why can’t all my friends be in one place then it would be so much easier to decide

i’m leaving for camp in two days and then everyone’s going to university and i don’t know where i want to go and i love my friends so much can i just be with them forever 


On the day the rumours confirmed that she was raped—
had come back to school from, supposedly, the hospital
with bruises and scrapes of flaming red—
I took a long walk through the park in the rain.
I drenched myself.
At first it stunk. I’d forgotten what nature was like.
I came to the school, and remembered the summer
they let the north side of the valley grass grow long
and we’d made mazes through the stalks.

And I wondered what her rapists had been doing while
I had been playing in the school yard.

They were among me. Only different.

He has already been sending threats to anyone who
perhaps, by chance, may take his ex-girlfriend to prom.

On Monday he sat in the main office, bloodied. I heard it
was because a pedestrian brushed his shoulder and he got in
a fight with them,
but those are rumours,
and nobody knows for sure.

We go to public school, and the authorities tell us nothing.
There are no answers to our questions.
None of us know yet what the story is and who will be punished.
It happened on Friday and it is Tuesday and still,
no announcements and no teachers
giving us little speeches
that are for everyone,
but we know why they are speaking. None. Nothing. Silence.

If somebody was murdered
or robbed
there would have been an assembly.
But since this crime involves her vagina, we say nothing.
It is personal, we say, to push the blame off of ourselves. As if we are not standing by, watching.

And nobody understands the rage boiling from my flesh
at the disgust of a crime so violating
that nobody will step up and speak up against it.
As if when somebody hurts someone else that much, it becomes nobody else’s business.

It is our business.
It is our business because I knew him in elementary school,
it is our business because I went to parties with the other,
it is our business because silence is not synonymous with support,
it is our business because violence is cultivated in neighbourhood bedrooms and at dinner tables,
it is our business because we live here together,
and this is not an exterior force. This is who we are.
We are rapists.

So unless you stand up and prove, at the top of your goddamn lungs,
that you are not,
then you are only perpetuating the stigma and the silence
and you are only playing for the side of evil.

Nobody is isolated; we are here together, we
all live here together,
and what we do is what we are.
Two boys have raped a girl.
We are rapists.

So they say you gotta be cool, 
like, with a swing accent, smoking on the hillside 
and driving to Montreal. 

And I say I don’t feel like a joint;
want a million flavours of rock and roll 
and to talk political nonsense. 
I’ve heard the beatniks laughing: they planned 
their little misogynist movement of literature 
over benzedrine, and wrote each other’s papers. 
Quit school. Drove west. 

You say you’re going to be real cool, yeah, 
with a swinging accent, 
you gotta buy the right shit from the right places and talk 
to the right people 
and smoke the right kind of weed. 
You say you’ll be a hippy, yeah, 
do you even know what that means? Do you even know 
who they were? 

You’ve got no cause, 
except for a swinging baseball bat, 
you’re just a rebel with no reason to come to school. 

And so the hipsters talk about feminism and then read
archaic literature 
and beg to be brought back to the fifties, are you

I’m not nostalgic for any era, 
give me the future in bright folds and I’ll kiss 
the living daylights out of you. 
I don’t miss the roaring twenties, 
I don’t want to be an ancient Roman soldier- shut up. 

So they sit on the ends of their park benches 
"because I’m too broke" 
go home to roast chicken after their family has eaten. 

So they say they’re gonna be someone, 
they’re gonna go out and do something, 
fuck a lot of hot chicks on the way. 
It’s all in the photo albums, you idiots: sure, cool pic. 

You’ll throw all your values away for a boy half as hot as you;
forget about the disgusting taste of lung cancer on your mothers chest
and the rape jokes he spews, “oh, but he’s so sweet,” 
yeah, okay. 

Preach free minds and then stare at me like I’m an alien. 
Want good on earth and preach conservatism, “get rid of the 
government”, you say. 
Oh, fuck off. 

Oh, but they sit on the stoop and smoke cigarettes 
and read teen sob novels 
and steal clothes from the store, 
because they’re cool. 

I don’t want cool;
I want vivid. I want flocks of streetcars 
and fast food at one in the morning, 
and milkshakes over ethics debates.
I want speech. I want to talk. I love the chatter. 
I want social consciousness, and conversation, 
and yeah-
I judge people harshly. It keeps me from the wrong crowds. 
I want hard drugs and poetry and reading and art in any form 
I want you to tell me what you like in life,
do you want to learn how to surf? 
Are you insecure about your pubic hair? I am. 
I don’t want to anti the establishment with a bunch 
of dimwits who don’t have a philosophy.
I want purpose and effect and power, exploring 
and smoking and speaking, all the time, just constant, 
bouncing ideas around and around, 
beating the bass, 
say anything that comes to mind, 
do anything that comes to mind, 
judge anything that comes to mind, 
question everything that comes to mind. 

So they sit at the end of their streets and smoke, 
and we run around in the bush loving and being loved, 
living and recklessly chasing after anything we want. 

Keep playing your old records
and reminiscing about things you weren’t alive for
and sitting in silence, smoking, 
being sad, 
oh, like a wrecked youth. 
You can be cool, 

But I am going to lead the youth of today, 
with the banners and parades 
and golden ribbons 
and art galleries and uprisings 
and broadcasts and play castings and 
literature. We’ve got no time to sit around, dumbed-down, 
we got to shout and cajole and run around like the beasts we are. 

I don’t care about cool. Cool never overthrew anything. 
Force, power, rage, fury—-peace, understanding, 
communication, art, work, community, strength, 

action. I want my life to be action. 

I don’t care about cool.