i get asked often,
who've never tasted desperation on their lips
i do what i've done.
"i couldn't do it," they say, shaking
and i'm thinking,
you have no idea what degradation is.
something more like humiliation: like
standing barefoot on the filthy floor of
the local convenience store,
beer from deposit cans
has soaked through
your shoes & socks, thirty minutes
into your shift,
dirty construction workers throw dusty money
onto your counter
as if you, not they,
are the one covered in grime.
degradation: reliving over and over
your lover says he's looking for something
better than you
standing swallowing bile,
cash while thinking about $20,000
of student loans and that bachelor's degree
that really helped your career!!
i tell these men, they know nothing
of how humiliation is made.
they've never seen it.
here i own this stage.