Treefort Music Fest hosts not only music but several forts including Storyfort. This is where you'll find authors, poets, journalists, spoken word poets and artists, storytellers and much more sharing their writing and compelling stories with captive audiences. We caught up with Catherine Kyle, an award-winning writer, teacher, and scholar who spoke at a Storyfort event titled: Telling It Strange — Fabulism, Fairy Tales, and Weird Worlds.
One piece that caught our attention is titled Adaptable. Kyle offers this insight into the poem:
"I take public transit a lot and have had several men harass me on buses and in subways. Once, when I was younger, I had a man sit down next to me and rest his hand on my upper thigh, completely unabashedly, for the entire ride. I've had men yell at me because they mistook my politeness for flirting. I've had men ask if they can touch me or, like in the thigh example, just touch me. This is not uncommon. It's happened in every city I've lived in.
I know people who use headphones or earbuds to try to ward off that kind of attention, and that's a tactic I've tried, though it doesn't always work. Basically, this poem is about the exhaustion I feel when I'm simply trying to get from point A to point B and I have to constantly monitor myself and my surroundings. It's exhausting to always be on guard, it's exhausting to live in a world where harassment and sexual assault are commonplace, and it's exhausting to not be able to move through public spaces in peace. Luckily, we're starting to talk about it more, so hopefully, things will begin to change."
What grows in a city: adaptable gardens
and determined weeds. Verdant manes
erupting from the shelves of old concrete. Like
this, we leave apartments and conveyor
down the streets. We guard our bodies
closely, like, Wands up, earbuds in. Press
our lips together, our majestic resting bitch face.
Know that if we don’t talk, it might not be
you. It might be that one guy glanced
our bare thighs when we did. Know that
if we don’t grin, it might be
we don’t want to. It might be that one
guy who screamed, But you were flirting. When
all we did was smile and turn
down his pick-up line. Things that we have
Googled: Shirt that says “Don’t talk to me.”
Things that we have Googled: I feel like screaming
all of the time. Things that we have Googled:
Does this count? Does that count? Things that we
have Googled: Discount resources for grief.