My (hugely talented) cousin Kayla wrote this poem a while back, and there were some plans to turn it into a short film somehow. The project was shelved for the time being, but not before I wrote this for the soundtrack. It was partly desinged to be used as the main theme for the film and partly was just what I was inspired by the poem to scribble down. I hope the project will go ahead someday, but in the meantime here is a sneak preview of the music.
I had a lot of fun writing in a super-irregular time signature of 13/8 (divided up 3/4 + 3/8 + 2/4 for those curious folks) and in the key of D it’s come out in a pleasant pastel minty green colour. It’s scored for woodwind, strings, piano, harp and a whole bunch of randomn percussion. I hope that one day it’ll get used for something, because I think it’s quite catchy and soundtrack-y, and it would be a shame not to. But for now I guess it can be used for listening to, and also for slightly promoting awareness that real women are, y’know, women who are women, and are not defined in any way by what they look like.
The poem is reproduced (with permission) below, and a video of its performance together with Kayla’s blog post about it can be found here.
(Also note the reference in the poem to that time we saw Bridge to Terebithia, accidentally inspiring Pebbles…!)
Real Women Have Curves
I come from an army of curvy women.
Of long haired ladies
With blue eyes and thick thighs
And asses that never quit.
With these childbearing hips
(That, according to my mother, didn’t make it any easier)
We could sway and sashay
Away from any problem.
I come from queens who stomped around the kingdom
With our too-big feet
Tell our skinnier friends to put meat on their bones,
And leave the laxatives at home
Kick their bony asses to the curb
Because real women have curves.
Real women have curves,
And big girls don’t cry,
And good girls will be virgins on their wedding night.
Black girls are sassy and can twerk on command,
The Asian girl gets on her knees for a man
And the band girl is kinky as fuck
You’re always in luck with a Latin girl.
Or the one who’s got issues with Dad
Cause she never gets mad if you’re late or forget-
She’s used to it.
The feminists are gay,
And so is that one that you “didn’t fancy anyway”,
The bisexual’s just out for attention
Did I mention
The slut who didn’t say no
Or the whore who dumped you three years ago
Or the bitch who said you were full of it
And called you up on your bullshit –
Let’s admit that these things are true.
They’ll put you in a box, too.
If you let them.
So, tell me.
Tell me that real women have curves,
So the numbers on a scale won’t get on my nerves,
And I’ll let you build me up
And watch you crush the skinny girls to dust.
But, that’s okay.
They were barely there anyway.
Watch my stiff upper lip start to quake
As I ache,
And I bawl
At the end credits of Bridge to Terabithia because I don’t care how big you are, if you don’t cry at that you’re made of fucking stone.
Twenty-one, still a virgin, that’s a bit of a joke,
But you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t
It’s the slut-virgin binary,
With nothing between,
And to be seen as either one is tainted.
Tell me I’m a real woman,
As if there is such a thing.
As if there’s a code
Made of ones and ohs
Lit up in green
And that numbers on a screen mean anything.
Tell me I’m too ‘white’ to dance,
That I can’t shake my ass
Unless you tell me to.
Tell me that my brand of feminism makes me gay,
And then get out of my way
So I can talk to that girl at the bar.
But, because I told you no,
It’s just for attention
It’s just pretension
Just repressed sexual tension.
And nothing is real unless you say so.
I come from an army of curvy women,
And I am a goddamn queen.
But that’s not real, that’s fiction,
Between the real and the invisible
Divisible by the walls between our boxes.
If real women have curves,
Do I end at the wrists?
Or the squareness of my shoulders?
Do I become a real woman when I cast a shadow?
Is the only power
In my willingness to tower over others?
Pulling up the covers
To hide my edges
To shield the sharpness of my bones
Because no one wants to see the chinks
In the armour of a strong woman.
Real women have curves,
And sharp bones wrapped in muscle and flesh.
What makes us women isn’t strength
It’s the army at our backs.
It’s the shield and the sword
And the chord of our fight song,
Our battle cry
Of asking why we aren’t allowed to be our own.
What makes us women isn’t sisterhood, it’s lifeblood,
It’s the tracks we have made in the sand
And the brand of that word: