I lived in New York for a few years
and after a little while I stopped noticing lots of things:
garbage piled in a fetid heap on the street,
and the quick slither of rats in the shuddering, shiny black bags;
the smell of other people’s bodies;
small, repeated gestures from the guy on the train
that I did not look at directly
because that shit ruins your day.

New York is a beautiful place to live
when you stop seeing those things
and start to look for other things:
blossoming trees in Prospect Park,
the family playing cricket and passing foil-wrapped bread,
the beautifully cut suit on that man,
and his shined shoes.
It’s nice to see people put together well.

But even if you’ve lived there for years,
sometimes you pass a guy tugging automatically at his lap
and he looks right at you
aw, fuck.

Then you see the rats
rustling in the garbage bags,
like grabbing hands that snake under cloth.

And you smell the people’s bodies around you,
close enough to reach out and touch the inside of you:
sour sweat, old cigarettes, spices,
cloying, desperate rose water.

And you realize that you’re part of this landscape:
the rats, the bastards, the trash,
the constant touch of other people.
You're not the ingenue floating down the sun-dappled avenue.
You're the girl who stepped over a dead pigeon
and made eye contact with a subway creep
and now you're touching all these people on the train,
you’ve been breathing them in this whole time
and they stink and they’re inside you.

All this to say I understand
why you have to turn off the news sometimes.
Like when the state of Missouri legalizes
a state of occupation of your organs.
And why you might not want to look directly
at this fucking guy
who is mad at you for disagreeing with him,
or that fucking guy
who is your friend, I guess,
and is explaining why he has a point,

All this to say,
I know how it feels 
when the delicate shield of your preferred reality disintegrates
and you’re immediately exhausted
(because shields are heavy)
and surprised to find that you
aren’t smiling anymore
(you haven't been for awhile now)
and surprised to find that it feels like your face
is made of the cold black rock 
that was once the boiling liquid 
that poured out of the center of the Earth.

I know how it feels to be suddenly furious
in a way that feels ancient.
As old as you are.

Because it doesn’t feel like someone just now
stepped on your foot.
You don’t want to say “Ouch!”

It feels like you’ve lived your whole life
on the bottom of someone’s shoe.
You want to say, “Not anymore, motherfucker”
and then cut off the foot
and turn it upside down,
set the bottom-side up
for once,
for ever.

I know. I’ve asked myself,
How can I possibly look across the table
at this

How is it possible that I’ve sat here so long
with this
and a smile?

All this to say, I know
how important it is to look for other things,
beautiful things:
sweet children,
cat memes,
Queer Eye,
basically anything on Ellen.

And I know how important it is to look for other things,
sharp things:
people who make vicious jokes and do not apologize
for being honest at this fucking guy's expense.

You live here,
and that’s enough to ask of you.
The fact that you exist is an act of defiance
against that fucking guy.

Just be.
That’s enough to make you scare him.
That’s enough to make you strong.

(Some part of him knows.
That’s why he doesn’t want to have to answer to you.
The thing that scares him most is being treated
like he’s treated you.
He doesn’t like to imagine that you could be anything
but nice to him
from under his shoe.)

You’re allowed to imagine what it would be like
to leave this place ruined under your feet
and whisper to the last compliant survivors,
“Now smile.
You’ll get used to it.”
You’re allowed to imagine.

You’re allowed to float with your eyes closed
and remember only beautiful things.
You’re allowed to need them:
the smooth, scarred wood on the polished old stairs,
the smell of the child’s cheeks,
the way he interrupted the guy
who interrupted you
to say,
“I want to hear what she thinks,”
and then listened
instead of compelling your thanks.

The last time I was in New York
I saw a little kid with his nanny,
the kid white and perfectly neat, the nanny Spanish-speaking,
in a brown down coat.

It was on the Upper East Side
in a bakery that sold $9 croissants made by actual French people,
and I felt angry for that nanny.
This child in her charge had done nothing to deserve
the pleasure of eating a nine-dollar amalgamation of butter and flour.

The child’s shoes cost more than her coat.
The child will pass through open doors for the rest of his life.
The woman has to build staircases for herself to climb.

It was bullshit.
It was bullshit.
It was bullshit.
I was so angry for her.

As they passed me I heard the child ask her
in Spanish,
what she wanted for her birthday?
And could he bake her a cake?
And what kind of cake?
A strawberry cake?
Like last year?

She smiled at him
and I could see how much she loved him,
and I could hear how much he loved her.
It's nice to see people put together so well.

I cried over my coffee 
because it’s still bullshit,
still bullshit,
still bullshit,
but sometimes it’s beautiful, too.

this post is dedicated to O
who is
and it's enough to scare them.

This is my work.
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with Ronit Feinglass Plank
and Larj Media

The Challenge:

Write a blog post using 50 words given to me by 50 followers on my KatyKatiKate Facebook page.
A Letter to My Senator

whoooooooah little lady
this isn't gonna be about your babymaker
is it?
because i'm not
i don't
that's not

Dear Sir,

My name is Katie Anthony. 

I am a writer, a mother of two young boys, a volunteer with the community garden, and a constituent living in the township of Up Your Goddamn Ass. 

That’s right, Pookie. Get comfortable standing at meetings because I’m not going anywhere, mkay?

I was a freshman in high school 9 miles away from Columbine on April 20, 1999. I was in soccer practice when one of the other girls whose dad worked at a news station said that there had been a shooting at Columbine. At the time, it was inconceivable. I can’t decide which feeling is worse: surprised and afraid in 1999, or resigned in 2018.

I can’t decide which lede is worse: “It was the worst school shooting in U.S. history,” or “At the time, it was the worst school shooting in U.S. history.”

I took my son to his kindergarten open house last week. I stood in the cafeteria watching my son, his brother, his friends, mill around spilling Goldfish crackers on the floor as they explored the folding tables that in only a few months will become boring and normal to them. I wanted to cry.

NO, Senator, it wasn't because my baby was growing up too fast. It wasn't because I didn't know what I was going to do with all that free time when he went away to school all day in the fall (in case you were wondering, the answer is "write a lot more blog posts" and "feel shocked at how quickly 3 pm arrives because I was going to go to yoga today oh well I'll just eat this muffin and hit yoga extra hard tomorrow.")

I wanted to cry because I was looking at these children in the context of Columbine. Sandy Hook. Parkland. I was looking at these children not as future scholars, but as future victims. 

I fucking resent that. I fucking resent my inability to enjoy the bittersweet melancholy of sending my baby to school, because there's nothing in my heart right now but a hard, hard prayer. A prayer as hard as armor.

Not this place. Not these kids.

Now here's where you come in, Senator.

Unless you’re about to express profound reverence for the generation of unbelievable students that has managed to organize sapient and empathetic public statements, and flame scared old men on Twitter with the most savage of #casualburns, then sit down and take a double of your migraine meds because I’m about to learn you up.

First of all, understand that these Parkland students are the vindication of the value of life, personified. Next time you talk pro-life to me, you better be talking about pro-THIS-LIFE.

Second, remember that the Parkland students are the most recent wave, and in some ways, the most easily-consumed wave of young activists against gun violence. Think of all the students who have been fighting gun violence for decades: the young men begging for their lives whom you would dismiss as thugs, the young women marching out of class in an act of transubstantiation that turned them from human flesh into your mid-morning fucking snack. Wipe your chin, Senator. There’s a daub of carmine that I’d swear was ketchup if I didn’t know you so fucking well.

I know, it was a risk to bring up people of color while I’m posted Up Your Goddamn Ass, Senator, because I’m pretty sure that nothing’ll make you shit your pants harder than the idea of intersectionality. But hey, I’m a mom, and a woman on the internet and I’ve had to get copacetic with a steady stream of both actual and metaphorical shit.

These students -- all of them, not just the Parkland newcomers who have reignited the national debate, but all of them, and especially the students who have continued to scream into our faces while we smiled at each other and declared America post-racial -- are not sugared-up toddlers going cattywampus.

They’re not hormone-crazed brats marching to get sriracha added to the condiment bar in the cafeteria, or to make every day Waffle Day.

They’re not scamps armed with rolls of TP and a penchant for tomfoolery.

And I’m sorry to burst your moist little paranoid fever bubble, but they’re not crisis actors funded by the communist vagenda. This isn’t Emma Gonzalez’s big break.  She is not looking forward to flipping a big fat bird to Madison who plays “banjo player #3/Owl” in the Tampa Children’s Theater production of “Mr. Bojangles and the Great Kotton Kandy Kerfuffle” as she struts out of the dressing room with a guffaw: “I’m off to the SHOW bitches!”

These students are people. No, you don’t get to call them kids. Not when you’re weaponizing their age against them in an attempt to undercut their honesty. You lost the right to call them kids when you stopped treating them like kids, when you stopped seeing them as beloved children that we have a biological and moral duty to protect from harm, and started seeing them as a pain in the ass obstacle to your next payday.

These students are people, and very soon, voters. So pop a lozenge, clear your throat, and get ready to start walking back an entire career’s worth of pusillanimous time-wasting whimpers about when is the right time to talk about guns (not now) (still not now) (sorry for your loss, hold please.)

These students can hear your spinelessness, they know what you picked to prop yourself up in the absence of a God-given backbone, and I know what you picked, too. It was money.

You know, you could have made money other ways, dude.

You could have started a spiffy artisanal cotton candy shop on Etsy. That shit packs well. You could have apprenticed with the premier squeezebox tuner in the tri-state area. It’s a dying art, y’all, but the squeezebox is forever and these babies aren’t gonna tune themselves.

You could even have married the oldest sister-wife who managed to escape the compound, and then pressured her into writing a memoir that you could option to Lifetime. Even that would have been better than building your backbone out of blood-stained money, because at least then you’d only be selling one life away for your own profit.

Dangit, I’m tired.

The thing is, as an adult woman I’ve internalized my job description and generally know how to play by the rules:

  • Be gloriously beautiful, possibly even described as pulchritudinous by my creepy SAT tutor who called me it and then told me to look it up with a wink;
  • Shine bright like a diamond, but always remain slightly less luculent than you
  • Smile. Perseverate;
  • Always have a chapstick and a few stray bobby pins in my handbag;
  • Understand and cheerfully accept that my life is less important than your money. My life is less important than your personal relationship with Jesus. My life is less important than your boner.
And my life is – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I’m sorry, it’s just so obvious that it feels like a hilarious slice of ballyhoo frosted with extra shenanigans that I’d even have to say it out loud – my life is so, so, SO much less important than your right to know in the back of your mind that you could murder me and 79 of my closest friends in less than a minute if we got too mouthy.

Evidently, I’m at the place where I’m laughing about my worthlessness. #PanicGiggles #Despairadox

I call it a despairadox (get it? Despair paradox?) because on the one hand I feel deeply moved by the ability of these students to unify, stand together, and use their votes and voices to move the needle on gun violence.

On the other hand, I feel deep despair. These are children. They could be mine, but they are somebody’s. They are standing because we didn’t, couldn’t, tried and failed to protect them. They are using their votes and voices because we didn’t, couldn’t, tried and failed to make the world safer for them.

They should not have had to be good at saving their own lives. Not yet. That was our job. 
That was your job.

But instead of saving kids’ lives (which honestly, dude, how are there two sides to that story? You do know that sometimes when you play devil’s advocate, you’re advocating for the goddamn devil, right?) you got persnickety with “what counts as a militia” with all the groping faux-logic of a traveling phrenologist, and tried to convince us that it was bad manners to talk about how to prevent tragedies that you call stochastic but which are in fact the epitome of fucking preventable.

In some ways, it’s too late for me to fight this battle for myself; I’ve already gotten used to being whoever you want me to be, being nice to avoid getting murdered. Unlearning those cheerful, safe poses will be so much fucking work. If we were talking about me, I wouldn’t be living here, Up Your Goddamn Ass, Senator.

(PS, there’s a definite gurgle and miasma of panic shits in here, which I’m going to take as a sign that we’re making progress. I remember feeling like this on November 8, 2016. That was the Tuesday that I came down with a week’s worth of the Trumps.

PPS, I’d also like to point out that “gurgle” is a super gross example of onomatopoeia.

PPPS, totally just made you say “gurgle.”)

Yep, it’s late. It’s too late for me to feel entitled to life.

It’s too late for you to feel empowered to protect it, you saggy-assed elephant hornswaggler.

But these students. These people. These inimitable young leaders, the ones who get invited to the news and the ones who don’t, remind us that the values we’ve allowed long enough to root are still impeachable. It’s not too late for them.

There have been lots of jokes about how the world is turning upside-down:

Leaders are acting like kids and the kids are acting like leaders. Up is down and down is up. Nor’easters in March and sunshine in Seattle. I had Chipotle for dinner and I feel super energized like I just wanna wear a bodycon dress and get on a trampoline. And why is it getting dark in the middle of the day?

It’s a scary time to look for normal, not least because in the act of evolution we have to fully understand the tattered, too-small skin that we’ve been wearing. We have to confess that we’ve been lying, this whole time, when we said it was all okay.

Today, right now, these times feel as rare as a total eclipse, a time when the rules of nature feel flexible and unsure. This penumbra is a terrifying reminder that everything we believe is true – that the day will be light and the night dark – is subject to change.

And if we flip that coin to the other side, then that same shadow is a miracle, a thrilling invitation that everything we believe is true – that our government is past humanity and our children can’t be saved – is subject to change.

Even you, Senator. Your station, your invitations, your spine made of money, your ass-shaped dent in this fine leather chair. They are all subject to change. You are subject to change.

That’s either a warning or an invitation. You choose.


This is my work.
If you found this post valuable
support my work through Patreon 
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with Ronit Feinglass Plank

When I was at the movies the other night I saw a preview for the new movie Tully, about a mom in the 21st century and the magic woman named Tully who comes to save her. It looks like a modern Mary Poppins but for moms instead of kids.

I’ve been kicking around some screenplay ideas, and one of the things I really want to do is write some real-life women with respect and passion and weirdness and artistry.

As I sat in the theater watching a preview 
for the movie that I wanted to write, 
I thought, 
“Oh no! Someone wrote it already!”


Imagine this conversation happening between a screenwriter and a producer:

Chad: OK so we’ve got this guy, he’s a hero with a haunted past. His wife died, and he’s forced to fight for his freedom.

Producer: It’s a no from me. They already made “The Fugitive,” Chad. That story’s been told.

Chad: Oh my God, duh, yeah. I’m so stupid, you’re totally right, never mind.

That conversation would have been how Gladiator didn't get made.

Also Braveheart.

John Wick. The Road. Minority Report.

And Finding Fucking Nemo, for crying out loud.

But those conversations didn't happen because the people who write and produce those stories understand that the success of Gladiator doesn’t eat John Wick’s birthday cake – it proves that people are hungry for that flavor.

They didn’t stop making buddy cop movies after Lethal Weapon.

They didn’t stop making Transformers movies even when we begged them, please, Jesus, oh God, please stop.

And yet I looked at this movie, Tully, and my first thought was that there was only room for one of these. There’s only enough space on the shelf for one story about a woman like me, and someone else already told it. Guess I should just go home.

I'm just gonna come out and say it: 

White men are the only people who get to be 
interesting for no reason. 

Want to see the list of every movie about average dudes whose point of view is made interesting by hours of well-lit, perfectly-scored milieu, provided by the labor of hundreds of people and millions and millions of dollars?

Well I’m not going to write it because it’s seriously just all of the movies. From Anchorman to Zach and Miri Make a Porno and everything in between. 

Their stories can be carbon copies of each other, but they’re different because the men who made them believe in the value of their point of view, regardless of their plot lines.

It’s like there’s a secret formula:

Movie about a white guy does well -> This is a good kind of movie to make! I will make more of them for lots and lots of money! Everyone likes this kind of movie!

Movie about someone other than a white guy does well -> Huh! Surprise hit! Good thing we only spent 8 bucks on it. I guess those people go to the movies sometimes too! Alright, check the box, we did that kind of movie. Now we can go back to the good kind of movies to make. Call Chris and see if he’s available. I'll pay him twenty million to play an okay accountant with a meh stamp collection. 

I think I have good things to say. I think I have good ideas. I like art made by women. But I still struggle to believe that it’s my point of view that makes me interesting, and not the factual reporting of things that have happened to me. 

I still feel like I need to justify my request for your attention with some kind of novel cocktail party icebreaking factoid like, “One time I was in Union Square drinking sangria and the bomb squad came busting in and told us to move to the back of the kitchen so they could defuse a suspicious package. A strange calm washed over me as I picked up the pitcher of sangria to bring to the kitchen. I realized that I was calm because there was nothing I could do, either right or wrong, to change what was about to happen. I drank a gulp of sangria from the pitcher. Welp. Okay.”

My “Tully” would be so different from the one coming out in theaters, and Tully’s success will not eat my birthday cake, or yours. But it feels that way, and I think it feels that way because I’m used to describing movies  as either “a movie” or “a chick flick.” It’s either a regular movie, which means it’s about men but for EVERYONE, or a girl movie, which means it’s about girls and for girls only, and we're only allowed one at a time. Except on Valentine's Day. We might get two, but all the guys in those movies will be interesting for no fucking reason and all the women will be like world-renowned ethnobotanists who would feel accomplished if they could just get a man. Or a makeover.

How many movies do you see out at the same time with white male protagonists? In the summertime, ALL OF THEM. During Oscar season, ALMOST ALL OF THEM. Until lately.

But hey, let's take a closer look at the movies. Black Panther is absolutely destroying the box office right now, and media outlets are already trying to pit Black Panther against A Wrinkle in Fucking Time, as if, “which black movie will win” is a real question to ask.

As if the folks who'd see a movie starring black people only go to the movies once a year.

Did we pit Iron Man against The Chronicles of Narnia? Did we pit Transformers against Bridge to Terabithia?


But see, they’re all “movies,” not “black movies,” so it’s okay for each of those movies to be special just be-fucking-cause. Because a whole bunch of special fucking people believed that their story was something everyone would want to hear.


What the everloving fucknuts. I dare you to look at these articles and arrive at any conclusion other than, “There’s only room for one black movie here.”

So according to this “wisdom,” there is only one kind of movie that’s about me, and if someone has already told a story like mine, well, then my story has already been told. I have nothing new to say. Nothing worth the price of a ticket, at least.

So no wonder it’s hard for anyone who isn’t a white man to wrap our heads around the idea that not only are our stories worth telling, they are also worth retelling.

If these male writers and male directors and male actors and male producers stopped themselves from telling a story, just because a story like it had already been told, then we wouldn’t have ANY MOVIES.  These guys are confident (some might even posit a bit TOO confident) that you want to hear their voices, no matter who you are or what they’re talking about. No matter how many times you’ve heard this one before.

It reminds me of that meme – Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.

Lord, give us the confidence to believe that the most interesting part of the stories we tell are not the stories, but us, the storytellers, and how we tell them.


This is my work

If you found this post valuable
support my work through Patreon 
or PayPal

Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

Get an email when I post something new

I don't make a dime
100% of proceeds go to anti-sexual violence organizations

with Ronit Feinglass Plank