safe.

i’m not sure how to do this anymore.

i keep thinking about how absolutely unfair it all is.

do people ever remember the things they do if it didn’t viscerally impact them, but it altered someone else’s personhood?

i don’t ever want to give the past and people who have hurt me that much power. what does that say about me?

i’m so tired of going back to this, but what else can i do except write?

i can be happy and relaxed, but out of no where, i just feel so small and sad that men always take things without our permission.

i think the hardest part about it all is that i compartmentalize my life in ways that make it nearly impossible for me to be fully honest with the people i love.

i am so angry, so angry, so angry.
and then on some days, i am okay.
i am happy, even.
i wouldn’t be this person without that hurt.

this poem is dedicated to the men who have hurt me in big ways and small. i’m not happy with it yet, but like life, it’s a work-in-progress.

Safe.
4.30.19


i have never felt safe with a man–
not since you.
not since early morning, glazed eyes, limp arms, heavy heart,
soul-floating.
 

out of body experiences are not
always
euphoric.

i have not felt safe since
5 months of acting–
brave face,
plastered smiles,
heart-racing, fingers laced
l o v e,
we called it.
my performance was so convincing
i nearly believed it too.

i have not felt safe since
dark club nights,
white fingers, condescension,
alcohol and swaying and not enough time to say
no.

i have not felt safe since
hot hands, clocks ticking,
cars and traffic and too much noise,
shallow breaths,
followed by months of silence.

when i think about
the fear i feel,
i also think that
living in safety
does not mean we are
where we belong.

sometimes a poem
is a placeholder
for the next hurt,
because there is always
a next time.

sometimes it is shock absorption,
a place to lay your head,
a salve for throbbing hearts.

sometimes,
the poem becomes a swan song,
becomes a fight,
helps you route your way
to happy,
to closing doors,
to safety.

 

ix reasons why.

to the survivors-
i see you,
i love you,
i am you.

 

i.
because walking home,
I grip my keys
as if
they were
extensions of my hands—

as if they could
protect me
like the law
can’t.

ii.
because it doesn’t matter
what you
wear,
or what you
said,
or how you said
it.

iii.
because one in four
is too
damn
many.

iv.
because
our options
should not be
dignity or
despair.

v.
because the burden
of truth
is always
ours to
carry;
especially if
we have no
proof.

vi.
because how do
you explain
good
men
rape
too.

vii.
because even
those with
the sharpest
tongues
need protection.

viii.
because those who want
“clear and convincing”
evidence
have clearly
never been
assaulted.

ix.
because
it is already
so
hard
to say
“yes,
this is my reality.
please,
help.”

x.
because apparently
we need
more reasons
for why
we are
worth
a shot at
justice.