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If you ask this atheist nicely,
she will say that she can't remember the last time that she prayed.
That's a lie.
The last time that I prayed,
I prayed not to Jesus,
but to Joan,
Joan of Arc, Joan the Maid of Orléans—
Joan whose real name was Jehanne.
Joan the pious, who could not possibly approve of me.
Apologetic but unrepentant, I begged heathen favors.

Understand this—
I do not hate men.
I hate men who tell me stories as I pour their coffee
of single mothers they have stalked and threatened,
men who are deaf to their own proudly spoken revelations
and blind to the horror on my face.
I hate men in uniforms who tell me,
in exceedingly simple sentences,
that what I have reported is not a crime.
I know that to hate
is always a personal failure
but to pour hot coffee into laps is not.
Help me, Jehanne.
I have no sword,
only a pen which runs dry as my throat
when faced with the threats this world offers
like candy to small girls.

Do not misunderstand.
I do not hate men.
That is not what

But when a tall stranger strides into my vicinity,
I find myself reevaluating my ability to throw a punch
because I could be raped at any second,
and the fact that I'm so utterly paranoid
does not detract from the fact that it is true.

Through my high school years I carried a hammer in my purse.
I don't do that anymore because without the purse,
there's nowhere to hide the hammer,
but I still feel naked without it—
under the eyes of people whose intentions I cannot read.
You look at me,
you don't mean any harm
except you might.
There is a knife in my pocket
and it is large and sharp enough to fuck you up
but too small to quell the fear.
Help me, Jehanne.
Help us.

Not all of us get our road maps from God,
and no one hands out armor at the gates of the womb.
After you crowned your king,
did he not leave you to burn?
You see how the world can be.
No one deserves to be followed,
held down and legs forced open,
to know that help will not come.
To know that after he does,
the nightmare is only beginning.
But every woman is born into that potential
and the world does not flinch to realize it upon us.
This is a fact from which we turn our faces
so that we can still believe in things like laughter,
but turning away just means that it's behind you,
waiting to strike on any little whim.
No warning.
Always present.
Waiting to strike and take laughter away.

Do not misunderstand.
Do not turn away, do not proceed with your life.
No.  No.
Another one that's really meant to be performed rather than read off a page (or a screen), but here you go anyway.
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LightsOnAmara Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this is powerful and far, far too true
Chazizard Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Student General Artist
I loved it so much I was actually performing it in my head as I read it.
Kyriin Featured By Owner May 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow, thank you!
AngelOfPain2007 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
oh holy hell...i'm deliriously in love with this...its beautifully written and so heartbreakingly true...i hate that i cant walk down the street without being afraid, i hate that i have to carry a knife and pepper spray but i still dont feel safe, and all of this in a little po-dunk midwest hick town, i cant imagine what the big city i so want to move away to will be like...i hate that because i'm a woman i have to be afraid.
TifasRose Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This written very well hun it truly moved me ^-^ Keep up the good work :D You forever have my support ^-^

Tifa-Rose :3
KasdeyaWolf Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011
I agree.... I can't trust men.
Kyriin Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Actually, I feel a little bad abut this poem because it assumes--I assume, in it--that rape is something done to women, by men. There's only one safe house for men within fifty miles of where I live, and it's always filled to capacity. I usually try not to reinforce gender stereotypes/binary with my own behavior. That line was as much an admission of guilt as it was an accusation.
KasdeyaWolf Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011
=\ well in a way you were talking about your fear, I'm sure certain men have the same fear. I'm sorry to hear about the safe house being filled though =(
HatedLove6 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Wow. Although I think there needs to be some capitalization (or it could just be your style), I am intrigued by this. I love that it's supposed to be performed and not just read off of paper; I can tell that just reading it off my screen doesn't give it justice.
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