MERCY
by Andrea Dworkin

Copyright © 1990, 1991 by Andrea Dworkin.
All rights reserved.
Excerpt from Chapter Eleven

April 30, 1974 (Age 27)

I am writing a plan for revenge, a justice plan, a justice poem, a justice map, a geography of justice; I am martial in my heart and military in my mind; I think in strategy and in poems, a daughter of Guevara and Whitman, ready to take to the hills with a cosmic vision of what's crawling around down on the ground; a daughter with an overview; the big view; a daughter with a new practice of righteous rage, against what ain't named and ain't spoken so it can't be prosecuted except by the one it was done to who knows it, knows him; I'm inventing a new practice of random self-defense; I take their habits and characteristics seriously, as enemy, and I plan to outsmart them and win; they want to stay anonymous, monster shadows, brutes, king pricks, they want to strike like lightning, any time, any place, they want to be sadistic ghosts in the dark with penises that slice us open, they want us dumb and mute and vacant, robbed of words, nothing has a name, not anything they do to us, there's nothing because we're nothing; then they must mean they want us to strike them down, indiscriminate, in the night; we require a sign language of rebellion; it's the only chance they left us. You may find me one who ain't guilty but you can't find me two. I have a vision, far into the future, a plan for an army for justice, a girls' army, subversive, on the ground, down and dirty, no uniforms, no rank, no orders from on high, a martial spirit, a cadre of honor, an army of girls spreading out over the terrain, I see them moving through the streets, thick formations of them in anarchy and freedom on cement. I keep practicing horse position and sit-ups and I kick good; I can kick to the knee and I can kick to the cock but I can't kick to the solar plexus and I can't kick his fucking head off but I can compensate with my intelligence and with my right thinking if I can isolate it, in other words, rescue it from the nightmares; liberate it; deep liberation. I practice on my wall to get my kick higher, never touching the wall, Zen karate, a new dimension in control and a new level of aggression, a new arena of attack as if I am walking up the wall without touching it; and I will do the same to them; Zen killing. My fist ain't good enough but my thighs needless to say are superb, possibly even sublime, it's been noted many times. Many a man's died his little death there and I made the mistake of not burying him when he was exactly ripe for it, not putting him, whole, under the ground, but I soaked up his soul, I took it like they always fear, I stole his essence to in me, it's protein, I got his molecules; and I never died. It is more than relevant; it is the point. I never died. I am not dead. If you use us up and use us up and use us up but don't kill use we ain't dead, boys; a word to the wise; peace now, or there's a mean lot of killing coming. I am torn up in many places and I am a moving mountain of pain, I have tears body and soul, I am marked and scarred and black-and-blue inside and out, I got torn muscles in my throat and blood that dried there that won't ever dislodge and rips in my vagina the size of fists and fissures in my anus like rivers and holes in my heart, a sad heart; but I ain't dead, I never died, which means, boys, I can march, I want to walk to God on you, stretch you out under me, a pathway to heaven. And I am real; Andrea one, two, three, there's more than one, I am reliably informed; the raped; Andrea, named for courage, a new incarnation of virility, in the old days called manhood and I'm what happens when it's fucked; we go by other names, Sally, Jane, whatever; but I had a prophet for a mama and she named not just a daughter but a breed, who the girl is when the worm turns; put Thomas Jefferson in my place, horse position on his back with a mob of erect rapists coming and going at will, at their pleasure; and ask what a more perfect union is; or would be; from his point of view; then. Put anyone human where I been and make a plan; for freedom. I will fill you with remorse because you fucked me to ground meat and because you buy it and you sell it and the hole in my heart is commerce to you; lover, husband, boychick, brother, friend, political radical, boy comrade; I can't fucking tell you all apart. You're pouncing things that push it in, lush with insult or austere with pain; I don't got no radio in my stomach like the crazy ones who get messages to kill and can't turn it off or dislodge it although you stuck enough in me, they say they hear voices and they kill, they say they are getting orders and they kill, and the psychiatrists come in the newspapers and call them long bad names and go to court and say they didn't know what they were doing; but they knew; because everyone knows. The psychiatrists miss it all but especially that there's information everywhere; the radio, the voices, are metaphors used by poets who dance rather than write it down, poet-killers; action poems; there's energy that buzzes, a coherent language of noise and static you can learn to read, you don't need to be subliterate on this plane, just receive, receive; there's waves you can see, you can take a fucking light beam and parse it for information or you can decode the information in the aura of light around a person or a thing; everything's coded; everything's whole; it's all right there, including the future, you can just pull it out, it's just more information, a buzz, a vibration, a radiance, even a smell in the air; and we are all one, sweetheart, which means that if I'm you I got your secrets including your dirty little rape secrets and your dirty little what you stick it in secrets, you can just pull the information out of the air as to who is evil and what is going on, how it works and what must be done; you can learn to see it and you can learn to hear it because you are flowing in an ocean of information and the information gets amplified by pedestrian events, for instance, you learn at karate school that they pin you down at both ends, they got different shoulders from you, which you didn't know, and they made yours useless like bound feet, which you didn't know; and they nail you, they plug you, the penis goes right through you on one end and screws you down, fixes you fast to some hard surface, and the shoulders are like a ton of metal dumped on you to keep you flat, it's information on the literal level, the pedestrian plane, a reminder of mechanical reality or a new lesson in it because girls don't learn mechanics or anything else that will help on the physical plane to rebel or get free so you got to read the cosmic information in the air, the molecular information, which could even come from other planets if you think about it, it could be moving towards you on light from far away, and you also got to be a student of reality as it is commonly understood. They fill your head with political theory because it's useless; it's dreams you can't have; of dignity that ain't yours; of freedom that ain't intended on any level for you; you take it to heart; they take you to bed; heartbreak hotel, the place where the dialectic abandons reality, leaving her barefoot and pregnant, raped and barefoot; these are the dreams that break your heart, the difference between what you wanted from Camus and what he would have given you; I always wanted to have a cup of coffee with him, on the boulevard; and how these men love whores; the thinkers, the truck drivers, the students, the cops; how they love you turned out, shivering in the cold, already undressed enough; no, they don't all rape; they all buy. I am an apprentice: sorcerer or assassin or vandal or vigilante; or avenger; I am in formation as the new one who will emerge; I am in a cocoon; but at night, being a girl, I just stroll; I am a girl who walks the streets at night, back to first principles, how I grew up, where I lived, my home, cement, gray, stretching out a thousand miles flat, a plain of loneliness and despair; my world; my bed; my place on earth; I will populate the dark forever, of course, night is my country, I belong here, I can't get free, I was condemned, exiled from daylight because survival required facing the dark; I am a citizen of the night, with a passport, a mouth used enough, it's vulgar to say but inside it changes, the skin gets raw and red and it blisters, it gets small, tight, white blisters, liquidy blisters, it gets tough and brown, it gets leathery, it sags in loose red places and there are black-and-blue marks, and your tongue never touches the roof of your mouth, instead there's a layer of slime, sticky slime, a white, viscous slime, a moving cement that never hardens and never disappears, a near mortar of awful white stuff, mucous and slime; you got a mouth crawling on top with slime; as if it's worms in you, spermy little worm things all laid out side by side all in a line lining the roof of your mouth; a protein shield, if you want to put the best construction on it, because you don't want his shit shooting to the top of your brain anyway, going through the roof of your mouth to your head, you don't want his molecules absorbed in your brain, planted there so his molecular reality grows in some hemisphere of your brain, you don't want him as weeds in your head, with his D.N.A. rolling all over behind your eyes; and of course you try to keep him as high in your mouth as you can, as close to the front, as little in; always give as little as you can; not just on principle, as in, give as little of anything as you can; but you give as little of yourself as you can in a literal sense, not as an abstract concept of self but as little of your mouth as you can; except for the one who rammed it down to the bottom, into your chest or your lungs or however far he got, he shattered muscles as if they was glass, splintered them as if they was bone, you could feel a smashed larynx swimming in blood, like a dead animal, all bleeding and cut open, I got a sexy voice now, something hoarse and missing, an absence, a bare vibration; but he wasn't a trick, he was a cute boy, true love and real romance, remember him I instruct myself because it's hard, rape's hard, remembering's hard, they have to break so much there's no deep deep enough to bury it in, they leave you with crushed bones, diced nerves, live nerves, sliced nerves as if someone took a knife to the nerve endings themselves, not so they are cut dead but so they are being sliced each minute of forever, and they don't go dead, there's not half a second of numbness or paralysis, the nerves are open and alive and being hit by the air, exposed, and the knife is cutting into them thread by thread, they're stringy and the knife's pulling them apart, and you got an acute pain and a loud scream, high decibels, ringing in your ears, a torture ringing in your ears, and it don't let you sleep and you don't get forgetfulness, your eyes cry blood and you got open sores, the lips of your labia get boils, big boils; you got a vagina with long, deep tears, an ass that rips open with blood every time you shit, because it's the penis again, oversized, pulling out after having torn its way in; and then you will remember rape; these are the elements of memory, constant, true, and perpetual pain; otherwise you will forget -- we are a legion of zombies -- because it burns out a piece of your brain, it's the scorched earth policy for the sweetmeat in your head, the rape recipe, braise, sear, burn bare, there's a sudden conflagration on the surface of your brain, a piece of one hemisphere or the other is burned bare, blank, and you lose whatever's there; just gone; whatever; so rape's a two-pronged attack, on your body, in you, on your brain, in you; on freedom, on memory; you might as well bury yourself in the backyard, or throw yourself in a trash can, you're like some dumb cat or dog that got hit by a car, run over and died; only they let the shells of dead girls walk around because hell it makes no difference to them if what they stick it in is living or dead; what's left, darling, is fine, according to the formula, a girl frail and female, a skeleton with a fleshy pudendum, ready to serve, these girls are ghosts, did you see, did you notice, where are they, why ain't they here, present, on earth, why can't you find them even if you look for them in the light, how come they don't know anything or do anything, how come they ain't anything, how come they are shaking and flitting around and apologizing and begging and afraid and drugged and stupid even if they are smart; how come they are comatose even when they're awake? He pushes it in, she pushes it out, a dead spot in the brain marks the spot, there's a teeny little cemetery in her brain, lots of torched spots, sutee; we bleed both ends, literal, little strokes every time there's a rape, time gone, hours or days or weeks, words gone, self gone, memory wiped out, severely impaired; I cannot remember -- how do you exist? The skills, the tricks; tie your shoes; wrap ropes around your heart, or was it your wrists; or was it ankles; neck; I'd make a list if I could remember; I'd memorize the list if someone else would write it down; or I try, I scribble big letters, confused, misspelled, on the page; or I look at the words, meaningless, and draw a blank; I make a list, misspelled words signifying I don't remember what; or I draw a picture, I use crayons, of what? I try to say what I try to remember; the skills, the tricks, language, yesterday. There are little rape strokes, erased places in the brain, eruptions of blood, explosions, like geysers, it's flooded, places on the brain, blood's acidic, did you ever sit in a pool of your own blood, it wears the skin off you, chafes, irritates, the skin peels off; so too in the brain, the skin peels off; I've been there, a poor, dear, quiet thing, naked like a baby, in a river of blood, mine, curled up; fetal, as if my mama took me back. There's wounds and you sit in the blood. Why can't I remember? I am a stroke victim, a shadow in the night, invisible in the night, a ghostly thing, in the night, amnesiac, wandering, in the night, not out to whore, just what's left, the remains, on the stroll; taking a walk, pastoral, romantic, an innocent walk, lost in memories, lost in fog, lost in dark; having forgotten; but I got muscles packed with memory; hard, thick, solid, from the positions reenacted, down on my knees, down on my back; I got memories packed in my bones, because my brain don't make distinctions no more; can't tell him from him from him; I have an intuitive dread; of him and him and him; there's a heightened anxiety; I'm a nervous girl, Victorian nerves, strain, a delicate constitution in the sense that my brain is frail, pale; but my muscles is packed, it's adrenaline, from fear; there's a counterproductive side to creating too much fear, it's a meta-amphetamine, it's meta-speed, it's meta-coke, it's more testosterone than thou, I got a body packed with rage, you ever seen rage all stored up like a treasure in the body of a woman? I don't need no full capacity brain, as you so eloquently have insisted; I got sunstrokes in my head, enough daylight to carry me through any darkness, I am lit up from inside, a bursting sun; brain light I am a citizen of the night, on a stroll, no dark places keep secrets from me, I am drawn to them by a secret radiance, the light that emanates from the human heart, some poor bum, a poor man, poor fucking drunk somewhere in the shadows hiding his poor drunk heart in the dark, but I find him, I see the pure light of his pure heart, I find him, some asshole, a vagrant, clutching his bottle, and I like them big, I like them hairy, their skin's red and bulbous, all swelled from drinking, they're mean, they'd kill you for the fucking bottle they're clutching to them, sometimes they got it buried under them, and they're curled up on cardboard or newspapers on the street, all secure in the shadows, manly men, behind garbage cans, hidden in the dark; but the light in them reaches out to the light in me, my brothers, myself, I pick on men at least twice my size, I like them with fine shoulders, wide, real men, I like them six feet or more, I like them vicious, I pick them big and mean, the danger psyches me up but what I appreciate is their surprise, which is absolute, their astonishment, which invigorates me; how easy it is to make them eat shit; they will always underestimate me, always, from which I enunciate the political principle, Always pick on men at least twice your size. This is the value of practice as opposed to theory; they're so easy; so arrogant; so used to the world always being the way they thought it was. The small ones are harder. The small ones have to learn to fight early and take nothing for granted, the small, wiry ones you cannot surprise; when I am a master I will take on the small, wiry ones; or assign them to someone else, maybe someone who can step on them, a real tall girl who would get something out of it by just treating them like bugs; but now I take the big ones, and I fucking smash their faces in; I kick them; I hit them; I kick them blind; I like smashing their faces in with one kick, I like dancing on their chests, their rheumy old chests, with my toes, big, swinging kicks, and I like one big one between the legs, for the sake of form and symbolism, to pay my respects to content as such, action informed by the imperatives of literature. Sometimes they got knives or bottles, they're fast, they're good, but they are fucking drunk and all sprawled out, and I like smashing the bottles into their fucking faces and I like taking the knives, for my collection; I like knives. I find them drunk and lying down and I hurt them and I run; and I fucking don't care about fair; discuss fair at the U.N.; vote on it; from which I enunciate another political principle, It is obscene for a girl to think about fair.



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