I Can Hear You

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted any of my own work on here.  The other day when I was getting ready for bed, because it’s always when I’m getting ready for bed, I got an idea.  I’m not entirely happy with the way it looks on the page, but it’s also meant to be spoken, so ideally no one would see the page anyway.  This piece is almost a composite of different conversations I’ve had over the past few months, things I’ve seen posted online, and things I’ve overheard as I’ve went about my way.  The opening quote is something that was actually said to me by a man.  Anyway, here is is.  Feedback is always appreciated.


I Can Hear You

I can hear you.

I see you standing there on the corner with your friends

and I can hear you.

You say, “I’m so sick of hearing about rape culture”

but I’m sick of living in one.

I’m sick of the first words out of your mouth being

“What were you wearing?” and

“Were you drinking?”

instead of

“How can I help you?” and

“Are you ok?”

I’m sick of it being ok to tell me not to get onto an elevator

if I’m alone late at night and a man is already on it but it becomes absurd

to tell a man that if he is on an elevator

in the middle of the night and a woman gets on alone

that he should keep his hands to himself because the burden

is on me to not get raped instead of on you to not rape.

And contrary to the belief of Republican politicians

a rape kit won’t “clean me out” and

my body doesn’t have a “way to shut that whole thing down”

because my vagina doesn’t come equipped

with sperm-fighting ninjas…but it could.

I’m not opposed.

I want to tell you these things.

I want to tell you what it’s like to be a woman in this world today

or even what it’s like to be me in this world today.

Maybe you’ll listen.

Maybe you’ll be willing to meet me

on that cognitive plane where we can discuss this imbalance of responsibility

and brainstorm together how to stop it

so that you can stop hearing about it

and I can stop living it.

Then again, maybe you won’t be willing

to meet me in that place and that rape culture

you’re so sick of hearing about tells me not to speak

because there are four of you and only one of me

and speaking is an invitation.

Even though it’s over 90 degrees with 80% humidity

all anyone will remember is that I was wearing

a pair of shorts and a tank top and that I was alone.

Maybe you will listen but

I’m going to remain silent and keep walking.

After I cross the street.


6 comments on “I Can Hear You

  1. Lori Hicks says:

    This is spectacular! It needs to be seen/heard by a larger audience so I really hope you do decide to submit it to MM.


  2. This is a wonderful, powerful piece. Well said.


  3. Erin R Britt says:

    Thanks to you both.


  4. […] few weeks ago, I posted a new spoken word poem I wrote titled “I Can Hear You.”  I just submitted it for a local reading event here in South Bend, IN.  If it gets […]


  5. “because my vagina doesn’t come equipped
    with sperm-fighting ninjas…but it could.”

    My favorite lines.
    Strong piece Erin. I enjoyed reading it. Good luck!


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