The Many-Headed Hydra: A Sentimental Nature Poem – The Feminist Wire

The Many-Headed Hydra: A Sentimental Nature Poem

By Debbie Hu
oh ghost of double-headed neglected sunflower...
are you arching your spine
towards this literally splendiferous sunrise,
are you inclining your double ghost heads, so proud
                                               now I live with a white boy named chris
                                               chris told me about the sunflower
                                               that used to be in our garden
                                               it grew two heads
                                               that were too heavy, eventually
                                               for the stem, and it fell
are you sunflower ghost hearing these squawks and those
white trucks w/ the funny oversized barrels
on their side in the back
sunflower ghost, what are those trucks for?
may I at least be as long-winded towards you as allen ginsberg?
what are your feelings about chris
i liked him when he was telling me about you sunflower ghost
but yeah he is a fucking racist
bahhh i don't feel like weighing him on the scales of justice
my poor scales they are as stiff and sore as
my 24 year old back that still remembers
a time when it didn't ache constantly
bluhhh sunflower am i leaning on you too hard
when i say metaphorically
that i thought i'd be happier
with a second head but
I think so much now it might be breaking my back.
I can't help but see the
contortions of my thought, sometimes,
  as the writhings of a trauma
   that refuses to quite
     harden into knowledge
 i can't wait until i am done writhing
 so i can get back
 to the business at hand
 (so what is
 the business
 at hand)
i'm in new zealand
& i'm scared to ask myself why
because i think if i were to answer truthfully
it would take a long time
& that might be boring
                             & it would also involve me saying
                                     calmly, but with a frequency
                                that might feel
                                   like "hysteria"
one year ago dick jokingly says to a person of color (not me)
"you're so racist!"
because the person of color has been bringing up race all night
& i say, "dick,
what does 'racist' mean to you?"
Dick fixes me with his
     precisely intelligent good-at-cunnilingus head,
says, in his culturally relevant white American voice,
"'racist' means,
    trying to be funny,
         and almost funny,
      but not that
i laughed.

oh that's funny that you got the last word
because i think
that might be
my definition
"asian-american woman writing poetry on the internet"
i don't know why i ever wanted dick's head
to grow next to my head
but now he's there
and i'm sore between the shoulderblades
because i sit and stare at my twitter interface,
stoned for hours at a time
without taking a break
or stretching, or if i'm at home,
i sit in bed under covers huddled over my iPad
a hat and scarf
& read about race
& read about tarot
& masturbate
& play videogames
& drink tea
& procrastinate peeing
& get high
& think thoughts about race
& say the ones that i think are
        interesting or relevant or funny or something because i have 567 twitter
followers & i'm terrified of displeasing them becuase i think some of them
are amazing and i don't want to waste their time etc. & you know i'm like
bernadette mayer, so fucking verbal, like i could just sit and spit thoughts at
you for like days straight without ever running out of things to say unless i'm
afraid of offending or displeasing you or making you mad or bored or being
i should go stretch but
i'm a paranoid mess rn
i have sensitive skin it keeps breaking out in hives
i don't like that line because it feels like an overly cheesy metaphor but i also like the metaphor and
also i feel like i should let myself say whatever i want since white supremacy never let me be who i
am but guhhh
here i am with 2 heads again
trying to soak up that sun
"ahhh you know
white people,
they can't even go outside
without catching a disease
that's why they stay inside
wearing SPF 500
with their computer shorts" - Himanshu
you know?
& i think it alienates me when white feminists
don't feel the punctum
of race
not that it's productive to complain
& you know, there are always mitigating factors, etc.
which i walk around weighing with my two heads but
i don't know how to talk about race and feminism
i feel stuck in the gunk of racism and sexism all day long and so
i empathize with feminism, but i don't think it often empathizes with me & other woc
and maybe this is so bourgeois to be like demanding a politics of empathy

but it sucks
and i do feel it driving
a second wall between my white comrades and me

i think they might say, "it's driving a wall"

but there was always a first wall they never paid attention to

so for me, it's driving a second wall

but maybe the second wall is good, if it makes the first wall more visible?

but the first wall was never really a wall, more a block //
though there are also other identity-blocks, other structural identity
experiences I haven’t experienced & it’s hard not to make it
me-against-the-world & it’s hard to see our struggles as related
but I’m staying up not eating because I’m so scared to be so ugly
but I feel like if I keep being a presence then the world will stop
being so alien to us eventually &

I believe words are like ghosts & that every word you say in a room

Makes that room more haunted by you

Maybe helps you live in it

By fixating on whiteness, I feel as though I'm

making a block into a blockage

or is it making a block into a blockade

or is it me writing stubbornly unbeautiful poetry

after sunrise and before breakfast

congratulating myself for getting out of bed

i'm trying not to be sorry

i'm trying not to say sorry

but as an "empowered" woman of color feminist

i need someone to fucking be sorry

and until you say you're really sorry

and you mean it

i will alternate between hating you,
hating myself for making it an issue, feeling tempted to say i'm sorry so you'll
say it back, feeling righteousness w/ wounded ego, not getting out of bed, 
and trying to get over it

HuDebbie Hu is from the U.S. and China, and is currently studying in New Zealand.  Her work has been published in hoax, Mrs. Maybe, Moonroot, and Everyday Genius.  Her chapbook, Airy Baby, is being released soon from Perfect Lovers Press. She can be contacted at @debbiehu or [email protected].