Saturday, November 4, 2017


i was there

i was there
when they huddled
around those girls
on the playground
and made up chants about
how their breasts hadn’t developed
like the others
i was there
every single time one of us
called them a bitch
i was there in the club that night
when they pinched the asses
of a whole row of women
and i saw the look in their eyes
as they turned them my way
i was there when he grabbed her
dragged her on the dance floor
and forced her to dance
and i was there trying to break them up
felt when she pushed us both
and went heading for the bouncers
i was there when they screamed
outside the window of a car
in a hasidic neighborhood
i didn’t like it
but i didn’t say shit
i was there that time when my only black friend
overheard the only black joke
that ever came out of my mouth
and i was there when i apologized
only to watch him walk away
i was there when we were nineteen
and he took that fifteen year old
into the woods
and made me sit on a bench with her friend
to keep her company
or “do whatever you want.”
while he did whatever he did
but it didn’t matter because she didn’t complain
and i was there when he had his fist hovering
over his girlfriend
her hair wild
his nose bloody from a fight i’d missed
as their four month old baby screamed and cried
on a nearby couch
i was also there that time
i made my girlfriend cry for taking my virginity
for having had other men before me
for having had a life
that i couldn’t wrap around my head
i was there
watching human beings get treated like
toys for the taking on subways and buses
i was there when he
harassed that bartender in wheeling that night
and stole her tip money when she wasn’t looking
i was there
and i knew the rumors about how he pushed that one
how he hit that one
and how he threatened the other with the same
but i made no further inquiries
i was there the night jane cried
when he yelled at her over a fucking movie
i was there
when sixty-three percent of men who looked like me
elected a rapist, misogynist, liar
the scion of white male privilege
into the highest office in the land
and i was there when he said
grab ‘em by the pussy
i was there when they chanted lock her up!
lock her up!
lock her up!
even though the whole show was over
and i was there in washington d.c.
with pussy hats and protests
learning how to shut up and listen
but i was still there
all those years he forced himself on women and children
made them give him blow jobs for movie roles
raped them
harassed them
killed careers with his power
i was there
and i paid my ticket to stand in line with all the others
to be entertained
by the whole sick show.

--John Grochalski


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