Sisterhood Isn’t Powerful
I kept a log in the 1990s of every detail of every outfit I wore
every single day.
I got the idea from my sister and got my fashion inspiration from
my sister and from boys in the yearbook and girls in cassette tapes
and girls in the School Watch section of Seventeen. The ones that
looked like deer in headlights.
I wanted to know all the words to every song, so I listened to my
stereo, pressed play, pause, wrote, rewound, repeat.
Tuesday: Velour stripe with jeans, sunglasses, blood lipstick.
If I wanted to hear a song again I would rewind the tape. And
in that rewinding was a moment. Like how we use “moment” in
catalogue writing, or in epic Latin-based romance languages. The
picture frame carefully arranged on the wall. The girl with brown
hair and blue mascara. When we talk about feminist history.
The moment of pressing play was my sister in a fury with a locked
door in her way.
I am worried about the next generation of girls. The ones who did
not grow up exactly like me. The ones on the Internet all night
long. The ones who have access to all the words to all the
world’s songs. The ones that look like deer in headlights.
Keeping a log is a great way to keep track of your outfits so you
don’t repeat them.
The Internet is a great place to find feminist community, and front-
lit photographs of Courtney Love.
My brain tickles all night long. My outfits. I could quit my job. I
got the idea from her.
I could dye my hair red and I got the idea from you.
I could love my sister even though we no longer wear the same
clothes. I got that idea from Juliana Hatfield and her band in the
90s which was called the Juliana Hatfield Three but not in that it
was made up of three sisters.
I got the idea of imagining a world without feminism from
Manifesta by Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner. I tried to
picture myself smiling enormously while jumping up and down on
a giant trampoline.
I don’t know where my sister went but I know I can’t save her.
I could make her a mixtape of songs about sisters including the
Juliana Hatfield song but that wouldn’t save her either.
She gave me a tape because she didn’t want it anymore. I could
make her a list of all my clothes. All the ones I stole, all the ones I
Wednesday: Orange stripe over long-sleeved Stussy shirt. Dog
tags. Noodle necklace.
In Forever Barbie, M.G. Lord says that our daughters are miniature
versions of ourselves. That every girl’s Barbie is a miniature
version of herself. I named my baby doll after my sister. I hung
my Barbie from a noose in my locker.
The Internet says Juliana Hatfield didn’t really have a sister.
The Internet says that I could have bangs just like you.
Thursday: Live Though This under gray flannel. Torn jeans.
Manifesta was worried about the state of feminism in America in
the 90s. How the second wave looked down on the next generation
like stuffy old moms who knew better.
Where will the next generation find song lyrics? Where will they
find pleasure? What will they wear?
Friday: Black and yellow daisy dress. Blue butterfly barrette in
I read my sister’s diary. In 1990. Hand jobs and house parties and
hair metal. All my earring holes have closed up where you / my
sister should be.
If you see a crack in the pavement, put your hands in it.
Put your hands in the air if you can’t imagine your life without the Internet.
Put your hands in the air if you remember a world without it.
This selection comes from the collection Reversible, available from Switchback Books. Order your copy here. Our curator for December is Jessica Rae Bergamino.
Marisa Crawford is the author of the poetry collections Reversible (2017) and The Haunted House (2010) from Switchback Books, and the chapbooks 8th Grade Hippie Chic (Immaculate Disciples, 2013) and Big Brown Bag (Gazing Grain, 2015). Her poems, essays, and interviews have appeared in BUST, Broadly, Hyperallergic, Bitch, Fanzine, and other publications, and are forthcoming in Electric Gurlesque (Saturnalia, 2016). Marisa is the founder and editor-in-chief of the feminist literary/pop culture website WEIRD SISTER. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Jessica Rae Bergamino is the author of two previous chapbooks: The Mermaid Singing and Blue in All Things: a Ghost Story (dancing girl press 2015). Individual poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Slice, So to Speak, West Branch, and elsewhere. She splits her time between Seattle and Salt Lake City, where she is a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah.
The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them is available free download from the Sundress Publications website!
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