Saturday, July 7, 2012


If you are outside Milwaukee, I may not have told you about this crisis on June 3, 2012. In short a resident of our housing cooperative had a breakdown which involved physically threatening behavior, verbal abuse, and spray painting and writing on the walls of the house consisting of racially charged hate speech targeted toward me. We called the police, contacted the landlord, and he was evicted that night, and the lock changed immediately. We are all safe, though shaken up. I am processing the trauma with friends, poetry, yoga, and much more. Five weeks later, I feel I am more or less back to normal. The only means I have found to write about this trauma is through poetry. Here is a piece I wrote that night. This has been an epic experience and an amazing teacher. The healing continues.

I am from a pink house with yellow walls covered with spray paint, and my name markered on walls

I am from he keeps his door open now and “you and I are the same person”
I am from his violent father and his hypochondriac mother
I am from his connective tissue disorder and a shoulder that dislocates during sleep

I am from “I painted this for you to teach you,” staying up all night with rolling rocks, practicing stand-up, and crushed cans thrown across the room
I am from camels smoked on the deck and a knife next to his bed
I am from jars of pepperoncini that burn up his stomach

I am from “white liberals are the worst” and thinking everyone can be your ally
I am from give him the benefit of the doubt and no judgment, no blame, and take responsibility for everything
I am from hurt people hurt people hurt people hurt

I am from I can’t think of what to do, a squad car that never shows up and better change the lock tonight

I am from what if he’s right and I’m wrong? and maybe if I stay still and breathe through it it will disappear
I am from it feels more comfortable to bear it than fight it and where did my body go?

I am from put your head down and work, hurry up and buy something to feel better
I am from “guchuh”: stop crying already or “are you holding back tears?”

I am from jess faces off against him in her bare feet and skinny legs while the neighbors are watching us up on the second floor deck and trying to decide what to do
I am from friends on either side shoulder to shoulder who won’t leave me until I am safe
I am from I don’t even recognize my mistreatment until the white male in recovery points it out to the police

I am from rip off the bandages and look at the wound, and give yourself a whole day or week or month to weep
I am from weep for the mothers, the grandmothers, the maidens and crones, the asian call girls in the backs of alternative weeklies published by white liberals, the manicurists in nail salons, generations of picture brides and comfort women
I am from generations of women suffering alone and silently, accepting the blame and wearing it like a cloak

I am from kombucha, powdered greens, and probiotics tossed into a canvas bag,
I am from kefir strained at midnight and strawberry rhubarb crisp from the first spring harvest
I am from setubandha until sleepiness comes, under full moon through lace curtains
I am from you are safe now


jsinisi said...

Kam Sam Ni Da!!! PIL SUNG!!!!! This is your victory Peg. Jnsn.

SDFrancis said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about your experience - without hype, without trying to tell the facts as the topline story - very human, very humbling - I am honored to bear witness to your humanity