Week 15 – Please, Stop Calling Me Beautiful

I don’t often preface my poems. This week, the hashtag, and really, movement, of #metoo came alive on Twitter and Facebook. It is very hard for me to speak about my experiences, that these things have happened to me. So I do what I do best, and I wrote about them.

I wrote this poem a week after I attended the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium with my dad. I love baseball, I love baseball with my father, and I was so excited to take him to see Aaron Judge hit a home run. This poem is the story of my trip home from Penn Station in the New York City subway system, after my dad and I had split, so he could go home to New Jersey, and I could go home to Brooklyn.

Please, enjoy. This one is so near and dear to my heart.

Please, Stop Calling Me Beautiful

Please, stop calling me beautiful.

It is 12:30am and I’ve just dropped my father off at NJ Transit,
My sweater still smells a little bit like ballpark and the chants of the Wild Card game still echo in my head.
I am ready to go home, anticipating work tomorrow,
I walk all the way back through the A train corridors to arrive at the local track.

You walk behind me, call me beautiful and I take my headphones out, you call me beautiful again and I smile, you follow me as I walk to the stairs and I wonder if I will ever find a corner I can hide in, but the subway is empty and again you call me beautiful.

You ask me why, you ask me, you say beautiful, why can’t we be friends.

I smile because now you give me no voice.

We can’t be friends because you act like it’s a favor as you tell me you’ll leave me alone, act like it’s a favor that I walk down the platform to a different car, sit still and straight for the trip home but also can’t sit still, knowing that going home from a baseball game can’t ever be as simple as it is for my father, for my brother, for my friend.

I can be told to get home safe, to text when I unlock my door,
I can be told to watch my purse and be aware of my surroundings,
Keep my headphones in and let the men slip around me like the taxis on the street.
I can be told to take trains early, to stick with crowds, to call an Uber, to do any of the many things women know from childhood,
A subway ride home from the Yankees game at midnight is a bad idea, a game of chance, a lottery.

I wonder when it will be the time you show me and don’t tell me that you think I’m beautiful, when you don’t give me a choice to run away.

I know I am beautiful.
But.

Please, stop calling me beautiful.

Advertisements

Week 7 – August In July

August In July

It is my favorite part of the summer. 

The air gets chilly at night, 

Like fall is reaching out the window and blowing kisses onto my cheeks.

 

I watch the sun set over Classon Avenue.

The street is quiet as Sunday mornings, 

The moon shines on my back as the sun sinks beneath the skyline.

 

It gives me my life, it gives me my words. 

For the first time in a long time, I find myself writing.