Solid Quarter

Blood Jet Poetry Series in New Orleans, weekly poetry and music as well as open mic performances

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 3 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Cultural Misogyny Scrolls You on Tinder

I write a lot about the experience of desire, attachment and online dating both in poetry and in essays and in general online. I listen to a lot of men and women complain about the aspects of online dating, commitment, and relationships; and I read a lot of other writing (mostly geared towards women) about how to get a partner, keep a partner, play the game, etc. What I don't read or see a lot about is talk around the bigger picture of how our ideas of love shape attachment, shape relationships, shape our experience of sex and dating and how this translates to a world where we either choose to value and champion love or we don't.

When bell hooks writes in her book All About Love that we can't both have casual sex and casual relationships and want a world filled with love as well, that we can't engage in one act of treating people as though they are expendable and also want to have love in our lives: I believe this is true. But I also am a product of a culture that didn't raise me on love, a marriage that wasn't built on love, numerous relationships that did not hold love, and an addictive cycle of recreating abusive situations that mirror what my early attachment template named love. It took me a long time to even understand that what I thought was love, was in fact not love, and that what I wanted was something I didn't even know about, but I was keenly aware of the lack and not my fantasy and my fiction of what it would be when it arrived. I've been on Tinder watching and tracking abusive cycles of behavior around men and thinking about how that positioned me as a woman. This particular example involves a white hetero male- top of the food chain- and me, a bisexual white woman. But even within those narrow parameters, I want to show you how cultural misogyny is insidious and how it thrives on shame and anger and hatred, because if you've been paying attention, you know that the microcosm of what occurs in private between two people is a small stage of a macrocosm effect of how we treat humans. It is inside of our humanity, it is an infection inside of our species that is tearing us all apart. See we can't relate to the top of the food chain, the most powerful majority in this culture because they both hate and desire the same object: And it's killing all of us.

It is KILLING ALL OF US. And it is not our (read: any person of color or female identifying gender or nonconforming gender or sexual orientation not defined as exclusively straight or child or not identifying and passing as straight white man)  fucking job to fix this.

STRAIGHT WHITE MEN:  THIS is your fucking job to fix. 


Context: I matched with this person, a straight white male, on Tinder on Monday. We texted a bit throughout the day and he told me he wanted to meet someone to fall in love with, he also wanted me to send him naked pictures, and he probably sent me about 40 texts or so throughout the day. He sent me an unsolicited picture of his penis during this, and I sent him no naked pictures in return, which is why probably, on Tuesday, he sent no texts until 8:30 at night. 

And I want to be really clear here before we begin that in no way am I framing him as bad and me as good, him as aggressor and me as victim, him as some lust rager and me as an angelic virgin: See we both lose. We are both losers in this game that we didn't sign on for called cultural misogyny. The game makes men feel powerful and women weak. It offers the illusion of safety and protection for an elite few under the guise of shaming and diminishing the rest of us. But it's a lie. 

We all lose. If you are a man and you desire what you hate, if you want to possess what also sickens you and makes you think "weak" and "vulnerable" or "sensitive" than you have already lost. 

If you drank the cultural misogyny kool-aid that tells you to "grab them by the pussy," you did so at the cost of your humanity. And maybe you don't realize it yet, but it was a high cost to pay. 
And if you are suffering, it's because you keep paying. Not because women won't fuck you or love you or listen to you or understand you. 

You paid the cost of your humanity to be on top in the game. 


"Come fuck me" is the battle cry of broken men. Cultural misogyny has created this chasm between "men" and "women," this binary reductive narrative between the have's and the have-not's. And it should come as no surprise that this is the root of resistance to any gender noncomformity. You can't have a top and a bottom without clear differentials of power. Am I right? 

The reality of blurring the lines between "male" and "female" classifications means cultural misogyny would have to up its game. Who holds the power, well clearly straight men still, but against whom. Against people you actually don't want to fuck. Against people you might want to fuck. Against people who don't want to fuck you.<------- p="">
See cultural misogyny is a lazy philosophy: it was created by men to oppress women. But if we don't know who the women are and if we have others we want to oppress who aren't women,  if we have men who won't be oppressors, who don't hold power in the economy of "straight male" then what? 

If you are a straight white men feeling really attacked right now, welcome to the bottom of the game. We've been waiting for you. 

Come fuck me

is the battle cry of a broken man. 

It holds the illusion of a demand. But it is begging. It is begging to be touched and seen and held and loved. But it doesn't know the language. It doesn't even know the definition of the emotion that is causing this lack: It's been told, it's sex. It's been told it's desire. 

Pornography has nailed into the mind: You don't want to connect with another. What you want is to obliterate another, to use another, to take from another. This what you want. This will make you feel good. This will satisfy you.

And none of it is true. 

Come fuck me. And the slipperiness of misogyny is that women answer the call. 

We have been sold the exact same message. We get none of the power but we get sold the exact same message. And whatever it is we want is lost in a sea of framing that objects us to this body we hold out hope for in finding some measure of humanity left within.  

It's a fool's errand. 
If we laugh and call them Fuckboys, it does not address the problem. If we get angry and call them Fuckboys and complain to our friends, it does not address the problem. 

They say Come fuck me. And a woman will come. 

Because she's been led to believe one of two things: 

This is as good as it will get and at least I'm not alone.
Or
Maybe I can change Come Fuck Me to Come Love Me. 

Cultural Misogyny makes us ALL fucking idiots. 

Connection is what makes us human. The ability to connect. The ability to celebrate each other. The ability to feel safe with one another. Love is the strongest, most powerful emotion in the world. It has the power to give us what we most need, to heal and create and be our best selves. And we are so afraid of it. Ask yourself, why are we shamed into being afraid to love? 

Who does that serve?

How are we framed if we say: Come Love Me.
We are framed as weak, vulnerable, needy, clinging, emotional, effeminate. 

Nothing could be further from the truth: Do you know the emotional bravery and resilience it takes to honestly say to another being: come love me. 





Pornography instills through imagery the idea that sex is power. That the ability to fuck and have a big dick somehow translates to having some power. 

Do you see how ridiculous this set up is? 

No one threatens another person with their ability to love. 

No one says on the offensive: I loved the shit out of the last girl I was with. I loved her so much she knew she was respected and cared for consistently. I have a big 9inch heart that I use to just love and respect all beings. 

That's not threatening. 

But a big dick is a weapon. The ability to fuck someone is a weapon. We say you're fucked when it's not good. See sex in this sense is not sex: It's violence and it's abuse.

And Cultural Misogyny is all about normalizing abuse. 




Cultural Misogyny protects men. And women shelter under the men who are protected by cultural misogyny because they've been told they will be protected too. That's how abuse works: It lies to you. 

It says: It's ok. Come here. I won't hurt you. See I want you. 
Then it rapes you. Then it beats you. Then it degrades you. Then it hates you.
Then it says: Come here. I won't hurt you. See I want you. 

Endlessly.

Being a bisexual woman is sexy when it feeds a man's fantasy of multiple women he can abuse for his pleasure. But he can also slip it off and use it to pin you to the floor. Because if you are not a straight white man in this scenario. You lose. 



It would be easy to dismiss this person as not very bright. As someone clearly struggling with some anger issues and rejection issues and basically acting out like a small child when not getting their way. And that's all true. But what is also true is that this is a man, not a child. 

This is a man who is a father to two sons. 

This is someone who is teaching future men how to treat women. 

This is a man who has a mother and who has sons who have a mother, and presumably some love was felt for one of these two, perhaps both at some point. 

So how do you love women and hate them. What does that do to a person? 
How do you raise your sons to hate the being who housed and birthed them. What does that do to a boy? 




It doesn't matter if it is a truth that this person is or is not with someone else. 
If they are, clearly what they feel is not love as their actions do not indicate love. 
If they are lying, they clearly do not understand love and so lack it in their life.

And at the end of the day, the person you are with is you.

That's the only person you are ever with.

And if you hate what you desire, then you hate part of you. If you abuse what you also want, you are abusive and you are in exact opposition to love.  The only truth in all of these statements is the bald faced lie of being able to be in love with anything in a state of cultural misogyny.

You cannot love truly what you cannot see clearly. 

And right now, men: You cannot see us. 

You are blinded by the hate fed to you as power, fed to you as privilege, fed you as safety and "locker room" talk and women being "so sensitive" and how strong you are and how you don't need to "feel" things or get too "attached" or talk about your "feelings."

ALL of these narratives are fucking stupid: STOP WASTING OUR TIME

Men: Is this the world you want? 

You have the power to stop this. It's the only power you have. 

I have two daughters and a son and this power game: It is not ok for any of them. 
I don't want my son to speak like this to women. 
I don't want a man to speak like this to my daughters. 
I don't want my daughters to speak this way to men. 
I don't want anyone who wants love and affection to use power and abuse to get them. 
I don't want sex to be violence and abuse when it is anything but that. 

But it will happen if we keep holding up the smallest messages we send to one another in private as ok when they really are abusive to all of us. 












Thursday, May 10, 2018

ADDICT

"maybe the people who come to you can handle your darkness"

said someone to me this week. a friend. i say to myself things like

"only broken people come to you, you attract damage"  forget perception

forget we paint the moment we are in with the brush of the past

and it colors everything with what was, not what is

i went to a presentation on healing from sexual trauma

and listened to a room full of women, are you surprised it was

a room full of women but of course we are

my brother was sexually abused and now he is dead

i cry in the bathtub because last week i was having sex

with someone who loves me and who i love but

we can't be together so now i am alone again

it hurts: i go online and in ten minutes find a stranger

to fill that emptiness, fix it: My deepest wound is invisibility

no one can see me and that is how abuse gets in

no one can see me and so too i think of ways to be seen

no matter the cost: i listen to a radio interview with a therapist

on sex addiction and she talks about volition, about whether one

in the moment dissociates and can even make a conscious choice

so tell me how consent works when all i know is other people's bodies

are a way to danger, cloaking what i am worth i seduce abuse b/c i

am in love with the way it consistently wants me back

i don't have to wonder: you love me like you want me dead, you love

me like i'm not real, you love me like i don't exist at all

and yes, i say yes and yes and yes: it's all bloomed inside me

first kiss to fist

Monday, April 30, 2018

dear poetry, who takes away darkness

dear poetry,

what to do with strangers who come into our lives like a new word on the tongue and delicious this glistening, i sounded/ it blew me up/ carved meat of repetition, disrupt the feel of your hands running wild over my skin, when i come to: be inside me. when i come to: here made treacherous. abandoned gaze, i seep auto-narrated into shaming this derelict, weather against me, serum down to rot, mouth sewn shut to eyes held down a penny for each last thought then to cross upon verses. i call this light as a feather my tongue wet to the edge where the scream fell off: what are we exactly in this space between veils, the space of the poem writing itself, Oh Megan, it mutters, all of your life hidden safe to hear voices till this is what you have become. fettered to i want to make a cage big enough to hide the cage i am inside of. whatever you know is words. i can hear the sounds of the dead ringing. i can hear a babble of tongues, a language i fail translating, the din of transmission, i could tell you how exact this one takes: remember how you danced beside me. will you lay down beneath my feet: madness the seraph unfolds. no one's hunger meets yours. no one eats and eats this sacrifice of fill then looks up to see the same story woven into the cloth, an all down the table top where we feasted on what was left.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

dear poetry, in-coding

dear poetry,

when it hurts, take it to the poem
when it is loneliness, take it to the poem
when suffering, take it to the poem
that disappointment, the shifting sink of I've made
that wrong choice again, the one I do when I think
other people are a kind of, they are a kind of what, girl
not knowing any different you want to fantasy, take it
to the poem, take apart your options for surviving
another ten years in this shatter, take it to the poem
how you thought if I had to write one for every time
I wished I was dead, take it to the poem, echo of
I hate this life, I hate this life, I hate this, take it
take it to the poem, inside of me blooms surrender
to family outcomes, how no one care takes
we solitary and memories like blood, they do drip upon us
girl, is that your father, drunk whisper sweet nothings,
I am so lonely, and what do you want me to do, we all want to die
in this family, all of us trying to blow suffering from our minds
like I cut so deep I went numb, take it to the poem
like I blacked out for years, take it to the poem
like I can't call it abuse because I wanted him to kill me
take it to the poem, the poem does not mean anything


[inside the poem where i give everything meaning]

[                                                                               ]



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

dear poetry, effects of why


dear poetry,


turned culprit, awake
in that sight line's murmuration
comma of interruption invaded
caught room of lit rock
my salted evidence runs dispersed notes
darkening sky threat but our faces dry
skirting mud holes on the neutral ground
falling in line, grief has a way of arriving
fully packed on your doorstep & you
throw open your heart, lay down in great
abandon in the arms of love, sweet escape
be my eternal star gazing so i constellate
trauma, nerves carded to my lineage weaved
of careening, i ran out of new language
to stir against, sound of horns carrying us
the way a river flows or fly away, i'll fly
away, i marked memory, the sky
mixed media: white brush strokes amid blue
what is enough in life

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

dear poetry, otherwise it escapes

                                           (Unica Zürn)

dear poetry,

read a poem to me in whispers at a crowded bar, the part of my life that does not fit, it was crazy to fall in love but harder to keep our tongues in place, let's talk about the way you speak and are spoken to, the holographic mind that palimpsests every other on top of you, every gesture a cascade of where i remember most traveled, land to seascape a wanting, let's talk about shame rooted so deep in the consciousness of beings and what our human bodies have done to other human bodies and how some of us keep thinking we can escape that ancestry and how do we forgive ourselves and how to not seed hate in us that we call other people or why don't i know what lies between us, how many times in your life have you realized it was you that stole your happiness, snatched it from your lips at tasting and drove yourself back into that cave of doubt, oh we plenty in fear, watch the fall and what is it about the folding of time that makes you nervous, my heart made lonely grows weary, i fear there's not enough of anyone to keep me planted. & you, what are you afraid of.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Dear Poetry, no such vulnerable

Dear Poetry,

to poet naked against the backdrop of moving pictures we call the world
we will not see things tomorrow the same way that we saw them today

like i told you don't speak to me again
than i called you over only to lay down on me

dual girl, she rushes & the trap of trap language
coined edges of glistening, i hear you panting so near

consider the loss of selves drained in coming
candle light near the yantra of kali

and you'll want to pretend you aren't scared

happiness is slippery, not worth shooting
yourself over or for and yet we addict suffering

alone in our heads, the echo of where have you
gone, my love, empty moan of strange handling

against my skin, threats of permanence skidding
why is it any different what you put inside

or what the throat offers mocks cutting me
off in mid-song, mid-flight, like I culled my wings

down so you could fit & i whispered
i am taking: don't be so
afraid

of the noise rushing, the bite of surrender
where do you want but you already are: right here