I wrote a poem with my mother, Susan Gregory, y’all!
The collaboration happened after my mom sent in a piece for the Creepo Project, and we realized our stories of harassment and abuse were very similar. And great news, the anthology our piece got published in is out for the world to consume! 🙂 I’ll include the piece below, but if you’d like to buy the anthology, which has an artist statement from each collaborative pair or group next to their piece, click on the picture below!
Mother-Daughter Bonding: An Exploration of Stupid
Age 6 – Early 1960s
I am playing on the school playground. Three teenage boys pass by and ask me if I want to see their wieners. I am scared and say no. “Well, here it is,” shouts one of the boys. He pulls a hot dog out of his pocket and waves it in the air. I run home.
Age 16 – Early 1970s
I am walking to work when a fat, forty-something-year-old man asks if I want a ride. I am stupid and say yes. During the ride, we are silent until the end. I turn to thank him, and he slides his hand up my dress. I scream and run into my building. After work, my mother tells me, “It serves you right for getting in the car.”
Age 19 – Mid 1970s
I am walking home from work, and I cut through the park to catch my bus. A good-looking twenty-something-year-old man is sitting on a park bench. He smiles at me and says hello. I smile and say hello back, but then I stupidly look down. His hand is in his pants. He’s jacking off.
Age 22 – Late 1970s
I am working at a car dealership, and I am still stupid. At the end of my shift, my manager, Dick, calls me into his office. He looks me up and down and tells me a filthy joke. For the next few weeks, I start wearing clothing two sizes too big. He still calls me over. I try making an excuse, “I’ll be late for my bus,” but this makes Dick mad. “When Dick calls you, you come!” He grabs me by the coat collar and drags me to his office. I ask him what he wants, and he tells me a filthy joke. I leave crying and never go back.
Age 30 – Mid 1980s
I am working in an office where my husband also works. Every morning, two married co-workers talk to me at my desk. They tell me about the porn they watched the night before and ask if I’d like to watch the next one with them. I say “no, thank you” every time, but they ask again and again. I complain to personnel, and the couple stops speaking to me. I am finally getting smarter.
Age 38 – Early 1990s
I am in a grocery store parking lot holding my 18-month-old daughter while putting groceries into my car. I look up and see two twenty-something-year-old men standing next to me. One of them grabs his crotch, looks at my daughter, and shakes his junk around. “She’s gonna be one hot mama when she gets older.” I am sick. I want to puke.
Age 10 – Late 1990s
I am walking with my mother to Wienerschnitzel to buy a hot dog. We pass a parked semi-truck. The driver honks his horn and whistles. I ask my mom who the man is whistling at. “Not at me, I can tell you that much.”
Age 15 – Mid 2000s
I am instant messaging with my boyfriend’s twenty-something-year-old friend. He asks me to have sex with him, and I tell him no. He takes a screenshot of the conversation and uses Paint to switch our screen names, as if I am the one asking him for sex. He sends the image to my boyfriend and calls me a slut. My boyfriend believes him. I am stupid and convince my boyfriend not to dump me. We stay together for another two years.
Age 17 – Late 2000s
I am at my first college party, and I meet a boy. He says he likes me. For the next two weeks, we talk in his dorm room and watch movies on his bed. He never touches me until one night when we can hear his roommate at the door. The boy jumps on top of me and sticks his tongue in my mouth just as his roommate walks inside. I leave crying and never go back.
Age 20 – Early 2010s
I am studying abroad in England, and I meet a seventeen-year-old Swedish boy. We go to a dance club and get drunk with some friends. I black out, and when I come to, my friends tell me the Swedish boy had my arms pinned to a wall and his hand up my dress. They wanted to tell him to stop, but they decided I probably didn’t care. I am stupid and believe them.
Age 21 – Early 2010s
I am staying the night in a hostel, and I am the stupidest I have ever been. I walk in my shared room and a thirty-something-year-old Colombian man sits cross-legged on the floor. He is naked minus a towel wrapped around his waist. He asks if I am alone, and I say yes. He slides his towel to the left, revealing his flaccid penis. I try to leave the room, but he stands up and blocks the door. I try stepping around his body, but he moves closer to me. “You have beautiful eyes,” he says, and I push him. He slips, and I run out the door. I find a new room and stay inside it all night, not even leaving to pee.
Age 23 – Present day
I am working in an office where my brother also works. Every afternoon, a forty-something-year-old coworker talks to me in my cubicle about his motorcycle and drinking habits. I ignore him, but he comes back again and again. One day, he asks me to watch a video of a Barbie and Ken doll having sex. I say, “No, thank you,” and he laughs. “It would probably remind you of your brother anyway.” He stays in my cubicle and plays the video at maximum volume. I can hear the moaning, and I want to puke.