‘For Your Own Good’ by Leah Horlick
Author: Vanesa Evers
February 14, 2016
For Your Own Good is a testimony, a warning, a summoning of all female power to come forth and just be still. Horlick’s sophomore collection is so vulnerable and accessible that I’m sure I’ve written the same poems in my own mind. This beautifully painful collection exposes Horlick for what she really is, a Woman. I can’t help but hear Judy Grahn, herself, whispering “She Who increases what can be done… I am the rock that refused to be battered/ I am the dyke in the matter, the other…” Throughout this collection, it feels at times that you’re sitting in a circle, at the center –fire, you are to be sacrificed. Behind her poems are rage and a silent voice of forgiveness. This young woman is opening herself and can do nothing else but stand bare after she’s taken in an amount of pain that is often times confused for love. Not only does Horlick force us to see her “Bruises,” but she wants us to follow the maps that have been placed across her body to show us that after all she’s been through, she’s learned and even if she hadn’t listened before, she now knows, it’s for her own good, and for our own good, as well. Her map is leading us to freedom.
For Your Own Good has turned the page from young girls in the back of a truck, heading to a motel off of a country road in Riot Lung. Those teenagers are now women and they aren’t in the kitchen kissing the sugar off each other’s fingers, but they are loving and hurting and bleeding. Horlick brings domestic violence to the foreground within the lgbt community and places a mirror on the bathroom counter and forces us to grab it and when we find ourselves as victim, we cannot turn away until we are healed. The violence that we so often doubt can happen within our own community, because we all love women and women don’t hurt women, right? And the real question: do we possess our own healing, is answered in the last poem, “Anniversary,”
Everyday day I can ask people
not to touch me— Or, I could ask them to—I have sworn to myself a life of people
who know when to stop. I promised—to my old self, come here. I built this
for you. I promised.
Thank you, Leah, for sharing your love story, your survival story, the story where you died and then came back to us, again. And we see beyond the painful lived experiences, we see the underlying beauty of coming out and sometimes hating the goosebumps that form when we catch her eye, we feel the (self)love that is abundantly offered.
For Your Own Good
by Leah Horlick
Hardcover, 9781927575673, 96 pp.