As you walk down the street
Maybe it’s midday, hot as hell
Maybe it’s the witching hour, and the shadows around you twist and curl like claws
But the time doesn’t matter.
You’re walking, listening to music,
But you look up,
And you see the group
It’s all grown men.
You contemplate crossing the street
Just to be safe
But you know that might get you
Into a worse position
You put your head down,
Turn the music up
And trudge on
You start to regret your choice of clothes.
If it’s hot you’re wearing shorts, a tank top, if it’s cold, you wore your favorite sweater.
You look at your hands, that start to tremble, and you see you’re coming up on the group.
The first one looks up,
His face goes from one of surprise
To some mutated, evil grin.
He nudges his friend, and now they’re all looking at you.
You avoid eye contact,
but you can feel their predatory stares, you can hear their panting,
over your headphones,
and you can almost smell
their badly hidden desire to grab at you.
They say something,
and if you react,
you’re just egging them on
If you turn around angry, you’re crazy
If you try to laugh it off
you get this slimy film
crawling all over you,
knowing you just made them think
it’s okay to look at us like that.
walking home from school, in a skirt.
A middle aged man
tries to call you over,
saying things like
‘nice legs, what’s between them.’
You cross the street
and pretend that you don’t hear him,
his eyes seem to follow you all the way home.
walking home from sports practice,
it’s dark and you try to walk fast
you know the risks.
Someone comes up behind you,
grabs your arm,
and you panic,
you swing your gymbag
your cleats were right there.
He falls back and you sprint.
You get home,
out of breath and
heart trying to break out of your chest.
Your arm is bruised and feels disgusting.
You realize, nowhere is really safe, there’s vicious eyes everywhere.
You’re 17, you trust him,
he couldn’t hurt you.
He would never!
You do some little thing
He looks at you
and you know those eyes
They’re not the eyes of your lover.
He comes close to you,
And you want to back up.
But you’re frozen.
He lifts his hand, and
Like that it’s over. Hopefully.
He’ll realize what’s been done,
Maybe he’ll apologize
Every time a woman
Has to clench her teeth
Or has her trust broken
gets closer and closer to
Becoming cold and hard
You’re back to walking down the street,
The men watch like pigs
Before they get fed.
You know you’re strong,
you know that it’s just words.
But they’re not okay.
When the first one tries to whistle,
It’s better to be a crazy bitch
Than to let their vicious eyes
Continue demeaning us.