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Lost Sleep (2016)

This piece is a poem/video entitled “Lost Sleep”. It was originally written in April 2014 for National Poetry Month and then I collaborated with filmmaker Kyle Simmons to bring the visual aspect to life for an art exhibition in 2016. Drawing on my connection with my sisters, this piece was written to address rape culture and toxic masculinity within society.

Lost Sleep

When the sky grows thick with midnight

I stay up

And watch time trickle like rainwater

Waiting for my sisters to come home

Even though we only share the same roof on occasion

I can’t combat worries from whispering in my ears

Ever since I was pierced with the reality

That some boys are groomed into savages

Thanks to a world that doesn’t tell them any different…

As 2am turns into 3am

I carry distress like damsels that don’t need saving

But just some reassurance that they are safe

From boys who try to make ruins of their bodies

My sisters

are golden slivers of broken jazz notes

Stuck in the throat of a saxophone.

Brass and beautiful

But hidden somewhere

I fear for every woman or girl in this shattered society

that begs for a swansong of silence

No matter how brass

Or how beautiful

I fear for my future daughter

Who will eventually “go out”

And risk being a victim behind the bars of a man’s thirst

I fear for my sisters in a world that coddles such battering rams of boys

That don’t know the meaning of no.

Boys that will vulture until women are most vulnerable

Boys that find child’s play in blurred lines

Boys that think they are entitled to wonderland

Boys that make bonfires out of beauties

Boys that think their penis is a privilege.

Boys that don’t deserve to be called men…

They are boys

Underdeveloped men who never learned to be gentle

They only know how to break things open

Then walk away from the mess they made

We live in a world where male superiority is knighted as normal

And harassment is swept aside as “guys just being guys”

So I will stay up all night

Worried that dirty hands could muddy the skin of queens

I will sit,

Watching the clock’s hands play tag

Until my sisters step through the door

Wrapped in weary smiles

Allowing me to rest down my worries

And sleep

Knowing that no one

Has made ruins of their flesh