Man Up

Man Up

I have worked with women

who love their men

even

as his hands grip her throat

and he gloats,

whilst watching her choke,

over how she takes him back

by the time he counts to ten.

I have seen the courage of women

who leave their men

alone

with pregnant belly and two children

in a land of words foreign,

she prays I answer my phone

and find her a safe home

where he’ll never touch them again.

I have felt the pain of women

caused by a system

that didn’t lock up their men;

he only raped her yesterday

and she tells me she’s okay

but the tears spilling down her cheeks

give her fear away

as a lack of evidence gave him his freedom.

Here I stand as a woman

standing with women

who are stood on by men.

All convinced that they knew them,

so now don’t all go thinking

that it could never happen

or you’d never let yourself

be in that situation

because we’re all in motion

on a spectrum

of tolerance and bystander inaction,

and to think

that those who get bruised

are any different

than you is fiction.

Being a victim

is not an addiction,

but a symptom

of the macho masculinity affliction

that sees violence

as an ever acceptable reaction,

or that too much testosterone

is the real problem

whilst breeding the notion

that this is the natural order of things

instead of asking the questions,

why do some men hurt women?

and why is violence such a deeply gendered phenomenon?

and why are these instead not defined

as gender crimes?

Worded as ‘women’s issues’ and ‘violence against women’

whilst men’s part in the process

is the invisible omission,

like there could be another explanation

to gender relations

and we just aren’t keeping up with the times.

So here I stand as a woman

standing with women

who are stood on by men,

and if you think

that you’re a good one of them,

then what are you doing

to be part of the solution?

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

It’s called a safe

for it holds something

not meant for you to take

but to a cracksman’s fingers

it’s just another code to break

as the handprints linger

in every crack about the place

did you know the DNA from

one dead skin cell contains

the genetic make up of the face

that smirked

as it ripped out and replaced

all that was inside

with fakes

becoming just a case

burdened with waste

as the safe

still looks like a safe

but isn’t safe

in the most fundamental ways.

(I don’t know how much

bodies go for these days

but I doubt your exchange rate

was worth more

than the price I paid.)

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

This is the last time

you will curse me

with your words,

break my spirit

till I cannot lift

myself up from the dirt.

This is the last time

you hand me

all your pain,

so heavy I sit on

and take the hit from

the shards of your grenade.

This is the last time

your grip

constricts my voice,

lungs without air

my words rot in there

since you took away my choice.

This was the last time

you tried to convince me

of your lies

that I should feel shame,

so I’ve poured petrol and doused us in flames

because men burn

but witches survive.

Trigger TV

Trigger TV

When even broken bones

burns

bite marks

internal injury

Her story

Her reality

is not considered worthy

neither for a charge

nor being found guilty,

when even without

Her words should be

Enough.

Maybe

if being an amputee

wasn’t internal

then you could see

as clearly

She wasn’t privy

to the memo

from the CPS and jury

about what constitutes believable,

since giving a reliable account

takes a PHD,

and to what degree

She just takes up your precious time

being angry.

Tell me,

is it as much

as he took Her body?

Sunlight (Dedicated to The Sunlight Project)

Sunlight (Dedicated to The Sunlight Project)

You can’t trust the weather

to keep you dry;

it has a thousand different moods

and just like you

it has to rain sometimes,

with Mother Earth’s tears

collapsing the sky

as you try

to hold the world up

and pretend everything is fine.

You survived the thunderstorm

but the lightening struck your heart;

its current blasted

through your body parts

and blew the fuse

that gave your life its spark,

leaving echoes of your former self

to search for meaning

in the grieving

of the stumbling dark.

Through what seems

like endless night

the storm will clear the way for stars;

each one is a person’s wish

that you may know

how not alone you are,

so go outside, and with your hands

pluck the stars and hold them tight

until inside your chest, warmth spreads,

and you will find

there’s sunlight.

https://www.thesunlightproject.net/

On A Pedestal Up In A Cage

On A Pedestal Up In A Cage

The weight

of rape

is about eight eight

any less is implosion

so either deny it space

or fill it with hate

on the days

I think

that’s all that makes

up my body.

The date

of rape

is the second

or the last weekend in June

or overnight stays

and security gates

staying up late

because you can’t sleep

and bottles of cava

and tops patterned with tartan

and saying no

when unhooking your bra

at the start

you always remember saying no.

The taste

of rape

is stale sweat on a plate

and peanut butter jam sandwiches

as the first thing you ate

as you try to convince yourself

it wasn’t that bad

it just wasn’t that great

and you wore red underwear

so it must have been fate,

the taste

of rape

is shame.

The time

of rape

was thrice

between eight and eight

what a coincidence

that was also your weight

it’s a blur in slow motion

I think that summarises the notion

of trauma.

The name

for rape

is apportioning blame

to ourselves

for an act

where we were defamed

and social outcry

when we dare to show rage

and the moral irony

that our supposed lack of fight

got us here in the first place,

put on a pedestal

up in a cage.

The name

for rape

is one in five women.

The blame

for rape

is the rapist.