Me too

Posted on October 18, 2017

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A collection of responses to #MeToo…

 

Safety tips for women

Don’t wear your hair up

Harder to do on a summer day

but that style, my choice,

the collection of strands

atop my head a perfect place

for a hand to grasp

“Don’t be a victim” the safety tips begin…

 

 

Walk with your chin up

My body language says confidence

but the street throws uneven

bricks jutting up, now an obstacle course

I pray I don’t have to run

 

Don’t wear headphones

And now music, too, is forbidden

my ears should be free

to pick up the footsteps you put down

the path you lay on your way to me

a beating of war drums

 

Don’t wear provocative clothing or high heels

I must don my armor to go outside:

a careful selection of what would not incur

your attention or impede my escape

for example: a necklace, my noose, I leave at home

 

Safety tips for men

It is after midnight when I leave work and my knife is in my pocket. You will not see jail. I may see prison. I am your assailant in waiting, you will be the victim of my protection. I vow never to meet my own Brock Turner. For your safety, do not approach me.

 


 

When I hit puberty my body was sold to every bidder who gave me pennies – their thoughts – the copper melted until I became a shell. I was hardened within.

 


 

  • In elementary school a boy snaps my bra and accidentally grabs my breasts every day during recess. I am punished for kicking him in the balls.
  • In high school, hands slip into my seat as I sit down.
  • In college, whistle in parking lots. “Damn girl, look at that ass!”
  • In bars, my body is free for the grabbing as men walk by. “Oops, sorry, just passing by.”
  • After-work drinks with the girls and a man’s hand is on my back, lower, lower. Poor behavior for the security guard.
  • In a bar with a suspiciously overstrong drink and a night I barely remember.
  • I tell a stranger to take his hand off my visibly uncomfortable friend. Don’t touch without asking. He alerts everyone inside the bar and on the patio to how much of a bitch I am.
  • I am told how much my mouth looks like it needs a dick to suck.
  • A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A dick pic. A gif of ejaculation.
  • I am leaving a Subway restaurant,
    I am dressed in jeans and a hoodie crossing the street in a rainstorm,
    I am walking to my car in a Walmart parking lot,
    I am standing outside of a mall,
    I am 13,
    when I hear the all-too-familiar catcall.

 


 

Me, too? Or us?

Is it fair?

Is it fair to crack open this tomb where I had buried any thoughts of this, to lay out its contents, and prepare them for a public viewing? Is it fair to do this without you?

You see, it is a part of my story. A catalyst like a volcano, I am a lesson in geology. I made of granite.

But you were there, too. And so this story also belongs to you. We co-wrote this piece of bullshit literature. Have I a right to publish without your consent? I suppose it was written without mine.

Have you the right to prevent me?

Some stories I can’t tell, you see (or out of “journalistic integrity” – won’t.) Or at least not in full. The context would name you far quicker than I could, your anonymity a joke when the shadow outlines you so perfectly, an arrow to your name.

Should I ask for your consent? Maybe I should call for comment before publishing. Should you be interviewed? What comment has your spokesperson prepared. “Jesus has forgiven him, so, too, should you.”

mama always taught me
true love was unconditional
forgive me this, all of this,
or you love me not
forgive me or you love me not
stay with me or you love me not
leave me and you love me not
accept this or you love me not

Do I kidnap powers of judge and jury, sentence you without trial by speaking out?

Do you deserve a hearing?

Does that make this a witch hunt?

Do you even remember? I wonder now, if you have been forgiven your misconduct by virtue of a poor memory. I am left to carry the weight. The burden I bear. The memory rises in waking and in dreams, your face, your voice, echoes down streets, the look in your eyes when the switch was flipped, the look in his eyes or his eyes or his eyes, the dangerous preamble that is a group of drunk men, a pack of starving wolves, your memory visits me as a poltergeist, a buzzing in my ears, my body a receptacle for the madness in you I am responsible for containing, a jagged rock of weight in my chest, pinpricks on my fingertips, my feet are dashing across a parking lot, this fight-or-flight is a war and it’s happening NOW a memory – a hand around my throat, this panic attack, I can’t breathe and my vision goes gray, I will die like this, my fists pounding, my heart pounding so hard it will burst in 3…2…

One day this story will be mine to tell or erase.

 

Me too.

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Posted in: Poetry