VIDEO: Poet Alyesha Wise confronts her experience with sexual assault in heavy spoken word performance.
"The Interview" by Alyesha Wise, AFROPUNK contributor
Were you with me when I just wanted to hang with the boys?
Were you with me when Ibn stole my purse
Told me it was in the basement
That if I wanted it back, I better go get it?
Were you aware of what Go get it
Did you think to call for help when I was down there
After 5 minutes
Or, after twenty
Or, after the tv got louder?
Were you around when Haz used to follow me in his car
When he promised, he only wanted to talk for a minute
When I knew “a minute” is a boys’ lie
But this is a man
If I give him time, he’ll stop?
Were you there when I tried to compromise myself
A girl, learning how to keep a man in check
When I wasn’t sure what it was
Wasn’t sure why I was so unsure
But I was sure that I never said “Yes”
That I fearfully glued my back to his filthy seat
Became all the dirty words he called me
Was told to consider it a good time
But if I considered it r...
If I called it r...
If I called it anything but consensual, I’d become a welcoming target
If you were there, in all of your
Would you have helped me call it what it was?
Would you have stayed with me
During the long walks home
To tell me there is no shame in my steps?
Would you have asked to see the scars?
And when I would have said, The scars cannot be seen!
Would you have crossed the street?
Said, Nevermind. She ain’t got no proof
Joined all the boys who threw me so many slurs
I was not equipped to catch?
If you were by my side, the entire time
All the times
Would you believe me more?
Is my slow unfolding, is my lingering hurt
Is my grown woman, all cradled in my too angry to be a loved woman,
Does recalling these moments
Over 10 years later
Render my suffering invalid
Make me attentionseeking
As if the inflictions haven’t forced me to want to hide from everything?
Are your boys all exempt now?
Were they ever on trial?
Do your boys now have boys of their own?
Will your boys’ boys’ partners write this same poem a decade later?
Will their trespasses expire?
Will you quit telling me the damage has expired?
Will you still have questions of your own?
I was wearing clothes
I drank nothing, the first few times
I was a good girl
Who always flinched
I was not asking
For any of it.