little black arm bands

I hate to preach
I subscribe to religion
save the pratice
to respect the earth
and my fellow inhabitants

A few months back
I wrote a piece
called "little black arm bands"
at the time of writing this preface
I've read it here twice

Reading it here
and to friends
I have come to learn afterwards
that nearly every woman I know...

By family-friends-strangers

I learned the other night
that Gina too, has been
when she was 17

I swore that upon every
new revelation
I would read "little black arm bands"
the next time in front of a mic

Preparing tonight
I realized
I could not
I choke on the thought
of reading this "every" time

So, I will do my best
for Gina & Lisa & Regina & Meagan & Amy & Shannon & Margo & Laura & Joanna & Jenny & Renee & Joy and those that asked I not use their names...

and women think I'm being charming when I ask "Is it okay if I kiss you."

Meagan was raped in a field when she was twelve
by three boys from her remote New England town
the boys, forcing themsleves down her throat and between her legs, pinned, unable to even scream.

Tony and I worked at Mr. Arcade In Nauet, NY sometime back in 1985. Tony was this tall skinny dark Italalin/Hispanic guy into martial arts with a deep voice, wicked sense of humour and a really fucking bad temper. I was assistant manager, working 85 hours a week with Tuesday nights off and Gloria had hired this kid that got stoned constantly and reminded me of Toad but younger and dumber. One night after closing, Tony grabbed the tweleve pack we kept hidden in the pizza cooler and after shutting down all those fucking machines, Tony the kid and I sat between the change machines and the Star Wars game and opened out beers. The beer was cold and very needed and Tony asked about the young woman that came to see me that night and commented about what a bitch she was. I laughed and swallowed and told him we'd been dating on and off for years and that I really liked her, but agreed that she was a total bitch. Tony commented that he hadn't been laid in two months and that it was now a priority and then this kid, this stupid FUCKING KID, told us about the date he had the other Saturday night and told us how they drank and got really high and how she fought a little when he took her jeans and panties off and how she had just cried while he was doing her and finished his story with a little chuckle and a comment about how great it felt to get off. Tony and I just looked at each other blindly, speechless and then looked at the smile on this fucking kids face and I wished, I wished so hard that there was something....

I fought vehemently my last quarter in college to have men included in the "Take Back the Night March" and finally with others persuaded the hard-core grad student butches that they needed to include men if there was ever going to be any change. AS we all marched, men and women together, screams and catcalls followed us down from the dorm windows and chants of "We'll rape who we want when we want" followed us throughout the night. Later, I was asked back to a private party some of the women were throwing and when I arrived with a case of Buckhorn and a bottle of Vouvray I noticed that nearly all these women, many of them my good friends, were wearing little black arm bands. I asked my friend Skip, one of the few other men there, what the arm bands meant for I was clueless. He told me that the black arm bands signified a rape experience. I stood, motionless, looking around the room at all these women that I have drank and smoked and danced and laughed and talked with these past three years, most of them happy and full of life and then I saw Amy, the sweetest, most intelligent and unassuming minute ball of energy sitting on the arm of a chair with a beer in her left hand, several inches above a little black arm band and asked Skip to tell her to take it off, with Skip only replying, "what? this is important to her Kip," and I instantly realized that I could not deal and ran into the hallway and cried until I choked.