Not That Bad

It's not the same, he says.

It's not worth the same fight,

it doesn't mean the same thing,

it doesn't hurt the same way.

Except every now and again I hear

a man yelling after me, I'm a bitch,

I made eye contact and looked away

and he called me a c--- and told me

he'd r--- my a-- for that. 

I hear another man bragging to his friend

he was going to get me into bed with him

to feel my a-- around his c---

and I remember running off the subway

when he got into the same car as me.

I feel a hand on my a-- and another one 

wrapping around my throat,

like it was okay to nearly choke me on a dance floor.

I see a man touching himself outside 

the window of my cab, giving me a toothy grin

when I look away terrified

and then get told by the driver, that happens a lot.

It does happen a lot.

Getting flanked by two men on either side

as I try to walk home, telling me to take 

my headphones out and talk to them.

Being followed to my work place,

being followed to my dorm building,

and then having someone attempt to 

follow me and having to call security

to drag them out and away.

Being told to smile and then being called 

a c--- for not doing it.

Being told to smile and then being told

that he'd take me out when I do do it.

Being touched by a man on the street

and then him running away like the 

useless, stupid boy that he is.

Being touched on the subway 

by a man who swears he lost his footing,

except that he touched you five times

and no one else seemed to ever fall but him.

It happens a lot. 

It happens every day, on every street, in every city.

And we get told "it's not that bad."

You can't complain because it's not that bad.

What were you wearing and what did you do?

Why were you out alone and why were you taking that street?

It's never, why did he think it's okay to touch?

Why did he make me see something that I see

when I close my eyes or make me hear something I hear

when I lay my head down on my pillow at night? 

Because it happens all the damn time 

and for some reason the fear we're left with 

is just not that bad. 

This poem is about: 
My community
My country


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