door Stacy Alves

Consent is a weird world
When Said wrote
About consent
Did Gramsci mean that
I consented with
The Dentist calling me, “He”
Or the conductor, bus driver, teachers, friends of family
Random people driving by in cars
Asking loudly: “Is it a man or a woman?”

Consent is equivocal
When June Jordan wrote that
She did not consent
Did she mean that
I did not consent
When I, myself, I mean me
Stripped off my shirt
To show that
I can enter the women’s toilet, changing room, conversation
And by not doing so
I can sneak into the men’s department
When I please, sometimes even when I don’t 

I say consent
And they look back at me
Reflection darker than my own pigment
Digging into my sobriety
I start rolling one
Recalling wanting to have “kabei fini”
Wanting to get complimented
Wanted to be more desired 

As the smoke absolves me from remorseful thoughts
I venture towards
The uncomfortability I felt entering a Gender neutral toilet
Whilst my hand is gripping the door knob,
I ask myself: “shouldn’t I not be afraid?”
As I open the door
I see a mother with her two kids
Looking back
Reflection darker than my own self-esteem

I look at the doors
Gendered in a ‘Genderless’ space
You see this game show never ends
“You are a boy right?”
Genderless in a Gendered space

Did or didn’t I consent
To the white woman’s lustful gaze
Or white gay men’s lingering touch
Oppressing my way to the bar,
Oppressing my dreams, thoughts, convictions,
Oppressing myself

This game I’d call reality
Unconsciously I imagine another body, voice, epistemology
For what is reality without construction
And what is construction without reality
So, is consent real?

And if so, 
Why do I feel powerless
While dancing, walking, being
While tearing my skin off
While saying: “she is also fine”
While shivering on hot summer days,
While my parents trap me in a car
Drive to an abandoned parking lot
And ‘passively’ try to persuade me with words
As I am scratching the layers of my blackness
To be ‘straight’ 
While I depersonalize
While not getting out off my bed somedays

While my body grinds
But my thoughts are far off
Dancing with someone is not always fun
Even when you are not the one that’s bending over
While not ‘just’ walking away
While others delegitimize your experiences, 
Thoughts, emotions, pain
Did or Didn’t I consent?
When I do that for them