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We were in a girl band.

We hit the road
drove up and down the coast.

We were in a girl band
but poets, performers, protesters.

We slept on floors
made art in the snow
hit up southern diners.

We walked in the street
in cities without sidewalks
and in cities with sidewalks.

We fit four into one motel room.

We wrote songs
just by making each other laugh
and writing it down.

The song we chose for our soundtrack
was Ani’s “Both Hands”
but the song that chose us was the one
the car radio loved to play on both sides
of the Mason-Dixon line: Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”

We read at the art museum.
We read at the bookstore.
They let us take over the back room at the bar.
We shone bright / that night.

“Diamonds” by Rihanna was, in fact, written by Sia
in about thirteen minutes.
She was working on the Unapologetic songs
but it was time to go, her car was waiting.
They played the music, and with her coat already on
she straightaway sang Shine bright like a diamond,
then finished the song, got in the car and left.
Rihanna loved it and spent days trying to get
her vocal just right, so that Sia later thought
it was her own voice on the final mix.

In DC we called ourselves Party Girl Washington

In Boulder we threw a slumber party

In New York we were the east coast crew of the
Anti-Surveillance Feminist Poet Hair&Makeup Party

We had ambassadors in the Bay
who taught us how to paint our faces to trick Big Brother Marky Zuck
and then put on our avant-garde plays

In Beacon we bonded with body artists who knew like we did
that the guy with the big museum retrospective had killed her

We had a cry-in
We made paprika siluetas
We wished she were still alive
We said “Enough is enough”
We said “me too”
We performed at the festival
then held a town hall

Eye to eye / so alive
We’re beautiful / like diamonds in the sky

Who’s singing?

Above us, the stars glittered in the firmament,
and comets’ tails zigzagged across the sky.
Even the satellites seemed sentient or cyclical.
The stars shot and shot and shot.

In Unmarked: The Politics of Performance,
Peggy Phelan observes that

“cultural activists and some theorists
have also assumed that ‘selves’ can be
adequately represented within the visual
or linguistic field,‟ and insists, conversely, that

“Visibility is a trap”:

“it summons surveillance and the law;
it provokes voyeurism, fetishism,
the colonial/imperialist appetite for possession.”

Her best proof is perhaps this unsettlingly
funny point: “If representational visibility
equals power, then almost-naked young
white women should be running Western culture.”

We were in a girl band.
We wrote afterwords.
We documented ourselves for art magazines.
Our boyfriends took our photos.
We took our own.
They printed them in Europe, full makeup and wigs.
We were anonymously famous.
We kept our clothes on.
We foiled the cams.
We ran Western culture.

Visibility is a trap.
We’d sold our souls to the software long ago.
Who’s singing?

We wore sweatpants.
We gossiped and levitated.
We shone bright / that night.
We did YouTube karaoke and accidentally
slept over. We kept each other’s secrets
or did we ever know them? Where did
I go when we became a we?

I knew that we’d become one right away
Oh, right away

We got married we had babies we multiplied.
We still made it to the back patio
for another round.

Who’s singing?

2 thoughts on ““Diamonds”

  1. Every poem you write is an anthem!

    1. My MFA thesis was called “Anathema to Your Anthems,” lol (what a lie)

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