“this is a suicide poem,”
makes a joke about it,
doesn’t hear the echo
of my rope harnesses
and leftover blood stains
that don’t wash out
of my family’s brainstems
he says, “don’t try this at home,
kids,” says robert frost is chronically
depressed, laughs because the bird that
lives inside him is still singing
but me, my canary is long dead
because each hollow cave between my ribs
has long been filled with poison
love, do not joke about depression:
we are all pretending we are
diamond mines where there is only
coal, we are pretending not to hear
our emptiness howl -
love, if you are a teacher,
be tender, be sweet
you never know how close to death
are the creatures in these seats.
like it’s not “whoops I’m PREGNANT AGAIN tee hee time for an abortion!!”
nobody fuckin does that. nobody
it’s more along the lines of
do you want an abortion or do you want to die
do you want an abortion or do you want to watch your baby die after a week
do you want an abortion or do you want your life to fall apart around you because of a child you are either unable or unfit to support
do you want to give up a fetus or a living, breathing baby
Look around your college classroom, spot the virgins.
See, this seems like a game until you skip over the girl with a short skirt and hair in front of her eyes because you heard last summer that she slept with like nineteen guys. You can’t see her hands, but they’re under the table, pulling a rosary through her fingers as she tries to wash the sin off her. She’s only ever kissed three people in her whole life and they’re all girls. She turned down the wrong guy and he told everyone she’s “a whore.” The label “slut” stuck to the bottom of her shoe and swallowed her up.
But that quiet girl who is always reading probably never touched someone else’s penis, you figure, because you don’t know that she goes home and strips down and pulls on tight black leather, you don’t know she’s got a set of whips that could make any set of knees quiver, you don’t know because she’s proud of what she does but she’s not stupid enough to let anyone know about it. She’s sexy, just not here, not where people judge.
See, the truth is: you have no idea who has lost their virginity, because it doesn’t change you. It doesn’t give you some kind of glow or superpower or stamp on your forehead. You know the feeling of waking up on your birthday and thinking “I don’t feel any older whatsoever”? That’s what maybe they’re all so afraid of you finding out: sex doesn’t change you. Sex doesn’t make you an animal, sex doesn’t suddenly make your relationship a million times more stable or intimate or romantic - it can’t fix what’s broken, although it can make the pain go away for a bit. Sex doesn’t really occur with eighty tea lights and a thick white rug. Sex is ugly and loud and frequently awkward, sex is excellent and breathtaking and when you wake up the next morning, you’re the exact same person. There’s not some magical connection with the person in bed beside you. Believe it or not, pregnancy isn’t some kind of punishment - but practice safe sex, get tested, don’t spread your germs around. They want to tell you, “Sex can ruin you” and I’ve heard that a lot as a little girl, that some boy would join me under my sheets and then dump me four days after, used, unhappy.
But I figured out that I’m not a fucking toy. Letting someone have sex with me is not letting them “use” me, because I’m not an object. My father said the issue lay in the fact “Men are insecure and need to know that they’re the best you ever had,” but I think that’s a steaming crock of absolute-wrong and if I didn’t tell the people I’m with how many others I’d slept beside, there would be literally no way for them to know my number, because I don’t rust, I don’t wear out, I don’t get bruised. I’m not a wilting fruit, I don’t go rotten.
But here’s the thing: some people connect sex and emotion. I don’t personally because I am probably secretly an ice storm in disguise, but I still respect my partner’s desires. If they’re the type to want love and sex to coincide, I let them. I don’t make fun, I don’t pull one-night-stands or friends-with-benefits, because it’s not their “reputation” I’m afraid for: it’s their heart I’m defending.
Here’s the thing: Instead of worrying about people’s “purity” and how it defines them as a person, worry instead about how you can protect other people’s emotions.
Because here’s the thing: look around your room and spot the virgins. Look harder. You can’t tell. Sex doesn’t alter people, it doesn’t make them act in a certain way nor dress in a certain manner. Sex and personality have nothing to do with each other. There’s a reason that virginity doesn’t show on someone’s face: because having sex doesn’t cause you to change.
The person you love won’t always make you happy. If love is a tattoo then it won’t always ink laugh lines into the corners of your eyes or needle joy into the grooves of your heart waiting to be filled. Sometimes it will leave bruises in the corners of your skin where you…