Cripple Women Armor

Performed live @ Bowery Poetry Club NYC

(DATE)

I am friends with women who wear resilience like perfume  

who are not afraid of blood, the doctor’s office, protests, or taking a chainsaw to a flight of steps

I am friends with women who have metal rods for spines

bionic knees, rubber wheels as feet, bright pink crutches as an extension of their body

I am friends with women who pry the word cripple out of the mouth of the oppressor, teasing out the big C from the front teeth of a middle aged white man and branding it on their forehead, and each letter after that down their back worn like a cape

I am friends with women who wear leg braces like armor,

who do not melt under the eyes constantly on their bodies, 

who instead swim under the stage light of twisted admiration, flip their hair and use the sidewalk as a runway.

cripple women armor is winged eyeliner and red lipstick, might as well turn the stares of strangers into something worth their time. cripple women armor is a loud mouth that isn’t afraid to respond to ignorance with have a nice fucking day

cripple women armor is protests, picket signs, fighting for the right to exist in a world made primarily with steps. cripple women armor is wheels cemented to the front doors of congressmen, jail cells, calls to our employers to get us out from behind bars for just asking the government to not defund the program keeping us alive

cripple women armor is not a smiley face

it’s bitch face

nice faces invite people to talk, and talking gets a bible placed on our heads on the middle of fifth ave, strangers asking God to give us a new body they don’t like the one we have now.

cripple women armor is sunglass wearing indoors, ice cubed teeth, slithering tongue bitch staring ahead, don’t make eye contact. Stare in front of you at the subway map, at the floor, at your shoes, whatever you do bitch as you travel alone at night don’t stare at the man across from you eyeing your body like he’s trying to decide if he wants you sprawled out on a stage at circus freak show or in his bed. Either way he could kill you, just look away. I’m surprised I’ve never been raped with all of the horror stories I’ve heard about men. They never told me in all the feminist spaces I’ve entered that out of my friend group of 5 physically disabled women, 2 of us will be sexually assaulted in our lifetime. I’m sorry I must have forgotten I’m less of a woman since you think my body isn’t worthy of giving life to another and feminism only seems to include the bodies palatable enough to the average able man’s tongue.

cripple women armor is not a look, it’s not a movement or a hashtag, it’s not for you to applaud and look at, cripple women armor is safe-zone, it’s what I rely on to get me home, it’s the persona we cultivate to get us through the day in a world not made for us. The women I’m friends with

                              we made this.

But never mind that, pay attention, headphones in, don’t make eye contact, keep doing your homework or keep writing the same word over and over so you don’t have to look at the man that has been staring at you the entire ride home

remember put on your armor, crippled girl, remember press the elevator button quickly, quicker girl, so he can’t get in

so you won’t be alone with him

Contact: despinabakos@gmail.com