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Safety

A response to something totally unacceptable said by Trump. A response to the inherent fear women feel walking alone at night.

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I don’t think Ivanka would do that inside the magazine. Although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I would be dating her.  – Trump

My daughter thinks safety’s a right, not an untethered thing over her head forever trailing shadows. Her world is open, like air, and she scoops it up by the lungful, so far from my own of glimpsing men who get off at my stop on the last train home, the fumble for phone and the picking up of pace, obsessing on instinct, the hope of a voice on the other end guiding me through the edged night.

In her world, there’s not a single reason not to love.

She’ll grow, her flowering will be mighty, and she’ll outlast the innocence of Spring, why I wish on the day of her first bleed I could give it to her – real safety. I’d wrap it in layers of tissue, precious because it’s so close to extinction, and she’d bounce it up and down, unsure of what to do with something so calm and so obvious.

One day she’ll harness her own secrets; she’ll
baffle herself looking in the mirror; she’ll give off
her body’s own scent; she’ll trade climbing trees
in sundresses for catching glimpses of men –

all those men

those men

all men.

 

Artists Statement

When Trump was elected, I couldn’t focus on the creative essays and letters I’d been writing about and to the sensitive temperamentalist Vincent Van Gogh because I had too much ex-patriot anger – I couldn’t focus on anything other than the opposit-of-an-artist, sexist, biggot Trump. So at a time when I was taking a break from poetry to write in different genres, I wound my way back to poetry again and wrote a series of Trump Poems, all in response to some horrendous quote of his about women or migrants or guns or the environment (though in the end I found they all related to women, in one way or the other). The first draft was always a relief, though an angry rush of a relief, akin to what someone might feel while self-harming. But the editing enabled me to whittle my anger down to a fine point so that I could argue my point rationally while still being emotional. Poetry’s been my salve.

SOURCEWritten by Heather Taylor Johnson, Adelaide, Australia.
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I'm a published novelist, poet and editor, working toward adding essayist to the list. My work often reflects issues of domesticity and migration, which ultimately spells out 'home', as well as illness and grief. 2017 will see the publication of my second literary fiction novel, Jean Harley was Here (UQP), and the anthology Shaping the Fractured Self: Poetry of Chronic Illness and Pain (UWAP), which I've edited. I'm hoping these Trump poems will be published as a chapbook before his 2017 impeachment.

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