The type (Sarah Kay) 

If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at,

You can let them look at you.

But do not mistake eyes for hands or windows or mirrors.

Let them see what a woman looks like.

They may have not ever seen one before.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch,

You can let them touch you.

Sometimes, it is not you they are reaching for.

Sometimes it is a bottle, a door, a sandwich, a Pulitzer — another woman.

But their hands found you first.

Do not mistake yourself for a guardian or a muse or a promise or a victim or a snack.

You are a woman — skin and bones, veins and nerves, hair and sweat.

You are not made out of metaphors, not apologies, not excuses.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold,

You can let them hold you.

All day they practice keeping their bodies upright.

Even after all this evolving it still feels unnatural.

Still strains the muscles, hold firms the arms and spine.

Only some men will want to learn what it feels like to curl themselves into a question mark around you,

Admit they do not have the answers they thought they would by now.

Some men will want to hold you like the answer.

You are not the answer.

You are not the problem.

You are not the poem or the punch-line or the riddle or the joke. 

Woman, if you grow up the type men want to love,

You can let them love you.

Being loved is not the same thing as loving.

When you fall in love, it is discovering the ocean after years of puddle jumping.

It is realizing you have hands.

It is reaching for the tightrope when the crowds have all gone home.

Do not spend time wondering if you are the type of woman men will hurt.

If he leaves you with a car alarm heart, you learn to sing along.

It is hard to stop loving the ocean even after it has left you gasping — “salty.”

So forgive yourself for the decisions you’ve made.

The ones you still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night and know this:

Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours.

Let the statues crumble.

You have always been the place.

You are a woman who can build it yourself.

You are born to build.


When a boy tells you he loves you (Edwin Bodney) 

When a boy tells you he loves you
It’ll be the first time you hear this
It is late and he isn’t even there to tell you this in person but instead from a car ride home from a bar in Chicago he is there on business
And of course you will smile
Because he sounds like he means it
Because you believe him
Because a boy has never handed those words to you like crushed black berries in the palms of his hands
Firm, young, full
Waiting to taste sweet with you, his arms, creeping vines begging to touch the sun, and your face saying; here
Take everything I have ever touched to be closer to you
His breath waiting to be folded into a love note passed in between the nape of your neck and his front teeth
He will remember the time you told him you felt safe in his mouth and he will never grow hungry…
Just distant

When a boy tells you he loves you
You will hear music
The voice of your past lovers dancing up your throat
Your stomach, in after hours cabaret, still waiting on the last call
That was when you learned that when a boy says “I love you” he means I am getting ready to be inconsistent with you now

This boy will tell you that he loves you
Not long after he had you waiting for 2 hours in front of a cocktail lounge
Patience is something you are working on
But no, not for him
When he asks you to tell him that you love him back, you will be in a car in the parking lot of a late night diner
You will watch the words fall into your lap like a spilled glass of white wine
You will remember the day your courier pigeon heart got lost in the wind because that was a message it did not know how or where to carry and one by one the boys have fallen as silently as the birds do

So eloquently they used to speak until I asked the questions that broke them into ghosts
That bled me into a corpse with so many questions of my own for the soil but they’re tongues do not know simple
The things I should be hearing, the things that will make us living men in this time of insatiable yet dying lovers
When a boy tells you he loves you
Only to become silent like a folded sheet of tissue paper
Not wanting you to decrease him into the truth

Do not crack your face into the fullest crescent moon of the tapered bottom of a blackened sky
He never meant a single word of any of it
He is just a boy, remember?
He is just another silly, sad boy, remember?