please my name is john


today i am eight and
when i asked to be a cowboy,

an honest-to-god lone ranger,
my mom looked really funny
and hushed me with fairy wings and
a blue dress with too many ruffles and
i wondered where was the harm in a game

today i am sixteen and 
when i told my parents incredulously
of rape-culture and my outrage
i learned how much my father cared about 
the daughter he was raising as he blinked like
it didn't even matter
and told me to eat my damn vegetables

today i am eighteen and
when i told her about the man whistling
profanities she shrugged and told me
my skirt must have been too short
and, really, i should be flattered cause
he was only trying to be nice and
i’m just too sensitive

today i am twenty-three and
when i told my aunt i never wanted
to have children, that it just wasn’t for me
she laughed and laughed and through tears said
oh i would surely change my mind when i realized
i’d never feel fulfilled without them

today i am thirty and
i am a cowboy that occasionally
swishes by in skirts and stands in the streets
exercising my right to demand control of my 
body and i am unafraid of crude callers
claiming with palms up in the air they are 
innocent admirers, but i make sure they
know exactly who they are,
say no i don't want their numbers because
i already have them and
i’m really great with my niece and
she and her brother are glad
they don’t really have to share me with cousins
and i am whole and unrelenting and i
am one fabulous fucking john wayne
Guide that inspired this poem: 




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