e-WAVES Issue # 1 : The Things We Know and The Things We Talk About

The Things We Know and The Things We Talk About by Syar S. Alia


i have a body and i am full of desire
i have a body and i am full of fear


this fractured, divided truth
is a lump in my throat
a simmering froth of confused
exhausted anger, fizzy in my gut
helpless, frustrated, naïve and fuming
my body needs a break.


from the way i clutch it tight and rope it in,
the stiff way i navigate it in public places
the only ab crunches i do are the gut clenches
that happen when a foreign body
gets too close on the street
when the press of knuckles ghost against
the small of my back
the back of my neck,
the soft of my upper arms
when someone’s eyes roam over me,
i have a body.
i am a woman.
i am desire.
i am fear.
i do not want to be anybody’s.


when i am alone i lock the doors
when i am alone i strap my bag across my chest
when i am alone i Wolverine my keys through my fisted fingers
when i am alone i slide my bag behind my legs on the floor
when i am alone i press my thighs together
when I am alone i look over my shoulder
for the other shoe
                                                              to drop.
sometimes i think –
i think, my life is a race in which
the only win is to die
without being violated.
too much to ask
slut whore skank bitch cunt hussy slag
prude nun frigid tease virgin queen ice machine
shrivelled bore give me more
baby girl sweetheart doll kiddo sugar honey babe
sexy hot yeah baby just like that
just like that
for me, for me, for me


pulling on a cardigan, tugging at your hems
pulling up a collar, drifting down
over your collarbones, your chest
shifting a shirt to cover your belly,
your ass, the way the muscles shift
and move under the pair of pants that are
much too tight much too tight
you need better fitting clothes
how ill fitting the skin that
crawls over your breakable bones
how dare you have a body that breathes


what you own you will not keep
you will never have enough eyes
to catch all the shadows coming for you


ask your co-workers where you can buy
good pepper spray, a taser, some mace,
a switchblade that works, a big heavy bat
the knowledge of how to break a man’s nose
pray to what you believe in that
you will have the nerve
when the day comes.


the stories flow
every where every day
someone somewhere close
never far enough away


and the promises come
the take care’s be safe’s
the handy tips, the buddy system
everyone will walk you to your car
everyone will make sure you get home
everyone will wait until you get inside
nobody will ever let anything happen to





beneath every new story
and every whispered word
there is more than shifty-eyed,
broken-hearted fear
what is important is our anger –
this anger, what a beast,
what an unrestrained and feral beast
caged and furious and exhausted
how it bleeds through everything
contained beneath glossy smiles
contained beneath the training that comes
from being



we are women
undefined, other, different, weaker
asking for it



with our bodies
what we are


we are asking for it.


with our bodies

what we are


we are

wondering what it must be like
to not be.


Syar S. Alia is the social media and special projects manager for ISSUE Magazine (issuemagazine.wordpress.com) a collaborative, monthly theme-based online zine. She is also a writer, editor and human interested in poetry, feminism, electronic literature, music, science, justice, animals, shapes and feelings. Find her on twitter @syarsalia

Click here for the full publication and other articles.

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