TALLIE

 

New York

New York

The city of dreams, they say

(And they’re right-

I love this city

to its core) but

what they don’t sell you on

so much

are the looks

the whistles

the yells (worse,

the whispers).

The minutes of the mornings spent

in front of the closet

deciding

if your skin is thick enough

to brave the bullets today.

If the crop top and lipstick

are worth the stings of the streets.

Getting of work at 11pm

means a sleepy train ride

for my boyfriend

but jackets zipped to my chin

(even in summer),

eyes down and

a hand on my pepper spray

- just in case -

for me.

And they trick you;

the TV, the parents, they classmates

into thinking that

the risks are just

collateral damage

of choosing to live here.

And I accepted that

for a long time

 

But not anymore.

No one

should have to sacrifice safety

to follow their dreams

(accepting a life as an artist

takes bravery and

emotional stamina enough

thank you)!

 

So please. It can’t be too much to ask

for the night roamers, the street mongers, the stone jungle species,

to stop thinking

that the people who also inhabit

this enigma of a city

are your toys

to touch or torment

the way my cat treats

her stuffed animals.