DORIELLE CAIMI

A Prick

Posted on June 22, 2017

A teeny tiny pin prick pricked

And so the skin grew thicker

 

And two more pricks there pricked their prick

And so the skin grew quicker

 

And rise in weight and temperature

The skin began to callous

 

Till all the pricks were no more felt

The skin fell numb save malice

 

For skin too thick can turn itself

Quite into what it fears

 

A tiny prick will come and go

But skin can last for years

Categories: poetry

All of The Above

Posted on June 22, 2017

White as salt

        or Black as pepper

Sand is tiny colored rocks

        and stars are bright specks up above

 

Freckles are dust on skin

      dust is skin that's dead and been

Dust is stars and freckles and scars

      but live skin is what we live in

 

And the two dots in our eyes

    will never really see

If we are pepper, salt, or stars

    or maybe all of the above

 

 

Categories: poetry

My Beef with Feminism

Posted on May 22, 2017


An Essay By Dorielle Caimi

I have spent my life as a sincere participant in the Feminist movement, or, more accurately, participating in the principles behind much, if not most Feminist ideals. I flew out to Washington D.C. to partake in the Women’s March earlier this year; I have taken numerous women’s study and ethics courses; and my life’s work (my art) is rooted firmly in the study of women. Also, I am a woman. In short, I am a fierce woman’s rights activist. However, I have never been fond of the word “Feminism.” It never seemed to get down to the heart of the issue of inequality. So it is with much thought, heart, reflection, and research that I write these words: I believe that word “Feminism” has become obsolete. I fear that we are using an old word in a new zeitgeist, and I am wary of the implications of using the word “Feminism” in these sweet gender-bending days of now.

When I was at the Women’s March, I saw so many men and women wearing t-shirts that said: “Feminism: the radical notion that women are human.” In a visceral response, I found myself pondering this question: why bother with the word Feminism, then, if its main concern is to transcend gender and make being human the primary concern? Why use a word that constantly points to gender as primary?

The greatest indication I have that our sweet old lady-friend-of-a word, Feminism, is getting tired is evidenced by the rise of the LGBTQ movement. Feminism is having a hard time holding us all together in one neat little gender package. I am not sure how many more letters we are going to add to the LGBTQ acronym, but I am sure that people are beginning to transcend gender.

The problem with the word Feminism is that the very word itself forgets the masculine. It champions the female as independent. But independence does not exist; it’s a mirage; it’s the ego’s way of assigning the individual value. The truth is, we are not independent beings; we are interdependent. We need each other as social beings for survival. I champion the men who have walked the streets wearing t-shirts that say “I am a Feminist” (Bravo! or Brava! Not sure which one applies here). But I don’t think it’s fair to them to continue using this word. And I don’t think it’s fair to us. Men have to be brought to this table. But why would a man come to a table where a defining attribute of his being (at least physically) is completely absent? 

Fighting for equal rights now has changed. As Emma Watson declared in her address to the U.N. in 2014:

"Men don't have the benefit of equality either. We don't often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes.
When [men] are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don't have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won't be compelled to be submissive. If men don't have to control, women won't have to be controlled.
It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two opposing ideals.”
She goes on to admit, however that “we are struggling for a uniting word.”
And what is that word? Well, currently the best we have is “Feminism.”

 However, the word Feminism ironically cannot encapsulate the ideals from which it departed. It is an exclusive, one-sided ideal. When our mothers’ mothers used it, Feminism was a novel bomb shelter. It was a way for women to build a protective construct around themselves so that they could have the freedom to explore themselves without the constructs of what society said a woman was. Since then, Feminism has stuck around doing what our fore-mothers didn’t want it to do: namely seeking to label women as this or that. That’s why Feminism has been through so many conflicting waves.

We cannot fight for equal rights from one side, and the very nature of the word “feminism” will always suggest one side, over and over again, unfinished, un-whole, like the Yin and Yang castrated from half of itself. It is an unwise word. It is a Catch-22, self-fulfilling-prophesy-of-a-word, and it is hurting our cause because it isolates us. It’s a Catch 22 because we want to be seen as human first, regardless of our sex, but the etymology of the word ironically points directly at our sex before it has time to address the human who just so happens to have a vagina. The more we keep parading around as Feminists, the more we are carrying around our old baggage unable to move into the light of interdependence.


There are those who would argue with me that I must not understand what Feminism truly means. I do. Let’s break down some history, shall we:
1. Feminism: This term dates all the way back to 1837 when Utopian Socialist, Charles Fourier, first coined the term “Féminisme.”
2. First-Wave Feminism started roughly in the late 1800’s and focused on legal issues that women faced, primarily women’s right to vote and own property.
3. Second-Wave Feminism came into play in the 1960’s and broadened the debate to a wider platform of issues, which delved into women’s sexual identity, domestic abuse, marital rape, reproductive rights, etc.
4. Third-wave Feminism came about in the 1990’s as a reaction to the perceived failings of first and second-wave Feminism by proclaiming that women basically should not be defined by their sex altogether. This form of Feminism came into play when non-heterosexual women and women of color started voicing that the old waves did not portray them accurately.
5. Fourth-wave Feminism takes spirituality into theory and attempts to take on politics, psychology, and spirituality of women’s issues: this includes things like taking a serious look at body shaming, sex work, plus-size fashion, and reproductive justice.
6. Post-Feminism, though not “anti-feminism” directly challenges 2nd and 3rd wave feminist ideologies. 
Now here is where things get tricky:
7- Infinity. There’s Liberal Feminism, which seeks individualistic equality to men. There is Radical Feminism, which is extreme, and basically blames men for everything. Libertarian Feminism, which proclaims women as self-owners, exempt from external interference; Separatist Feminism, which doesn’t support heterosexual relationships; Lesbian Feminism, which is closely related to Separatist Feminism. Conservative Feminism is conservative to the degree of the society around it; Ecofeminists claim that men’s control of land is responsible for the oppression of women and the destruction of the environment; Marxist Feminists argue that Capitalism is the root cause for the oppression of women; Anarcha-Feminists think we should struggle against the hierarchy. Other forms of Feminism include but are not limited to: Indigenous Feminism, Third-World Feminism, Africana Feminism, Transitional Feminism, Neo Feminism, Post-Colonial Feminism, Post-structural Feminism, and, my favorite, just because I love lipstick: Lipstick Feminism (which believes that makeup and revealing clothing are a form of female empowerment).

*phew*

    These are all concerns that surround women, yes, but the basic nature of all of it is that they call for a multitude of voices to be heard. None of them is totally correct, and none of them is totally wrong. This is because women, like men are not singularly anything. However, with Feminism constantly trying to wrangle us up into a group, we keep arguing over semantics instead of treating these issues, not as women’s issues, but as complex human issues.

    Outside of the Men’s Lib. Movement, I don’t see men squabbling over a term so profoundly as I do Feminism. It’s becoming very clear to me that the word Feminism has evolved into something completely new, like a cell that has split into so many different factions, that it has taken new form altogether. What is that form: it’s just a complex representation of humanity. It is a human call unto itself that cannot be defined by a singular and, in this case, polarizing term.

    As I write this now, I am terrified. But I’m not terrified of men. I’m terrified of women. I’m afraid they will think I’ve forsaken them and their cause. But, anyone who knows my life’s work (my art), knows that I am a champion for the rising of the feminine. It finally occurred to me that being afraid of saying I wasn’t a Feminist for fear of being attacked by women was a very ironic hypocrisy. When I realized I wasn’t free to say that I was not a Feminist, I realized that Feminism is tripping at the finish line. I realized that Feminism is creating chains, despite its intentions not to. If women are starting to feel inclined to say things like  “I’m so sick of Feminism. Women’s this, women’s that- just fuck off,” (as my friend screamed on Facebook one day) it is an indication that the word Feminism is teetering in a territory where it doesn’t belong, and we need to look at that. And just as our mothers had to let us go into the world and think for ourselves and express our thoughts, so too does Feminism need to let future generations grow up and express their thoughts. It has to let young men and women move into the uncharted territory that awaits us.

I think people are afraid to let go of the term because they are afraid that we will repeat the past if we don’t keep fighting for history as Feminists. After all, how can we forsake our familial traditions of hard-fought feminism, right? But I am not suggesting that we throw the female babies out with the bath water (let alone miraculously delete centuries of recorded human history); I am, however, suggesting that we get the babies out of the tub, and let them grow into their next phase of life. How about we stop using that word and start looking for a new word? Let’s face it, not everyone is willing to accept the label “Feminist” but most are willing to accept the label as “human.” Being human is our defining, transcendent common experience first, then our gender may or may not come into play. I strongly believe that this is where our mothers’ fight has lead us: for people like me to be free to say this.

It is very clear to me that this is the next step our fore mothers hoped for: putting Feminism to rest because it has unearthed new (or ancient) truths about human nature. I’m not going back into a practice of Feminism; I’m moving into a practice of being a human with both my masculine and feminine traits revered and intact. I’m going to perpetuate that practice because that is my divine right, and because there are too many experiences that both men and women share that transcend gender. I, personally, would like to stay open to those human experiences. I can understand that Feminists want to fight for a good cause, but even a good intention well-played will lead into new territory. And how are we to traverse this new terrain? The tricky part is knowing when you’re flogging a dead horse, and the scary part is being willing to get off and find a new one, or maybe even buy a hybrid vehicle.


There is so much energy that we are wasting by defending Feminism. We keep telling skeptics to look past the word and reach behind it for what it represents: fairness, justice, truth, equality, communication, agency, etc. But these are not “FEM-inist" topics of interest; these are human topics of interest. Human first; gender second. This is a concept where Feminism will never truly be able to arrive, unless it wants everyone to be feminine, and I don’t think that’s what we are wanting. But, for good measure, let’s debunk some Feminist ideals:

 Believing that plus-sized women are beautiful isn’t Feminist, it’s healthy human thinking. On the reverse side: believing that men can be attractive for a multitude of reasons outside of their physical build is also healthy human thinking. Women’s reproductive rights are not a Feminist issue, they are a human issue over which the people who can make babies in their bodies (that would be women) should be the primary policy writers in government. Respecting her choice to follow through with a pregnancy or not isn't Feminist; it’s human respect and trust that she knows when she is ready to become a mother. Standing up for badgered, raped, and killed women is not a Feminist issue; it’s good human virtue, and it profoundly involves the people who are doing the badgering, raping, and killing. Giving a woman time, privacy, and professional leave to breastfeed and to take care of her child benefits all of society, not just women. Fighting for women’s equal wages is not a Feminist fight; it’s necessary to elevate the human race. Allowing women to participate in politics and write policy isn’t “Feminism,” it’s allowing for more voices to be heard within the human race for a better understanding of itself. Understanding that all women are not the same isn’t “Feminist;” it’s agreeing to disagree and understanding that all people are not the same. Saying that these wars are Feminist in nature completely takes the root cause out of the equation. It puts up a wall between the masculine and the feminine. It’s as if we are constantly looking at effect, without looking at cause. Everything that happens to women affects men and everything that happens to men affects women. There is no war for Feminism; there is only a war for human rights: for who we authentically are as human.

If we can get rid of the word Feminism, then we can get rid of the baggage that it holds, we won’t have to waste time arguing about it anymore; men will be more inclined to get involved; and we can come together and start solving the bigger problems in the world that involve the wiser brains and hearts of both men and women (penises and vaginas aside).

And finally, Feminism is a divisive word. It’s very existence keeps us in a weird woman-shaped box and ties us to our sex in a very imbalanced way. It consequently ties men to their sex and reminds all of us constantly of our sexual differences, which there very well may be but not in all cases. Feminism is a name for an army; and trust me, this is not a war we want to wage. It would be like the dog that chases its tail: the dog can wage war with its own tail all it wants, but ultimately it’s waging war on itself (and probably also becoming dysfunctionally dizzy).
 
I used to be a Feminist, but I am no longer a Feminist; I am a human rights activist and I should be free to say so. This is because at the root of Feminism, all we are asking is to be seen as human: Human is Primary, Gender is Secondary. “Feminism” embodies only one side of gender and the absence of the other. It cannot be used to efficiently imply equality and wholeness because that simply just isn’t what that word can do. And finally, I am not wasting anymore time arguing with women and men about semantics. If I am not free to say that I am not a Feminist, then Feminism has failed.

I think we need to allow ourselves the chance to be free: Free to evolve into whatever comes next: free to bury the hatchets of the past; freedom to prove ourselves through our actions, and freedom to allow people to say who and what they are and what they are not. Freedom to be free, to change, to love, to be wise, and to evolve. Let’s put that on a T-shirt.
Categories: essays

The Heart to the Brain

Posted on March 05, 2017
 
"I know you dont trust me!" screamed the heart to the brain.
"We don't get along, you and I. We are so different:
 I don't use words and sentences and logic, like you do, so you don't trust me
But as we are inseperable in this lockstep, allow me to open your mind:
 
I sense danger before you do. 
I feel love first before you can even comprehend it.
When you least expect it, I bring you peace and forgiveness
while you are still comprehending the anger
 
I am so far ahead of you, dear brain
I beat in a steadfast rhythm 
like the focused tortoise 
that only knows truth, trust, and patience
 
I feel what you don't know yet
So please give me the steering wheel 
And be quiet for a little while.
Because I know more than you think."
Categories: poetry

Our Sweet Word FEMINISM Is Tired (a poem on new times and new words)

Posted on December 12, 2016

 

So the word "FEMINISM"
I like what you stand for
But....

I don't like your -ism.
I don't like your exclusivity
I don't like how
The very nature of you, dear dear word,
Polarizes us
Women

The innate nature of you
Tells us
That it is only women
Who are part of this
Inequality

Well. The dance, my dear word,
Is not strictly feminine
The fight Is not
Ours alone.

The inequality is felt
By both "sides" (if there are sides)
of the
masculine AND feminine

You, my sweet, powerful, enchantress-of-word, who gave our mothers
motive and voice,
Have moved us into our present.

Thank you.

For all we know
You helped give gentle rise to
LGBQT people
Who wished to move into the light

You taught us,
both men and women
That it's ok
To cry.

But now, we are in the present
That you birthed
And we need new words
To hold us ALL now

For we are not so much
Ruled by our sex
As we are
By our spirits

And our spirits are housed
In these bodies
And these bodies now
Identify with pink as man
Or trucks as woman

And, so, dear sweet, tired word, stay your values but rest your bones.

Teach us now
The power of the words
"GENDER EQUALITY"
And we will make you proud.

Categories: poetry

A Woman's Bath

Posted on October 20, 2016

A Woman’s Bath

 

This woman’s bath of mine

A self-inflicted Lulluby

 

A chance to L E T  G O

In a womb of our Creation

 

Your bath is hot fluid forgiveness

                    the body’s ease

 

A bath is a replication of your

 

Mothers’

Mothers’

Mothers’

 

Love, well wishes, and peace

 

For their daughters

X forever back

Forever forward

 

And on we truly LIVE

Beyond our mother's hot warm wet bath.

Categories: poetry

nanny nanny boo boo

Posted on September 04, 2016

Civil_whore_paint_w_frame_small

CIVIL WHORE PAINT

The girl had had enough.

The fighting; clawing her way out from behind a face of grasping perfection. Her body was something that was worshiped and criticized till there was nothing left to worship.

So she became addicted to the criticism because in it, she was reminded of the glory days of adoration.

But she was fucking tired.

She had been fighting to know herself since her birth, but constantly fought against the current of sandpaper that claimed it existed to make her smooth, but really it just stung, and she worried about the scars it would leave.

She had been battling with the scrutiny, the rulings over her body; her wages; her cellulite; the bridge of her nose, her nipples, and whether they were dinner-plate sized or tight and perky (this was preferred). So much war around her that she didn’t know what to fight anymore:

 

Others or Herself.

 

So she became very quiet. She put her face on, and bled in silence.

She kept telling herself that she was not a whore...a silly thing to employ as consolation when she knew herself to be a Lamb. She developed ways to cope, ways to appease; ways to manipulate from behind her beautiful facade, for she was not allowed to have it out on the battlefield; some might call it kind of sexy, maniacal crazy.

 

But beneath the god-damned rules, and below her raging hormones, and the drama, and the urge to pull away, which she dutifully resisted, no one could touch her. No one could claim their right to her skin and mind, and in the quiet hours of the night, she knew this to be truth.

 

So she woke up, and she rose from the trenches of her soft bed, and she put her face on:

her makeup:

her face paint:

her war paint:

her “whore” paint,

as some might call it, their eyes squinting in slits of judgement.

Her battle, she knew, was one that existed outside, but her blade, and white flag, and ammo only existed inside herself: it was indeed a civil war.

 

She realized her only job was to know when to fight, and when to put her hand up, never in surrender, but in dismissive mockery. She would take back what little of herself that she had, and she would fight for it.

 

So she looked her opponents straight into the eyes (O so many eyes), and whispered these words: "nanny nanny boo boo."

 

Categories: interpretations

The Siren's Choice

Posted on September 04, 2016

The Siren's Choice

The Siren is many things. Sort of like the tide She never meant to harm.

But she is she and she



Came into the world above with legs, with curious soft tissues Inside, laying eggs

But water is as water does and water



Rises and rose around her Pushing on her lungs Pulling on her spine Speaking many tongues

And confusion is confusing and confusion



Pulled her under and sink she finally did and for a minute her eyelids closed their lids

But living is what living is and life



Would not let her die or let her live So of her floundering pruny limbs

Two, she decided, would become A pair of fins

 

Surface_tension_small

 

 

Categories: poetry

Voice

Posted on September 01, 2016

If you voice your opinion, people will fight you and people will listen to you. Be prepared for both, and remember that neither matter if you're voicing your clearest truth, for you'll be tasting the ozone; you'll be feeling all the unsprouted seeds' potential boom beneath your feet; and you will know your worth. 

Categories: thoughts

Pudenda Love Poem

Posted on September 01, 2016

Don’t fall in love with my genitals
Fall in love with my jokes: because the greatest joke is that generally we all have genitals
Don’t fall in love with my genius
Fall in love with my mistakes: the ones you hate and the ones that worked out accidentally

Don’t fall in love with my benign smile
Fall in love with the world that gave me that smile and be wary when it’s upside down
Don’t fall in love with my beauty
Fall in love with my changes: with the tides of water and blood in this hot, living thing of me

Don’t fall in love with me externally
Fall in love with the ghosts that operate my insides mysteriously and made these acne scars
Don’t fall in love at me; fall in love through me 
Fall in love with my humanness, and baby, you’ll fall in love with yours

(written by the river, and me sitting next to it, swatting mosquitos)

Categories: poetry