Poems by Simone Person

A Note from Poetry Curator, Rachel Wiley:

We live in a society that discourages

women, femmes, and queer folx from

speaking up and speaking out. As a

result many of us struggle to find our

voice. I found and solidified my own

voice through writing and sharing my

own poetry and by reading the poetry

of my peers. My hope in curating a

poetry collection on Babe Roar is to

create some space that might help

others find and strengthen their own

voices as well.

To the White Woman in Indiana with the Tiny Backpack Who Interrupted Me and a Friend to Ask if We Knew This Was a Non-Smoking Campus as I’m Halfway through a Cigarette

Yes, we knew, as surely as your Tevas know the way to the closest

food co-op. There’s so little for me here. So little of me here.

So much time wasted crafting myself into edges, of flossing barbs

through my teeth, and braiding razor blades in my hair just to be

able to walk down the street. Just to smoke in peace on the

non-smoking campus I was born too broke and not

enough enough to even be assumed to attend. I don’t expect you

to understand what it feels like here in Indiana, how

the footsteps behind me on my walks home are louder,

that every car passing feels sinister, the way the sun downs

so quick in this town, and there’s fewer reasons that seem to warrant

leaving bed. White people are always asking me questions we both know

the answers to, trying to string me up and drag me behind sentences.

And if this was the first time a white person talked at me

like I was stupid, maybe my mouth wouldn’t have spit nails,

rattling your tiny backpack, and transforming you

into afraid and me into the spook you knew I was anyways.

................................................

On Learning You Love a Dude Who Ain’t Shit

if you were honest with yourself you knew he wasn’t shit the first time he said he’d never heard a Prince song when he didn’t know what challah was had never tasted cornbread and his AAVE was cobbled from Stillmatic but here in your sad college town he’s cute a little short and maybe the dick is on that staccato stroke but here you are pineapple upside down here you lost the fat girl bravado you built and every time he looks at you it feels like you have a chance like maybe everyone was wrong you aren’t a professional victim so when he kisses you don’t think of the ocean and the brine and the dying coral and the garbage plastic island floating somewhere learn to crave his teeth straining across your tongue how he grabs your ass so hard there’s crescents denting your hips teach yourself it’s just how desirable you are not his attempts to cum quick so he can leave earlier

................................................

Your new bitch

can’t cook & I’m not Julia Child or nothing in this motherfucker

but does your new bitch know how to fatten you can she octopus-squeeze you

in the morning make you desperate to not leave her bed

does she know when you nightmare & talk fire in your sleep

it’s best to kiss your forehead & gently shake you awake

dumpling-fold you into her arms so when you come back to this plane

you know you are loved can she fuck you like I did

& I’m not Jada Fire or nothing in this motherfucker

but after the ways men have destroyed me you included

it’s a miracle anything works at all I’d expect at this point my shit

would’ve cemented over does she look at you the way I did

she must achieve some facsimile because I knew the dybbuk

rolling mist over your tongue still let you cross

my thresholds kissed you full long even after I knew it was over

cooked you breakfast & yoga-ed into every sciatic-angry position

let you replace my face with all the white girls you liked better I just kept hoping

I’d fold right & fractal into a girl you could love the girl

you said you loved the girl you tried for when trying was still new

I’m growing older & deciding if I want to be happy or loved

& I’m not bell hooks or nothing in this motherfucker

so I’m learning to ignore how I split apart realizing

I can only choose one & not knowing which is lonelier

I’m always up late curling into myself trying to become

something new something you’d bring to the function to show off to your mom

& so when you hold me down into my mattress

shackle-hands on my shoulders all sweat-slick skin

I’d be the only girl you’re breaking

Simone Person is the author of Dislocate (2018), the winner of the 2017 Honeysuckle Press Chapbook Contest in Prose. She grew up in Michigan and Toledo, Ohio and is a dual MFA/MA at Indiana University. She sporadically uses Twitter and Instagram at @princxporkchop.

These poems have been previously published in The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought, WusGood Mag, and Puerto del Sol, respectively.

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