A poem for men who don’t understand what we mean, when we say men have “it.”
Privilege is simple.
Going for a pleasant stroll after dark.
Not checking the back of your car as you get in,
Speaking without interruption
and not remembering dreams of rape, that follow you all day,
that woke you crying,
and Privilege is not seeing your stripped, humiliated body
plastered in celebration
across every magazine rack.
is going to the movies and not seeing yourself terrorized,
seeing something else.
Riding your bicycle across town without being screamed at
or run off the road,
not needing an abortion,
taking off your shirt on a hot day, in a crowd,
not wishing you could type better just in case,
not shaving your legs,
having a decent job and expecting to keep it,
not feeling the boss’s hand up your crotch,
dozing off on late-night buses,
Privilege is being the hero in the TV show not the dumb broad,
living where your genitals are not denied
knowing your doctor won’t rape you.
being smiled at all day by nice helpful women
it is the way you pass judgment on their appearance with magisterial authority,
the way you face a judge of your own sex in court
and are over-represented in Congress
and are not strip searched for a traffic ticket or used as a dart board
by your friendly mechanic,
Privilege is seeing your bearded face reflected through the history texts
not only of your high school days but all your life,
not being relegated to a paragraph every other chapter,
the way you occupy entire volumes of poetry
and more than your share of the couch unchallenged.
It is your mouthing smug, atrocious insults at women
who blink and change the subject politely
Privilege is how seldom the rapist’s name appears in the papers
and the way you smirk over your PLAYBOY.
It’s simple really,
Privilege means someone else’s pain,
your wealth is my terror,
your uniform is a woman raped to death here, or in Cambodia or wherever
wherever your obscene Privilege writes your name in my blood,
it’s that simple,
you’ve always had it,
that’s why it doesn’t seem to make you sick to your stomach,
you have it,
we pay for it,
now do you understand?