Boy Tells Me


The boy
who can only go to one liquor store
where he knows they don’t card,
tells me that I am a child.

And I wonder how I can have experienced so much and still have this be true?

A boy tells me that if I want to be left alone,
I need to take care of myself.
Somehow my discomfort with the concept of self-love
is an invitation to instruct me on how I need someone else to love my body for me.

A boy rapes me,
then tells me I create drama.
As if being unable to find the EXIT signs in an empty theater
gives him permission to make my naked body center stage,
a spotlight on my cellulite
that he will make fun of
but fuck anyway.
I am only good for one drunken night.

A boy tells me I share too much
and I wonder how this can be true
when I have only told him one of thousands of sad stories.

A boy tells me if I want to be lucky enough to be the prize on someone’s arm,
I will have to be more like the other girls.
I don’t know how to tell him that the other girls are also the broken teeth at the bottom of the shot glass you forced into my lips,
also the ash you flick off the end of your cigarette when it no longer serves the purpose you wanted it to.

Boy asks me if I want to get better
I tell him I want to be able to walk without fear that I will arrive home even less of myself.
Tell him I am afraid of becoming property,
Another postcard of a land conquered.
Tell him I do not want to become the pieces stuck in the ridges of a man’s shoesole,
Between the gum and rocks.

Tell him I do not want to become a statistic,
One in four, another one bites the dust.

Tell him I am afraid of being the kind of person
Who is afraid.

He asks me why I am so scared of everything,
Then tells me most assailants will do it again.

If I am already the sand between a man’s toes
What is to stop me from running down the drain,
Washed away with all the other unpretty things?

If I am already used,
What is to keep me from throwing myself away?

Boy asks me if I want to be pretty
and what he means is do I want to be a victim.

Boy asks me if I want to be pretty,
and what he means is do I want my poetry to be less graphic,
easier to regurgitate to an audience of baby birds whose ears are not ready to hear the truth.

Boy asks me if I want to get better
And I tell him that better is a violin that needs to be tuned just like any other instrument,
that better is not a final destination
but a quality of life,
the only difference between being better and being sick
is my distance from the edge of the cliff.

Boy asks me if I want to get better
And I tell him I want to get free.

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This Poems Story

Things that boys have said to me. A slam piece.