Praise Song For Appropriation
or, 'For White Boys Who Have Considered Stealing A Woman's Voice When Their Own Traumas Aren't Enough
This burden I must bear is far too great
for any man to shoulder all alone,
so friend, I beg you – support me as I state
the painful ways this tragedy's my own
to wield, to fall upon as though a sword
ripped through my heart, cut deeper than the scars
which violence has carved into your door.
How brave of me! Your righteous anger mars
the beauty of this sacrifice I've made!
How dare you insist that I hold my tongue,
and give you space to heal. Let me explain:
I need to be the hero, so I've spun
a tale of martyrdom based on your loss,
to hang myself, a saint, upon this cross.
At 13, I Say Fuck In Front Of My Mother For The First Time
the aluminum ladder reaches
skyward, fully stretched toward
the canopy of heaven. the model
rocket I labored to build
all summer in 4-H
is snared in the thicket
of oak leaves, sixteen feet
above my head. gravity is
a greedy mouth, a glutton
pulling hard at the silver
rungs which are meant
to facilitate the rescue.
a sharp pop & the locks break,
sending the extension hurtling
down, the ladder collapsing
like a loose knife, taking my finger
tight between hungry teeth.
my hand swells, an appendage
thickening with blood.
My Mind Is A Piano. My Left Arm Is A Violin.
in my heart
there is a
is a gated
of mongrel dogs
i am making
a fist of
i am swimming
in an asphalt
swamp, my belly full of
William James writes poems and listens to punk rock—not always in that order. He currently lives in Manchester, NH, where he pretends to be older & angrier than he really is.