Category Archives: Most Popular

Until I don’t have to imagine anymore

I imagined we spoke before the sun had risen as I stood

naked wet

in the shower lathered and loose,

I murmured French to your naked wet ears practicing for future encounters

and when you replied your accent sounded like

La Vie en Rose

in the bass clef.

The music continued over breakfast:

oatmeal brown sugar sliced banana rosemary and a cup of coffee,

alone

I felt it seeping into the crevices of my gums

filling a lake beneath my tongue

for us to dive into.

I imagined you me diving splashing in flannel sheets

my sighs dancing in your hair

a breeze through wind chimes

my fingers printing on your shoulders

a stamp on red wax seal,

Naked wet

I arched my spine into your chest

a yogi raising heart to heaven.

I imagined you me paralyzed naked wet with love

lying on our backs atop the sheets,

your hand sauntering from my bellybutton to my breasts

back and forth to calm our pulses into heart beats.

I whisper something

La Vie en Rose

You respond in English

to thrust me back––

***

This post is only a draft. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below! Your input is appreciated!

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Filed under Most Popular, Poetry

So what I didn’t wear a bra today

Oh I’m sorry

do I make you uncomfortable?

Do my breasts

hanging swaying in my shirt

offend (intrigue) your eyes?

Hate to break it to you but–

my tits are not

plump pink grapefruits

fleshy balls to juggle

between your hands

they are

fat skin muscle

body, my

body.

What’s that?

I didn’t shave today?

You don’t like my

prickly pear pits

my caterpillar calves and thighs?

Well they aren’t perfect either.

My skin is not

leather velvet silk cotton

it is skin

dammit

it grows hair

it has pores

filled with sweat

oil dirt blood pus

not

porcelain.

So don’t bother

selling me your airbrushed facades

I know they are

not

real

and your powders treatments liquid lies

only serve to suffocate

cover me up

mask my frigid pointed nipples

shape them into spheres.

I want to

move slip slide through my clothes

and into my body

not

your idea of my body–

mine

not yours to mold

like a blown-glass chalice

for you to pour your piss into.

Stop.

Stop measuring my dimensions

forcing me onto a scale

squeezing me into shapes

prescribing me a pear apple hourglass

I am not a fucking fruit.

I am not an object.

I am a human

being

and I will

not

tolerate

your dick money hate

telling me how to be–

I won’t.

***

This post is only a draft. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below! Your input is appreciated!

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Filed under Most Popular, Poetry

Beautiful little discoveries

I stumbled upon these words at the University of Arizona on Sept. 22, 2011. I found them on Highland Avenue, painted on the brick facade of the Koffler building. There they were, waiting for someone to see them, to read them, to believe them.

I took out my camera, knowing that I’d happened upon something special. For several days afterwards, I kept my eye out for these words and looked for them where ever I went on campus. I never saw them again, that is, not until yesterday.

I’d stopped looking for them long ago, and yet, here they were, sneaking up on me when I least expected them. Finding me when I needed them. You see, about 45 minutes after I took this photo, I walked into a hair salon and told the hairstylist that I wanted to cut my hair. Short. For me, those were bold words. In my mind, my long, golden waves have always been attached to my femininity and my self-image. Chopping them all off meant severing that tie.

But I did it! And I couldn’t be happier with the decision. I feel lighter, buoyant. I feel brighter. I feel new.

I also feel like I toppled straight out of The Great Gatsby

Cutting my hair has reminded me that beauty lies beyond outward appearance. It can be seen in smiling eyes. It can be heard in loving words. When jasmine tickles my nose and takes me back to my grandmother’s garden, I find beauty in childhood memories. When I hold my little sister and feel her warm body against mine, I find beauty in our sisterhood. When I wake up in the morning to the sound of singing birds and the aspirated sighs of wind, I find beauty in the music of the natural world. Beauty, as I was reminded this week, is everywhere, and I am blessed to have so much of it in my life. In the people I know and love. In the world I live in.

We don’t distinguish between external beauty and internal beauty in English. But in other languages, there are words to separate the two. One of my favorite distinctions comes from Swahili, in which beauty can be identified as zuri or ema. As I understand it, zuri refers to the physical, the tangible and the polite. If someone asks me how I’m doing, I may respond using zuri.  However, if I want to talk about something in the soul, something deeper, I use ema. Ema, internal beauty, defies what resides on the surface. Ema lies in the little things; the little things that have big, meaningful consequences.

Yesterday, I found ema on the steps of the Integrated Learning Center at the University of Arizona, and I took it into the barbor’s chair where I snipped away at a binding, personal norm, liberating something inside of me. And today, I carry it still.

May something beautiful find you this week.

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

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What I wrote: “Win a Trip” Contest 2012

Each year, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof hosts an essay contest for American students. One writer is selected to travel with him for two weeks to a region of Africa to report on human rights issues facing that part of the continent. This is an experience I’ve had my eyes set on for several years, and this January, I finally submitted my essay in hope of being the next “Win a Trip” contest winner. While I wasn’t chosen, writing the essay was worth it. I passed the entire day I spent drafting this essay slipping in and out of tears, revisiting stories and memories that have made me who I am.

In these 698 words, I manage to describe only a small portion of my journey as a feminist, a writer and an activist. My perspective has continued to evolve and transform since submitting this piece. Understanding where you stand is a never-ending process, and I constantly feel that I am learning new things and redeveloping my point of view. In the end, this essay portrays only one aspect of what I believe in, who I fight for and what I want to do with my writing, but it gets to the essence of my passion, the foundation.

Why you would like to go on a reporting trip to the developing world with Nick Kristof and what in your background is relevant to the Contest? 

***

I know a woman who was raped and left to soak in a puddle of her own blood. Monsters tore deep into her being, destroyed her will to live and stole her womanhood. A broomstick scratched at her insides, leaving splinters in her violet flesh. The splinters turned to black trees with branches like claws that reached up from within her and caged her in a living hell. There, a ghost of a woman, she remains.

I met her in a theater in small-town Arizona, where she stood beneath a single light that cast circles under her eyes. I knew they were only shadows, but it seemed to me those circles were cavities the world had carved with a dull and jagged knife. Her eyes lifted and I saw suffering behind them. She told me her story, and I cried.

The Vagina Monologues. “My Vagina was My Village.” I was 15.

Three years later in an auditorium at the University of Arizona, my voice was her vagina, was her village. My performance paralyzed the audience. They weren’t sure whether to applaud or let my words drop like bombs upon their sheltered reality. I made them face her. I made them face themselves.

Soon after, I met this woman again as I watched foreign correspondent Lara Logan relive her own dehumanization. Shaking, she described the hands, the flagpoles, the sticks that raped her. She endured it all once more in order to break “the code of silence,” she said. Again I felt the agony of her story, so common, yet so unspoken, among my fellow women.

Then in July, a small, black hand slipped into my palm. I turned to greet the smiling eyes of Jacquelyn, a Maasai girl from Narok, Kenya where I was volunteering. In her eyes, I saw the same woman I’d encountered before, but in this little girl she had yet to be broken. Jacquelyn told me she had run away from her home in Maasai Land, fleeing marriage and female circumcision. “I want to go to school in America,” she said. “Then I will come back and help other girls.” Hearing this, I smiled, but inside I threw punches at my privilege and I felt anger pulsing in my veins. I knew she probably wouldn’t get to America. But at least she dared to try.

You see, the woman I met for the first time four years ago has never left me. I found her behind veils in Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran. Trapped in Thailand’s red-light district in Disposable People by Kevin Bales. Buried in the bush in Jeb Sharp’s coverage of mass rape in the Congo. I am her village, and I believe that it is my responsibility to break the silence, just as other journalists have done before me. So I speak up. I’m a reporter at my college newspaper, a part-time blogger and a full-time feminist. As a student studying journalism and political science, I’m acquiring the skills to advocate for women worldwide and help them fight for their humanity. Because humanity truly is at stake here. The urgency of this issue cannot be denied. Empowering women and girls is key to securing a better world, for a world in which women are raped, beaten, burned and ultimately destroyed is destined to ruin us all.

With the experience you offer, I hope to expose injustice and compel people to action. I hope to use my voice and my words to instill a sense of crisis in my readers. In every story I tell, I want them to see the woman I write for and realize that we are her village. We are her allies. I will not squander this opportunity because everything within me requires that I use it to tell the stories of my sex, whether they are stories of oppression or emancipation.

I know a woman who is ready to accept your challenge. She is resilient, passionate and ready to learn. She has invested everything in this opportunity and she is prepared to struggle, to fail and to try again.

I know a woman who will not be silent.

I am this woman.

Savannah Martin

University of Arizona

Jan. 21, 2012

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Filed under Most Popular, Prose

Road Trippin’: San Francisco

My roommate, Abby, and I decided that this spring break, we were gonna do it big. So we woke up at 4 a.m. last Saturday, left Tucson at 6, and booked it to San Francisco.

 Thirteen and a half hours, 866 miles later, we found ourselves walking along the streets of the Golden Gate city, our bellies grumbling and our eyelids heavy. We had a few hours before we could meet up with my friends who live in the Mission District,  so we got dinner at Little Star Pizza, where we enjoyed what was, in my opinion, the best deep dish pizza in the history of deep dish pizza.

The following day, after many hours of much-needed sleep and a hearty scrambled-egg breakfast, we strolled through the Mission and the Castro. Highlight of the day: devouring a giant white chocolate, cranberry cookie from Hot Cookie, a Castro classic stop.

The next day, we did typical tourist things– the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Ghirardelli  Chocolate Factory. All the fun stuff.

Before we hit the road on Tuesday morning, we ate breakfast at a quaint French bakery called Tartine. It rained gently outside as I ate my berry torte and Abby ate her bread pudding. With our taste buds and our bellies quite happy, we hopped into the car and onto the Pacific Coast Highway, our eyes set on Santa Barbara.

Although I was excited to continue our adventure, I was sad to leave San Francisco. The city is so unique, and something about it pulls me in. It has a personality, one that is embracing and warm, friendly and eccentric. I could live there, and someday, I hope to.

Now, we are on Coronado Island, and tomorrow we will be back on the road heading toward Tucson. Then it’s upward and onward into the last seven weeks of the semester!

Wait for me, summer. I’m on my way.

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

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