“Instructions” by Tria Wood

Tria Wood


Check your front porch for potential attackers before you open the door for any reason. Check your back yard for potential attackers before you open the door to let the dog out. Check your front porch for potential attackers before you open the door to go to your car. Lock and unlock all doors quickly before an attacker has a chance to get you while you’re facing the door. Check the path from your front door to your car for potential attackers before walking toward your car. Walk toward your car while checking the yard, your neighbors’ yards, and the street for potential attackers. As you walk, keep at least one key poked through your fist so that you can punch an attacker with it. Check under your car, around your car, and in your backseat for potential attackers before you get too close to it. Lock the car doors as soon as you get into your car. Park as close as possible to the office, the store, the gym so he’ll have less chance to attack. Park in a well-lit area so he’ll be less likely to attack. Park at the end of the driveway nearest the street so that he can’t block your car in. Park at the end of the driveway closest to your front door so that you can get from the car to a presumably safe space as quickly as possible. Set booby-traps at all doors and ground floor windows, even if you feel foolish doing so. Keep the porch lights on, front and back, at night so others can see if someone’s trying to get in. Hope they realize that the person trying to get in is not your husband, your date, your boyfriend, your gay friend, your brother, your father, your uncle, your cousin, your handyman, your landlord, or anyone else who might have a legitimate purpose for being there. Know that it could be, has been for others, a husband, a date, a boyfriend, a gay friend, a brother, a father, an uncle, a cousin, a handyman, a landlord, or anyone else who might seem to have had a legitimate purpose for being there. Take self-defense classes because you hope to be able to fight off any of the above, or anyone else. If anyone attacks you, yell “FIRE!” because people will come running to help put out a fire. Change your habits and paths frequently so that you become harder to track. Don’t take any drinks that haven’t been poured in your presence. Don’t ever stop looking at your drink. Scrutinize your wardrobe and second-guess the fact that you wear makeup. Scrutinize your last few Facebook posts, tweets, and email messages to see whether they could be construed to make you seem insane, prone to lying, or promiscuous. When someone arouses your suspicion, respond politely, lighten up, smile, realize it’s just a joke, get a sense of humor, who do you think you are you fucking bitch? You bitch, you ugly bitch, you fat ugly bitch cunt, you fat ugly bitch cunt who needs to be fucked, you fat ugly bitch cunt who needs a fat dick to shut her up, you bitch cunt so fat and ugly you can’t even get raped.

Poets Respond
June 1, 2014

[download audio]


Tria Wood: “This poem responds to the mass murders at UCSB, but more specifically to the #YesAllWomen Twitter conversation. This hashtag critiqued the way the news coverage of the event tended to dismiss the misogynist ideology of the murderer, and led to an extensive catalogue of the very real microaggressions that women must live with every day. The poem’s ending replicates the responses women receive for calling out misogynist behavior, including responses women received for posting with the #YesAllWomen hashtag.” (@triatriatria)

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