Susan Gordon and
Annie Perconti

Annie Perconti
Inspiration piece

On Seeing
By Susan Gordon
Response

I am ravished; I am without eyes,
my hair is hard-wired to strike.

From a distance I am a white seductive, come-hither girl cradled in black.

Come closer and there is another story which you can see but I cannot speak,
not out loud, not in human words, for I was created to be blind and dumb.

But, you, who see, speak for me.

Be my lips, my larynx, my tongue.

Behind me was a whirl of colors, oil pastels, deep reds and green and then crayoned over, black, but I have kicked and scratched within my oval prison and colors of dark fir trees, of my blood show through. And like the Handless Maiden, like so many women in need of prayer and magic, I have circled and circled myself with white to keep predators out.

The devils have taken my mouth, inked out my eyes, raped me, left me naked,
but I will tell you, they don’t own my soul.

You,
you tell my story.

White as I am, I am every raped woman in the Congo.

I am the Egyptian women from Tahrir Square who were arrested, stripped and then poked by the fingers of Generals to see if they were virgins.

I am a woman in Afghanistan who tried to run from her beating husband
only to be caught by her in-laws.
I had my nose and ears cut off; I was left to die.
But I lived; I was photographed and you read my story.

I am the twelve year old girl who ran away from home after my step-father raped me.

I am the twelve year old girl who ran away from home and on DC streets, Arlington streets, Houston’s, San Francisco’s. I sought help from some boys who turned out to be part of MS 13.

I am the twelve year old girl forced into tricking 10-15 times a night at truck stops where no one asks any questions. 50 dollars a pop and my pimp is rich and I am ruined, ruined, enslaved unless someone reaches out to me, unless I can get away.

And if they don’t own my soul,
how have you fallen silent?
you, my eyes, ears and mouth?

I am a long armed, long legged white woman, curled to protect myself and not protected at all. I still have my lightning bolt halo, my lightning bolt Farrah Fawcett hair.
Come, come closer; it will strike.

Do you think I haven’t killed my share of men when given the chance? I have.
I carry a shiv in my ankle socks, when I’m not stripped naked. Why do you think I am sightless and dumb?

You really don’t know what to write now, do you? You thought you could write of the NPR horrors you have attached to my body and then thought I wouldn’t be rage possessed?

Think again. Make it more personal; make it more immediate.

Look, look again.

Do you notice how coy I seem? Long legs, like legs on a leggy colt, drawn up, tantalizing, and one arm draped across. I am inviting. Do you see how the artist drew me? Nothing quite matches. The knee drawn up to my chest doesn’t connect to the source of the leg, the inner thigh, running right smack up into my vagina. Really that is where the eye goes, right to that curved black line that delineates the way into me.
Get too close and I will annihilate you.

Come closer and see my maimed danger. There is nothing much you can do with an archetype. We don’t converse. We kill.

You have told the stories of women who need to be remembered; even though you are paralyzed by them.

Still, you have reminded the reader: these horrors are visited on women every day and not just on women and girls, but also on boys. Remember sick priests and Jerry Sandusky. All kinds of folks get raped.

Exhausted now? You should be. You have sought out every sort of help for someone like me. You have been strong; you have been determined but no help is forthcoming.

You feel like crying? Me, too, on a good day, when I can slow down enough to feel anything, even an ounce of compassion for you, for myself. But my eyes have been replaced by the black, thick, strikeout when you aren’t supposed to know who has been harmed. The kind of strikeout you see in old copies of medical textbooks, when you are looking at someone who has been grossly harmed or deformed.

So, even if I cried, you wouldn’t know.

They struck out my tears along with my eyes.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to cry.

All of me: blacked out eyes, no mouth, wants to howl, to scream, to sob, to let tears stream down my face.

But what has happened to me doesn’t give me that privilege, that right.

If I had it, I wouldn’t be an archetype.

So come back:
Give me some clothes, some way to cover myself.
Give me eyes, give me a mouth.
Pull me back from killing and maiming;
pull me back into human.
I know I would scream;
I know I would be riven with pain,
but give me my humanity
and I can heal.

——————————————————

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3 Comments

  1. Susan Gordon
    Posted December 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm | #

    Annie,

    I hope I have done your piece justice. Powerful piece to respond to. Thanks,

    Susan

  2. Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm | #

    Susan,

    I am honored by your words…this voice…such a gift! thank you,

    Annie

  3. Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm | #

    Very well done . I really enjoy the marriage of words and image and this is a great example…

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