laene_lif: (Guildenstern such is life shrug smile)
[personal profile] laene_lif
I'm doing Vagina Monologues at my school this year. Never have before, though a few of my friends have, and they're all doing it this year too, so it will be fun. And I got a pretty big part, which is neat. It's been so long since I've done any kind of acting. The piece I'm doing is called "Crooked Braid." It's pretty intense. Sad. I like it a lot. It's based on interviews by Eve Ensler with women from the Oglala Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Here, have a look:




1
He wanted to go out.
He said to me-- "You stay home."
I said "I wanted to go out."
He said "You have a baby."
I said "It's our baby."
I laid the baby down.
He probably felt my tension
cause he was whimpering,
the baby.
I looked up and he slapped me,
my husband.
Not a blast that knocks your eyes blue.
That came later.
It was a smack -- a hard domestic smack.
He looked at me.
He was smiling.
I couldn't believe it. He was smiling.
He slapped me again.
His dad was vicious to his mother.
I saw him smile.
What was that?
He was the nicest person.
He had long black hair,
combing his long hair
when we made love it got
loose
before.

2
He took me to the dinner,
made me go out with his boss.
I didn't want to go.
He kicked me under the table,
told me to look happy,
told me to smile.
I smiled.
He kicked me again
asked me who I was trying to fuck,
asked me to stop coming on to everyone.
I stopped smiling.
He kicked me again.
This went on and on.
Outside the restaurant
he grabbed my hair
and pulled me down to
the curb.
It had been snowing.
He buried me in snow,
he pounded me in the gutter.
The snow was melting;
it was sloppy
and mud --
my hair felt like it was bleeding.
I ran to...--

3
He was drinking.
I was too.
I must have blacked out.
I woke up in the hospital
after five brain surgeries.
My hair was gone.
They shaved it off.
I had to relearn to talk
and move my arms.
It took me four months
to remember how to cook
breakfast.
I remember putting
the egg in the frying pan
with the bacon.
I knew the egg felt right --
I just didn't remember to
crack it open.
Just the egg in the frying pan
in its shell.
My head was bald.

4
After 18 years, he beat me.
In the morning
when he was so nice again
I would braid his long hair.
I would take my time
like I cared so much
and I would do it perfectly crooked.
I would make the hairs
so they would stand up
all crazy like.
Then he'd go forgetting
that the bruises on my
face were his hand prints.
He'd walk all cocky in the street,
all macho in the road,
but his braid would be so crooked
and look so stupid and wrong.
This shouldn't have made me that happy.
It really just shouldn't have made me that happy.

5
Heard that he was out
with a woman,
making love and she was fluffing
his hair when he was wild
on top of her.
He came home
much later
and his hair was braided up all
right and tight.
He passed out from drinking
then I got up
with scissors
as he snored
and slowly walked to him
and just cut the braid off --
completely off
and put it in his hand
so that when he woke up
he screamed "what the fuck,
I am going to kill you"
and he jumped up
but I had tied his shoes
together so he couldn't run
I didn't go back to him for three years
until I knew his hair had grown out again.

6
I didn't want to have sex with him.
He was drunk --
I was just a piece of meat to him.
A big hole.
I tried to pretend I was asleep.
He elbowed me, jerked me
pulled me up.
I remember thinking just get it over with.
He was soft and kept pumping
and pumping until
I got sore.
I said it didn't feel good.
He said, "Who were you with?
Was he bigger than
me? Did you like it?"
You're like a mouse with a lion
You have to move fast
to the door.
He picked me up
like I was a rag.
His eyes were numb.
I could hear my son screaming
-- his mouth was open and
his tonsils --
I could see his tonsils.
My husband beat the shit out of me.
He wrapped my long black hair around his hand,
jerked my head.
I tried to get my son.
"That's not your son," he said,
holding my hair in his hand.
"That's not your son anymore."

Now he calls me the middle of night
weeping.
He didn't mean to beat his wife.
He didn't mean to batter her.
He's suicidal.
He knows what his mother went through.

But he can't stop, my son.
They took our land.
They took our ways.
They took our men.
We want them back.


I hope I do it justice.

I've also decided to write my english capstone on Octavia Butler's "Xenogenesis" trilogy, "No Woman Born" by C.L. Moore, Judith Butler's feminist/gender theory stuff ("Gender Trouble") and Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto." Yeah. I'm pretty excited for it.

Date: 2009-11-18 09:49 pm (UTC)
zulu: (house - happy foreman)
From: [personal profile] zulu
Wow, that's powerful stuff.

Also, cool! Those are exactly the texts I used for my honours thesis last semester. It was a ton of fun to write.

Date: 2009-11-18 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stephantom.livejournal.com
Haha, really? That's so funny. And awesome. I would love to read that, I'm sure it's fantastic (but I'm not asking to see it -- at least not until after I've written my own thing -- I don't want to unconsciously plagiarize).

I started out with a much broader, vaguer idea (I thought, something with postmodernism, anti-essentialism and religion) and then decided to go with speculative fiction, which took me to the whole post-human idea... which gender was a part of. I wasn't sure at first to just touch on it or what, but then I thought, "Ah, hell, just zoom in on the gender stuff" because I need focus and it's something that's been on my mind lately. Gender, that is.

You wrote on "Xenogenesis" too? I think it's so interesting because... Butler (Octavia, not Judith) kind of reinforces, or accepts, essentialist conceptions of gender in her portrayal of (most) male and female characters. And yet opens up a way out of that male/female binary with the bio-engineering Oankali. And identity is organic... but the line between organic and artificial is completely blurred.

Anyway, yeah. I haven't really started yet. Just reading things. But yeah, cool. Great minds??

Date: 2009-11-18 11:19 pm (UTC)
zulu: Omar Epps, looking awesome (house - epps)
From: [personal profile] zulu
Totally great minds. I think you'll find that Butler (Octavia) is doing exactly what Butler (Judith) might hope, in the introduction to Gender Troubles--she's "troubling categories", and engaging in "serious play" with dualities. :D You're totally going to have a great time.

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