John Lennon reads the news about the death of Brian Jones (28 February 1942 – 3 July 1969)

Jim Morrison recording Waiting for The Sun with The Doors (February, 1968) Photographer: Paul Ferrara
Pages Matam Piñata
Pages Matam


To the man on the bus I heard in conversation tell a woman, presumably a friend, "You are too ugly to be raped." 

Dear man on the bus,
Tell the 1 in 5 women of this country that they are beautiful, their 4 counterparts spared torment, ugly.
Tell the 1 in 3 women of this world that you will not make piñatas of their bodies, watch morsels of them spill greedily, to the famished smiles of your ignorant shaped like bloodthirsty children, how your words hit repeatedly until they broke open like a shattered paper mâché cradle, their blood flowed like candy until hollowed insides, their jaws mangled into a misfortune from when they tried to scream for their legs, torn into a crucifix, their loud cry of eyes muted.
Tell them how beautiful their silence is. 

Dear man on the bus,
From smothering cat calls, to a quickened pace of trek home, rape with a dress on, rape without a dress on, raped as children who couldn’t even dress themselves, tell them how ugly their consent was. 

Tell the depression, the unreported.
Tell Mahmudiyah, a footnote in crimson iraqi sands, how beautiful the military silence is, and how we don’t ask, and they didn’t tell, in the name of country.
Tell Elizabeth Fritzl how pretty the flame of her skin was that turned her father into a torturous morph of incest until she gave birth to 7 choices that she never had.

Dear man on the bus,
Tell my 11th grade student, Lauren, that she wanted it, her beauty had them coming.
Tell my 7th grade student, Makayla, that she wanted it, her beauty had him coming. 
Tell my 3rd grade student, André, that he wanted it, his beauty had him coming. 
Tell the 8 year old me, that the God in me I loved fiercely was so gorgeous, that cousin twice my age wanted to molest the holy out of me— peeled raw until I was as ugly as she was. 

Rape is a coward that hides its face in the makeup of silence; a murderous fruit that grows best in the shadows of taboo. A vietnam prostitute whose red white and blue skin, a murmur of bodies left vacant by the souls that spend years and years and pills and pills and and poems and poems and poems and even death trying to learn how to reclaim them.

Dear nameless assailant, 
This bus carries the burden of your stick and blindfold patriarchy, heavy on your tongue, on your tongue… Your words are like a monstrous accomplice throwing up from your throat to the 97% that will never see a jail. 

Dear man on the bus,
As these words fall out of your mouth, I pray that no one ever finds your children beautiful enough to break open, and make a silent decorative spectacle out of them.

Piñata, Pages Matam, 2013 National Poetry Slam, Boston, MA