Glass House

I am a glass house.

It seems like you can see

right through.

Spires of joy,

windows of cheer,

my bright light shining through the dark.

So simple,

so peaceful,

so easy to understand.

Inside the glass house

lives a hidden beast.

Wrapped in a dark shadow,

he hides himself well.

Within rooms of crystal structure

and colored diamond walls,

he festers and hides to whisper in my heart.

Lies that sound like truths

and truths that sound like lies.

His voice passes beyond my hands

seeping through my fingers

pressed hard on my ears.

The glass house has many halls,

and he lurks in them all.

No matter where I run,

where I hide,

he finds me.

The whispers increase,

beating a rhythm in my chest,

pounding ideas in my head.

“Not enough”

“No good”

“Not worthy”

“Deserve death”

They won’t leave my house,

no matter how I plead.

When he pounds on my doors,

it builds in my head.

The need to feel.

To escape.

To go.

Lies, but true.

Persistent and unending.

THEY WILL NOT LEAVE.

Not until I bring pain.

With flash of silver-grey,

Pale canvas slashed down in desperation.

Red will drip down,

dark on the crystal floors.

If I am not found, then sweet release is close.

I am a glass house.

Only now I have worked to rid my mind

of the shadowed man.

He still lurks in the halls,

Lies darting like a tongue

of a lizard eating prey.

His voice still seeps in,

sickly sweet and intoxicating,

and I want to give in.

But hope is not lost now.

I was saved before,

I am saved now.

So when you look to my glass house,

You will see tall spires

and colored windows,

and halls lined with diamonds.

Don’t be fooled.

The shadow man still lives.

But now you can see him too.

Self Pity

You know the worst part of self-pity?

You know the truth already.

(Or what you think is true)

You know you are wrong.

(but those thoughts are still there)

So, you ask someone else.

(And feel guilty the whole time)

You hope that they won’t judge you

(at least, not like you judge yourself)

and hope that maybe they understand.

(and don’t think you’re begging for attention)

You just need someone else to tell you things,

(because you can’t force yourself to believe them)

validate who you are.

(when you can’t)

Before We Start

WARNING: This is a poem that references rape and sexual assault. If this is something that you are not comfortable reading, please skip this poem.

 

Before we start-

I have a question.

What were you wearing?

Was it tight? Short?

Did it make you look desirable?

Were you drinking? Dancing?

Did you dance with him?

Did you say yes?

To anything?

Were you high?

Were you willing?

If you answer yes to any of these,

go away.

You aren’t a victim.

He couldn’t control himself.

You temptress, seductress,

slut.

Your rape doesn’t count,

your struggle,

your fight.

Consent is consent,

spoken or not.

 

Really?

That’s it?

What was I wearing?

Why does that matter?

How do clothes make this right?

Consent is consent?

If I can’t drive when drunk,

how can I consent?

If I can’t function when high,

how can I consent?

What if I was pressured,

what if I said no over and over?

Why does one yes weigh more than every no?

This doesn’t make sense.

Why am I in the wrong?

Why can’t he “control himself”?

Isn’t it bad to lose control?

Is that really your excuse?

How do I consent without speaking?

How is this my fault?

Instead of giving me help,

you push me aside.

You tell me I’m worthless,

a liar, a fake,

a slut.

You refuse to help me.

Why?

Because he “has a future”.

Because he “matters more”.

Because I “brought it on myself”.

Not true.

I am a victim.

I was raped.

Regardless of what I was wearing,

regardless of what I drank,

regardless of when I said “no”.

So when will you take my side-

protect me when I am hurt?

Do the job you are supposed to do?

When?

 

Wings of Princesses

Every girl has a set of wings,

budding from her back.

Breaking from skin with interest and ideas.

Golden, silver, jeweled wings,

prepared to take flight in the world.

How do many women end up with bloody stumps?

With nothing where their wings should be?

The first feather plucked in preschool-

with “he’s just being a boy”.

Preschool “flirting” with fists.

 

“Be a lady.”

“That’s too much for a girl.”

“Look at your pretty face; too delicate for this.”

Each word a plucked feather,

each comment clips the wings.

It takes time.

Some only take a month of life, some take years.

A few, a brave few,

still wield glorious wings

but they are judged for it.

“She got there by manipulation.”

“She used her ‘feminine wiles’.”

“We all know how she got so far.”

For a woman to succeed,

she must think like a man,

she must act like a man,

and then she is accused as a woman.

Somehow a girl cannot be successful and gracious,

but she is to be both.

Impossible tasks, deceptively simple in appearance.

 

Those who pluck may not realize-

they tear wings with every word.

Casual, off hand,

ingrained in behavior from youth.

Then there are those who know,

and attack regardless.

Laugh at the jokes, catcall and cheer.

Worst of all are the pleasure seekers,

who see it as a game,

with men the hunter

and women the prey.

 

The world seems static,

with stumps and battered wings around.

But slowly, wings are coming out.

New wings, wings of freedom

bursting in showers of shining ideas.

Freedom is coming,

released by those who work to save young ones’ wings,

sometimes at the expense of their own.

And one day,

the women will soar

and the world will change for good.