The first time was in the bathroom
Of a club I was four years too young for;
Lessons will be learnt;
Bent over a broken sink;
With my face pressed against the mirror;
My mascara ran rivers down the glass
Carving lines that looked like prison bars.
With rough hands;
He reached inside me;
And broke instruments I hadn’t yet touched;
No wonder I can’t play love songs,
I am still learning how to make love to people I actually love;
But my 14 years were too few to be angry
Didn’t quite know how
Didn’t know quite what he’d done;
And what that might do.
So I hid my thighs and ribs for three weeks ashamed;
My fake ID collected dust
Buried beneath my bed and self-blame.
That first encounter,
Left me frozen in an un-safe
space I couldn’t name
So I wanted time to stop its ticking,
Hold its breath and bite it’s tongue with me
An indefinite moment of silence to commemorate the crime committed,
But lessons would be learnt
As to my horror the cogs in the clocks kept rolling,
Every day since has stacked upon the last,
Racking up years
15: it took more than 365 days to dare to share the guilt,
16: over 730 to absolve myself,
17: 1095 to say what had happened out loud.
The second time was in my kitchen,
He was a friend between blurred lines;
And ten drinks too many;
Lessons will be learnt.
I don't remember leaving with him
Or getting home.
But I’ve never known how to have *** sober so I guess it’s my fault too.
I woke up with an ache and my shoes still on.
There were no bruises; we are still friends; and I still don’t know who to blame.
The third time,
I was walking home, the air was fresh,
I had my headphones on;
Lessons will be learnt.
His fingers were dry and nails sharp as I froze;
It felt familiar;
His breath was hot;
Soaked wet with alcohol.
The bricks hit my back hard
But I like to think my knuckles hit harder.
I saw my mother the week after
I did not cry as I explained a purple hand.
At least I had known where to aim it.
The fourth time,
I knew he was dangerous and I liked it,
Lessons will be learnt
With my hands bound above my head
He took control and mine with it;
He savoured every scream I spat;
So I, silently simmering, left my body there sickly still.
I am not a believer
but I told him he’d rot in a hotter part of hell
As he unbuckled me with a malboro red and a laugh that I choked on
So I took the cigarette and gave him a dose of what the devil will do for me,
A small vengeance that burnt like the venom in my veins
I have felt like flames so many times now
Been consumed by violent flickers,
That set this bloodied body ablaze,
But even the biggest bonfires burn out,
And I am no different
My bones are black with char like wearied wood
So when I take the train home I count my bruises;
I'm unsure which ones were left without consent.
there is no such thing as non-consensual ***. There is only *** and assault.
That being said, when it happens so many times, you start to wonder who is really to blame. I don't like this poem, and I'm sure I will rewrite it many times - But certain things must be said.