002: Reimagining

Never-Not-Powerful

This piece was created by Kamee. They were born into an Armenian family displaced from the SWANA (Southwest Asian, North African) region, and grew up in an immigrant suburb of Toronto. They arrive in the world today as a queer and feminist mother, interdisciplinary creative, scholar, writer, producer, and facilitator. Their work is steeped with relational, generative, visionary and liberatory practices oriented towards ancestral reclamation, diasporic futurism, and radical imaginaries.

The party was lit and all the district pigs had been greased up. Elders from every neighborhood pitched in to make sure there wouldn’t be any raids, so everyone was letting loose on a whole other liberated level with the peace of mind that we had several undisturbed hours to dance, fuck around, and just be together. It has been a rough month, and we needed it.

I had found my usual corner in the shadows, far enough away from the action to be in control of who approaches me but close enough to know what’s up when I’m ready to join the fun. I wasn’t having such a bad time actually. The bass was shaking through the wall and into my body and I wasn’t drinking tonight because I had volunteered to be on care duty. The organizers knew that I had done my vocational training in healing practices and there was always one or two kids at these parties who would take too much aya or abo. They probably thought no one notices how they sneak little bits out from the ceremony. We do notice; we just don’t say anything because we trust the medicine to support young ones who are still learning the boundaries of their relationship with it. 

Jes was with me. She was going on about some new crush, someone she met last week in district 11. I hadn’t been paying any attention to the details of her story, including their name, so when they walked in with a crew and she pointed them out I wasn’t really expecting to recognize them. They’d come into the club a few times but never bought a dance. Not from me or any of the others. They mostly just dealt with Pockets, which gave me a pretty clear idea of their area of expertise. And I’d never really noticed them noticing me—until tonight. 

They caught my eye immediately and I couldn’t look away. I hadn’t realized how tall they were. Clients always seem smaller to me when I’m dancing, whether I’m up on stage or behind the curtain, hovering over their blushing boners. Jes made it to the other side of the room in a heartbeat and they continued to glare at me while she definitely did not keep her cool, fawning over them and talking too much. This is usually how it plays out for her, and sadly, it’s over before it even begins. There was a look in their eyes I couldn’t pin down, which is unusual for me, and I felt my heart race. I couldn’t tell whether they were sketched out by me because they knew that I knew that they dealt with Pockets, or they might have thought I was someone else. Pockets would have told them I was cool though, and that I’m a vetted healer who regularly runs clinics for the resistance. Maybe they’re one of those res leaders who thinks dancing is a waste of time, that my clients don’t deserve to feel good now and then, that we should all be dedicating every minute and ounce of energy to the movement. But everyone needs a little pleasure in the midst of strife and struggle.

Still, they wouldn’t deal with Pockets if they didn’t trust him, which means they’d have to trust me too. And I’d been watching them for a while now. I felt like I knew a part of them really well already. I felt that before I asked the whisperers about them.

Their name was Nima and they were not to be fucked with. They were mixed-blood like the rest of us, a blend of the usual Black-brown-Asian, and they also belonged to two of the most well-organized tribes on this side of the island. They came from a hardcore resistance family and seemed hardened from years of growing up in the districts. They kept their ears to the ground and didn’t fuck around with movement drama. Nima grew their crew slowly and expected them to show up for their community, every gathering and ceremony, whichever they belonged to, no excuses. One of the whisperers told me all this because she considered Nima as kin and perceived my interest in them as innocent. Her auntie grew up in their district and knows their grandmother, who raised them. The rest of their family is no longer with us. Died on the frontlines of the Sixth Wave. Just like mine. Yet we didn’t share any tribal lineage, which is surprising for this day in age since we are all mixed the fuck up, and especially since we both grew up in the districts where everybody is kind of related. One thing we definitely did share is family dynamic. I was also raised by my grandmother. Most of us were.

Next thing I knew, Jes brought Nima over to my corner and started introducing me to them and their crew. I pretended not to know Nima’s name, and I didn’t care to hear the rest of the crews’ names. I nodded politely, barely able to keep my eyes off Nima. I walked away when a kid from their crew asked if I was one of “those dancers” and it was clear from his tone that he was jumping to conclusions I wasn’t in the mood to engage with. I felt like having a smoke anyway. I heard Jes giggle and make some kind of excuse for me on my way out the door. I did not look back.

The air was crisp and the moon was almost full. I walked half a block away from the party because my heart was still racing and I needed to shake it off. I leaned up against a random car, rolled and lit up my cigarette. I barely got through a full drag before I noticed that Nima was standing right behind me.

“Jes is your cousin?” Their tone was hard, almost stern.

“I’m not trying to be social right now, do you mind?” I said it with a little attitude, trying not to seem startled.

“I do mind actually, you’re sitting on my fucking car.”

I didn’t get up, and looked directly ahead. 

“Nice car, bud.” I responded.

They didn’t even flinch at my sarcastic tone. “Pockets told me you stabbed a hole through a guy’s hand with your heel once for fucking with one of the dancers.”

“He was a state spy. And everyone knows that story.” I was trying really hard to put them off, because I knew that the more they spoke, the harder it would be for me to resist the inevitable.

“I know your grandmother took the fall for stabbing that pig.” They lowered their voice slightly, not to be secretive but to show me they were serious.

“Also common knowledge.”

“I don’t think it’s common knowledge that you were the one who actually killed him though, huh?”

I froze, but tried to think of a quick response because I didn’t want to show weakness. Only a few people in my own neighborhood knew that, and they were blood-kin. “I was 9 years old. How do you expect a kid to stab a grown-ass man (who was also armed by the way)?”

“He was the pig who killed your parents.”

Now that is definitely information that would have been very fucking difficult to get a hold of. Either Nima is way more connected than I had thought, or they were very interested in me and felt compelled to dig deep. They must have been watching me while I was too busy to notice, too busy watching everyone else’s back because Pockets had a tendency to hire dancers who were not quite ready to hold their own and someone has to look out for them. Either way, I was impressed with Nima and maybe a little intimidated. 

They walked over and stood about two feet directly in front of me. Over me. Neither of us said anything for a minute, and our eye contact was unbreakable. I could tell that they were a little intimidated too. We were both intimidated, and powerful.

I stood up quickly but they grabbed my shoulders and kept me from walking away. They kept their body about three inches away from mine. It felt like a calculated distance.

I looked straight past them and said as flatly as possible, “I can’t.”

“I think you can. And we both know you will.” 

They stepped an inch closer and their grip was unrelenting. My heart was racing twice as fast as before. That’s when I saw Jes watching us. I could tell that she was scared, with several waves of fear flowing through her expression. The first wave was her knowing that if Nima had their eyes on me, her chances with them were destroyed. The second wave of fear was because she knew what usually happened when I got myself mixed up with people like Nima. People like me. We have secrets, and power. We are people with powerful secrets who are still trying to figure out how to be in relationships with each other. And it can get really messy, most of the time. But there was something different about Nima, and maybe she knew that. Maybe that was the third wave of fear.

Thing is, it’s only really scary for Jes because she doesn’t get it. We made sure that she never had to get it. She’s the youngest of all the cousins; we’re a big family. Super mixed lineage, with the Armenian line coming through more predominantly, and that’s only because our only surviving elder was our grandmother, whose maternal side was Armenian. There are a lot of us, so Jes had an army of protectors who put into place a foolproof system that insured she would never experience the sexual trauma that the rest of us had to endure, all thanks to the system schools we were required to go to as descendants of known Sixth Wave resistors. I, on the other hand, am perfectly fine with my trauma-informed sadomasochistic tendencies, and although they have yet to lead to sustainable, long-lasting romantic relationships with pretty much anybody, we all have our own ways of healing. And ultimately, no one—including Jes and my overbearing grandmother—have any business meddling with someone else’s process and journey.

In my everyday life, I am definitely dominant. Sometimes, if I find a worthy partner, I can switch. Of course it’s actually more complicated than that. 

It’s an interesting moment when the hunter comes to realize that they are the one who is being hunted. I remember that moment, when it happened to all the corporate, white supremacist assholes who had been abusing their power for a millennia. The looks on their faces at the dawn of the Sixth Wave made it all worth it. We lost so much then, but we also gained so much in the satisfaction of knowing they had finally realized that it wasn’t so black-and-white, that we were never-not-powerful and they were now-also-prey. On the micro scale and for me personally, after years of being someone else’s prey without consent, I learned how to protect myself, and I simultaneously found a way to own the prey part of me—but with agency, with power. I am both hunter and hunted. This is often times too much for folks to grapple with, and there is only one other person in my life who played this game with me, a worthy opponent, but also unworthy in many other ways. Most of the time, when dominants come to realize that as a submissive, I might be the one who holds the actual power… the look on their face is just as exquisite. I live for this look, and I knew that for Nima it would not come. They knew what I was doing, so our power play was more like a feedback loop. It was instantly addictive, and even though I knew how much it would hurt Jes, I also knew I couldn’t stop the wheels that were already set in motion. 

Nima broke my train of thought by turning me away from Jes and towards them. “Get in the car.”

I obeyed. They sat in the passenger’s seat and pulled me over to straddle them. They grabbed the back of my neck with their right hand and my ass with their left. I held the hand that held my neck with my left hand then stuck my right hand down my pants and touched myself. They pushed my ass in circles over their groin, and I could feel them throbbing. We didn’t break eye contact. It was a relatively soft duet of movements until they grunted all of a sudden and pulled my head close to their face, my lips an inch away from theirs, my nails digging into their hand, their hand gripping my neck harder, and I worked very hard to undo their pants and they worked very hard to pull mine down past my knees. I was really wet. I rubbed myself up and down rhythmically and tried to slow my breathing as they moaned in pleasure. A wave of calm came over me and somehow, even with their powerful grip, I found a way to move my head down and over to their ear, and I whispered some shit to them that I really can’t remember now, but it was fucking vile. Vile in the most honest way possible, in the way that I knew would break their stature, push them to the edges they tried their whole life to avoid, for the sake of those around them, and for themselves, because they had trauma too, and guilt, and who knows what else. I knew how to lure them to those edges, and they knew that I knew. They also knew that I would break them sooner or later.

I remember laughing after I finished my sentence. I remember pulling back and spitting into their face, and how violently they kissed me right after that. I thought I was going to vomit, our feedback loop was making me dizzy. Fortunately, they stopped kissing me abruptly and swiftly moved their hand around to the front of my neck and pushed me up against the hood of the car. I could breathe just enough to stay conscious. As if we did not have a moment to lose, they entered me deep and hard. I tilted my hips back and forth as I stretched out and shoved my fingers into their mouth and they sucked them so good. They reached around to stick their finger into my asshole and I started to cum. They continued to move in and out of me as my cum exploded all over them and splattered across their windows and I told them to come for me too and they obeyed me this time. They let go of my neck and squeezed me in close, and we both shook and trembled, and I held their face near mine while we both finished, eyes locked still. I don’t know how much time passed because we both stopped needing to breathe for a while. I wiggled my hips around and they nodded their head “no” — they wanted to stay inside me. I tilted my pelvis up so they could feel me, deeper, and they moaned again, then grinned slightly, and their eyes softened with tenderness and relief. I smiled and kissed them with a little nibble and that look in their eyes flickered back, like a warning, and I think I remember them whispering something like “please” but I’m not sure. We might have fallen asleep just like that in the car, or gone back into the party to dance all night without saying anything else to each other, or maybe the party did end up getting raided after all, and the pigs dropped the gas on us and we all died because there is no healing from toxic poisoning on that level, but it’s okay, the Seventh Wave was inevitable. I can’t remember how it ended though. This all happened a long time ago and I can’t remember my dreams as well as I used to.