October 03, 2004


… she let fall
Hire look a lite aside in swich manere,
Ascaunces, “What, may I nat stonden here?”

Troilus and Criseyde, Geoffrey Chaucer

I look at the world in the eyes.
And why not? Should I be gazing
Demurely at the ground then?
Observe the cracks in the pavements,
The political and obscene graffiti
Etched, scratched, and spray-painted
On the concrete? Words
“Unfit for a lady’s eyes”
Yet more acceptable to be looked at
Than the world at large?
Than strangers? Than men?

I make eye-contact with men
On the streets. And why not?
Should I not return your looks,
Reciprocate your judgments
And your assessments?
Would you feel threatened or flattered
As my eyes rake over your legs and your ass,
As I openly leer at your chest?
Would my stare be mistaken for
A come-hither, free-for-all, invite?

What, may I not stand here and stare?
My eyes are a warning,
Brazen, intense solar flares:
All you blokes beware -

            I am my own subject,
            Am subject to none;
            I am nobody’s object,
            Subordinate to no one.

I look at the world in the eyes.
I make eye-contact with strangers,
Men on the streets.
I will act, I won't appear:
I will assume the voice,
Write the story, compose the picture –
You be my subject and appear.


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