In the video: Marwa Adina and Dena Igusti. Also co-written by: Justice Hehir.
Recorded from: Verbal Mayhem Poetry Collective
Being a woman in a horror movie
You will end up one of two ways
Naked in your underwear,
Or you live long enough
To become the bitch that no one likes.
No one will blame the killer
They will blame your death
On your underwear or your anger
At least you will look beautiful in your casket
Dead girls get more pity
Because they don’t speak
The virgin is the only heroine here
Barefoot, barefaced always in a white nightgown
Love women bleached into ghosts
Always in white, a canvas
Painted by the men who chase her into the forest
If you’re a woman of color,
They’ll think there’s nothing to stain.
Forget your convictions
Forget the plot
Forget the answers you came looking for
Your stubbornness is going to get us all killed,
The audiences will shake their heads
When you’re stand-offish to the boy next door
Even when, in the end, he’s the killer
You could have been nicer.
Don’t go in the attic.
Or down the hallway.
Stay in the kitchen.
Stay in the bedroom.
Stay where you are,
Girls who wander are asking for trouble.
It doesn’t matter that you were looking for answers
All they’ll remember is you climbing into the attic
A virgin sacrifice.
Danger always seems to be calling from
Inside the house.
There are monsters
In the walls
And we know that ghosts aren’t the only ones who can Haunt houses
The noises you hear aren’t phantoms in the dark
They are the attempts of her spouse
To get her to join them.
For you, it is a plot twist
When he pulls out the gun
For us, it’s a cliche
The only thing that surprised us about the shining
Was that Jack Nicholson didn’t just use a gun.
It would have been faster.
“They’re coming for you, Barbara”
When every night walking home is night of the living dead
And the exorcist was scary
But no worse than the first time some boy
Made a mess of your body.
Forcing it into contortions you never knew possible.
And “Silence of the Lambs” wasn’t the first time we saw
Moths shoved down women’s throats
When you’re made silent for long enough
It’s no surprise when they settle there
Women learn early on to trust our instincts
The fear in our belly
Just call it our sixth sense.
We’re all watching the same damn movie,
Over and over,
But we’re not asking the right questions.
Instead of asking why she went in the attic
ask the murderer why he’s up there in the first place.
Instead of asking why she won’t just get out of the house,
Ask the ghosts why they’re haunting it.
Ask the monsters why they come for us,
Ask the monsters why.
If you listen hard enough
You can still hear the screaming
Threats that echo in the wallpaper,
The drip of the sink
The couch cushions
They tell us going to a horror movie is romantic.
They tell us to snuggle into boyfriends at the movies,
Even though we know the killer
Is probably the boyfriend.
It’s always the boyfriend.
That’s just in the movies.