On our first date, you were swollen-eyed and hungover,
veins pumping through the dwindling remains of a half gallon of coconut rum.
I sat on the sidewalk and straightened my skirt as you washed down two Advils with a bottle of Coca Cola,
and when you’d swallowed that drunken panacea
I looked up to see two those two dark orbs,
their whites tinged with blush,
peering at me through the scraggly tangles of hair.
I’d been drunk only once and knew little of the poison,
but when you leaned against the brick of the pharmacy and asked what my drink of choice was,
I panicked and whispered that I only drank wine.
Laughing, you said you imagined I sipped it exclusively from a fluted glass,
nose turned up, like some elegant poet.
A few weeks later, a fork-tongued girl hissed in my ear in English class that she saw you kissing someone else when you were wasted at a party,
She said you were late to text me back because you were wrapped around her body,
latched onto her skin like some prolific leech.
It stung as though the lungs were torn from my chest cavity,
but you’d never said you were only mine,
so I sewed the secret into the back of my skull
and refused to rip it out.
When you kissed me,
I couldn’t stop wondering if I tasted different on your tongue.
For days I ached to know what part I lacked—
what piece had chipped off of me to explain why I couldn’t be enough to sate you on my own.
I bought a cheap two liter bottle of strawberry vodka in an attempt to fill the chasms and cracks,
and drank a third of it by myself in one night.
The burning in my gut was a sting I craved as punishment for
not knowing how to make you want to stay,
and I passed out on the floor with my phone in my lap,
waiting for you to answer.
When I woke up to the vibration, there were mascara tracks dried and hardened on my cheeks.
You asked, “how was your night, beautiful?”
so I said everything was lovely
(and then vomited for an hour).
I ran into you in the city only days after,
fingers clasped around the hand of a different girl,
the two of you laughing like hyenas in the landscape of the buildings.
You had told me that morning you were too busy to leave the house,
so when you caught a glimpse of my face across the street,
you froze, statuesque, like some marble David.
I could tell you wanted her more than I, and perhaps I should have let you;
instead, I drank myself sick with whiskey in my friend’s apartment
and slurred lies to myself in the dark.
I pretended nothing was wrong when you wrapped me in those spider-silk words:
“She’s just a friend, I swear. It isn’t what it appeared to be. It never is.”
The last time we saw each other,
I was swollen-eyed and hungover.
You were sober,
We could barely string together enough syllables for a conversation in the vinyl booth of the diner;
still, you drove me home and kissed me in the front seat of your car, fingertips grazing my thighs softly,
like a whisper.
Yet when I started to trail down your neck,
you pushed me off with a sudden force, for fear that I’d try to mark you.
Of course, you couldn’t have another girl seeing the yellowing bruise
when she kissed you there the next day.
I stumbled out of your car after a hasty goodbye,
and you drove away before I even unlocked my front door.
I remember a night at the start of it all:
you were drunk off of twelve beers and you asked why I never wrote poetry about you,
although I had written so many men immortal in my words
and trapped them in the amber of my black pen ink.
You claimed it was charming when I spilled stories about you off the tip of my tongue,
and pestered me for a mere verse.
Do you recall what I said?
I told you, “I can only write about what breaks my heart.”
- Abigail Staub, “I Promise I’m Not Mad Anymore, Just Low on Poetry Material”
“not natasha,” a photographic essay on eastern european sex trafficked slaves by dana popa
This is important. Because most of the time - recent central Ohio studies show as high as 92% of cases - girls arrested for (and convicted of) prostitution are actually victims of sexual exploitation. And nothing will change for them, for the girls in these stories, unless law enforcement and communities in general start seeing things differently.
- Donald Glover (via tallerthanlions)