From a SpeakTogether virtual workshop, Talent Unlimited High School, Spring 2020
This poem was composed during a six-week session conducted by author and spoken word artist Sheri Booker, who worked with a class of 10th-grade students to develop their voices. This workshop took place during a global pandemic, a national lockdown, and uprisings across the country to end police brutality and structural racism. Read more about the works in this collection, which are artifacts of this period and a true testament to the vision, creativity, and resilience of these students.
Listen to a recording of the following poem above.
Please Leave Me Alone, I Don’t Want to Talk to Creepy Men on The Street
by Sophia Guelke
I depend on myself.
I know sometimes I don’t signify,
But it hurts when men pretend not to hear me,
When they continue to objectify.
When I ask them please leave me alone
And they continue to follow.
A slight breeze blows through my hair as I tuck it away,
Prepared to run at any moment,
But my fear I tried to swallow.
You call me horrible names and why?
Because I speak my mind
When I say I just don’t like guys,
Why is that your invite?
Or are you so blind?
Why do you think you’ll be the one to go and change my mind?
When all I can think this light change for you will be gone?
But why am I the one left feeling strange?
You call yourself Romeo.
But I refuse to play Juliet.
Sorry, was that too harsh for you?
I guess it’s my fault again.
I should have just left it in the past and tried to forget.
Sometimes all I can think is when will this summer end.
When can I avoid your harsh stares just like an evil that pursues.
I wish my comfort mattered as much as theirs.
Sophia Guelke was a sophomore at Talented Unlimited High School in NYC at the time of this recording.