Fall by T.A. Noonan
E-Chap: 45 pages
Publisher: Agape Editions, an imprint of Sundress Publications (2017)
Available for free download through Agape Edition’s series Morning House.
… She tells me what a cool boyfriend I have. I have no idea she’d met him. “Oh, we see him all the time. He’s always visiting.” Her eyes are on the model. She can’t see my color drain, knuckles whiten. I force a laugh, thankful we’re using compressed charcoal today. If it were vine, it would crumble between my thumb and forefinger as I squeezed. She would notice that. (36)
A memoir in vignettes, Fall directly and defiantly recounts a calculated series of rapes perpetuated by a boyfriend’s roommate, illustrating their emotional impact on a young individual’s life from their freshman year of college through the early years of their marriage. As the #metoo movement has vocalized, it is not just that the brutality of rape which devastates, but the ease by which a surrounding culture of compliance, disbelief, and silencing haunts the survivor. In their interview with Jessica Walsh about their collection, T.A. Noonan writes, “It took me a long time to feel like I could send it out, even after my inner circle said I should, that Fall was ready. I guess I had this worry, and it’s still there more often than not, that my story wasn’t anything ‘special’ or ‘important.'”
Set in the very real backdrop of an unnamed, but well-known, state university (the very same campus at which a young woman was abducted near a sorority house and raped just last year), this minicollection speaks directly of the institution of rape embedded and supported by the very systems which promise our personal growth. Which imply we’ll achieve a secure future. Our safety in (financial) stability.
As we leave, she explains that there are three designated parking lots in our area. All of them are poorly lit. The first is called the Rape Lot, because they say a girl will be raped in the dark on the way to her car. The second is the Double-Rape Lot, where a new attacker will rape the girl again. The third and furthest is the Forced-Blow-Job Lot. … I ask if they’ve thought about more security or better lighting. “It comes up at almost every Residential Life meeting. There’s never enough money in the budget.” (32)
As I walk this campus often late at night—graduate courses regularly run past 9pm—I look to the hazy blue glow given off by the florescent lights of our football stadium. It is the best lit place on campus. It is, truly, the only well-lit place on campus. When I arrive at my car, it sits almost alone in a quiet parking lot, in silence.
Fall breaks this silence and, in no uncertain terms, bravely bares witness to how our community takes its cues from these institutions.
T.A. Noonan is a queer writer, artist, geek, and witch whose full-length books include The Bone Folders, Petticoat Government, four sparks fall: a novella, and a forthcoming collection of radical translations, The Ep[is]odes: a reformulation of Horace. They are also the author of the chapbooks Balm, Darjeeling, Dress the Stars, The Midway Iterations, and Fall. Individual works have appeared in Whiskey Island, LIT, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Ninth Letter, Phoebe, Open Letters Monthly, and more. Currently nesting in Florida, they serve as an Associate Editor of Sundress Publications, the Development Director of the Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Founding Editor of Flaming Giblet Press. Noonan walks like Godzilla on a mission, and their current obsessions include brush pens, magical alphabets, cleromancy, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They can be found at place oddity.
Read T.A.’s think piece “Fold and Gather” on their process for handcrafting chapbooks, published in cahoodaloodaling‘s special issue, “Writers Create: A Winter Makers’ Fair”.