poetry

I’m Sorry (Not Sorry), It’s A Witch Hunt {poetry}

 

#MeToo is everywhere. It is bubbling up out of dark infested corners where unseen behaviors have been called out and questioned.

Behavior that was thought to be just how it is is no longer okay. And it’s purging itself on the world stage. This pair of poems is a personal response to the outpourings that we are seeing, for the women who have been abused, suffering years of unspeakable trauma and who are now bravely speaking out, and for the men who have been accused and the devastating consequences they are facing.

The first poem, I’m sorry (not sorry), is for the women. It’s about our default setting of apologizing for existing, how we qualify everything with, “I’m sorry, but…,” as if speaking our truth is something to be ashamed of and punished.

It is also a nod to the latent rage behind truth-telling, how “I’m sorry, but…” can be a weapon and how truth can be spoken in spite of society’s twisted expectations for those who dare to put their heads above the parapet and say #MeToo.

The second poem, Witch hunt, is for the men. It is a response to the knee-jerk reaction that is so often heard when those who have been accused shout back, “It’s not true, she’s lying, she was asking for it, it’s a witch hunt.”

It also honors, I hope, the trauma of the actual witch hunts, three centuries of burnings almost three centuries ago, and how we are seeing the vestiges of this unprocessed trauma playing out globally today. I have been kind to the men here. I want to give them the opportunity for redemption, to find forgiveness through compassion.

I know this is not the case for all who have fallen, but I like to think that we can all atone for our sins, however vile and terrible. The pain is there to be felt, to grieve, to purge.

It does contain bad language, but this is nothing compared to the trolling, the death-threats and rape-threats that the brave women who speak up face every day, so it is a reclamation of the vile words that are used as weapons against those who speak their truth.

So these poems are my offering to #MeToo, another drop in the tsunami of rage that is purging itself on the world stage. They are offered with a fierce love and a dream that my daughter will not have to say #MeToo. It is for her, for the next generation, for all of us humans existing in these insane times. Together we can purge our grief, and dream of shining in a brighter world.

***

I’m Sorry (Not Sorry)

I’m sorry (not sorry)
for thinking
for breathing
for feeling
for bleeding

I’m sorry (not sorry)
for taking up space
as you man-spread your legs
and squash me in corners
again and again

I’m sorry (not sorry)
for ugly
not pretty
for showing my bareness
my un-maked-up face
my bare naked eyebrows
bare eyelids
bare lips

I’m sorry (not sorry)
for madness
for screaming
for hair-pulling rage
against terror and despots
and war and burned children

I’m sorry (not sorry)
I make you uneasy
my words
pull a trigger
and Pow
then they hit you
just right in the eye

I’m sorry (not sorry)
#MeToo is a thing
and we’re coming
we’re here
and we’re fierce
and we’re warriors
a tsunami of rage
is un-damned and unleashed
no stopping, no stopper
can’t put this wild genie
back into her bottle
we’re out and we’re loud
and we’re raging and screaming

I’m sorry (not sorry)
the fire and the terror
and the sludge of my self
is now out, is all out
uncensored, free-falling
for all-kind to see

I’m sorry (not sorry)
not pretty
I’m not
I’m not here
as an object
to look at and coo

I’m sorry (not sorry)
returning, revolting
revolt, revolution
I’m love
I am power
I’m forceful
and furious, so furious
beware, oh beware

I’m sorry
not sorry
oh no
but you may be
and when you are sorry
I’m here.

***

Witch Hunt

You bitch, it’s a witch hunt
I’m innocent, see
You say that I’ve done this
Your word against me
I took you, I shook you
I did what I pleased
You’re objects of pleasure
For wild, messy greed

You bitch, it’s a witch hunt
I’m a big cheese, you know
I’ll grind you to nothing
I’ll burn you to show
You slag, whore, you cunt
It’s all over the news
My hand on your leg
And my cock… it’s not true

You bitch, it’s a witch hunt
Just take it all back
I’m losing my stature
Just cut me some slack
It’s getting quite nasty
I’m begging you, please
My job, reputation
I am a big cheese

You bitch, it’s a witch hunt
I’m sorry, I am
I thought that you wanted it
Wham, bam, thanks, ma’am
My wife has now left me
I’m down on my knees
I’m pleading, I’m sobbing
I’m begging you, please

You bitch, it’s a witch hunt
You’ve broken me now
It wasn’t my fault
I’m addicted, you know
I’m starting to see how
I will make amends
Therapy, anything
Can we be friends?

You bitch, it’s a witch hunt
I made a mistake
What all the lads did then
Now I know it’s fake
My life is in tatters
I’m shattered, face-down
I see how my actions, they
Brought you all down

You bitch, it’s a witch hunt
You all say #MeToo
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry
It’s true
I made a mistake
A thousand times over
Forgive me, I’ve wounded
Your soul now for good

I’ve nothing right now
But my shame and my guilt
Repenting forever
I know that I should
I called you those names
But those names are for me
It is not a witch hunt
Disgraced now, that’s me.

***

Xaverine M A Bates is an artist, writer and collaborator. Living in Hastings, UK, she uses words to break through layers of fear, shame and rage as a contribution to the collective awakening we are experiencing on our planet right now. She writes about feminism, mental health and eco-spirituality, and seeks to bridge the gap between disciplines. You can see more of her work here.

***

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