(first draft I wrote walking around town)

 

I walk around giving women bad advice..
Things like
when a man follows you,
turn around and smile.
That is bare your incisors
like maybe you’ve used them
to chew tendon before
and

 stand tall, taller than you are
and on tiptoes. don’t call
the police. fuck the police
is another thing I like to say
but
it’s not fair of me to
demand such things
knowing the ways we’ve been bent
and the price I’ve paid for
teeth
but
one time a man rested his hand
on my knee after a meeting
to converse.
to talk to me and I said
I am not railing, take your
hand off my knee.
and he loudly shouted to the meeting
that he had touched me and
I freaked out.
it was february 2014
and I had lived there one month.

it is not fair of me to look
around and wait for the other women to
chime in; expecting anything from white
women is like expecting mice to suddenly
organize and take the floorboards
back. we know the cats and rats
own them and we know
where they hide.
I feel no loyalty to certain
things.

it is not fair of me to look them in the eye
and expect anything so I began the
quiet ascent right then and there
reiterating that there is no need
to touch me, a woman that you don’t
know to talk to me and he began to
turn blush red and stammer and
get louder with everyone
assuring the group that
I was freaking out. I guess
to let them know that
he was calming me down.
I forgot this part but later a
friend said he was in a bad spot
like I was allowed to be grazed
by men in bad spots
with bad tempers
in bad neighborhoods,
just hanging skinned meat
from a hook like a bag
to hug when they’re worn
out so I controlled the eye
roll and returned to the sea.
began to call stallions to
me to see if I could
ride them and began the quiet
ascent,
            I break men
and rather than complain
about hypocrisy and To Wives again,
I merely left that place and rather
than
repeat myself  to him,
being new in town, making
friends and also finding ways to
assert myself at night on my
lonely, cold walks as men
followed me in cars,
as men whistled at me in winter,
me, bundled, as they began to walk
steady behind me,
as a semi truck stopped in the middle of rush hour on
Aramingo to honk at me and look at me
and me reaching for the women to hear
that’s normal.

I repeated myself and noticed
no one said a word as this man
reiterated that I, the new girl,
simply freaked the fuck out when
a man touched my thigh.

one day I heard encroaching
steps and turned around
just for the scent
of it. sometimes men
sniff your hair when
you sleep and enter you
before you wake up
just for the scent of it. 

“the black book”

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