Dead to the Beat

She was sick of not being held

Of believing in ideals

That were paraded in front of her

Like pirouetting ballerinas with broken toes,

Backward-galloping horses in an obsolete carousel,

And that evaporated upon her touch and consent.


He’d not find her pretty enough for his list

Or he’d use her mouth, her hands, the need to be seen

Or he’d shove her into the darkness to beat the love out of her head

Or he’d call her names, the cancer in women’s backbones for centuries

Or he’d defame her, unleash other girls on her, standing tall, the conqueror.


And while she’d be collapsing into the harshness of the ground

Shedding tears that vanished into the past

She’d witness the impact of detrimental absences and tormented presences

Around her. She absorbed the leftover self-worth that landed in her lap

With outer stamps of disapproval and carelessness, anonymity, and

Starved internally.


They’d never come close to comprehending

Who she was and what had happened to her before

They came and what they had done to her,

The scars that never cease to burn and the guilt

They infected her with, the shame, setting her body afire

Without having felt alive.


He’d rob her body of its warmth

Its will to love, its hope for reciprocation.

The rambling of his body turned everything

Within her into a nightmare that was never hers

To see, neither to own nor to inherit.


He hammers his lovelessness into the bodies of girls

And punishes them because of the lack he feels.

He observes them and wants to empty them

By invading their inner lives, their desires and dreams.

He is a stain on the memory, a crippled moment in time

Full of false images and wrong turns.


“In the Grass” by Arthur Hughes (1832-1915)


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