alternative (1) (adj.)

First Lady Hillary Clinton during her presentation at a congressional hearing on health care reform in 1993 [image via Wikicommons]

I. “There’s a very strange conservative strain that goes through a lot of New Left, collegiate protests that I find very intriguing because it hearkens back to a lot of the old virtues, to the fulfillment of original ideas. And it’s also a very unique American experience. It’s such a great adventure. If the experiment in human living doesn’t work in this country, in this age, it’s not going to work anywhere.” 1

In my imagination:
I am an iconoclast,
a renegade,
the counter-culture.

A girl gone wild.

II. “Well, I don’t know if I’ve been that dramatic. That would sound like a good line from a movie.”

I am my mother who is her mother,
and we are all mimicry, until the moment of rupture:
the way in which I reject the mold
the path set out for me.

She cuts her hair, drops her glasses, and changes her
name. She stops being bold; she does what she’s told.
She lights the Christmas tree and cameras flash.

A girl gone mild.

III. “Well, this isn’t exactly the party I’d planned, but I sure like the company.”

What is truth and what is heresy?

She grits her teeth and nods as her opponent says,
“You’re likable enough.” It’s a story she’s heard her
whole life; she smiles at her tragedy. Someone else’s
glass ceiling. And she performs as the Party asks her
to, as the country asks her to.

A girl lost.

IV. “The light continues and we will never waver,” she said. “Now I know there are some who doubted this day would ever come. Who questioned our resolve and our reach. But let us remind ourselves this is America. We rise to the challenge. We persevere. And we get the job done.

Her kill is effortless. Men jeer at her for holding her hand
in front of her face. Doesn’t matter. She did what they
never could. She’s escorted home and she counts the
bodies on her bedposts instead of lovers.

I was blood and guts in high school
til I used your words.
I ate your food, but:
“It is well at every given moment to seek the limits
in our lives / And once those limits are understood /
To understand that limitations no longer exist.”

I am blood and guts and the revolution.

A girl gone vile.

V. “We watched women and men across the country and the globe stand up, speak out and peacefully march for those values with one voice. It was awe-inspiring.”

The AUs come quickly. Universes where we don’t have to
think about pussies or Nazis or limousines filled with
porn stars. Some are dystopian, some utopian. It doesn’t
matter, because none of them are “real.” Soccer moms
take pictures with her in the Chappaqua Mountains, and
what is real seems farther and farther away.

A girl gone.

VI. “Now we can talk about reality, and I would like to talk about reality sometime, authentic reality, inauthentic reality, and what we have to accept of what we see.”

She’d deny it, of course. There’s no blood on her
perfectly pressed white suit, but we know better. She
birthed this; she delivered us to a world so spun that
to trust your own eyes is to trust a lie. Our mother and
her labor of love, her gift: a world where everything is
an alternative version of itself.

A girl made hero.


1 All quotes from Hillary Clinton, 1969, 1997, 2008, 2011, and 2016, with additional help from Kathy Acker and Nancy Scheibner.