this is true
a man in an alley grabbed my arm
this is true
someone called me an left the phone dangling at the post office
this is true
a man stalked me

someone tells a story

someone tells a story to another person
another person says I don't believe this
someone tells the story again in an attempt to convince
someone tells

as disbelief is easy
belief is difficult, supported by constraint

but a woman knows a man stalked her
knows this is true

a woman knows her own address
her own body
her lost domain, her desires, her confusions

someone tells a story

there are things people can do to themselves
they are:
leave molotov cocktail on own yard
set fire to own house
leave a glass of urine on own porch
leave envelope of feces outside own door
send a butcher knife to self at work
send letter to health department that self is spreading VD
stab own back

someone tells this story
says this is true
self turns on self
the knife enters at a point that the self could not have reached
         but did
someone tells and then repeats and she stalks herself several
         times to convince
someone tries to enter into the information
to pass words back and forth that have meaning
fails, resorts to this is true

this is true
a woman calls her stalker The Poet

this is true
a woman describes a stalker in terms that describe herself

this is true
a woman stalked herself to kill herself

this is true
a woman is at times a man

when a fish is hooked
other fish don't see the hook

thrashing seems crazy

the hook could be the branding of a woman at a young age
         by a man
or an older male neighbor spending too much time with a
or the boring nature of life

in the story the hook is the artist's rendering of the stalker as
          described by the woman
it is the woman in a man's face

she does not know this man
thrashing seems crazy

later she realizes it is herself
her knife
her hook
her own face she was always drawing male

this is true
as thrashing is not crazy when one is on the hook

NOTES: This poem draws from an Oprah episode on the case of Ruth Finley, a woman who, because of "disassociative personality disorder," was stalked by a male persona of herself.
Juliana Spahr, "Thrashing Seems Crazy" from Response. Copyright © 1996 by Juliana Spahr.  Reprinted by permission of Green Integer.

Source: Response (Sun & Moon Press, 1996)