Read Poem: THE DIRECT VELVET ROUTE by Elizabeth Marino

Social Engagement/Intersectional Feminism


Troops know that the truest /
way to an enemy’s anguish /
is through the direct velvet route /
of vagina, mouth, or anus/
of his wife or young daughter,/
preferably in front of him./
It a time-tested war crime, that/
struggles to be named as such.//

Here at home, the common/
“I want some of that”/
muttered from a park bench,/
or as he gets off a public bus/
following a young girl./
Studies report a child-woman’s /
appeal peaks at age 13./
My mother once drove over/
a curb as a man leached after/
a neighbor’s 12-year-old daughter
/entering a grocery store./
Thick blackgirl thighs and woman hips./ She looks so grown, she /
must be grown. What child?/
“I want some of this.”//

As pirates cruise the West Coast of/ Africa, and desperate parents/
take small sums to ensure /
domestic traing, a possible life abroad. /Hope beyond hope,/
then really not want to know,/
as the dream ships sail away.//

On a nice night, it would be good/
to go out for a walk. I hear my own/
mother’s voice saying Don’t go./
There are bad men out there./
The small woman enwrapped in/
a simple green sari has been/
in the States for three weeks. A small,/ proud smile.Where is Chicago? she asks./
Security finds her apartment,/
and asks me to see her upstairs/
to her unlocked apartment.//

“Life doesn’t frighten me” wrote/
Maya Angelou. But it does./
Truly, it does. The detailed catalogues of/ violence to girls and
women shut us down./
There are no longer stages/
for girls to play at future sexual selves,/ to flirt in earnest without consequence./
Her gaze — direct, sure and unaffected -/
laughter in her eyes.//

There must be a way to slip/
our fingers deep into the earth/
all at once, and right its orbit.//

— Elizabeth Marino
Copyright 2018

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