Tag Archives: art

No Man’s Land

She found solace
in the destruction of No Man’s Land
that lay between
her fingertips
and elbows.

 

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Rape Poem

This wasn’t what she had learned about
in every fairytale her father read her
each night before bed.
This knight in shining armour
had bad breath
and worse intentions,
teenage acne
and an army of hands,
fingers sliding up her skirt.
Princesses in the stories
never said, “Stop”
when the knights kissed them,
they always liked it.
So she clenched her fists,
grit her teeth
and gave in, for one moment,
forgetting that she was not a princess.
When the knight with acne
began to hurt her,
she remembered she was a queen,
and that she had the right to deny intruders access
to her castle,
her temple,
her body was not his high school playground.
She refused him there, at the dried-up moat,
told him,
commanded him,
“No.”
But his army invaded anyways, taking what was never their’s to take.

“Okay, that’s it.”
“We’ve heard enough!”
the jury screams, demanding answers.
The public thinks
they have the right to throw blame
at whomever it sticks to the most.
They ask her the same questions she herself asks
every night after brushing her teeth but before falling asleep;
what if I had pushed back,
shoved away, hard,
beat my knight
like the dragon I know I can be;
what if I had filled my lungs
between gasping, crying sobs,
and screamed for help;
what if I had just learned
the correct pronunciation of the word,
“No”,
in whatever language that boy must have spoke
because surely it couldn’t have been English?

They command her to come up with answers
when she can’t even come up for air,
all she knows is her world was never a fairytale
and now it never would be.
She will go down in her high school halls instead as a fable,
The Girl Who Cried Rape,
the one girls gossip about behind manicured nails,
the one guys joke about in locker rooms.
They ask what she wore,
as if her clothes could speak for her,
and no matter her answer,
their’s still would have been rape jokes and slut shaming,
resentment and judgement.
They ask what she said,
as if he couldn’t understand her tears
even if he couldn’t hear her, “No”;
as if he never had to pin her hands behind her
to keep her from escaping.
They ask her why she dated him if he raped her
and she choked on her answer:
she thought he was her knight in shining armour,
but real knights don’t use your love
as a weapon against you.

They never ask him, though,
why he ignored her tears,
her body language,
her words,
why he ignored her, period.
They don’t ask him
what he wore,
or what he did to her,
or what he said afterwards
to get her to stop crying.

They never ask him
why he raped her.

Dylan

  1. You looked like Hercules from the cartoon Disney movie. When I told you this, you laughed.
  2. You were 25.
  3. Your laugh was like fireworks, spontaneous and mesmerizing, a show all on its own and it drew people towards you. When we saw The Good Dinosaur in theatres, the hallucinogenic scene had you laugh louder and harder than anyone else in the theatre. I started laughing too because yours was so infectious.
  4. You were at a party.
  5. You may have denied it sometimes, but you were such a people person. Everyone wanted to know you and be your friend because you had such a reputation for being the nicest, most helpful guy they knew.
  6. You were too young.
  7. You were a fierce friend. You were quick to defend, support and help everyone you cared about.
  8. You had graduated seven months before.
  9. You were scared of birds. You especially hated the bird mural that was painted on your bedroom wall last year, but you didn’t know it was there when you rented the room. You really fucking hated birds.
  10. You had a girlfriend.
  11. You loved to dance and sing. I remember going to pub nights with you and having to physically take three steps back because you were twerking so energetically. I also remember you continuously messing up the words to “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore… even though you knew the lyrics were wrong, you sang them proudly and without fear.
  12. You had a family.
  13. You ate my ice cream when I left it at your house for a week. I wasn’t even mad because I knew you’d do it, despite promising not to.
  14. You had aspired to grow old to become, as you put it, a crazy old man.
  15. You were always asking about everyone else. It’s the little things that people remember, and I remember you asking me how I was and how my day was going from back before we were friends. It was so nice.
  16. You were my friend.
  17. You were the best goddamn newsroom leader in the world last year, and I made sure you knew it. You checked in with lower-year students hourly, you always gave amazing suggestions to broaden story pitches, you edited everything so thoroughly… you were everything that anyone could want in a boss.
  18. You were just starting to travel the world.
  19. Moments after making fun of Tyler for falling asleep in my car on the way to Ajax, you fell asleep beside him.
  20. You never gave up.
  21. You were one of the only friends I had last year, at a time when I felt caught between cities and friendships. You never minded when I came over to your house (every single day) because I was bored. You were so understanding.
  22. You were always talking about a future you’d never see.
  23. You made some of the funniest gym noises and faces in the world, but you were completely unfazed by people staring. No one else’s opinion of you mattered, and that’s just how you lived your life.
  24. I hated writing all of this in past tense.
  25. Your age.

 

Foundation

It’s hard to think
I’m worth so much more than this
when the patterns men develop around you
weave themselves contrarily.

After the first few boys
you start blaming yourself
for choosing weak men, unworthy men.
You vow to find a partner
equal to and worthy of
your strength.

After the next several relationships
burn out in similar fashion,
you start blaming yourself for everything else.
You vow to find yourself
and spend years searching
for the ghost of a scared 14-year-old girl,
asking her what went wrong.

But

After you’ve been used as many times as I have
After you’ve heard every excuse
After you’ve stopped hoping for anything from anyone
After you’ve gutted memories from yourself you had forgot you even had
After tearing yourself apart on the thorns of men

you stop blaming yourself
and start building yourself.

Bilingual

You’re not like other girls

Translation: a compliment
masquerading as an insult
to my sisters.

I’m not looking for anything right now

Translation:
You like
the feel of my legs
long and smooth
beneath yours,
but not enough
to make them
the only pair of legs you’ll
sleep beside.

You’re really beautiful

Translation: you weren’t listening
when I told you last week
that I’d rather be called
so much more
than a person with favourable genetics.

I don’t want you getting attached

Translation: you will leave
and when you do
you would like to be able to tell your conscious
that you warned me,
not for my benefit,
but to make yourself feel better about leaving.

I don’t think we can be together, but you never know

Translation: you’re already
tasting her lips in lieu of mine
but you’re like everyone’s favourite
quarterback: you have got
to keep your options open.

You’re not who I thought you were

Translation: I am so much more
than you bargained for, and you
are terrified to stand in my shadow
as I take on the world
head first.