Nicole Blackman, “Daughter”
One day I’ll give birth to a tiny baby girl and when she’s born she’ll scream and I’ll make sure she never stops.
I will kiss her before I lay her down and will tell her a story so she knows how it is and how it must be for her to survive.
I’ll tell her about the power of water, the seduction of paper, the promise of gasoline, and the hope of blood.
I’ll teach her to shave her eyebrows and mark her skin.
I’ll teach her that her body is her greatest work of art.
I’ll tell her to light things on fire and keep them burning.
I’ll teach her that the fire will not consume her, that she must take it and use it.
I’ll tell her to be tri-sexual, to try anything to sleep with, fight with, pray with anyone, just as long as she feels something.
I’ll help her do her best work when it rains.
I’ll tell her to reinvent herself every 28 days.
I’ll teach her to develop all her selves, the courageous ones, the smart ones, the dreaming ones, the fast ones.
I’ll teach her that she has an army inside her that can save her life.
I’ll tell her to say Fuck like other people say The and when people are shocked to ask them why they so fear a small quartet of letters.
I’ll make sure she always carries a pen so she can take down the evidence.
If she has no paper, I’ll teach her to write everything down on her tongue, write it on her thighs.
I’ll help her to see that she will not find God or salvation in a dark brick building built by dead men.
I’ll explain to her that it’s better to regret the things she has done than the things she hasn’t.
I’ll teach her to write her manifestos on cocktail napkins.
I’ll say she should make men lick her enterprise.
I’ll teach her to talk hard.
I’ll tell her that her skin is the most beautiful dress she will ever wear.
I’ll tell her that people must earn the right to use her nickname, that forced intimacy is an ugly thing.
I’ll make her understand that she is worth more with her clothes on.
I’ll tell her that when the words finally flow too fast and she has no use for a pen, that she must quit her job, run out of the house in her bathrobe, leaving the door open.
I’ll teach her to follow the words.
I’ll tell her to stand up and head for the door after she makes love.
When he asks her to stay she’ll say she’s got to go.
I’ll tell her that when she first bleeds when she is a woman, to go up to the roof at midnight, reach her hands up to the sky and scream.
I’ll teach her to be whole, to be holy, to be so much that she doesn’t even need me anymore. I’ll tell her to go quickly and never come back.
I will make her stronger than me.
I’ll say to her never forget what they did to you and never let them know you remember.