For Her | poetry
I wanted to run away from her.
I wanted to forget her.
Her in a sari and tilak on her forehead.
Her with her head covered.
Her who wore her hair in braids,
as any other way was that of a prostitute.
Her who cried at night with no one to hold her.
Her who didn't feel well but was told it was all a lie.
Her who was smashed by Krishna at the hands of Matajis.
Her who at 6 wet her bed and wore her pee soaked panties on her head.
Her who at 7 ate her own vomit so not to offend her god
for his bounty of rotting eggplant and okra.
Her who had nightmares, haunted by karma.
Her who was there but felt invisible.
Her who was told to be quiet.
Act like a lady.
Her who was told to be seen.
Her who was told to not be heard.
Her who was told she was less than because she was a girl.
Her who was cursed at 11 with blood pouring out of her whatever.
Her who was ridiculed for her breasts,
That would one day feed her baby.
Her who would shy away from friends because she and they were bad association.
Her who could not be controlled.
Her who talked back.
Her who cursed under every sneeze.
Her who protected her brother at the hands of maniacs.
Her who stood up for her friends,
And rallied the "runaway girls" to reach for their freedom.
Her who at 11 escaped a child-hood marriage.
Her who fought against hypocrisy
Her who stood in defiance of vacant vows.
Her who was blamed for men's poor behavior.
Her who was responsible for men's sexual thoughts and unwanted advances.
Her who made men forget their place in gods kingdom with her slutty side-part, breasts like jugs, and colorful saris tightly wrapped about her tiny figure.
Her who slept in basements as punishment.
Her who lied to her parents to protect herself.
I ran away from her.
I shut her out and down.
I didn't want to remember her pain.
I had forgotten about her.
She didn't matter to them.
So why should she matter to me?
One night, as I sat on my stairwell and looked at her sweet face, my eyes welled with tears of sadness, recognition and pride.
I remembered her.
She was one among hundreds.
There is no me without her.
There is no future without her history.
There is no peace in my denial.
There is no freedom in my resentment.
There is no forgiveness in my forgetfulness.
There is no love in my fear.
Because of her, I am alive.
Because of her strength, I am free.
Because of her resilience, I breathe.
Because of her faith, I love.
Because of her, I am one among many who survived
despite oppression, misogyny and other abuses.
For all she's done for me, I give her my heart, I give her my future.
In honor of her bravery and courage, I give her my word
that I will never again be quiet.
I remember her.
Because of her I have an unbreakable bond of sisterhood.
Because of her I have learned to trust again.
Because of her I have learned to love again.
Because of her I will speak up again.
Because of her I marched.
For her, I rise.
Vanessa Elle Wilde Copyright 2017
The Woman I Long To Be
The Woman I Long To Be
The woman I longed to be wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone.
She never gave up.
She never gave in.
She didn’t fret over spilled milk.
She lapped it up, licked her chops and grinned a grin a good friend would grin.
With a twinkle in her eye, she let you know she was in your side.
She was fierce and wild and uncontrollable.
She didn’t hush her steps
Or lower her voice.
She didn’t quiver in the dark.
She faced her demons and theirs too.
She breathed love and fire into the hearts of all who were willing to be lit ablaze and ride the dragon with her.
She reveled in the heat.
She spoke up.
She stood up.
She stormed the shores of despair
And blew up fences of lies and deadened dreams.
She shook awake the souls of those who forgot they were already awake.
She stood on mountain tops
And bellowed her joy
Into the wind.
She reached for stars
And gave them to her friends as sweet treats
that decayed all time and binds.
She planted flowers in the sea beds and rode the waves of suffering, holding hands with fellow travelers until they arrived safely.
The woman I longed to be
Came to me
Wrapped in snakes and leaves and honey
She invited me into her home
And offered me a cup of tea.
She told me of her journey,
of the traps and triumphs
Of her loves, of her children
And her dreams.
She told me of her losses, sorrows and blunders.
Her heart high, her head low.
Humbled, polished, whole and strong.
I asked her how I could be like her.
She said she had paved the way and handed me a key.
She extended the invitation to return home and
said it’s up to me,
To be the woman I longed to be.
Copyright © 2017 Vanessa Elle Wilde
Sovereign Soul | poetry
One day she woke up.
In her gut,
knew she deserved better.
Everything is possible.
So she put on her feather earrings
And her tassel-toed sandals.
She wore her hair down
And painted her nails red.
She wore a flowing shirt and let her
Goddess given breasts
bask in the light of the sun.
Her eyes sparkled even in the shadows
As she took her place among the wild women...
Of her past, her future, her present.
Then she fully embraced her
And all the other parts that didn't feel good enough,
Pretty enough, smart enough, capable enough...
She wrapped her arms around them all
And said "come home, loves. come home.".
And so they did.
She remembered her wholeness, her completeness and her value.
Not to be shaken or stirred or iced over again.
And every now and again, when old buddy Doubt showed up she simply loved her and sent her on her way...Doubt disappearing into thin air.
Then she flew as far as she dreamed.
And loved as deep as she longed.
She laughed till it echoed throughout all the worlds.
She danced with the goddesses who birthed her
Through their bodies, hearts and spirits.
And they sang the songs of their sovereign souls.
You are a Stallion
Written in honor of Heather Heyer and all those willing to RISE to the occasion, to progress freedom and truth. With gratitude for your bravery and resolve in our spirits, we Rise.
You are a stallion among jackasses.
You are mighty, strong and bold.
Stop playing small.
Stop running around the bushes.
Charge in, my friend.
Bellow into the sky
Your thunderous cry
Stampede the uneven foundation
beneath your hooves.
Remember who you are.
Remember your wildness.
Set yourself free.
There are others that will follow.
Lead the way.
This is no time to be a jackass.
To the occasion.
This is no parade.
This is a race
This time, when your eyes open
When every bone and breath
Don’t just stand up.
Rise with the sun, and the air
To the east with your voice.
To the west with your heart.
To the north with your eyes.
To the south with your dignity.
Don’t let them run you ‘round in circles
On the glittering circuit of distractions,
placations and derelictions of truth.
Remember who you are.
You are mighty, strong and bold.
You are big.
You are noble.
You are integrity.
You are equality.
You are freedom.
You are justice.
You are truth.
Remember who you are
A stallion among jackasses.
© 2017 V.E. Wilde all rights reserved
Courageous Girl | poetry
You my dear girl,
Keep following the invitations of your heart.
Keep saying YES to what speaks to you, motivates you, ignites you
For these are the summons of your soul.
Follow where they take you.
Trust you will always have what you need.
That you will be protected and guided.
Even if from time to time
the lights don't shine so brightly,
You won’t hear the messages perfectly
Or see the road ahead clearly,
Put one foot in front of the other.
slow and steady or with leaps and bounds
Somewhere among the stars you will land,
though it's not the landing you long for.
It's the blast off and the adventure that sustains your wild soul.
Follow the invitations, my courageous girl
and you will go where some never dare.
What's in a name
AS READ ON JANUARY 28TH @ THE WHISTLESTOP
The first time my name was changed, I was 4 years old. My parents had sent me to live in a Hare Krishna school in Dallas, TX. My name was changed from Vanessa to Radha Manjari a sanskrit name. I wore saris. Covered my head. Ate indian food. Woke up at 3:30am for prayers. Sold spiritual books door to door and in airports. Studied the Bhagavad Gita. Fully immersed, I had very little contact with the outside world including my own parents and extended family. Phone calls were allowed for 10 minutes on Sundays and all forms of communication were heavily censored. We saw our parents twice a year.
From the age of 4-12 years old, I attended 7 different Hare Krishna schools. Over those 8 years, us kids were slapped for talking back, forced to lick food and milk off the floor if we spilled it. When I was 7, I ate okra and promptly threw it up. I was then forced to eat my vomit. It was after all, offensive to Krishna (God) to waste food. As punishment, we were routinely isolated from friends and family, poked, hit and humiliated - all by the adults who were on a mission to elevate our consciousness from filth of the material world. I wanted to reject this treatment and ideology, but was deterred by the consequences. I curbed my instincts for several years, going along with the way of life I had been forced into.
The second time my identity was on the line was when I was 11 years old. I was kicked out of school in upstate New York for causing discord among the group. My friends who had my back were the fallen angels. I was Lucifer. Getting kicked out wasn’t such a bad deal. I was proud, actually. I was free. The best part was that I would be reunited with my mother who I hadn’t lived with in 8 years.
However, once we settled into our routine, it was nothing like I imagined.
One afternoon, as I returned home and walked up the steps to the trailer, she handed me a basket filled with orange laundry.
I noticed it had men's dirty clothing: socks, a prayer bag and a dhoti. A dhoti is a garment Hindu men wear. Orange clothing is worn by a celibate unmarried man.
A knot formed in my stomach. Waves of disgust came over me.
With a sick feeling in my stomach, my wild instinct kicked in.
"You want me to get married"?
My face turned red in embarrassment, panic and anger.
I put down the basket. “I am not getting married”!
She extolled the virtues of marriage. I would be made into a good woman by virtue of getting married and serving god by dutifully submitting to my husband.
Please give him a chance”, she begged”
I was too young at the time to know the spiritual and physical threats the Guru had made to her, if she didn’t get me under control. All I felt in that moment were the sharp stings of betrayal by my mother.
I agreed to talk with this man. Honestly, I didn’t have a choice. I was 11. My suitor was 29.
Like anyone vying for the good graces of a child, my suitor took me to Epcot Center, a newly opened amusement park in Orlando Florida. I don’t remember the drive, other than sitting in the back seat. I wore a colourful sari, my usual clothing. However, I had never been in such a public place dressed like this, and practically alone with a grown man. I watched the other girls giggling with their friends, wearing pants, their hair flowing in the Florida sunshine. I watched longingly as parents held their children’s hands and moms and dads walked together smiling. I was 4 the last time my family was together like this.
I had never been to an amusement park and while it all seemed overwhelming, there was an excitement in the air I couldn't resist. Walking awkwardly through the park, I hung onto the threads of my childhood and immersed myself in the fantasy that I was adopted. Perhaps I had “real” parents somewhere who might someday save me. Maybe I would be “discovered” and put on TV. Maybe someone else would just like me and rescue me.
We decided to take a ride on Space Mountain. My suitor sat in front of me, my mother behind me - as I spun through darkness: excited, scared, hoping to be transported into another life. Maybe I’d jump out and let myself fall into oblivion. My little hands held tightly onto the only sense of freedom I knew and would possibly ever know again.
In the rush of the ride, I felt my confidence grow and a sense of wildness return.
My suitor laid out the many benefits an 11 year old might reap of marriage: protection, freedom and popularity. We went through a question and answer session, which included: What’s your favorite food? Cookies, I said. (this hasn’t changed) He told me I would be able to eat as many cookies as I like because I would be considered an adult - if I marry him. He also promised that I would be the “star” of my school. You know, because I would be the first of my friends to be married. Little did he know.
I sharply stated “I’m already a star! Everyone from here to Europe knows me. I don’t need you”. I was unyielding. My unrelenting inner strength shined through and he realized he picked the wrong child-bride to mold into his vision of a perfect wife.
When we arrived home, my mom cried as I shared I didn’t believe in Krishna. I wanted to change my name back to Vanessa. To see my grandparents. I wanted to go to college, become a psychologist and have a real job, not beg for money in the street.
As I spoke clearly that my wants were different than hers, I felt her heart breaking at my decision, yet I felt so betrayed by her. She had given up on me. And I decided to give up on her. All those years, I longed to be with her, cried myself to sleep for 8 years and when we are finally reunited, she wanted give me away - again - to someone else, not to love me but to control me.
That afternoon, I went to the only freestanding phone in the community and called my dad collect. I told him mom wanted me to marry a man more than twice my age and that he needed to fly me to london or I was going to call the police.
Yes, there I went again with my crazy threats. This one worked.
A few weeks later, I flew to London.
For the first time in 8 years, I slept in past 4am. He introduced me to Frank Sinatra songs and Pizza hut. We ate spuds piled high with sour cream and cheese and drank soda. I wore a short blue and green plaid kilt almost daily. I read Lord of the Rings and Stephen King’s FireStarter. Watched Empire Strikes Back and Indiana Jones at a theatre in Piccadilly. I stuffed myself with chocolate, had my first crush on a boy (without getting demerits) and smoked my first cigarette with a catholic girl who lived down the street.
Away from the Hare Krishna’s, I recreated myself in a way that felt unoppressed. That hinted at some kind of freedom. I changed my name back to Vanessa and used my dad’s last name as a way to reinforce that I had made a definite break from my the past.
Over the following years. I danced the lines between my wildness and conformity. When I got married, it was with trepidation that I took his last name. In the aftermath of what started as love but grew into a sense of confinement and eventually a split, I decided to reclaim my identity the way I envisioned it.
I had once let everyone else name me, rename me and categorize me to suit their comfort.
So tonight’s a really big night, not just in sharing this story. You see, today I took things into my own hands and legally filed to change my last name to one that reflects the part of me that no one could ever take away. No, it’s not LUCIFER.
My last name is WILDE.
Wilde is in honor of the women in my family who sold themselves out to marriages of convenience and succumbed to the confines of skewed spirituality.
Wilde celebrates my parents who were driven by pure passion and creativity but got mixed up with the wrong gang.
Wilde is in honor of all the dreamers who came before me.
It is in faith of those who will trail blaze the road ahead.
You People | Poetry
a little background on this piece: it's transforming my petty anger into art. thanks for reading. -vanessa
You people with your open hearts, fierce love, wild ideas of equality, respect, accountability, honesty, generosity and hope.
Who are you people, anyway?
You must be privileged.
You must be white.
You must have it easy.
You must have never been hurt.
Never had an abortion, or don't know anyone who has.
must have lots of money.
must have always paid your bills on time.
never been laid off.
never fired for being too black, brown, white or old.
You must have always been respected.
Gone to a liberal elite college.
Probably even private school.
Your mommy stayed home.
Your daddy paid for everything.
You people with your pink hats,
you vulgar, vile, evil people
no way you had that many people at your celebration
prove it, people, prove it.
I want pictures now!
You people who marched for women's .... WAIT! WAIT!
What a stupid waste of time.
What do you need THAT for anyway?
You privileged white lady,
always complaining and entitled.
What were you marching for anyway?
There was trash everywhere. UGH.
Why didn't you clean up after yourselves?
Babies are being ripped out of the womb
women are falsely accusing the MAN of sexual assault
it's their fault anyway for their short skirts
and for being drunk in the first place.
They should be sent to jail, away from the baby
they begot from the rapist and punished, humiliated.
Why would you fight for your choice?
Why would you allow that loud shrieking voice of yours to
be heard in public, talking about pussies, vagina, breast-feeding and "RIGHTS".
Only the MAN can grab a woman by the pussy,
kiss her as he pleases, whenever he likes.
Only the MAN can cuddle up to communism, imitate a man with flailing arms, dishonor an honorable service member, cut off your money, hike your daily government payments, send your daughters and sons to be killed in wars in the name of freedom.
This is freedom, you silly people.
The things you marched for. That isn't freedom.
Oil is your freedom,
Big banks are your freedom.
That wall, that is your freedom.
BUY BUY BUY, that is your freedom.
Corporations are your freedom.
Ignorance is your freedom.
Denial is your freedom.
Silence is your freedom.
What were you thinking, anyway.
(Said in a low whisper & eyes rolling)
Don't you have better things to do today?