Thieves with Tiny Eyes (excerpts)

Anna Joy Springer


[Remember this is a love letter. It has been fourteen years since we met at that summer art school for ambitious young talents. Back then, I wanted to be a famous poet and she wanted to be a famous opera singer. There had been no revolution in communication technologies, and there was no Silicon Valley, as far as we knew. No cellular phones, no World Wide Web, no Global Village, no Free Trade.

There was just an outline of a promised hill, always this dumb scraggly hill. Always with dramatic lighting. Fifteen years now, later, and rarely a hill in sight.]

The blackbirds don’t love to fl y, they do it everyday.

Hindsight: One day to notice.

Was it or wasn’t it the drugs? I was so certain. What is called euphoria, or mania, or a blessing aggression. And now I remember with new names. Red, orange, yellow, the lower thrust, green (which is pink), blue, violet, running up the imaginary internal skyline, all these new names, new measuring sticks. How touching was not yet a sort of ethical dilemma. I would touch her thoughtlessly, we had boys for fucking. I would collect her hairs, like in old-fashioned times, braid them and hide them like writers of long cursive letters. But that kind of thing seems so dangerous now. And danger is worse than ever.

[Knowing this, I will try to talk about rape and you shouldn’t believe me. I will convince ’ t you I’m reciting tomes about deals and devils. Be warned, I’ll be skirting the issue.]


Too separate to be a world. All of us fence sitting, there on the wire.


Here’s an essay about rape which is supposed to be such a big thing. But when you consider it, it’s only bad if you think it’sbad. Like for instance, why do we think shit smells bad? I happen to think it smells good. If it’s my shit, I think sometimes that it’s a good smell, and there’s supposed to be something wrong with me for that? Am I some kind of freak, because I totally know I am, already, okay?

And the question is what kind of shit?

Because if a swan rapes you it’s not as bad, according to the smartest of the smart. Not such a big thing, just regular. But is that true if all these guys want to paint it in pictures and write a song about it? And why should a swan be so special? So if you’re passed out in the shower fucking and throw up on the guy who’s a waterpolo player and popular, and you wake up with no shoes, what’s the big deal? It’s not like they told you the world was safe for women. I never get in trouble anymore because I just like it. I’m just like, “I don’t care if you want to fuck me, I like it.” And if you throw up on him and he doesn’t like it that’s his fucking problem. There’s ramifi cations for everything, and if you fuck a passed out girl she might wake up and puke in your face. It’s only a big deal if you let it be a big deal, and if you let it be a big deal, they will keep doing it because the rapers know it bothers you.

And I don’t buy that whole thing about rape only being a form of rage, not sexual arousal, because I’m totally enraged all the time and I’ve never gone ahead and raped somebody. Not that I knew it anyway. Except my mother felt raped I think, when I was with this guy on the lawn in front of my house last week and she heard us and it kept her up. Fuck her, it’s not like I didn’t have to hear her getting fucked all the time all night long, it’s not like I didn’t have to sit there at the dinner table with her and Sam when they were going through their nudist phase, and they said, all naked, “Go find some other restaurant if you don’t like this one,” so that’s what I mean about that word, “rape,” because it’s totally over used.

You want to come up with a different word for it. Call it anything. Let’s start calling it “Swansong,” in honor of the mighty god lightning bolt fuck. I will if you will.

And anyway there’s all kinds of rapes, so here’s my rape show and tell. Picture the kind where the twat doctor tells you to relax relax, look at the waterfall poster on the ceiling. And the little cloth cozies on the stirrups say “Zoloft.” Then there’s the mental kind where you’re having a hard time coming and you’re masturbating but you have to be out the door in four minutes. Suddenly Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie comes running down a hill. Okay. Then she’s got a ripped calico dress on. And her flat little chest is all scratched up and she’s sobbing, and the music to Little House on the Prairie is playing. You shouldn’t try to stifle your thoughts because then you’ll start doing worse and worse things without even meaning to. Probably to children. So there’s the kind of rape that’s a thought, starring bloody little Melissa Gilbert, with her little pigtails flapping. And if you happen to look down at yourself and see that you’ve become Pa, that’s great. So now it’s a family show. You can either slap Laura and say, “I’m ashamed of you for making me do that,” or say “Sorry sorry sorry, half-pint,” or what ever gets you there, then have the orgasm, and you’re out the door.

I know thinking about a rape is a different thing than doing one with a real live girl, but there’s a reason it’s exciting, and if it were not a big deal it would not be exciting. So as long as it is a big deal you might as well use it. It’s only bad because they make us think it’s bad, and I say it’s not bad if you don’t care about it. If you think about it like just another thing that people do.

And then there’s the kind of rape where you can’t even decide if it really is one, I mean there’s all kinds of ones like that. Like if Bad Religion is on tour and you end up in their room in some European town. They’re like, “This is sexual tension isn’t it?” And “Whoa, look how hard my cock is,” and pull down the sheets, but how are they supposed to know how bad you’re tweaking on Belgian meth and that’s why you’re not sleeping? That it’s not because you want to fuck. Why don’t you just tell him you’re high? If he puts your hand on his dick, that’s supposed to be a rape?

Looking back on those teenage years, you have to admit stupid choices were made. That’s what rebellion’s all about. Who would go into the hotel room tweaking after a show if they didn’t want a celebrity fuck? It makes sense he would think that, you’d think that too if the roles were reversed. And everybody knows it’s totally easy to lie about a rape. And anyway check your history. It’s like the main thing next to war.

Or if your mother is giving you some cleansing enema treatments. And I mean the government rapes everyone on taxes, right. And McDonald’s rapes the environment. These are the things to worry about. I know plenty of adults who happen to like an enema here and there. I know plenty of children who are putting all kinds of things in their anuses when they’re supposed to be sleeping.

Why is the fuck you didn’t expect so much worse than anything else? It’s not like it is as bad as having to deal with the student loan people every day on the phone for three months. It takes just a few seconds. Even if it happens nightly. Even if it’s someone you’re supposed to like or trust or who gives you your allowance. It’s like, if the world thought it was okay, then it’d be okay. It’s the shame that’s the really big problem.

Like hitchhiking you can totally expect it. Or passed out at a party. It’s just the rules of the game. Or leave your daughter alone with her brother. What’s going to happen? Somebody’s going to start horsing around. Somebody’s going play rough. Kids do that, that is the nature of playfulness, it’s edgy, it’s out of control.

It’s not like there’s really anything so different about genitals than a hand. You wouldn’t scream, “Help, help!” if somebody grabbed you by the hand. So what’s the big deal anyway?

What the big deal is, is you can get a lot of pity from it. Fuck that. You can get a lot of people on your side. Fuck that. People will try to help you get through it. They won’t try and help you get through situations like when nobody in your house will talk to you or come home for months at a time, or, like, if you feel like the government has raped you on your taxes. They won’t care about that. Fuck them, who wants their pity, not me. They act like it’s the worst crime in the world, like it’s as bad as a war because they want to own our bodies, but what’s a body? It’s just animal that’s all, it’s just bones and blood and nerves like everything else. They want us to be scared of our animal bodies. But I’m not buying it, because I already know it’s a big fucking scam, and I don’t need anyone’s pity.