Takeaway

Reality is richer
than fiction

I found the dress
I was raped in
and didn’t know
what to do with it.
I haven’t for years

You know the dress too,
Marilyn Monroe’s iconic
white dress
cooling herself
over a subway grate.
It happened on a Halloween
I was her
he was pimp
reality, richer than fiction.

The first poem
I ever wrote
was titled, “Dirty White”
written at 12
about a woman
raped
feeling dirty
in a dress
on her wedding day,
foreshadowing my own
event.

I’ve contemplated,
burning it
as if the fire
could burn away the memory,
I’ve thought about
giving it away
but fearful that
it will be someone else’s
misfortune.

I’ve thought about
washing and wearing it
a bizarre testament
that I’ve healed
then dread washes over me
like unexpected rain
that it will happen again.

Marilyn and I are bonded
insight into
a polarizing figure
the sadness behind her eyes
the madness that consumed her
but shines effortlessly on screen
Impossible to look away from
her reality greater than fiction.

I’ve thought about
my experiences
Trying to justify
Find reasoning
Accepted that I’m given what
I can handle.
My poetic purpose interpreting
reality richer than fiction.

Dear Stanford Rape Victim

You are not a victim
but a survivor.

Victims are paralyzed
survivors find strength
in the pain

You did not ask for this
but now you’re shining,
a lighthouse
to those who did not get
their day in court.

Using your voice
to testify against
injustice of class and privilege
not going quietly into the night
rape perpetrators need to live in fear
not us.

I read your story
with wet eyes,
as survivors
we are bonded
empathizing through the process

rape is rape

Rape can happen
behind dumpsters
with a stranger,
at college party
with a friend,
in your home
with a spouse,
at home with
a family member

regardless of circumstances

rape is rape.

20 minutes of action caused
irrevocable damage to you
the public to dissect
the worst experience of your life

But I can tell you that
slowly

you will feel your worth again
the nightmares will stop
you will feel safe
you will find intimacy
you will feel confident
most importantly,
your voice and power
have already been found.

You are not a victim,
you are surviving
and soon you will be
thriving.

Courage found in your vulnerability

soak up your own words,
you are beautiful
you are valued
you are respected
you are powerful

and I am with you.

Transformation

I
was voiceless
but my body
was screaming
revolting.
Mind
drew
blank
Retreated
after the
attack.
Once friend
now foe
Role playing a pimp
and Marilyn Monroe
famously labeled a whore.
but she also said stop
likewise we were ignored
pounded for more
and more.

Victim blaming is part
of the culture game
“Some just rape easy”
is what disconnected
power leaders say,
those rules I refuse to obey.
The use of alcohol stimulates
or if we were already intimate
did not make me a willing participant,
if you don’t consider it legitimate
you’re a hypocrite.

Cannot comprehend
the mental imprisonment
constant cognitive dissonance
that you can’t even
begin to articulate

Staying vigilant
feeling impotent
nightmare reruns
of the incident.
Robbed of my innocence
Know
I am one of millions
Happening every 2 minutes
facts
you can’t refute.

I was voiceless
but now
boisterous
Born again from
suffering.
wounds
will
heal,
my dignity
you cannot steal.

Initiating a change
so no one ever
lays down
broken
from pain.

Love in every
action
prevents
traumatic reactions.