soggy. 6. How you make it a point to kiss me before I put vaseline on my lips at night. 7. That you’ve gotten really good at making scramblers. 4. How you pick me up when you hug me. 9. How you let me annoy you with my Kermit the Frog imitation of “The Rainbow Connection,” far past the point of normal human tolerance. 10. Maybe we’ve gotten too lazy to tilt our faces opposite ways, but I love how our noses always squish together when we kiss. 10 Things I Hate About You: 1. I hate that whenever we play “I’m Thinking of One of Our Friends...” you always know who I’m thinking of after 5 guesses. It’s not fun anymore. 2. I hate that the smell of your aftershave stays on my pillow only so much that even when I bury my face in it it doesn’t smell quite like you. 3. I hate that you keep “forgetting” to give back the black thong I left at your house. And that you think it’s cute. Its not cute. It’s sexy. And I want it back. 5. I hate that even though you’ve slept over at my house millions of times you’re still paranoid that my dad will come into my room in the morning to check up on me. And that you think sleeping on the inside of the bed will shield you from this. 5. I hate that you consistently refer to dinner as “din,” snuggling as “snugging” and eating as “noming.” Actually I half hate it and half think it’s funny. 6. I hate that you think your worn out and literally fraying corduroys are cool. And I think that you secretly think you get badass points when I tell you they’re shlubby. 7. That you love the character of the coach’s daughter from Friday Night Lights, and I think the fact that I tell you she’s boring, white bread, and cookie cutter makes you like her to spite me. 8. How you refuse to buy winter shoes despite the many times we’ve been to the mall and the ones I show you online, and trudge around in the snow in your ratty old Vans. 9. That even though we’re both adults your mother won’t let us be alone in your room and that you do nothing about it. 10. I hate that this list was so hard to make. That means there are far more things I love than hate about you at that makes me feel a little bit powerless.


! It!happened!when!I!was!at!my!best.!I!have!never!felt!more!confident,!happy,! strong.!I!had!been!teaching!other!girls,!younger!girls,!about!body!image!and!sex!and! relationships!and!confidence.!We!all!sat!under!a!tree,!in!the!sand!dunes!along!Lake! Michigan,!and!we!talked!about!our!reproductive!systems,!our!boundaries,!our! families,!our!choices.!The!older!women!passed!down!wisdom!and!lessons!to!the! younger!girls.!In!this!role!as!teacher,!I!felt!the!most!powerful!I!ever!had.!He!stole!this! from!me.!! ! Even!at!my!best,!even!with!all!my!training,!I!could!not!stop!his!advances.!!I! froze.!I!was!scared.!I!always!thought!I!would!fight.!He!was!drunk!and!high!and!I!was! more!worried!about!him!getting!in!a!car!crash!if!I!kicked!him!out!of!the!house.!I!was! more!worried!about!him!than!I!was!about!myself.!My!persistent!“NOs”!eventually! made!him!stop.!He!backed!up!and!said!“Fine.!I’ll!leave.”!I!lay!stunned!on!my!bed!for! hours.!Nauseas.!!Disoriented.!HalfJclothed.! ! The!next!day,!I!watched!as!the!11!and!12JyearJold!girls!learned!about!selfJ defense!and!assertiveness.!I!taught!with!a!fervor!I!never!had!before.!!I!looked!at! these!girls,!knowing!that!many!of!them!would!be!assaulted,!raped,!abused.!How!did!I! know?!How!could!I!look!at!a!group!of!11!year!olds!and!think!that?!Because!I!knew.! It’s!inescapable!and!the!violence!permeates!our!lives.!I!now!live!with!it!every!day,!in! my!body,!under!my!skin.!That!violence!that!I!once!forcefully!threw!out!as!a!statistic! in!papers!and!presentations!is!now!a!part!of!me.!!I!feel!it!when!I’m!around!drunk! guys!at!parties,!that!intuitive!sensation!that!says!“Stay!far!away.”!I!feel!it!when!I’m! yelled!at.!I!feel!it!as!I!stand!up!and!tell!a!group!of!people!“Yes,!I’m!a!survivor!of! sexual!assault.”!I!feel!the!pain!and!anger.!I!feel!the!strength!that!has!returned!and!is! fighting!with!a!vengeance.!! !

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Ode to my sisters Anna Witte I. I have watched. I have looked and have truly seen my sisters. My lovers, my sisters. My mothers, my sisters. My daughters, my sisters. My aunts, cousins, nieces, my sisters. Women who hide their chests, my sisters. Women who boast their cleavage to the world, my sisters. Women who praise and pamper their snatches under covers, my sisters. Women who cling to their virginity and feel safety within their prudence, my sisters. I have listened with a sister’s ear and this is my sister’s song I have seen the richest of my sisters hungry for edible pear shapes, for skinny shishkibob shapes, for plump rump roasts, for tough muscular jerky. I have seen her eyes longing, oozing with desire at shapely breasts, inspiring thirst for cream, for milk venturing downward to ribs, she licks her lips and swallows for want of nibbling lowering within sockets, optic inhale of skin stretched over peeked hip bones I hear jaws clench with the lust to gnaw. I have heard the retching and regurgitating of my sisters. Singing her hollow song, resounding within porcelain caves applauding with a flush of disappointment for meager offerings of bile and tissue quantified calories of carbs and Kellogg’s. I have heard the fluff of cotton ball queens as they fill their wanting voids with air, popcorn pills cherry popping unafraid, for their month juice vanished ages ago, eloping with their breasts replaced by perfection and hunger. I have heard the healthiest of my sister’s body’s cry out in pain the laughing whine and whirring of torture machines spinning dizzily into an orgy of firm, hapless limbs unenjoyed exertion. Feeling not the power, celebrating not the strength of your body, my sister but listening to the beep. beep. beep of rising numbers and heart rates, electric red with conviction exhausted. I have seen the beauties among my sisters turn ugly as jealousy clogs her pores and pollutes her once empathetic skin sideways glances harpoon her sisters calves, hook sister’s jaw line, singe sister’s eyebrows, pierce her almond eyes. Once she sung ballads of her sister’s successes and celebrated the blood bond of womanhood now I hear my sisters screaming accusations at one another, hurling grenades of hatred over imaginary battle lines rather than joining hands in solidarity against the oppressing forces of Adam I have seen wanting lovers and felt their heavy weight on my sister’s her precious peach dripping no sweet juice as phallic mouths devour uninvited. I feel the heaving of hatred the swallowing of semen spreading repugnance though fragile veins, feeding delusions of blame displaced from perpetrator to victim I have seen my daughters play with dollies. Golden, blonde hourglasses sand trickling from their plastic tits, filling voids within naïve young minds with syrupy daydreams, glimmering visions resulting in boob jobs I have seen my mother’s double take in department reflections, scowling at a stray wisp of silver aged ribbon, flag of wisdom flying nobly. Discarded with a swift pluck of first finger and thumb I have seen mothers eyes swim down to varicose veins, sketches of blue seaweed on her jelly fish thighs once an ocean for swimming hands, open for enjoyment on summer nights now frozen over, beneath sheets of iced embarrassment


or rejuvenated by laser surgery II Who told you not to celebrate the changes of your body, my mother? your white hair waves not in surrender to death, rather it glows, reflecting with memory Your wrinkles hold autographs of smiles. your lined hands, a story for daughters who hold and squeeze tight learning perseverance I look into your eyes, my sisters, my mothers. and see my face see cheeks flushed, see pores gaping, see creases in greasy brow, see hair between brows, above lip, on chin and these things too celebrate me. and sing my being. and these things, too, I love I look into your eyes. I do not see my body but feel its strength. Feel my thighs sturdy trunks, a red wood forest. Feel my arms thick with muscle and sinew, willow branches, resilient and flexible in their un-break. Feel my belly swollen with music, my belly. upon which I play a drummer’s tune and write my sister’s song. Feel my blood liquid power pulsing through my arteries I will bleed this, my strong metal for you, my sister and will sing to you Who do you bleed for, my sisters? For whom do you sacrifice? Who is your enemy, my sister? Who is she whom you hate? surely not the mother who held you in her womb, who carried you and fed you from her breast surely not your sister, who knows your pain, who feels your woe, who bleeds your blood. Where did you learn to reject the pleasures of a healthy body, my sister? Who told you to taste not the fruitful abundance of flavors and bath in their carnal splendor? Have you forgotten? To eat is to give your body love. To eat is to reward your hard working body. Sweetness and spice dream to dance on your tongue, starches and fibers wait eagerly to nurture you. Whenever you are ready, my sister I will feast with you


So#I’m#99%#sure#that#tomorrow#is#the#day#I#have#sex#for#the#first#time.# It#took#a#ridiculous#amount#of#time#for#me#to#tell#C#I#was#a#virgin,#considering#how#much#we#talk# about#sex,#but#I#just#didn’t#want#to#be#identified#with#all#the#dumb#baggage#associated#with#being#a# virgin#after#17#or#18.#I’m#not#waiting#for#marriage#or#to#be#in#love#(Although#I#think#I’m#falling#in# love#with#him)#but#I#also#didn’t#ever#want#to#have#sex#if#the#situation#wasn’t#right,#aka#boy#is#drunk,# not#respectful,#don’t#trust#him,#don’t#have#a#safe#space,#etc.#I#just#didn’t#know#how#to#say#it,#since#all# those#phrases#like#“deflowering”#(vomit)#or#“losing#one’s#virginity”#are#so#laden#with#sexist#beliefs#I# hate#to#give#them#any#power#by#repeating#them.#Still,#I#knew#that#I#had#to#tell#him#because#it’s# important#that#he#not#expect#anything#more#of#me#than#I#can#provide#my#first#time,#and#understand# why#I’m#probably#going#to#be#awkward#and#nervous.#Plus#I#really,#really#appreciate#how#honest#he# is#with#me,#and#that#he#wants#and#expects#me#to#reciprocate.#It’s#just#so#hard#for#me#to#talk#about# my#feelings!#SO#HARD#(ha!).#Whether#it’s#saying,#“Oooo#I#like#that!”#or#“I’m#sad/scared/nervous”.# Also#I#hate#being#ignorant,#inexperienced,#confused,#etc.## After#saying,#“Hey#C…”#and#then#pausing#for#a#ridiculously,#uncomfortably#long#time,#in#which#he# goes,#“You#can#tell#me#anything!#Anything#that#bothers#you#about#me#or#that#you#wish#was# different!”#I#finally#spat#out,#“Noo#that’s#not#it#at#all,#it’s#just#that…#well,#I’m#a#virgin”.# #He#just#looked#at#me,#so#I#started#backtracking:#“It’s#really#not#important,#it#doesn’t#even#matter#at# all,#I#just#thought#you#should#know”.#But#he#responded,#“No,#I#think#it#is#important.#I#mean,#it’s# important#that#your#first#time#be#with#someone#who#you#trust,#who#you#feel#good#with”.#I#agreed,# “Yeah,#so#that’s#why#I#hadn’t#done#it#yet”.#We#laughed#and#he#said,#“Well,#I’ll#be#really#careful”#and#I# said,#“Ok,#but#you#don’t#have#to#be#thaaat#careful.#I’m#not#like,#a#fragile#flower”.#Then#he#laughed#and# sort#of#pushed#me#up#against#the#wall#and#ground#into#me,#saying,#“Don’t#worry,#we’ll#still#do#lots#of# things”.#Then#he#looked#into#my#eyes#and#said,#“I#always#want#you#to#feel#comfortable#telling#me# what#you’re#feeling,#always#be#honest#with#me,#ok?”## And#then#we#kissed,#a#lot.#And#he#was#like,## “We’re#going#to#have#a#lot#of#sex,#ok?”# “Yes!”## —#La#porfiada#


We were taking a bath in my neighbor’s big jacuzzi bathtub. They had asked me to pet-sit their lizard while they took a family vacation to some tropical island. So you and I had this large four-poster bed and marble bathroom to ourselves for seven days. We were taking a bubble bath that was filled so when I sat up straight the undersides of my tits just brushed the water’s surface. The froth was disappearing but the tub was still warm. We were facing each other, me with my legs crossed and you with your legs hugged against your chest. I took your index finger and slipped it inside me. “Do you feel where it goes?” Now two fingers. Now three. Ouch, your nails are sharp. I kissed your cheek and licked the soap off your sideburn. We got out of the bath and consulted the picture we took on your phone so that the placement of the towels and shampoo wouldn’t look noticeably different when they came back. You were already hard when we got on the four poster bed and I laid on my back with my arms behind my head while you put the condom on. In the light coming from the bathroom and the reading lamps on either side of the bed I like being naked in front of you. I asked you to stop early when you were licking me because I was nervous and couldn’t enjoy it. When you went inside me for the first time I was surprised: “So this is what it feels like? Seriously, this is it?” I stared over your shoulder at the ceiling as you kept going and my eyes filled with tears. “Does it hurt? Do you want to stop?” you asked. No, it was okay. I’m brought to tears by Humane Society commercials on TV and physically turn my head away from those save a child with a cleft “Smile Train” ads in the newspaper. I thought this was supposed to feel all ~beautiful~ and stuff. I mean, it’s called “making love” for Chirssake. It felt invasive. Imagine. All the assumptions I had from movies and TV and porn and my girlfriends and Anais Nin and OWL and everything culminated in that moment and all I could think was “This is what it’s like?” You were nervous and you didn’t come. After you got off from on top of me I laughed and said, “Well, that’s that.” I thought it should’ve been a lot more fun. So I got you hard again and we did it again from behind, watching ourselves in the big bureau mirror that faced the bed. My mom didn’t let me accept the money my neighbors gave me for watching their house while they were on vacation. That was okay. I felt compensated. --Femmedymion


10#things#I#love#about#you# 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

The&way&you&hugged&me&after&I&told&you&I&had&killed&a&spider&by&myself&& The&way&you&know&I&hate&romantic&gifts&and&so&instead&chose&a&kilo&of&avocados& The&way&you&regalonea& The&way&you&encourage&me&to&cry& The&way&you&are&incapable&of&learning&a&song’s&lyrics&and&have&to&invent&new&words&every& time& 6) The&way&you&instinctively&wrap&yourself&around&me&when&I&roll&over&in&bed,&even&if&you’re& asleep& 7) The&way&you&always&offer&to&do&the&dishes& 8) The&way&your&erection&tents&your&pants&when&you&get&dressed&in&the&morning& 9) The&way&you&unnecessarily&tip&toe&to&bed&at&night&so&as&not&to&wake&my&housemates& 10) The&way&your&eyes&smile&when&you&tell&me&you&love&me&and&I&say&te&amo&back& —La&porfiada& & I&

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Ten things i love about you 1. The way you flare your nostrils when you talk, especially when you're talking about something you really care about. 2. The way you see things as beautiful—really pick out the beauty in day to day settings and situations—and teach me how to do the same. The way you create beauty in your every day life and share it. 3. How your ear cartilage doesn't curl; it's just a smooth, peachy fan. 4. The way you love to talk, but also listen better than anyone else i know. How you put an effort into your listening; you don't just hear. And how you consciously decide to listen. 5. The way you elevate your pinkies when typing, and use caps lock instead of shift. 6. How generous you are with your self and your time even when you don't feel like it. How when you ask someone how they are, you actually listen to the answer. 7. The way you love your little sister and our friends. 8. The way you can make me feel like there's so much time. 9. The little vertical wrinkle between your eyebrows that you get when you're perplexed. I don't like when you're perplexed, but i like how there's that particular wrinkle that always makes an appearance in such circumstances. 10. The feeling i get when we're together, when we're not doing anything in particular, or even doing different things in the same room—how i feel so content, so real, and so loved, even if we aren't even talking. —Emerson Invert&


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If you really wanna know‌ By A.H. two i am two i am split how much of a witch and killer do you want me to be? you programmed me when i was 5 i cried because my hair was anything but gold and my skin hairy and anything but white and so i wished to die‌ if you want it you can have it all you have to do is sell your soul and if god and satan are just words in the end and if we're here for a brief moment without a divine reason what the hell is moral anyway? so what if we kill the silent masses? so what if we sexually enslave women? so what if we program princesses? so what if nobody imagines anymore? so what if secret cults control the world? so what if our thoughts, emotions, -so what if our very lives are all constructed outside of ourselves? and with all these robots where is humanity placed in value anyway? i'll try my best not to hurt you not to use you not to abuse you not to program you as i was programmed stay away from me you don't know me you don't want to know me i am no better than Britney two i am two i am split how much of a witch and killer do you want me to be? you programmed me how did it happen? the suicidal personality the father absences the father disses the psychic vampire who raped me in public transit the emptiness


the darkness swallowing whole so i couldn't spend a single minute alone in fear of being consumed by the occult the mother connection and disconnection led to hatred the alter ego the dream the Persephone vulnerabilityi am always raped always screwed always fucked in the ass the virginity the male dominance the blackness the black eyes black hair black nails the heart on the ring finger the dying forever alone if the lord commands it "don't give me something to live for 'cause i will lose it anyway and when i die i will miss it too much" two i am two i am split how much of a witch and killer do you want me to be? you programmed me Sasha Fierce and Beyonce Lady Gaga and Stefani Hannah Montana and Miley it's like we're too noble to be bitches so we need a second self to split the guilt and claim that at least the other half is pure i'll become a drug dealer and then a stripper and then a whore and sell oranges by the freeway once i get old but you'll be fine you were never and will never be a part of the world i live in you are unscarred you are sane you are one


strong because we are weak we are two complex as the curves that embody me red fishnets tits lipstick our beauty is all we have

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By Sid Vicious about Nancy


My First Kiss: My children won’t hear the story of my first kiss. They won’t be allowed into the dimly lit basement, lurking in the back of my memory, Where a cocky boy called mommy cute and then asked her, “do you spit, or swallow?” The sloppy exchange of saliva, Awkward removal of clothes, And admission of “I’ve never done this before” marked my entrance into the world of: Girls Who Had Been Kissed, Girls Who Had Been Used, Girls Who Felt Stupid. Looking back, I don’t know why I did it. Why it would take the girl who recognizes the personal as the political, Who loudly advocates for women, Who identifies strongly as feminist, Years to realize it’s ok to say “no”. Maybe because in my high school, you didn’t say “no”. Especially not to boys on the hockey team, who had names everyone knew. I left my first kiss not with the impression of his lips against mine, or butterflies in my stomach, but the taste of his cum in my mouth and my head reeling. Inhale'' in'unison'' our'' masses'' weld' we'' are'' magnetic'' bed'rail' confines'' equal'but'opposite'' force'' these'' fleshes'' rhythmically'' together'' like'' electrodes' ' ' —'Frances'Amælia

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The comforter is not doing its job Subbaraman Pale blue sheets writhe beneath the comforter deliberately taking hold of flesh. Refusing to purge unsightly folds and bunches I thrash, trying to escape the confines of this bed where so many times love has been told, made, shown, and forgotten. The weight of these blankets no longer swathes my body quietly. Its innocent murmurs of security no longer caress every curve and bump and no longer radiate dozy warmth. Now, the heat is unbearable and the weight is too much to sustain. I lay trapped where so many times love has been told, made, shown and forgotten.

Desperately stretching the uneven mass of fabric over my shoulders, I shudder at the thought of those decrepit sheets. Tangled around my shins, they boast no mercy for the already scaled and scarred surface of blameless legs. I kick away but with little gain, and am tangled where so many times love has been told, made, shown and forgotten. Drowsiness drags my eyelids but the instinct is rejected. How the comforter will contort tonight, and what disarray will remain in the morning is unresolved. The comforter is not doing its job, where so many times love has been told, made, shown and forgotten.


SLEEP ZOMBIE Emerson Invert Lately i've been sleeping with my head at the foot of my bed, with my hair soaking in the filth of my feet from past nights, my body a confused needle on the compass rose of sleep. My toes pointing to the door, out of here and my heart sending messages to my mind in the language of dreams, telling me how twisted and upside-down everything is, sending me demented images of my childhood, telling me how nothing is right without you by my side. And how this will just be another love poem but that this feels like the most real thing i've done in weeks, like how i carry a gift to you wrapped in a popcorn bag in the front pocket of my overalls pressed right between my breasts because that's where i carry you. Because when my body curls around my body pillow it wants not it, but you, wants warmth not from layers of blankets and clothing turning me into a fossilized, unfingered artifact but wants warmth from the silent incubator of you, deep in sleep or wakeful in the morning before me, counting clouds as they dot the sky before making the call to wake me, kissing my cheeks till eyes open us kissing lips and opening our hearts there is none of that here. My bed is barren, covered in a patchwork of uprooted blankets and sheets and my heart is caving in on itself from the weight of this distance, from the blue bombs of our i love yous and i miss yous peppering conversations and thoughts like prayers to a god that we don't believe in and thus doesn't listen to us and i know it wasn't all just a dream. The trove of my memory is permanently imprinted with the feel of your body around mine like a moat, whispered worries and wonderings shimmering in the dark as you slowly become quieter and nod off and i'd fall asleep knowing nothing else could make me this happy, and i want nothing more. And so now i fall asleep with my toes pointed toward the door, pointed toward the threshold thorough which you enter and exit my life here, toward the threshold that will lead me to you once again.


Train Whistle Bloody Mary Smith Curled in my narrow bed I moan for her, three hundred miles away by rocking trains whose call in recent summer seemed only a release of steam. For we moved til the blue sheets turned to sky and all the stars cavorted, fireflies. And when we dreamt it was of our framed embrace, the furtive space beneath the piano in the high school stairwell, the battered underbelly against which we grazed––the pleasant pain just an echo in my ringing ears every time she sang to me his praises, invoked her longing, looked at me and let loose the power of her throat: I want him. And so I wooed B over books, black coffee, the must of movie theater velvet crushed, unsure that any of it was real and not just hallway looks, a certain stare–– I'd felt it for J, a white flash in her darkened room: nightgown, thigh? Or stars flung in to scorch my sighs? The moan, the moan of trains again. I listened to them with her, I listened to them flushed and tender and alone, and felt some sacred knowledge burn: the trains are nearing, faster, harder, and shriek with sounds of warning as they come.


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