things that have happened

I’ve been really silent on this tumblr in general and about Hannah Graham’s disappearance in particular, and I would like to not be, if only for a minute. This has been a deeply alarming, painful week. I did not know Hannah, though she is familiar to me. I believe I had a class with her first semester. But memory is fickle. Memory is changeable. 

Here’s what I know: no one should have to feel unsafe. I feel unsafe in Charlottesville, for myself and my friends and even my boyfriend, who is a tall guy. It’s easy, when we’re afraid and confused and desperately looking for some kind of reason something so crazy and awful and painful would, to begin attaching those reasons to the wrong person. 

It is not so easy to stay safe as to stay sober. Sorry to shatter your illusion of safety: it’s not. Not only is it true that the people who hurt us are most often the people we trust: it is also true that there are members of the Charlottesville community who think the lives of others are things to play with. One time drunk drivers stopped to let me cross the street. I had not yet reached the medium when they slammed on the gas and almost ran me over, shouting obscenities at me and laughing. I understand, these assholes were drunk: they also thought their entertainment was worth more than my safety, so I’m not inclined to look compassionately upon them. 

These people aren’t benign, but they aren’t, I imagine, completely evil. But others are malicious, and do not view others — particularly women, particularly young women — as complete people. This should horrify us, and we try to live with it, we gloss over it, we give excuses I think because to recognize the true horror of it would drive us all made. 

It doesn’t have to. If we begin to stare this truth in the face and push against it, we may be able to turn it over. 

My boyfriend asked me if I’d feel safe walking around Grounds late at night. We were going to the library, and Grounds was completely empty. “I worry about drunk drivers. I worry about being in the street. Not this,” I said. 

Would I change my answer now? I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m glad he asked, and I wish people would ask more often, and I wish people cared about the answer and did something about it. 

Hannah, I hope you come home to us safe and sound. 


Charter members of the Corgi News group…

"To have great pain is to have certainty; to hear that another person has pain is to have doubt. (The doubt of other persons, here as elsewhere, amplifies the suffering of those already in pain.) … The rarity with which physical pain is represented in literature is most striking when seen within the framing fact of how consistently art confers visibility on other forms of distress (the thoughts of Hamlet, the tragedy of Lear, the heartache of Woolf’s “merest schoolgirl”). Psychological suffering, though often difficult for any one person to express DOES have referential content, IS susceptible to verbal objectification, and is so habitually depicted in art that, as Thomas Mann’s Settembrini reminds us, there is virtually no piece of literature that is NOT about suffering."
The Body in Pain by Elaine Scarry. (Been thinking a lot lately about the experiences—physical pain being one, but I think there are others—that are rendered invisible by the inability of language to describe them referentially, or else the dominant culture’s inability to hear the voices that are describing them.)


Washington by Kevin Russ

"We tell each other stories to help each other live. That’s why I read poetry. I read poetry to stay alive. That’s why I went to poetry in the first place, that’s why I stay with it, that’s why I’ll never leave it."
Marie Howe, interviewed by Victoria Redel for BOMB Magazine (via bostonpoetryslam)


trip to the uk 1988 by striderv

fact: crying in a small apartment with thin walls while your roommates are home makes everything really uncomfortable