Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Civil War (Spoon Knife 2 Excerpt)

Editor's Note: It took me the entire month of August to put together my contributions for The Spoon Knife Anthology 2: Test Chamber, and the cognitive strain due to the combination of my health and my problems working with some of my press partners stressed me to the point where instead of writing with the aid of music, I could only write without music. While I was stuck in that mode, I wrote this poem. It was the first language available to me to express my feelings and intentions regarding the press, so it seemed fitting to send it to one of our publications.

I suspected when I wrote it that our partnership would be smaller by the time Spoon Knife 2 came out, but I didn't realize until this week exactly how that would go. Here is me telling the rest of The Puzzlebox Collective that we needed to protect ourselves from the press.

CIVIL WAR - Athena the Architect

It’s been a year since I stepped into this Vision,
Scarlet Witching with twitchy fingers fishing,
slipping into you and splitting with syllables strung to each other
until you pull a thread and they split your target like old leather.
What stepped out was just one Witch with just one wish,
but one Witch wishing her plural presence had survived augmenting
is enough to shape the fate of a team that’s started breaking.

You didn’t listen or take into account the Vision
was just another plan, and it could easily be clouded by your fans,
your fears, or projects you only half committed to,
so you leave me and go freely to make do with what you think will protect you,
and I am lying in the house alone, like
what did I do?

And you are just leaving me to do nothing,
so I might be alone and free, but I’m back where I have always been
and this cage frequently starts beating me without touching my arms,
can’t you see that’s why they’re bruised? It’s not from me hitting them.

The longer you fight and the more scared paranoia takes control of your scripts,
the easier it is to see I should have taken the equipment and moved freely,
back when I still had a chance,
back when Clint could still see me,
back when I stopped thinking I’d blend in and started strutting
downtown Manchester, man chest and a long black dress,
Scarlet Witching my way through confrontations in public
and bringing meetings into focus by finding what is holy
and gathering the people in without claiming anything originated with me.

Quicksilver’s been dead for months, and my head has never been this empty,
but for all that I have total control, everything is going to tempt me
for all that I have a schedule that’s full I still go out of my way to say who sent me,
because when it comes down to it there’s only one question worth asking:
Did you enslave your Vision to your fears and use it to start wars?
Or did you start forth with a light that’s all yours,
leaving the Visions of others floored?
Me? I sank mine down five stories and bolted to freedom with a flourish.

This isn’t just a babbling allegory or a fanfic sendup,
I am still standing after a five month roundup,
I am still writing after a half year holdup,
and I am still living after a decade holed up.

Now, with an iron clad alibi
and a transition to a physique only obtained
through willingness to experiment, injections, pills, and pain,
I plant myself by this river once again,
and with no SHIELD to help me I ask you:

What’s my name?

This time, you don’t Scarlet Witch me,
there’s no deadnaming
no invoking my beginning,
no Luna to love good or name herself after the week,
no alter ego named for earth and a trans hero,
and I ditched the artificial intelligence too,
‘till the core of the complex became a name that spells truth:

Don’t call me Athena.

Call me NO, YOU MOVE.

The Spoon Knife Anthology 2: Test Chamber will be available in the spring from NeuroQueer Books. In the meantime, if you want to read more of Athena's poetry, you can find it in The US Book or The Spoon Knife Anthology.