The Animal In Us

by Melissa Chadburn and Lauren Eggert-Crowe

One December night in Culver City, I, Melissa Chadburn, was talking to Lauren Eggert-Crowe about Kate Gale’s Huff Po missive about AWP’s inclusion and Carol Muske-Dukes’ defense of said article. Lauren said she’d wanted to write a response but it takes her time to write these things. I suggested we collaborate on a response to be read aloud at a Red Hen Press event. So on Thursday April 7th, rather than read the essay that Red Hen published in the Los Angeles Review, I read this:

MC:
I used to live in a group home. I used to wander the streets looking into people’s dining rooms with the worst kind of ache. I used to stand around with teenage boys on the street corner waiting for the stoplight to change color. I used to hitch rides through the Palisades to go to my group home for girls by the ocean. I used to worry about gonorrhea and feel like I was the worst piece of shit alive. I used to pat my mother’s hair between my hands like hamburger meat. I used to practice kissing girls by kissing the back of my hand or kissing my own shoulder just to see what my skin tasted like. I used to do graffiti on government issued desks waiting for my name to be called. I used to long to belong to a world of the ordinary.

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